When Jon Stewart leaves “The Daily Show” anchor desk later this year, his replacement will be Trevor Noah, a 31-year-old South African comedian with a short but memorable list of appearances as a contributor to the show.
Comedy Central announced its pick to replace Stewart on Monday morning. An exact date has not yet been set for Noah’s takeover of the show.
“No-one can replace Jon Stewart. But together with the amazing team at The Daily Show, we will continue to make this the best damn news show,” Noah tweeted about his new job.
The comedian was in Dubai when he found out the job was his, he told the New York Times, which first reported the news: “You don’t believe it for the first few hours,” he said, adding, “You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you’re in a place where you can’t really get alcohol.”
Noah also retweeted Chris Rock’s reaction to it:
Stewart was “thrilled for the show and for Trevor,” the comedian said in a statement, adding that Noah is a “tremendous comic and talent that we’ve loved working with.” Stewart joked, “In fact, I may rejoin as a correspondent just to be a part of it!!!”
Michele Ganeless, the president of Comedy Central, said in a statement that the channel was looking for a “fresh voice who can speak to our audience with a keen take on the events of the day.” She added, “we found that in Trevor.” Ganeless praised Noah’s “huge international following” and said that she believes he is “poised to explode here in America.”
Ganeless also spoke to the Times about the search: “You don’t hope to find the next Jon Stewart – there is no next Jon Stewart. So our goal was to find someone who brings something really exciting and new and different.”
Noah has made three appearances on “The Daily Show” as a contributor — he started on the show in early December. Arguably the most memorable was his take on why most Americans didn’t know very much about the Boko Haram massacres in Nigeria:
Noah’s first appearance on the show addressed the Ebola crisis.
Before coming to “The Daily Show,” Noah hosted his own talk show in South Africa, “Tonight with Trevor Noah,” Comedy Central said. His first U.S. television appearance was in 2012, on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” He was the first South African comedian to appear on that show and on its rival, the “Late Show with David Letterman.” Although Noah is an emerging talent in the United States, he has an established résumé as a performer in South Africa and in the United Kingdom.
Despite his short tenure at “The Daily Show,” Noah’s name circulated as a “short list” candidate to replace Stewart before the announcement.
Stewart announced in February that he was going to step down from “The Daily Show” by the end of the year, after 16 years behind the anchor desk of the late-night news parody show.
[This post has been updated multiple times]