Trevor Noah speaks during the “The Daily Show” panel at TCA. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Trevor Noah makes his highly-anticipated debut on “The Daily Show” Monday night — but because everyone always likes to think about what could have been, there’s been some attention on the other names on Comedy Central’s list before Noah.

The New York Times asked if it bothered him that he wasn’t the first choice, or if it made him feel like a “consolation prize.” Noah said it wasn’t a big deal, comparing it to how Will Smith was originally supposed to be in “The Matrix.” After you see it with Keanu Reeves, you can’t picture anyone else in the role, he said.

Still, let’s take a “Sliding Doors” look at the three stars who said no before Noah had a chance to say yes.

[Will Trevor Noah’s millennial status set ‘The Daily Show’ apart?]


Amy Schumer (Rebecca Cabage/Invision/AP)

Potential host: Amy Schumer
Why she would have worked: Not only is she already on the network, but she’s one of the buzziest stars of the moment, thanks to her own show and “Trainwreck.”
Reason she said no: Schumer was tempted — but the option looked too safe, and as a risk-taker, she didn’t want that. “I thought, ‘Well, I could give everyone I love a job and we could all be together for five years,'” she told The Daily Beast, adding that she was flattered the network was even interested. “But picturing being in a building and knowing what I was going to do for five years—I love not knowing. And I’ve never done anything safe or to make money for that reason. So, you know, I said, ‘I can’t start now.’”

Added bonus: Jon Stewart also told her she made the right call because she was clearly meant to be a movie star. “I feel like your comedy is informed, it comes from a place of real intentions, and a show like this would have been so good for you,” he said when she was one of the final guests. “But I hadn’t seen your movie at that point… you’re like an actress-star.”


Chris Rock (Philip V. Caruso/HBO)

Potential host: Chris Rock
Why he would have worked: The actor/comedian has said he stopped touring college campuses because kids these days are too easily offended. He would not have to worry about that on “The Daily Show.”
Reason he said no: According to the Times magazine, Rock was interested…but only through next year’s election. Logistically, that would have been quite difficult.


Amy Poehler (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Potential host: Amy Poehler
Why she would have worked: Fresh off “Parks and Recreation,” Poehler doesn’t have a TV day job anymore, meaning plenty of fans would welcome her return to the screen. Plus, she spent years skewering all sorts of politics on “Saturday Night Live’s” Weekend Update desk, not to mention she just spent seven years playing a bureaucrat/politician on TV. That’s quite a perspective!
Reason she said no: Simply put, she had zero interest, as she was “the quickest no in history.” Though a source told the Times that the network didn’t really think she would say yes — that appears to be their dream candidate.

Read more:

Jon Stewart tells Amy Schumer she made the right call turning down ‘The Daily Show’

‘Daily Show’ host Trevor Noah faces a room full of TV critics — many whom are sticklers for truth-in-comedy

Trevor Noah talks with Stephen Colbert, mocks Republican debate: ‘It was painful’