NEW YORK – No pressure: Little-known South African comic Trevor Noah takes over for Jon Stewart as host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” on Monday.
Stewart turned the show into television’s first stop for a lampoon of politics and the media during his 16 years as host. Tiring of the daily grind, he decided earlier this year to move on and did his final show in August.
Noah, 31, earned Stewart’s blessing as a successor. He inherited much of his predecessor’s backstage team and some of the show’s correspondents, a sign Comedy Central wants to keep the bones of “The Daily Show” intact as regular viewers get to know a new voice.
Noah has built a worldwide following and briefly contributed to Stewart’s show, but he understands his daunting task.
“I’m having nightmares,” Noah told The Associated Press recently. “It’s terrifying, it really is. But it’s also extremely exciting. I’m trying to enjoy every moment of it.”
Comedian Kevin Hart is Noah’s guest for his first show.
The debut continues a period of transition in the hotly competitive late-night television arena. Stewart’s former compatriot, Stephen Colbert, has moved to CBS to replace David Letterman. Jimmy Fallon, only a year and half into the job at NBC’s “Tonight” show, generally leads in the ratings. James Corden, Seth Meyers and Larry Wilmore also are new at their programs.
Late-night TV has also become a favoured spot on the presidential campaign trail. Noah is diving right in, hosting GOP hopeful Chris Christie on Tuesday.
Next up are the women: Samantha Bee, former correspondent on “The Daily Show,” begins her own “Full Frontal” on TBS in January and Chelsea Handler starts on Netflix sometime next year.