I was going to go with the word “energetic” to describe The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, but then figured that it would be a much better term for someone like the vociferous satirist John Oliver, instead. Although there is an energetic, yet easygoing vibe about the new host Noah, I think a better word is simply “fresh”, which encompasses a range of qualities such as his newness, his inexperience, his pleasant tone, accent, and youthful face.
Willa Paskin, a writer for slate.com Browbeat blog shares her views on Noah in his first few episodes: “Whatever else Noah’s first episode as host of The Daily Show did, it demonstrated why Comedy Central hired him: the guy could not be more comfortable on television. His first night in a very high-pressure situation, Noah seemed entirely at ease, starting with a little earnestness, segueing into material that he capably handled even though it still felt built to Stewart specs, and finishing with an entirely toothless interview with Kevin Hart.”
Although The Daily Show is fundamentally the same with Trevor Noah continuing the show’s “War on Bulls**t”, there is a certain tone he gives different from his predecessor Jon Stewart, even with most of the old creative team at the helm. There has always been an edge to Jon Stewart, but his fiery, progressive rage developed over the years. In knowing this, it is possible that Noah can develop and become more of a challenger to our government and new watchdog for the people. Noah’s temperament is not at all like Stewart’s, nor is it close to that of John Oliver’s, but he still managed to make me laugh in the few segments I have seen. He is definitely amicable, yet does not have the “in your face” mic-drop deliverance of punchlines like the aforementioned hosts, but I doubt anyone expects, or even wants Noah to be a replica of Jon Stewart. He has his own persona and given time we may see some development in his role.
An article on http://www.indiewire.com by Liz Shannon Miller discusses Noah’s performance so far, and the possibility of the comedian taking the show to uncharted territory. In the article, President of Content Development and Original Programming, Kent Alterman says, “I think if any show launches in its fully matured form, that’s not necessarily a good sign because it won’t necessarily keep evolving, and I think the best shows do evolve.”
More in regards to the word “fresh”, there are only 10 episodes under Trevor Noah’s belt – an incredibly small number in the world of television – but he has shared some of his knowledge and experiences of life in South Africa, and can offer different viewpoints when delivering the news. He has already incorporated his country in a few jokes, like Donald Trump being America’s African President, in which he compares Trump’s arrogance to the Presidents of various African countries. Unfortunately, it turns out they are very similar, hence the joke “America’s African President.” Another example of implementing his culture into the show are the jokes about his “confusion” on American customs. In one episode, he asked “Why do you let the baby lions sh*t in a sandbox in the bathroom?” which was in reference to Americans keeping litter boxes for cats.
My main question, or concern would have more to do with Trevor Noah’s depth of knowledge on American politics and social issues. I would also like to know what is it that makes him tick. What sort of issues will arise that could send Noah into somewhat of a tirade against the decisions and actions of the United States government? He might need to display a bit of fire and toughness when it comes to tackling some of the countries biggest issues. Satire’s Brew explains how satirists such as Stewart and Oliver established trust with their audience, and a couple of ways is to have something to say without sugar-coating, and taking a firm stance on certain issues. I have yet to see this with Noah, although in the early stages it is quite understandable. But in order to maintain a significant facet of what The Daily Show is, he will need to show some passion about the concerns of the people every now and then. My premonition is that Trevor Noah will bring more to the table in the near future (he is certainly capable), which will power the show long-term. But right now, he is only in the beginnings of his career and doing well considering.