Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Get 2 limited-edition podcast mugs when you make a sustaining gift of $8 or more per month today!

Jon Stewart's Replacement Is Unlikely Choice For 'The Daily Show'


"The Daily Show" has a new host.


CORNISH: 16 years ago Jon Stewart started his stint on "The Daily Show" by scribbling notes at his desk. Today Trevor Noah was announced as his replacement. And if you're wondering who he is, you're not alone. A lot of people have been asking that today. NPR's Neda Ulaby reports that he is a 31-year-old comedian who's a star in his home country of South Africa.

NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: Trevor Noah has appeared on "The Daily Show" three times total since getting hired as the senior international correspondent four months ago. Jon Stewart tends to greet him like an old friend.




ULABY: On this episode, from earlier this year, the seasoned host chatted with his protege about race in Russia and Ferguson that somehow led to the new guy challenging Stewart to a game of chess.


TREVOR NOAH: All right, because I'm white, I'll go first.


ULABY: Trevor Noah is not white. He grew up a mixed-race child during the brutalities of the apartheid era.


NOAH: People mocked me, gave me names like mixed breed, half-caste. I hate that term - half. Why half? Why not double or twice as nice?


NOAH: I don't know.

ULABY: That's Noah during a performance last year at the Apollo Theatre in London. He riffed on remembering when his parents' relationship was so illegal he and his black mother were not allowed to even walk on the same side of the street as his white father.


NOAH: And he could just wave at me from far - like a creepy pedophile.


ULABY: Trevor Noah started his career acting in a soap opera while still a teenager. He morphed into a media personality with a program not unlike "The Daily Show" in South Africa. By the way, Noah speaks six languages.

James Poniewozik is Time magazine's TV critic. He says Noah might reboot "The Daily Show" just like Stewart did when he took over from Craig Kilborn.

JAMES PONIEWOZIK: It would be sad to see "The Daily Show" going with somebody who just seemed like the closest Jon Stewart clone that they could get.

ULABY: And look, he says, at all the other correspondents Stewart's groomed for their own shows - Stephen Colbert, Larry Wilmore, Samantha Bee, who's getting her own show on TBS, and that British guy who now has his own show on HBO.

PONIEWOZIK: There may be a bit of a John Oliver affect here.

ULABY: Poniewozik thinks maybe there's an appetite now for doing more than making fun of Fox News, for understanding global concerns from a non-American viewpoint - still using fake news. And he points out when Jon Stewart took a break to make a movie "The Daily Show" seemed to do just fine without him.

PONIEWOZIK: The open question is whether Trevor Noah remakes the show or whether the show molds him.

ULABY: Trevor Noah will take over when Jon Stewart steps down. That's expected to be sometime between July and the end of this year. Neda Ulaby, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR's Arts Desk.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.