Review: Trevor Noah Keeps ‘Daily Show’ DNA in Debut

The post-Jon Stewart version of the program was sleeker, fresher and redesigned, but it still does essentially the same thing.

Comments: 188

  1. Gave it ten minutes. Didn't care for him or the show. Don't see any continuity. John Stewart was the change. The viewers were not crying for change. Do not plan to watch anymore.

  2. "...even a new font!" White reporters do not have license to make colored jokes they think are in good taste. No such jokes are funny, and neither are those of the geographical variety. Would you like to here some of THOSE, dear sir?

  3. um. sorry mr isaac. there is no law against who can and not makes jokes.

  4. @ mr isaac -

    you've confused me - I know the FONT tab and the COLOR tab are placed next to each other on most word processing options bars - but they don't have the same function -

  5. Huh? What does mentioning the new font the show is using have to do with 'colored jokes'?

  6. Give the guy a break. Why don't you review the show in a few months after he gets his feet wet.

  7. Seconded. In his maiden effort, Noah did well.

  8. Seriously...I get his nervousness but Trevor needs to s-l-o-w the pace of his delivery....The DS writing team prides itself on nuanced sarcasm...timing is everything...

  9. I thought Noah Trevor was Great. Am over the comparing. He is not supposed to be Jon Stewart.

  10. Thought I Noah Trevor great too was.

  11. Mr. Stewart slammed Fox News and the Republicans because they deserved it.

  12. In the show's graphics the earth now rotates in the correct direction! Neil deGrasse Tyson had pointed out the error in Stewart's graphics

  13. Thanks. I was going to look that one up.

  14. Yes, Noah was talking a little too fast, but given the weight of expectations, it's only natural. Given time, he could find his timing. I just hope that he develops his own style and does not imitate Stewart.

    Right now, can't really tell if he'll succeed eventually, feel there is a slightly higher chance that he might not work out. As someone from outside the US hosting a show that is now so deeply tied to politics, can he deliver a engaging, funny and effective commentary on the upcoming presidential election? I feel that will be his doing or undoing.

  15. I loved Jon Stewart but sometimes the show felt a little too "inside NYC." Jon Oliver's new show is brilliant and is more balanced both in NYC vs. USA and USA vs the world. Jon Stewart was more than a comedian; he was a teacher. Hopefully, Trevor can continue our education by providing a outsider's POV with a global context.

  16. I'm still in mourning over the departure of John Stewart. It's going to be a challenge for me to change my ability to relate - when Mr. Stewart was so close to my own demographic.

    That said, please keep in mind, he spent so much time on Fox and the GOP because they just spent so much time doing things so entirely wrong. Alas, Mr. Stewart has gone, but they persist.

  17. Comedy Central has made a mistake that I believe it will regret in the future. Larry Wilmore should have taken Jon's place on the Nightly Show. He's got the skills. Young Trevor should have been given Larry's time slot.

  18. Larry's already got the Nightly Show, which seems to be struggling as of late.

  19. My mistake - meant to say the Daily Show.

  20. I know the ratings haven't been good for The Nightly Show recently. Think it has to do with Stewart's departure (The Daily Show played a vital role in delivering an audience for Wilmore) and competition from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Still think Larry should have gotten The Daily Show gig.

  21. Great writing.
    Loved this line -
    "And a “Daily Show” hosted from a place of chipper confidence could become very different from Mr. Stewart’s world-weary shiva for humanity’s lost marbles."

    For non-Jewish folk, look up "shiva."

    The show last night and Trevor passed a test with me:
    I laughed out loud just as I always did with Jon.

    Trevor had me at "indoor toilet."

    It will be different but life is different every day.
    It just needs to be intelligently funny and not like juvenile SNL.

    Onward we go!

  22. Agree about SNL - "juvenile" is the perfect word. SNL went from being one of the most iconoclastic shows ever when it started, with so many great former National Lampoon people, to a restaurant in a good location with Lorne Michaels phoning it in every week now and counting the millions. I've always felt that SNL could have done so much more than it has and it could have hired better writers than it has had in the last 20 years, rather than the meandering and pointless sketches it repeats ad infinitum. It seems to now be designed as a not-so-elaborate fraternity drinking distraction.

    And SNL originated fake news, also - thank you Chevy.
    Granted, SNL had to evolve, but with so many great writers producing great stuff on so many other shows these days, I always wonder how someone in the SNL hierarchy is not saying "SNL has not been consistently funny for two decades" and then goes out to change that glaring deficiency. But Lorne calls all of the shots and continues the monotony.

    Thanks for making the comparison to SNL, Paul!

  23. Daily Show was pretty juvenile when it started, too.

  24. I saw the show and I think Trevor Noah will be OK. He may seem a little nervous. But, he'll settle in pretty quick. The Daily Show goes on!

  25. Loved Jon for 16 years but have to say was very impressed with Noah. He was funny and witty. Remember this is a comedy show. The only rule here is, he has got to make us laugh period.

  26. Trevor did fine and it will take a few months for him to grow into his role. Jon Stewart perfected his role over years not minutes. The Daily Show is in good hands and let the new host get fully acclimated into a demanding role.

  27. Thank you, Jim-
    -Trevor is an wonderful, intelligent choice to take over the Daily Show----
    Cablevision does not show the Daily Show-- The autism ad keeps running through the show--It keeps repeating--Also, the same through South Park--
    i had to see the show elsewhere---
    Anyone else have this problem?

  28. Like the first show. Not 'in love' yet, but worthy of a second date.

  29. This guy is not funny. Bad pick.

  30. Fine. Go watch 2 1/2 Men re-runs then. Noah rocked!

  31. Excellent. Loved Jon Stewart, glad to see Trevor following his footsteps. The earth now spins in the correct direction. And "phoniness" should be in quotes, because that's not the word Trevor Noah used, he used the word Jon used in his last show.

