Recap: Trevor Noah ‘Daily Show’ Premiere

On Monday night, the 31-year-old comic Trevor Noah hosted his first episode of The Daily Show, taking over for the recently retired Jon Stewart. Noah opened the show with something of an acceptance speech, thanking Stewart for his trust in the newbie and saying that the show was something he never might have dreamed of in his childhood “in the dusty streets of South Africa.” The Daily Show with Trevor Noah will air Tuesdays to Fridays on Comedy Central, channel 122 on DStv at 21:00 CAT from Tuesday, 29 September (The Daily Show with Trevor Noah airs in Africa 24 hours after the USA). Here’s how it all went:

11:01 p.m.: “First of all, this is surreal for me,” Noah tells the audience, beaming from behind the desk. “Growing up in the dusty streets of South Africa I never dreamed I would have, well, two things really. An indoor toilet. And a job as host of “The Daily Show.'” Cue very loud laughter from the audience. “And now I have both. And I’m quite comfortable with one of them.”

“I can only assume this is as strange as you as it is for me,” Noah said, calling former host Jon Stewart the country’s voice and “political dad.” “Now it feels like the family has a new stepdad and he’s black,” Noah adds. “Which is not ideal.”

11:02 p.m.: Why isn’t a woman hosting the show? Noah explained that the women (aka Amy Schumer and Amy Poehler) turned it down…and also has better things to do. Same with all the Americans that Comedy Central asked. In other words, he says, “A job Americans rejected is now being done by an immigrant.”

Then time for a call-back to Stewart’s goodbye speech, as Noah lays out the gist of the show: “Thank you for joining us as we continue the war on bull—-.”

11:03 p.m. He starts things off immediately with something light: Syria! Just kidding, we’re going to talk about the pope. Noah mocks all of the coverage, calling it “Pope-cella,” “Pope by Popewest” and “World Series of Pope-r.” He also takes a shot at Pope emojis, which are not only ridiculous, but could really make sexting very awkward.

11:05 p.m.: Now it’s on to House Speaker John Boehner resigning from Congress. “No!” says Noah, mourning the jokes that could have been. “I just got here. I’ve got fancy suits and a new set and I just learned how to pronounce your name!”

11:07 p.m.: You’ll hear about this AIDS/aides joke tomorrow! “Boehner has final say about which laws come in and which laws don’t. He’s basically the bouncer at Club Congress, which is probably the worst club ever,” Noah said. “I mean, first of all, there’s hardly any women in the club. There’s always a bunch of old guys talking about laying pipe. Oh, and everyone at the club has aides.” Crowd: “Ohhh.” Noah: “Aides, the people that help you!”

11:09 p.m.: Still on Boehner jokes. Echoing some cable news talking heads, Noah notes that the next speaker of the house will have the same problems: “A hair trigger set of tear ducts that go off any time a child picks a flower.”

11:10 p.m.: Jordan Klepper, Senior Congressional Correspondent, pops up to tick off Boehner’s future career prospects: Seat filler at a funeral, Claire Danes impersonator, professional onion slicer.

11:12 p.m.: Klepper and Noah have a back-and-forth where they discuss the departure of John Boehner…which has some striking similarities to the departure of Jon Stewart. “I’m sure they’ll find someone extremely qualified,” Klepper says of Boehner’s replacement. “Whoever takes that job will probably fall flat on their face in front of the entire nation,” Noah adds.

Lots of knowing laughter from the crowd. “Maybe the new guy will surprise us and just crush it, you know? I bet he’ll bring a new global perspective to things!” Klepper says, then starts to have a faux-meltdown and breathes into a paper bag as he frets about the prospect of a new guy: “I just bought a condo!”

11:16 p.m.: Back from commercial break. Noah acknowledges that everyone keeps asking if he’s going to bring more of an international perspective to the show, but no — he’s going to bring an inter-planetary perspective.

He shows a clip of Jake Tapper talking about scientists finding free-flowing water on Mars. “Great news for NASA, depressing news for California. Don’t worry, California,” Noah says. “They’ll find water on you too, someday.”

11: 17 p.m.: Roy Wood Jr., Senior Mars Correspondent, is reporting from NASA, but does not care about this announcement. “Leave Mars alone!” he says. “The universe is like an apartment complex okay? And NASA is just going around knocking on random doors letting themselves in. What, because the faucet works?”

Noah notes that this means people could live on Mars someday. “A brother can’t catch a cab — you think we can a spaceship?!” Wood asks incredulously. “Black people ain’t going to Mars! That includes you, Trevor!”

11:19 p.m.: Wood is on a roll: “You’ve only had ‘The Daily Show’ for one commercial break,” he continues. “These white folks ain’t decided if they like you yet.” He lists the black people who are going to Mars: Beyonce, Oprah and Michael Strahan. Why Strahan? “White people love anything Kelly Ripa likes.”

11:24 p.m.: Time for the first guest: Kevin Hart, who had his Comedy Central special air directly before this premiere and also brings Noah a gift. It’s ties. Noah is noticeably unimpressed. The two laugh.

11:25 p.m.: Noah says he’s a big fan of “Real Husbands of Hollywood” and asks Hart if he’s still a mitch — to translate, that’s “a man who’s a b—-.” He adds that Hart is a comedic and action star now thanks to movies like “Ride Along.” “I think comedy is something that opened up a lot of doors,” Hart said, since he’s thrilled that he gets to do all genres.

11:26 p.m.: A short joke! Right on schedule. “Height is a perception,” Hart declares. Hart, who headlined Philadelphia Eagles stadium for a comedy show, also gives Noah advice about performing stand-up.

11:28 p.m.: Noah goes on about how Hart is amazing, listing more of his accomplishments, noting he’ll be going on a worldwide tour soon including to Noah’s native country of South Africa. “I appreciate what you stand for and I appreciate what you’re doing out there,” he says, bringing up all of those 5K races that Hart has been hosting. Turns out Hart is really into working out.

11:33 p.m.: Moment of Zen lives! Noah closes the show with a Stewart tradition. For the inaugural MOZ, it’s Nancy Pelosi stumbling over a question about whether she’ll miss John Boehner.

11:35 p.m.: Bonus from Larry Wilmore on “The Nightly Show,” which starts directly after Noah’s debut: “New ‘Daily Show’ viewers, don’t be confused. I’m a different light-skinned brother late-night host,” he says. “That’s right — it’s the first time late-night has gone black-to-black.”

Sources: The Washington Post and Time Magazine

Mungwadzi Godwin

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