The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Season 1) / *****

imageI’ve said my piece on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart elsewhere; suffice to say, it’s one of my favorite shows of all time, and one that had a massive, massive impact on me. And when Jon Stewart announced that he was leaving, I was pretty heartbroken, to put it mildly. How was I supposed to survive in an increasingly insane time without Stewart to help me find the humor in what I was seeing, to say nothing of the catharsis he so often managed to provide? Yes, I liked what little I’d seen of Trevor Noah on the show so far, and yes, I trusted that Stewart wasn’t going to leave the show in a horrible place…but I just wasn’t sure it would survive without him.

And yet, somehow, The Daily Show feels as though it didn’t miss much of a beat in the transition, staying just as trenchant, relevant, funny, and scathing as it ever was under Stewart, all while letting Trevor Noah find his own voice and style. Noah is undeniably a little more vicious than Stewart was, and his interviewing skills aren’t up to where Stewart eventually ended up (although it’s got to be noted, it took Stewart a long time to become the interviewer that he became). But he’s also incredibly funny, and the show makes the most of his international perspective, allowing him to bring a different way of looking at the issues – see, for instance, his incredible piece in which he compared Donald Trump to African dictators.

Do I love and trust Trevor Noah the way I loved and trusted Jon Stewart? Of course not. But he’s new at this gig, and the fact that he’s carrying on Stewart’s legacy so well, that he’s making the show as funny as it is, that he’s keeping the show’s mission of bringing truth to power, and that he’s doing it all with charisma and charm – all of that makes me feel so much better about the future of The Daily Show. Add to that a generally strong batch of correspondents (Jordan Klepper and Jessica Williams are always amazing, and Roy Wood Jr. is every bit their equal so far; while Ronnie Chang and Desi Lydic aren’t quite up to the others yet, they’re not bad, and show some good promise), and the show seems like it’s going to be around for a long time to come. And that makes me feel a lot more comfortable about the insanity around me, because at least there’ll be someone there to guide us through it.


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