Trevor Noah began his tenure as host of The Daily Show last night, and he started out exactly as we expected him to: addressing the fact that he is not Jon Stewart. “Jon was our political dad,” he said, “But now dad’s gone. And now it feels like the family has a new stepdad. And he’s black.” He acknowledged that he wasn’t the first choice for the role, but like many other things, this was a job many Americans didn’t want, so it ended up going to an immigrant. Noah knows he has big shoes to fill, and his interaction with Jordan Klepper, who was supposed to be reporting on John Boehner’s retirement but couldn’t get over another Jon’s retirement, confronted the difficulty of taking over. But any fears were surely laid to rest, when Noah echoed the words of our political dad, with a welcome and “Thank you for joining us as we continue the war on bullsh—.” The war has a new leader, but it will not lose its momentum.
This is the same style of show we’ve grown to love, but there was a pleasantly new perspective. Trevor Noah is not an older white man. As much as we loved Stewart, he was not able to deal with race relations in the same way that Larry Wilmore has done on his Nightly Show this year. It will be nice to see Noah bring a little of that into the Daily Show. He did that nicely with this second segment about water on Mars, saying people have been asking if he will bring an international perspective, he shouted, “Screw that, I’m going interplanetary!” But of course, as good satire often uses one situation or context to talk about another, speaking to his new correspondent, Roy Wood, Jr., at Kennedy Space Center about the discovery of flowing water on Mars, Noah implied that we can now colonize Mars. To which Wood responded, “Me and You? Brother can’t catch a cab, how you think we gonna catch a space ship?”
And with that, a familiar, but different, era for The Daily Show began.