  32. I was about to comment on this, NYT own up to your misquotes.

  33. Indeed, he used the word "b.s.".
    Later, I also noticed a middle finger gesture unpixelated. (gasp)

    I thought Trevor did a good job and that the show is in good hands.
    And, I assume, Fox News and the GOP will continue supplying material.

  34. Trevor brought new energy and a dash of edginess. Terrific debut show.

  35. Watchable...but not yet enjoyable...will let you know.

  36. It's not clear why you thought some of the jokes would make Jon Stewart cringe. He was fond of doing (supposedly) black, Italian, and Jewish accents that belonged in the 1930s, not the 21st century. He was obsessed with male genitalia, and his jokes on the subject were the least funny of his material.

    I stopped watching when I realized how formulaic things had gotten. All Stewart had to do was have the staff watch Fox news, wait (not long) for them to say something stupid or offensive, play the clip, and make one of three or four faces. It sounds like the tradition will continue.

    BTW, Stewart's loyal fans commenting here should learn that he is Jon, not John.

  37. These reviews are meaningless and shallow. Why is it that TV critics evaluate a show's premiere and then (almost) never follow up? Give shows like this time to breathe then write a review. This has all perspective of a teenager seeing another teenager and deciding they should be married for the rest of their lives. Remember the mantra - no perspective, no piece.

  38. Glad article pointed out that Stewart focused criticism last few years on GOP and Foxnews. I'm far from a Republican but nice to see author honestly admitting this is a show that essential preaches to the choir unlike say an Anderson Cooper who has the courage to take on both sides of the political spectrum. Those of us who are capable of enjoying bi-partisan critiques hope Noah gears show to more than just progressives.

  39. The very major point you are missing, Garth, is that Fox was and is a monolithic lying machine - a fact that has been demonstrated over and over and over again - and Jon Stewart was one of the few people who confronted them publically about their dishonesty. As an Independent, I very much appreciated that.

    MSNBC has a decidedly left wing bias, but I have never caught Rachel Maddow or Chris Hayes or Lawrence O'Donnelly lyingly, while virtually everything that comes out of Sean Hannity's mouth is a lie, as it is with most of Fox's hosts.

  40. I'm an independent voter as well and watch, at one time or another, all news channels. You're clearly drinking the Left's Kool-Aid when it comes to Fox. I don't find Sean Hannity too likable either, but Fox recently has been doing a much better job offering differing opinions and objective "fact checks," even on Hannity's hour. Fox has never stooped so low as to manipulate/edit 911 calls to fit into any agenda as MSNBC has, prompting numerous people to be fired. Your view is subjective and doesn't hold water.

  41. You must be watching another version of MSNBC if you think they tell you the truth all the time.

  42. Let's see how "the new guy" does with serious guests. Kevin Hart is a talent and I don't begrudge him his guest spot, but Jon Stewart's main strength was and is his enormous intellect and ability to talk to serious people about important things yet still let the humor in. This is what the show must continue to do. By the way, I loved Roy Wood, Jr. and now must find out who Roy Wood, Sr. was.

  43. It's funny you say that Chris b/c I thought for all those years that the most painful part of Stewart's gig was when he tried to do a serious interview. If it was someone he liked, he'd fawn all over them, not able to get a sentence out; if it was someone he didn't like, he'd lecture and preach, also not in complete sentences. His brilliance came out in every other way and I was a huge fan, but I always thought he should have stayed far, far away from interviewing anyone "serious". Different perspectives to be sure, but in my mind Trevor can only improve the interview platform with serious guests.

  44. Kevin Hart is to comedy as salmonella is to peanuts. Like Joe Piscopo and Carrot Top before him, he's spending time on his pecs that he should be spending on his material.

  45. On a show like this, is it really fair to review after one outing? Not sure, he needs time to get his voice. Yet on Broadway....
    Also, how many readers here online, as opposed to some of us dead tree readers, get the shiva reference? Just asking.
    And can Noah stop smiling so much? He does need to find the right persona for the job. If it's going to be one where he smiles all the time and laughs at many of his own jokes, I might be out of there. I will give him some time.
    Colbert, by the way, is in the same pickle. Not compelling, much to my dismay.

  46. I'm not Jewish but I got the shiva reference. Unfortunately I learned about sitting shiva after 9/11, when a group of Jewish volunteers provided that sacred service near Ground Zero.

  47. Oh yeah, god forbid that the host of a comedy show SMILE! He was perfectly happy and charming. Lighten your load.

  48. Broadway shows have weeks or even months of previews before opening night and the reviews.

  49. I thought it was excellent. I had high hopes and he exceeded them easily.

    The pacing was excellent as was the timing with the Klepper bit. If he talks too fast, you're too old.

    Kevin Hart is manic, maybe not the best first guest choice since it was hard to lead the interview.

  50. Noah is great. I liked it. And I'm sure he's going to get even better and better..

  51. I think Noah did a great job with a really tough hand. Not only was Stewart an impossible act to follow - we all loved him like a member of the family - Noah acknowledged in a series of jokes that he wasn't among the network's first choices for the job. Oy!

    Thus, as John and I would say, "Mazel tov!" A success beyond expectations. This show is still new and will be finding its way for a while, but I think we should embrace it as we get to know it. Give it a chance - it's just a baby. Just relax and call the Mohel.

  52. I laughed out loud several times within the first two or three minutes. Mr. Noah is very smart, and he's funny. Like every new host of a late night show, Noah will need some time to find the right pacing and establish his own voice, but I thought the first show was better than expected. The writing staff is clearly still top-notch, and Noah seems capable of delivering the goods.

  53. Seems I remember Mr. Stewart unafraid to go after liberal issues (criticizing President Obama on numerous occasions) There was just so much more idiocy on the right.

