Trevor Noah's First Night On The Daily Show Underwhelmed — But He Has Promise

Photo: Variety /REX USA.
Jon Stewart left behind huge shoes to fill when he departed The Daily Show earlier this year. And no one understands this better than Trevor Noah, the controversial young comic who's taking over the reins of the beloved nightly news series.

That may be, in fact, why Noah (and his writing team) felt the need to address the void left behind by the former host throughout last night's premiere, which was characterized by heavy nods to the gap between old and new. It seemed like Noah was pointing out the differences between Stewart and himself before anyone could beat him to the punch.

He spent much of the premiere episode seemingly justifying his presence behind the news desk — and, frankly, he did a damn good job. He touched on why there isn't a woman at the helm (answer: because Amy Schumer turned it down) and why an American isn't hosting. Comedy Central tried, he explained, but no one wanted the gig. "And so once more, a job Americans rejected is now being done by an immigrant." Touché.

As far as first episodes go, Noah didn't hit it out of the park, but he made it to the outfield. His segment on the pope was funny (though less than illuminating). The bit about John Boehner's resignation as speaker of the House was hilarious and well-rounded as a piece of actual news coverage, as was the segment on NASA's discovery of moisture on Mars, and the interview with comedic actor Kevin Hart. We did wonder, though: For the kick-off show, might they have gone with a slightly more impactful guest? Hart may be a great interview, but it wasn't totally clear why he was the pick for a slot that should have made a bigger splash.

Monday night, Noah's performance was on the restrained side. The correspondents were fully in their element, but their leader is still testing the boundaries and building his confidence. The makings are there. It's just going to take time.

"Thank you for joining us as we continue the war on bullshit," Noah said before diving into the news of the day. And with that: We're off to the start of a new era. See the first episode in full at Comedy Central online.
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