Beverly Hills, Calif. — Trevor Noah said he will offer a new voice and different perspective, but The Daily Show won’t change too much when he takes over as host Sept. 28.
“We’re still dealing with the same issues, they’re not really changing in America and the world,” Noah said Wednesday during a Q&A session at the TCA summer press tour at the Beverly Hilton. “Really I’m just (offering) a different angle. The show still has its voice, just I’m at the helm.”
The set will be changed a bit, but “I still want the show to be recognized as The Daily Show,” Noah added. “It’s not about me, it’s about the show first.”
He will still skewer Fox News and CNN like Jon Stewart has done for the last 16 years. The Daily Show emerged out of the burgeoning 24-hour news cycle in the mid-to-late 90s. Now, with the ubiquity of the Internet and social media, there is much more news and media to critique than just cable news.
“The biggest challenge, and it’s going to be an exciting one, is how to bring all that together from a bigger lense than looking at just one source, which was historically Fox News,” Noah said.
The biggest difference, however, will obviously be the host himself, as Noah brings a unique set of talents and an outsider’s perspective as a biracial 31-year-old South African who speaks seven languages and has only lived in the U.S. for a few years. He grew up in a home with domestic abuse in a violent country. Having seen his mother come out of that relationship and the progress of the country, “I think I’ve been tainted by hope and optimism,” Noah said.
“The way you approach a story depends on your point of view. I come from a different place (than Stewart),” Noah added. “The key is always to find the most honest way of assembling a joke.”
Noah praised The Daily Show’s diverse writing staff, and the show’s senior creative producing team will remain intact when Noah takes over. He also commended Stewart. “The biggest pressure for me is living up to the expectations that Jon has of me,” Noah said.
He also followed Stewart’s lead in calling The Daily Show a comedy show, not considering the host to be a newsman. “It’s our comedic view on the news, not news with a comedic view,” Noah said. Still, Noah recognized the role Stewart played in the country and across the media landscape.
“I hope in time to have the same impact,” he said, “but in a different way.”
Other highlights from the panel included:
— Noah addressed the controversy over some tweets he sent years ago. He said that while he does not intend to be offensive, he can’t control what people find offensive. “When you know a person, you know the context of a joke,” Noah said. "Getting to know the audience and the audience getting to know me" is one of the things he is most looking forward to. “Luckily Comedy Central hasn’t limited me to 140 characters on the show,” he said. Noah also cracked a few jokes about Twitter, saying the social media platform “has become a largely negative place where people give bad reviews of TV shows.”