  54. Trevor Noah will suffer the same situation as Stephen Colbert. Both are following in the footsteps of genius who had a very loyal following. Both Jon Stewart and David Letterman had been on the air so long that their early work has faded from our memories to the point we don't recall them struggling to find their voice. IMO there are some aspects of the old Stephen that Mr. Colbert needs to shed and Mr Noah needs to be more himself than a clone of Mr Stewart.

  55. Does this show really have so many viewers that it deserves the amount of attention from the press that it gets?

  56. Does Fox News? Fox News gets only about 4% of the audience.

  57. Yes.

  58. Trevor Noah earned my respect with his earlier appearances on the Daily Show and then viewing his amazing comedy concert film. He has so many tricks and skills and is unendingly funny. His debut last night was so very poised compared to Colbert's painful and frenetic first couple weeks on CBS. The show with Noah will work for many years whereas it is not at all clear that the soufflé that Colbert is trying to pull off nightly now on CBS can ever work at all: unctuous, too preening, and generally over-baked. I thought Colbert could do no wrong but I was wrong I guess. Gilmore's show surprizingly has the opposite problem: it seems perpetually under-baked and has format problems that seem to leave him hamstrung and flat.

  59. Laugh out loud funny, Noah did a great job hosting last night. Far better than the experienced host Stephen Colbert did on his premiere on Late Night. And the only reason the interview didn't work is that Kevin Hart is a less than compelling guest. I'm looking forward to Tuesday's show--and the years to come.

  60. Granted, first show, but honestly? Meh...

    The Whitney Houston/crack/meth bit was not only unnecessary, but tasteless. And the congress club/AIDS/aides piece was pretty callous, as well. The pope and his 'under-compensating' bit had me cringe.

    It seemed a bit 'shock-jock' to me. Personally, I don't think Jon would have gone there. Maybe Noah's trying to show off in front of company. I hope he settles down.

  61. You sound like you are perhaps my parents' age who watched Jon Stewart for political commentary but recoil at anything remotely cutting edge. Clearly a sign that Jon Stewart had grown too conventional. Your comment, "showing off for company" proves that (OK kids, now leave the living room because the adults have to talk). No more.

  62. Making fun of the Pope and dead people is not funny and it has nothing to do with age. What a stupid remark. If juvenile humor is your thign then Noah is yoru guy. Jon Steward was funny AND smart. Noah is just not funny nor is he very smart.

  63. a solid debut, and Roy Wood Jr. was hilarious. promises to be good, and a refreshing change from Stewart who, despite being very good, had gotten stale as the article says.

  64. Good luck to Trevor Noah, but how many of these late night talk shows do we need? There's a sameness to each of them.
    It would be a refreshing change to have a woman host.

  65. He was great on the written pieces and delivering pre-baked jokes. They were smart to acknowledge what a big deal it is to try to fill Stewart's shoes, and he did that with self-deprecating charm. But what I will miss most about John is his ability to have deep, challenging discussions with thinkers and politicians of our day – and still be funny! I saw no sign of that last night, but I think Kevin Hart was a misstep as an initial guest. Or maybe a good choice because there was no opportunity for a back and forth. I've been to SA several times and the culture is very different, so I hope Trevor can bridge the gap. Wishing him well!

  66. The Daily Show will lose its place of prominance even if Jon Stewart had stayed on. They very thing that this review is lauding, the stable of DS writers, is what has made this show feel so stale. It will stumble on because CC has no other show to fill that spot but its salad days are long, long past.

  67. Is he also keeping the Daily Show's cell signaling and contact inhibition, too? I sure hope so.

  68. I'm sure I speak for many here: What does your comment mean?

  69. Recently I watched clips from Jon Stewart's first night. He showed little of the polish and confidence he would go on to display. Comparatively, Noah scored very well. Let's give this talented young man a chance to grow into his own, as Stewart did. Last night Noah showed great potential.

  70. Actually, I was underwhelmed. But -- I have LOVED Jon Stewart with every fiber of my being since well before he was famous. So, Trevor Noah has some serious shoes to fill for me. I will absolutely, positively give the guy a chance though. He's clearly smart, informed, funny, personable, and capable. And I wouldn't watch a right-wing hypocrite talk even if one of them put their little tiny compensating gun to my head.

    I'm sure Trevor Noah will end up kicking plenty of butt, or Jon wouldn't have trusted him with the show.

    Jill Duncan
    Denver, CO

  71. My thoughts also, and I was a big fan of Jon Stewart from his early show days also and couldn't be more excited when he took over the show. Looking back at some early episodes though it wasn't always the amazing product it ended up being. We should all give Noah a chance. His first show was watched as closely as any recent episode of anything and he did a decent job. That should give us all some hope.

  72. A review after a full week would have more relevance and value than reviewing the premier show.
    This is a challenge to Mr. Poniewozik: Please write a follow-up review next week.

  73. So far so good. Noah is likeable and has a smooth delivery. (Goes with the new font). My advice to him is to keep the writers.

  74. You left out the most cringe-worthy joke: his comment about how the Pope's Fiat was tiny and the Pope was "UNDERcompensating for something." He then made a comment whose only interpretation was that it was a shame the Pope obviously had a large penis and couldn't use it for its intended purpose! A bridge too far?

  75. Wow it takes smarts to make fun of the Pope. How juvenile and so not funny.

  76. No. Next question.

  77. I never watched Mr. Stewart because I couldn't handle another far left comedian poking fun at America. It sounds like Mr. Noah will perform the same routine. That is fine for the 1 million who watch but won't there ever be any similar comedic jabs at liberal politicians for the rest of us?

  78. From somebody who did watch him.... Jon Stewart wasn't poking fun at America. He was making fun of the far right's narrowly focused distortion of America. There's been plenty of attempts at political comedy by the right. They all had one thing in common. They weren't funny. I'm afraid you'll have to be happy with the comedic styling of Larry the Cable Guy to satisfy your right wing funny bone.

