Trevor Noah took over The Daily Show on Monday night acknowledging the shift from Jon Stewart, whom he called “our political dad.” “The family has a new step-dad, and he’s black,” announced the 31-year old South African-born comedian. Before launching into his first topic — the Pope, who else? — Noah pledged to extend Stewart’s mission: “We continue the war on bulls—.”
A section on the resignation of John Boehner — many of the punch-lines were about the man’s propensity to cry too much — used the familiar Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper. He made a series of jokes that, while on the surface were about Boehner, were also about Stewart’s resignation: pretty meta. Also, pretty startling: Was that the first time a correspondent has used the word “s—“ on The Daily Show? The tone of the show remains virtually unchanged: Calling out stupidity on the part of the news media as much as the subjects the media covers. Plus a “moment of Zen.” One nice difference between Noah and Stewart? Unless I missed it, there wasn’t a single Donald Trump joke.
New correspondent Roy Wood, Jr., was very amusing on the subject of water being discovered on Mars—which is to say, he was hilarious in his immense lack of interest in this subject.
The weakest part of the half-hour was the interview with Kevin Hart. The comedian brought out a gift — a box of neckties — that devolved quickly into a strained, pre-arranged bit. But the conversation proceeded pretty smoothly, and anyway, the celebrity interviews were always Stewart’s weakest moments as well. In general, Noah came across polished and so smiley, he seemed nearly jubilant. Who would deny him this initial moment of triumph? We’ve got many days, weeks, and months to pick apart his style and content.
The Daily Show airs weeknights at 11 p.m. on Comedy Central.