Trevor Noah makes smooth Daily Show debut by paying tribute to Jon Stewart

Monday night marked the beginning of a new era for Comedy Central’s late night programming. With Jon Stewart stepping aside as host of "The Daily Show" at the beginning of August, the time has come for Trevor Noah to make his debut and try his hand at filling Stewart’s shoes.

Fortunately, the South African comedian made a valiant effort and "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" feels like it has the potential to keep what fans loved so much about Stewart’s show while giving it a fresh new look.

When Comedy Central announced Noah as Stewart’s successor, fans had no idea what to expect.  I was most curious to see was what Noah would change about the format and how he would make it his own. 

I was both relieved and convinced that though Stewart may be gone and there may be a few upgrades, this is still very much the same show.

Noah began the night by talking about Stewart and how much he meant to him. 

"Jon Stewart was more than just a late night host. ... He was often our voice, our refuge and in many ways, our political dad," he said. “And it's weird, because dad has left. And now it feels like the family has a new stepdad. And he's black."

Noah’s smooth delivery behind the desk made him quite easy to watch. Though he doesn’t have the same authority that Stewart had, he does possess an excitable, almost Muppet-like quality that makes him endearing to fans. 

He shifted smoothly between genuine and snarky delivery, even during a few jokes that landed groans from the audience. One joke described an imagined conversation between meth and crack that saw the latter pulling out a Whitney Houston trump card. 

These lines felt different than anything Stewart would dare say, but not in a bad way. After all, this is Noah’s show now. So seeing the writers formulate jokes that were more in his wheelhouse and seeing him not only make his audience laugh, but press their buttons, was a fascinating glimpse into what his show can become.

Kevin Hart was Noah’s first celebrity guest, who wound up giving him some pointers about how to play to a larger audience. Prior to their interview, Hart presented Noah with eckties, which Noah was endearingly overwhelmed by, but thankful.

During their chat, Hart stressed to Noah the importance of making the show “as intimate as possible” and the two continued to talk. Though Hart’s appearance served to calm Noah down and ease him into his new role, it seemed as if by the end of the episode, Noah had already done just that.

Given many of the writers from the Jon Stewart era stayed on board, I look forward to seeing them craft the show to Noah’s style and humor as it goes on. Overall, "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" kind of felt like a new iPhone. Sure, there are some upgrades and parts that are a bit slicker, but it's ultimately the same as the old one.  

Related Links:

Jon Stewart is leaving 'The Daily Show,' here are his three best moments

Larry Wilmore brings much-needed voice to late-night TV


Reach the reporter at seweinst@asu.edu or on Twitter @S_Weinstein95 

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