  79. Hello Sad Taxpayer
    You said,
    "but won't there ever be any similar comedic jabs at liberal politicians for the rest of us?"
    Please gird your loins and take a look. Believe me, both the right and the left provide us with plenty of comedic relief with these shows.
    Happy Watching:)

  80. Well, if you look at it in the right vein, Fox News provides plenty of comedic jabs at liberal politicians. Or at least they would be funny if so many people didn't take them seriously.

  81. A few good laughs, mostly from Roy Wood Jr. who's timing was impeccable. He is one funny dude. Mr. Noah, on the other hand, was neither funny, clever nor engaging. Worst of all, he laughs as his own punch lines which weren't that funny to begin with. Just another "John Oliver, Larry Wilmore insider joke - I got a late night gig persona". These guys are amateurs who should be watching Sid Caesar reruns for hints. Noah....nervous laughter, maybe. Time will tell.

  82. That live audience sounded like a loony bin. I've never heard such hysterical laughter. There was some funny stuff, but nothing *that* funny. I hope they calm everyone down in future shows.

  83. When you go to a taping they encourage you to laugh extra-hard. I think since Noah's delivery is quieter than both Stewart and Colbert that it stood out more...even so the jokes were just OK.

  84. The audience is like a lot of the comments found here. Shallow, insincere and....suspiciously staged.

  85. I watched Stephen Cobert's first show and it was not that great, but he seemed to find his footing and now a few weeks in, he is hilarious. No matter how funny Mr. Trevor is, though, I think they should have picked an American host, for a quintessentially American program.

  86. Noah is a mixed race immigrant you don't get more American than that!

  87. I meant someone who grew up here. I'm also an immigrant and for that reason I still miss some stuff that I would have gotten had I grown up here.

  88. Noah is a South African citizen with a penchant for anti-Semitic jokes. That doesn't sound too American to me. Steve Projan, skin color shouldn't be the sole criteria for a good host.

  89. I thought Trevor Noah did fine. He's no Jon Stewart, but I know he can't be. I found the bits more amusing and clever than uproariously funny as I often did with Stewart, but they were smart. Whether I continue to watch depends on what he does with the show.

  90. Johnny Carson came and went, Jay Leno filled in his shoes. Jon Stewart came and went, and Trevor WILL fill in his shoes. Live with him, you hear?Only time will tell. Stop throwing mud at him already!!

  91. Trevor, Trevor, Trevor! I love him. He's just warming up. Nahmeen?!!!

  92. Trevor Noah can sit behind a desk and let the Daily Show staff carry him from behind the scenes, but can he deliver on tough interviews, stand up to conservative heavyweights in person and raise the bar in conversations on tough subjects? All of those hard-won traits were partly what separated Jon Stewart from garden variety talk show hosts. Stewart was formidable and funny. Noah has a long way to go in terms of proving himself along similar lines.

  93. "stand up to conservative heavyweights in person "

    Is he supposed to go easy on liberal heavyweights?

  94. Personally, I would say absolutely not to all those questions, but the truth is Jon was a political animal before the daily show, and Trevor doesn't seem to be, or at least not in the same way. People who expect Trevor to eventually "evolve" into a black version of Jon are going to be disappointed. Jon Stewart is an American citizen who had that "I'm fed up and not gonna take it anymore" passion in going after American sacred cows, but Noah has been in America for 4 years, he has no where near the built up anger and frustration of seeing America destroyed by the constant misinformation spread by the repugs.

    The current Daily Show is a different animal, will always be a different show, and Noah will never be the nightmare of conservatives that Jon was. We all have to accept that and continue watching or...

  95. I agree. Granted, it was his first night, but his interview skills were horrid. Zero insightful questions.

  96. Through much of the show, Noah seemed to be trying to emulate Stewart. Gestures, laughs, and even funny voices were the same. It makes me wonder how much of that was Stewart and how much was the writers.

  97. It wasn't nearly as terrible as I had feared. The bit with Jordan Klepper was actually pretty inspired, but it actually only made me wonder why Klepper wasn't given the host gig.

  98. I agree. Klepper was much more confident and thus funnier than Noah, who I found stiff. It was as if the latter was reading a script.

  99. I think a lot of people are wondering that---me included.

  100. Trevor did not have ants in his pants, or disquieting expressions on his face to express his point. He was cheerful and full of life to boot. Bravo Trevor, and please stay for a long, long while! Thank you.

  101. After this reviewer completely missed how meta and I Will Not Be Moved Coberet's first show was about the business and nation he is in, including that beaming proud sister, this did not surprise me:

    "It was sleeker, fresher and redesigned."

    Gibberish. I worry for the future of the NYT, not because of digitizng, but because increasingly it is as if the NYT screens reporters to secure shallow hanger ons, of some In crowd, an In crowd that Normals want no part of and don't want to kniw about. But at least there was no both sidism, or insider gossip or horse race analysis or fake statistics or legacy or pivot...

    On second thought...

  102. The review is meh. Poniewozik cites Noah wanting to "continue" his fight against phoniness. But the word he used was a lot stronger than "phoniness." In fact, even 46 years ago, when it was repeatedly used in the Chicago 8 trial, correspondent J Anthony Lukas found a much more clever euphemism, "a barnyard epithet." All these years later, and it can't even be used with quotation marks?
    I liked Noah's jokes, particularly the ones designed to poke fun at himself. Those included that the job was offered to others, and that it's just another American job that has to be done by foreigners. Clever, and on point politically.

    Does there have to be a review of the very first night? Theatre critics review opening night, but only after a few weeks of previews.

  103. The writing is predictably sharp and clever. The delivery somewhat bland. The future is unknown. Noah must find his own voice, tenor and tone.

    Where is/ was Jessica Williams?

  104. Trevor did a fine job. Seemed like a younger, fresher, less burned-out Jon Stewart. I'm not worried about his skills; just worried that the world will grind him down the way it ground Jon down. Show's in good hands.

