After only three appearances since his first contribution to Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” in December, comedian Trevor Noah, will be taking over upon Jon Stewart’s departure later this year.
Noah responded to the news from Dubai where he is on a comedy tour:
You don’t believe it for the first few hours. You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you’re in a place where you can’t really get alcohol.
Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless commented on the network’s choice.
We talked to women. We talked to men. We found in Trevor the best person for the job. He’s truly a student of the world. You don’t hope to find the next Jon Stewart — there is no next Jon Stewart. So, our goal was to find someone who brings something really exciting and new and different.
Different, indeed. Noah, born in Soweto to a Xhosa mother and a Swiss father, speaks six languages and offers an international perspective on race relations. The 31-year-old joked about racial parallels between South Africa and America during one fo his appearances on the show:
I never thought I’d be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa. It kind of makes me a little nostalgic for the old days, back home.
In a phone interview with The New York Times, Noah shared some of his experience growing up in Soweto, noting that his parents were together illegally during the apartheid era:
I didn’t live a normal life — I grew up in a country that wasn’t normal. My mother had to be very clandestine about who my father was. He couldn’t be on my birth certificate. [I was taught that] speaking freely about anything, as a person of color, was considered treason.
Jon Stewart heavily endorses Noah who performed standup across the United States from 2010 to 2012 and came to his attention in 2013:
I’m thrilled for the show and for Trevor. He’s a tremendous comic and talent that we’ve loved working with. [I] may rejoin as a correspondent just to be a part of it!!!