Trevor Noah made his debut as the new host of ‘The Late Show’ taking the helm from Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. To say the very least, the premiere episode was much anticipated and now the television critics are weighing in. Check out a roundup of reviews and see video highlights.
As always, there’s much anticipation when a new host takes over a show after the predecessor has left such an iconic mark. Jon Stewart had been host of the daily show for 16 years; since 1999 when the preoccupation was the looming Y2K bug. Yes, that was a long time ago! So long that it’s easy to forget that he was not the first host. That was Craig Kilborn. Jon Stewart got the sendoff with much fanfare and his own social media hashtag; #JonVoyage.
Now 31-year-old South African Trevor Noah is at the helm. He started out with a heartfelt monologue in which he acknowledged Stewart’s legacy using the metaphor of a family, with Stewart as the father of that family. This led him to quip, “Dad left and now it feels like the family has a new stepdad, and he’s black.”
He also spoke of his own journey, saying, ““Growing up in the dusty streets of South Africa, I never dreamed I would have an indoor toilet and a job as host of The Daily Show. And now I have both—and I’m quite comfortable with one of them.”
As social media has weighed in, so too have the television critics. Here’s a roundup of what they have to say of the new host and the premiere episode.
“…. The truth is that The Daily Show With Trevor Noah was, in most ways, just The Daily Show, confirming the futility of trying to review any late-night program, especially one replacing an unimpeachable juggernaut. The best and most honest thing you can say about Monday’s premiere is, “He didn’t break it.” He also didn’t try to. …..” — The Hollywood Reporter
“…Assured, handsome and crisp-spoken, Mr. Noah was a smoother presenter than Mr. Stewart, who made an art form of sputtering and exasperated facepalming. But if Mr. Noah’s debut was largely successful, it was also because of the operating system — the show’s writing — running under the surface. That algorithm, capable of processing a day’s media inputs into a satirically argued package, is what makes “The Daily Show” “The Daily Show.” This first outing was about proving that he could run the software without crashing…..”– New York Times
“….Earnest indeed might be the best descriptive for a first night that was mostly inoffensive but also mostly flat. That’s certainly to be expected. No amount of pre-debut prep could substitute for the real thing, and both the South Africa-born comedian and his audiences In-House and Out There deserve some time to get to know each other…” — Deadline Hollywood
“…Despite anticipation (and perhaps some dread) that Trevor Noah would bring a new spin to “The Daily Show,” there was clearly scant interest in reinventing the wheel – or rather, changing the orbit of the globe. That said, Noah’s debut found him looking more at ease and in command than he ever did as a correspondent, exhibiting a self-effacing streak about replacing Jon Stewart and a facility for selling jokes at the desk. While Stewart left big shoes to fill, Noah’s first at bat suggests the format remains durable enough to let him find his footing…..” — Variety
“….Early promises that the show would become, under Noah, something different were only partially fulfilled. It was as though Noah knew that there’d be a wave of first-night reviews that would compare him negatively to Stewart, and sought to forestall the issue by referencing Stewart as frequently as possible…..” — Time
“….The man replacing Jon Stewart as host of Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show’ opted for curses and dick jokes over keen observational humor in his first outing. …..” — Daily Beast
“….Noah had an average first night, neither killing it nor completely embarrassing himself. It will take him months to really find his rhythm and must distinguish himself with how he tackles certain key events – something Stewart did with career- and zeitgeist-defining gusto. Those are big shoes to fill, and it’s almost like Noah is too close to Stewart’s style. …” — The Guardian
It’s clear that critics are divided, to say the very least. And after all it was but the first night and we have a long political season ahead of us. We’ll soon see how the new host meets the challenge. Watch video highlights of the final episode of ‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’ below!