  105. The difference I found was that Stewart made the writers' jokes his own - it sounded like they were coming from him and he was brilliant at making them sound ad-libbed. Noah sounded like he was reading the teleprompter for the Saturday Night Live news bit.

    It wasn't a bad show, but it also wasn't a great one.

    I'm sure he'll get more comfortable over time and it will get better. I still wish they would have grabbed John Oliver before he went to HBO. And I wonder how true Noah's jokes were that the hosting spot had been offered to others who turned it down (and who they were).

  106. Give the guy a chance. He has big shoes to fill and it was only the first show, a warm up so to speak. He isn’t Jon Stewart and we shouldn’t expect him to be, but clearly likable. As long as he shows steady confidence and growth, he will have an audience.

  107. I truly hated to see Jon go, but I think we are in good hands. Let's keep in mind that Stewart had 16 years to hone his shtick. Noah was good the first time out and I expect he will get even better.

  108. He'll probably generates many more viewers outside the US, especially when many jokes are belittling the US. Thus more money for “The Daily Show” - the real/only objective.

  109. I was curious and slightly anxious, but I thought Trevor nailed it last night. I really didn't think Jon would leave the show to anyone who wouldn't.

  110. IMO, I thought Noah crushed it for a first show. Well done. I don't expect it'll be long before he makes the show his own, and then he'll really shine.

  111. I remain. utterly baffled at the choice of Mr. Noah to fill Mr. Stuwart's chair. He came across like a decent standup with some of the best writers in the business. Wow a person with such a rudamentery understanding of, not just the system of American Politics, put the players themselves is beyond me.

    Perhaps he'll hit some sort of stride, I'll check back in a few months. Though possibly, hopefully, Mr. Noah will be gone, and the person who should have gotten the job in the first place will be in the chair, that would be Chris Hardwick.

    So no, not impressed.

  112. How do you know he has a rudimentary understanding of American politics? I do not get that sense.

    And Chris Hardwick has not done anything I am impressed by. Then again, each potential or real hosts will have distractors.

  113. Lets see, an AIDS joke and a joke about the death of Whitney Houston. I am a very liberal guy and generally think anything is fair game--but this is offensive and like something from a 1980s high school. If this is what this guy thinks is funny he is a jerk. Fire him and bring in the totally awesome Jessica Williams.

  114. Before Jon Stewart became the host we all knew and loved and were so sad to see go. It is a love affair we are having with this new host...as he learns to trust himself and us the fans of the show, he will undoubtedly shine...I was so impressed with his HBO show and how he took no prisoners: his unique bi-racial international persepective madden of everyones assumptions no matter where you where in the political spectrum.

    We know Jon Stewart wants Noah to outshine him in that seat. I suspect he will not feel entirely free to do the great films he has in him until Noah is regarded as a success and the daily Show becomes one of our nations most venerated institutions.

  115. I love Jon Stewart. Total fan. I do look forward to seeing Trevor Noah put his personality into the Daily Show. We need what the Daily Show does. Especially during this election season. What I have to chuckle about are the comments from people who profess to be HUGE Jon Stewart fans but spell his name as "John".

  116. Thank you for this fair-minded review. A long-time JS fan, I feel I can enjoy spending a half hour each night with TN.

    One thing new I noticed was that they didn't bleep out mentions of a four-letter word that rhymes with "sit."

    James P, maybe they should hire you as a writer:
    "And a 'Daily Show' hosted from a place of chipper confidence could become very different from Mr. Stewart’s world-weary shiva for humanity’s lost marbles."

  117. Yikes! Maybe it was opening night jitters, but didn't laugh and didn't get the kind of insight I'm used to. Not sure how many more episodes I can sit through if I keep getting neither.

  118. i won't give you the label: but anyway do you what yall usually do; more importantly find an alternative show to watch we'll all be happy.. btw...the brother was funny

  119. What is the label?

  120. Clearly many who commented below are still grieving Jon's departure from The Daily Show. I get it - I miss him too. However, Trevor Noah killed it last night. He was funny. fresh, edgy and engaging. I like that he hasn't thrown out everything Stewart. He's managed a perfect balance of new and a touch of the reassuring old. What would The Daily Show be like without our moment of zen? For what it's worth, I think Noah was far more successful on his first night than Colbert was on his over at CBS.

  121. I agree--and Colbert has been getting better and better. Noah will, too, I believe

  122. Really low grade "humor" without the classic style of wit of video humor since the talkies started in the 1900s. The downward spiral of TV both the main and cable channels continues and more good reasons to turn off the boob tube.

  123. And while you're at it, go yell at those kids to get off your lawn.

  124. I thought Noah got off to a good start, save the poor but forgivable AIDS and Whitney Houston references and the lousy interview. I do wonder how, as a foreigner, he'll manage in a show that has partly subsisted on all sorts of American cultural, historical, political and geographical references.

    The answer is that, if he does succeed, he'll make gradually make the show his own, getting more comfortable and shifting the focus somewhat to take advantage of his strengths and background. I don't recall the start of Stewart's stint at The Daily Show, but I do remember that it took Colbert more than a year to hit his stride with the Colbert Report. So I'm perfectly prepared to give Noah a fair chance to find his focus and voice.

  125. I watched Trevor Noah's shows as a standup comedian, and I'm totally confident that he's the only possible successor of someone like Jon Stewart.

    He has Stewart's intelligence, he's often extremely funny, he's not afraid to use his own vulnerability in his jokes, he's actually merely saying what he TRULY believes, most of the time, and his jokes contain a lot of constructive criticism and relativization.

    On one point he do may be different from Stewart though (apart from his totally different background, of course): he seems to be less cynical than Jon, and imho it's Jon's own cynicism that caused his 'Daily Show burnout'.

    Jon never really understood how politics works, in a democracy, and always saw bad guys and incompetence everywhere. Trevor seems to know that you don't get anything if you don't fight for it, which makes him less resigned, and for that reason more engaging.

    I'm really looking forward to seeing how Trevor Noah will turn this into a new Daily Show.

