(Via Breanna Bell of Variety.com)
Trevor Noah is nearing his last laugh on The Daily Show.
The comedian, who came out of near anonymity to take over the program from Jon Stewart in 2015, plans to exit the flagship Comedy Central series after a seven-year tenure that saw him transform it for a new generation of viewers who are more at home on social media than they are cable outlets and broadcast networks.
Noah revealed his plans to an audience at Thursday evening’s taping of the program in New York, saying that “I’ve loved hosting this show. It’s been one of my greatest challenges. It’s been one of my greatest joys. I’ve loved trying to figure out how to make people laugh even when the stories are particularly shitty on the worst days.”
It was not immediately clear when his actual exit would take place, or whether the Paramount Global cable network had begun to consider a successor. Jill Fritzo, a representative for Noah, could not be reached for immediate comment.
“We are grateful to Trevor for our amazing partnership over the past seven years. With no timetable for his departure, we’re working together on next steps,” the network said in a statement. “As we look ahead, we’re excited for the next chapter in the 25+ year history of ‘The Daily Show’ as it continues to redefine culture through sharp and hilarious social commentary, helping audiences make sense of the world around them.”
Noah has worked intensely to make the program his own, holding court with various media influencers after hours, and devising new “Daily” formats. His banter with the audience during commercial breaks became fodder for social-media clips. During the coronavirus pandemic, Noah hosted the show from his apartment, tilting toward more serious topics and interviews in the belief his audience — younger than those who watch his competitors on broadcast networks — were interested in more serious discussion. The show went on hiatus in the summer of 2021 in order to return to a more normal mode of production.
But the comedian took over the program under intense scrutiny. Stewart, who inherited “Daily Show” from Craig Kilborn in 1999, turned it into an institution with his probes of how the news media presented stories. When Noah took the seat, he faced a tough transition. “I will say the first two years were horrible — and it was horrible because I had taken over one of America’s most beloved institutions,” he told Variety in 2020. “And even though Jon Stewart had passed over the reins to me, it was essentially a year of people telling me I shouldn’t be doing the job and I was unworthy of being in that seat. And I continued to believe that. You step into this new role and you’re doing a new job and most of the first year was just trying to stay afloat, just trying not to get canceled and trying to find my footing. And the analogy I use is trying to learn how to fly a plane while the plane is flying. That’s what it felt like every single day.”
Noah’s exit means that late-night will be less diverse, particularly after the exits of Bee and Singh and the end of the “Desus & Mero” program on Showtime. That dynamic could play a role in how executives at Comedy Central choose to proceed.