Daily Show host-designate Trevor Noah talks comedy in South Africa, life after Jon Stewart

Meet Trevor Noah
(Image credit: The Daily Show)

It may seem like Trevor Noah fell out of nowhere to take over the very high-profile Daily Show anchor desk, but he's been in comedy for nine years, Noah said in a Comedy Central podcast. Nine years ago, though, there were only about 40 comedians in Noah's native South Africa, and they were widely ignored. "Comedy really only became a thing once we got democracy," he said. "The two sort of go hand-in-hand." There were jesters during the Apartheid era, he added, but "if they were caught, they would go to jail."

The rollout of Noah, whose father is white and Swiss and mother a black South African, as Jon Stewart's replacement hasn't been hiccup-free. People poring through his Twitter feed found tasteless jokes about Jews and women, and Grantland's Bill Simmons said he'd heard that Noah was Comedy Central's fourth choice, after Amy Poehler, Louis C.K., and Amy Schumer — an idea partly undermined by Grantland's Andy Greenwald.

As for the challenge of taking over an iconic American TV show, Noah told The Associated Press on Monday that he has lived in the U.S. "and I've learned to love the place. I'll bring something different because I am different." He didn't say what he'll change about the show, just that he'll be the "host and face" of The Daily Show's "fantastic team of writers and producers working to make that show magic.... I feel really confident. All I needed in my life was Jon's blessing." You can listen to Noah's half-hour-long interview, or watch a small excerpt below. —Peter Weber

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.