  126. Same predictable jokes about the same PC-safe targets (Republicans.)

  127. Have you seen or listened to any Republicans lately? As Colbert said, the jokes write themselves.

  128. I thought he did really well and he was refreshing and smart. I and many are in mourning about Jon Stewart's departure from TV but Mr. Noah's debut gave me great hope. He will find his own voice.

  129. Wow, you would have thought that Jon Stewart was the cure for cancer and Trevor Noah was the generic offshore version. Noah will succeed and fail based on his performance. If you're looking for another Jon Stewart, look in the mirror and tell yourself how pathetic you are. Nothing is forever. Change happens. Move on. It's only a TV show. Get a life. What's wrong with your remote? Can't change channels? Off button doesn't work?

  130. The Daily Show with JS had two dimensions: the comedy (JS's love of penis jokes, impressions, and sharp satire) and the voice battling against what it saw as hypocrisy in the media, politics, and the world at large. The beauty of the show was that JS lived and breathed it, allowing him to smartly wrap it all together. The writers who helped him are still there and will continue to guide TN, but the show will go through another evolution. JS might have always had a point of view, but the early Daily Show was more about the comedy than the message, and ultimately evolved to be a "hey, I can't believe these guys are saying this but let's poke fun at it" satire of what was going on in the world. That tongue in cheek approach eventually evolved into anger and frustration, which you could see in Jon's delivery the last few years. Maybe part of why he decided to leave now was that he felt the anger, and while he was still out there poking fun at the hypocrisy, it was coming from anger and frustration rather than puzzled bemusement. The Daily Show with JS had run its course and Jon probably recognized that staying would have meant him just yelling every night about the ridiculousness. TN gives the show a reset; it can go back to that tongue in cheek bemusement, and with a foreigner's confused view. The debut felt like Trevor Noah delivering Jon Stewart's jokes, but in a more light-hearted way. If Trevor can find his own voice and make the material his own, the show will be ok.

  131. v. funny guy; didn't miss Jon at all. Thought Trevor walked into a place full of expectations with tremendous courage. He pulled off what could have been a huge disaster with apparent ease. It will take some time for him to be as seasoned and familiar with the situation as Jon was, possibly never as intimate given his cooler persona; but Jon was also visibly tiring of the demands of this show.. more and more he seemed like someone trapped in a marriage for which he felt affection and obligation but no longer love.

  132. Good review. I think the show will be funny and sleek too. Something different perhaps. Don't think it will capture the Stewart ethos though... Even Jon Oliver wears thin, as you know exactly what he is going to say before he says it.
    Overall, the landscape could have used more funny, weirdo guys like Colbert and Conan and less of this crop of Wall Streety bros like Seth Meyers aiming for the bottom. "That Kim Kardashian is a hoot!"
    Jessica Williams would have been A+ but women always turn it down.

  133. Once upon a time we used to make our own steel, electronics, cars, robotics, and comedians!; Now we must import all those gadgets, oftentimes with lower quality than ours just because the strong dollar imposes upon us current account deficits, and bad comedians!

  134. No. We've always imported our comedians. Usually from Canada.

  135. Trevor Noah is not funny. But he, Comedy Central and his studio audience think he is. Good luck to them all.

  136. The interview is the hardest part and it is clearly his biggest weakness. This is where improv comedians like Colbert excel. Noah is a stand up comedian though. Let's see if he how well he develops.

  137. I loved his Pope joke (The Pope is undercompensating: what a waste!) I hope someone has shown it to His Holiness who will probably get a good chuckle out of it.

  138. He is great. He does not make unnecessary painful facial expression like Jon did. In fact, when Trevor smiles, the whole room comes alive!!Good on you Trevor, congratulations!!!

  139. Trevor Noah definitely seemed more relaxed and assured, compared to his initial awkward appearances on The Daily Show. But he still seems like an actor about halfway through rehearsals for a play: He's memorized all his lines, learned all the blocking, done some thinking about his role--but doesn't own it yet. Doesn't inhabit his character.
    I still had a sense of a comedian delivering jokes, rather than a satirist commenting on events.
    Not totally his fault, though: The writing was pretty toothless, devoid of any interesting, let alone subversive, insight. I'd read in the NYTimes story about Noah's rehearsals that he was intrigued by the Chinese President's visit going totally uncovered with all the Pope-o-mania--but that interesting point didn't get made. Instead, we got penis jokes about the Pope. Seriously?

  140. First, it's only Trevor Noah's first day. Let him get his sea legs. But, with one show, I'm surprised by how many people think "he's so great" etc.

    He is funny. He is comfortable, and that says a lot.

    But the humor was low-brow. The Daily Show used to elegantly walked a line between humor and politics and media criticism. Last night there were mostly pope jokes. And then low brow humor from the guy whose name I forget who isn't as smart as the old correspondents, like Samantha Bee, Larry Wilmore, John Oliver, and such.

    And then a science story, which was never the strong suit of the old show (Jon Stewart as well used to make the joke about the idea that anyone even cared about science).

    And then, as a guest, Kevin Hart? Again, a signal that this isn't about politics or intelligence. It is about whoever has a movie coming out.

    Let's hope it improves.

  141. I love the Daily Show, and I think last night's debut was OK, not great...but you're also clearly retroactively sanctifying the era of Jon Stewart.

    There was a _lot_ of low-brow humor when he was hosting, and that was _fine_. People are already acting like every single one of Stewart's episodes struck some kind of perfect balance between humor and trenchant political insight. He was on for four days a week, over _years_. A lot of his shows were a lot like this one.

  142. Noah is not a talent, but an acceptable replacement. He reminds me of Jeniliee Harrison who replaced Suzanne Sommers on Three's Company. Harrison played the sister of Chrissy. Soon John Stewart will be selling a product on Home Shopping Network involved his groin muscles and ten years from now Noah will be forgotten.

