The Seven Year Itch (

Millennials like his pop references: Trevor Noah

Millennials like his pop references: Trevor Noah

Millennials like his pop references: Trevor Noah

Photo: Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP/dpa

Suddenly he becomes unusually serious. He would have felt like Charlie at the chocolate factory, who only came for a visit and who was then given the key, said Trevor Noah, host of the “Daily Show” on the US broadcaster Comedy Central, on his show last Thursday . Exactly seven years to the week earlier, he had been surprisingly presented as the successor to Jon Stewart, who hosted the “Daily Show” from 1999 to 2015. Noah had only started as a correspondent for Stewart at the end of 2014 and was still completely unknown to a wider audience. The risk paid off: Noah managed to stay true to the tradition of the satirical news show while still giving it a younger, modern twist. This made him one of the most well-known late-night hosts in the United States.

And while his famous late-night colleagues like Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, John Oliver, James Cordon and Stephen Colbert are all white men from the USA or Great Britain, Noah stood out doubly as a black man and South African. When he was born in Johannesburg in 1984, the apartheid regime was still in force there. He is the son of a Xhosa mother and a German-Swiss immigrant. That was an illegal connection at the time.

Even after the end of apartheid in 1994, Noah, as a »mixed race« child, had problems feeling like he belonged somewhere. In 18 episodes of his highly acclaimed autobiography, which was originally called »Born a Crime« and was published in a German translation under the title »Color Blind« in 2017, he describes what life was like in South Africa.

Noah became an actor and comedian. After hosting a late night show in South Africa, he moved to the US in 2011 to work as a stand-up comedian. But that turned out to be more difficult than expected. At first everything looked fine. He got numerous guest appearances and in 2012 with »Trevor Noah: The Racist« also his own comedy show.

The acquisition of the Daily Show was supposed to be the final breakthrough, the next step up the career ladder, but it was a flop at first. With him as the new presenter, the ratings plummeted: they fell by 37 percent after Jon Stewart’s departure and had not recovered the following year, for Noah’s 100th episode. In the main target group of 18 to 49 year olds, his »Daily Show« was watched by an average of 820,000 people, compared to more than 1.5 million for Stewart.

He has a winning, charming way of commenting on political, sporting and cultural events. It’s less static than its predecessor, as is the set design, has more pop culture references, and is a very good Donald Trump impersonator, making it well-known and loved by millennial audiences in particular. His coverage of Trump’s presidency has been praised in other media outlets, and the pandemic episode Noah taped at his home from March 2020 will also be remembered.

But he never reached the ratings of his predecessor Jon Stewart over the course of seven years. “Variety” points out that the number of viewers of late-night shows is generally declining, which is due to demographic change and the change in viewing habits away from traditional television programming and towards streaming. James Cordon has also announced that he intends to leave his “Late Late Show” on CBS next spring.

Exactly when Trevor Noah leaves has not been revealed. It’s a farewell in installments. As a reason, he let it shine through that the pandemic also played a role in his decision. Having spent two years just in his apartment, Noah says it’s time to do something different: travel, perform live and learn new languages ​​- and he already speaks eight languages. It’s unclear who will take over the show from him. Because viewership decline or not – Comedy Central will not give up its flagship and will continue “The Daily Show”, which has been around since 1996, with another host.


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