  143. Wow, you can tell all that from one show. As for me, I'm hoping all the best for Noah--and it's Jon Stewart.

  144. Just watched this online. I thought Trevor was awesome. Funny. Fast. Hot. Sexy. Amazing job for a first show. Only the interview at the end of the show fell flat. An awesome debut IMHO.

  145. It was an OK show - it had its moments. Even if I don't compare him to Stewart. I wish Stewart was replaced with John Oliver. Nothing against Noah - he's a fine comedian. But he does not have that cutting, even scathing, humor that both Jon Stewart and John Oliver do (the latter in his current show on HBO). I hope Noah gets better over the next weeks - he seemed a tad nervous. But who wouldn't be filling Stewart's role?

  146. Yes, the writers on this show will provide the needed continuity. along with the existing staff/cast. I'll admit I was bracing myself for disappointment, but I thought the show last night was excellent! Pitch-perfect. I really like Noah's persona, irreverence, and beautiful mega-watt smile, and wish him the best. It's great to have the Daily Show back. I think Noah will make a terrific host!

  147. I was not a regular viewer of the daily show. But I watched the short clip of Trevor Noah on YouTube. I cannot even begin to imagine the pressure on this young man - to follow Jon Stewart. His smile, just extraordinary. I even had to laugh a few times. I am certain he will steer the show in the direction he wants to over the next two years, I just hope the viewers give him the time to become his own man. But I am not certain though given the hypercritical society we have become. In any case you got to respect the man for trying (and hopefully succeeding).

  148. While, in theory, I'm against the idea of having a foreigner provide commentary on American politics (really, aren't there ANY suitable Americans to fill these slots anymore?) the first episode was PRETTY GOOD overall. Noah has a pretty pleasant personality (so it seems) and for a first night he did well. He has huge shoes to fill and the knives are looking to cut him from head to toe. I think he survived well and did an admirable job but only time will tell how he progresses in the long run. Bottom line: Noah WAS ABLE to assuage my strong skepticism to a point and I'm open to giving him a chance - at the end of the day we NEED The Daily Show and The Nightly Show in our lives as the only way to laugh at what is otherwise a DISMALLY DEPRESSING political climate in this land of ours.

  149. The next Piers Morgan. A foreigner playing expert on America.

    What's worse here is his reliance on black jokes that were already stale in the 1990s.

  150. Love Trevor and his act, but something was off. He's much better on the stage delivering his usual stand-up routine. He's got a dry sense of humor which works great on the stage, but the anchor in the chair has to be livelier and more emotive. But we'll see, he's a great talent for sure.

  151. Thought he was fine. Good, in fact. Certainly, a more entertaining start than the frenetic Steven Colbert. Better than the sum of Colbert's first week.

  152. Yes, but Colbert also had moments of sheer brilliance and the show is getting better and better.

  153. I'm giving both of these new shows, Colbert and Noah, more time to develop, as Larry Wilmore has.

  154. I thoroughly enjoyed Trevor's debut last night and I wish him the very best as the new host of "The Daily Show".

  155. Trevor Noah is fine. Just not for this show which is a contextual and satirical analysis of American politics. Or. It was.

  156. The jokes were funny. If you want to be offended (many here do, apparently) tune in earlier and watch South Park. (That show will also make you laugh.) Satire isn't supposed to be genial, and maybe Jon Stewart sensed that he was doing nothing much beyond preaching to the choir for the last few years. I'm surprised that so many of us who grew up seeing George Carlin and Richard Pryor host SNL when we were barely allowed to stay up late would only watch comedians we agree with 100% of the time.

    And maybe the last thing we need is another American telling us what we want to hear. Having an outsider's perspective telling us that we aren't the only people on this planet might just be exactly what we need.

  157. So well packaged a comment, it seems insincere, motivated.

  158. a less well packaged comment -- can't understand, provoked.

  159. Amy-
    --Thank you-----excellent evaluation!!!
    Trevor Noah is exactly the right leader of the Daily Show!!!

  160. One key contribution of The Daily Show was to run footage of a political leader's latest bloviation alongside his previous comments on the same question...a deadly way of exposing those who seek to exploit and manipulate public opinion, for reasons concealed and unaddressed.

    Of course, any news network could take heed and do the same. But they don't. The PT Barnums of the world can generally count on the 24-hour news cycle, and say whatever suits them at the time, confident the past will remain marginal.

  161. From the linked article:

    “Don’t be afraid to change it to your style of speaking,” Mr. Noah told him. “All those little bits between you and I, don’t worry about it — switch it up, the way you’d normally sound.”

    Can we just stop RIGHT NOW and point out that it's "between you and ME"
    before it drives the rest of us nuts?

  162. It's just TV.

  163. Noah is going to be just fine. But I'm not so sure about America. Hard do see a (black) foreigner taking the country to task without setting off its (xenophobic) defense mechanism. And what does Daily Show matter if it doesn't deliver a kick in pants?

  164. Maybe next season the show will have a real contender. It takes a comedian with superb wit and timing, a good understanding of politics and over all world issues, and most importantly, an activist's heart to continue this show. I know Trevor is nice, easy on the eyes and what not, but these are superficial pros. I feel sorry for Trevor because who's really to blame for this is whoever allowed this to happen. It's a clear cut disaster. Let's just call it for what it is.

  165. Based on one episode it's fair to say all you know about Trevor Noah is that he isn't white. Let's just call it for what it is.

  166. And yet another comment from the left, clearly you disagree with Gia's comment so in your mind which apparantly has been made up based on 1 comment you're ready to label her a racist without really uttering the word, the inference is clear. Amazing how the left thinks, perhaps with only one side of their brain. So sad.

  167. " thorough, well-researched pastings of Republicans and Fox News"

    I'd say America needs and deserves an entire network devoted to this alone and no, MSNBC definitely isn't it. And while we're at it let's bring back the Fairness Doctrine and reinstate all the FCC rules abandoned strictly for the benefit of Rupert Murdoch.

  168. I had seen the terrific documentary on Trevor Noah and was excited to see his first night debut on TV. I thought it was very well done. A handsome man, well spoken, ascerbic, witty and quite charming. That describes Trevor. Watch the Doc. and see the difficult life Trevor was born into in South Africa.

    He is hugely talented and if that is not enough add the fact that he will be an excellent role model for younger people-of ALL colors. Kudos to the casting of Trevor Noah. Beyond the Pale, so to speak.

  169. He was awful...............not funny at all

  170. Rather than compare Trevor Noah to Jon Stewart, it might be better to compare him to John Oliver when he took over when Stewart left to direct his movie. Though British (yes, he's also a US citizen), Oliver seemed to fit right in on day one. As with Stewart, I wanted to know what Oliver's reaction was to the day's events in the US and the world. Like Stewart, he seemed to care about what was happening and not just about being funny. Not sure I see that in Trevor Noah. This show is not Weekend Update.

  171. Rather than keeping The Daily Show's DNA, I find him to be a cheap imitation. I don't doubt his talent, but I doubt the wisdom of not letting Noah be true to himself. Stop worrying the legacy of Stewart and instead breath new life, fresh ideas and instill a new satirical spirit into the Daily Show.

  172. Most of the positive comments here read like professional ad copy. Not a real response among them, like the show. Pretentious and shallow.

    Good bye, Jon Stewart, hello mediocrity.

  173. You're all too real. Go back to Fox and feed your hate.

  174. Must be amazing living in the leftist world to certain people. Whenever you disagree with one you are automatically labeled. How closed minded, do you even know the meaning of liberal?

  175. The Daily Show was a MUST SEE very day for me. Now it's not. Maybe it will be again.....I just don't know. I didn't like it when John Oliver hosted and don't watch his HBO show after sampling it. I don't think Noah was the very best choice, but he isn't a negative either. Some things just can't be duplicated. Colbert, who was great on cable isn't making it on CBS.

  176. really? I think Colbert on CBS is brilliant.

  177. I give Trevor time to grow into it and wish him well. What is missing so far is that, beneath everything else, you felt that Jon Stewart genuinely cares for this country and his humor was directed at waking up (and sometimes lamenting the comatose state of) our better angels. You felt/feel that with Jon Oliver too; he's married to an Iraq war veteran.

    Trevor offers a wry 'outsider's' perspective which over time may not wear well. At the outset he is doing well at telling jokes. To really fill the shoes that Jon Stewart himself grew into, he has to really, deeply care -- and come from that place.

  178. I think this is an excellent insight. Though I think Mr. Noah will do just fine, I doubt he'll ever claim the following and affection that Jon Stewart did for just this reason. Stewart seemed so genuinely upset by wrongdoings, and he treated all his guests, even the Republicans, fairly. It is a nearly impossible act to follow.

  179. Noah is even Leftier than Jon Stewart (if that's possible).

  180. Based on 21 minutes of viewing? Based on one comment I'd say you're even rightier than Torquemada. Does that sound fair and balanced enough for you?

  181. great show, new and refreshing

  182. Excellent review which captured in tone and language why so many of us found (and hope to continue to find) "The Daily Show" so addicting as it evolves--and does so faster than the people and cultural quirks it highlights. Kudos to James Poniewozik for a smartly humorous review.

  183. OK, Noah crushed the first show. The second, not at all.

    The weakest part was the interview with the Bumble bumbler.

    With 3 minutes of preparation, Noah could have had some hard-nosed and highly relevant interview questions ready. Like: How can anyone trust that your company isn't handling customer data like Ashley Madison did? How can men on your site be sure that the female accounts aren't bogus, like they are on most other dating sites? What qualifies you to be the CEO of a site like Bumble? Bumble seems like a stupid name for a site like yours; what was the thinking behind it? Your company doesn't currently earn any revenue; when and how will it? Etc., etc.

    We'll see how he does with Chris Christy tonight. Hopefully, Noah can significantly up his interview game. Otherwise, one-third of each show's going to be a disappointing waste.

  184. The kid did good for the first three or four minutes---then, nothing amusing, funny or clever was uttered by him or any of the others on the show. Jordan Klepper seldom came up with anything funny even with Jon Stewart, a real pro, so you can’t expect this fledgling minor leaguer (baseball terms, Trevor) to draw anything worthwhile out of him. Larry Wilmore and his gang can do black and poor in a lot more understandable, American way than can a Noah and Wood team. Kevin Hart only did what he almost always does, go on and on about how wonderful he is------a minute of that is one too any.

    I strongly disagree that Jon Stewart’s and his show were getting tired, predictable or repetitive. My wife and I felt he stayed sharp, enthusiastic, involved and dedicated to the end. If Monday night is an example of what lies in store, we’ll find ourselves skipping “Daily” and just watching “Nightly”.

  185. i am sorry to say that I don't care for Mr. Noah. He is good looking and smooth but there is something missing that Mr. Stewart had in spades, heart and a conscience.
    Mr. Noah is just reading funny lines trying to sound good. Mr. Stewart was invested in the material he presented. You could see it in the low boiling disgust and anger couched in comedy.
    I will mis Jon Stewart always...Mr. Noah not at all.

  186. I could go on and on. But will comment on one piece in this very forgiving article of noah. Aids jokes and jokes about Meth and crack that took down Whitney Houston can be funny. In noah's hands they weren't.
    As for a foreign replacement, John Oliver had been doing the Daily Show for Years before hosting. That experience and his own talent made him a great fill in. If the writing machine that keeps the show going supposedly will keep noah going then why were the first 2 episodes so weak? John Oliver's first 2 episodes as guest host were not. I will miss Jordan Klepper

  187. Trevor Noah is a far more polished comedic talent.

    His wit sharp -- sometimes over the audience's head.

    His speed is just right for me.