5 Things We Learned at Trevor Noah’s Daily Show Unveiling

Photo: Comedy Central

Comedy Central invited press to have a first look at Trevor Noah’s Daily Show set Friday morning, where Noah, flanked by the show’s executive producers, fielded questions about the show ahead of its September 28 premiere. In addition to addressing the updated set (Stewart’s set, including his signature “J” desk, was donated to the Newseum), Noah offered up a few clues as to what a Daily Show hosted by a 31-year-old South African comedian will look like.  

The new set is reminiscent of the old one, but this one has a touch screen.
“The most important thing for me was to try and find a place where we could design something that is new and fresh but also reminiscent of The Daily Show,” Noah said, adding that the old set felt like home. “I wanted something that would still remind me of that place, but also show that something has changed. So we’ve updated the technology a little bit, one of those screens you can touch and it will tell your heartbeat.”

Photo: Katla McGlynn

Yes, the show is going to be different. But he’s not going to try to change it all at once.
“I look at The Daily Show as a beautiful house that I’ve inherited. I’m not going to break the house down and start trying to build a house from there. This is a beautiful house that has been here for many years; it’s a landmark,” Noah said. “So what I’ll do is try and create it into the home of my dreams using my family. As time goes on, I’ll be breaking down a wall there, changing a color here, moving a couch over there. You’ll know there’s a new person living in the house because you’ll be complaining about the noise.”

There will be more musical performances.
Noah plans to incorporate music into the show in a much bigger way than Stewart did. He also noted the interview format may change. “Those are all personal choices that will get to evolve now,” he noted.

Fox News–bashing won’t be the show’s default setting.
While the writers of The Daily Show certainly have a long history with certain comedic targets, Noah said he is “neither left nor right,” and he is coming in with a clean slate when it comes to judging American politicians and media figures. “I don’t have targets yet, which I think is the right way to approach it … I didn’t have Fox News in most places in the world where I  was traveling or living. These are new people to me,” Noah said. “I get to discover the person I will grow to loathe, to hate, and they may not be on Fox News.”

He feels his experiences growing up in South Africa have prepared him to discuss American race relations.
“I found, traveling around the world, that America was the one place where I innately understood what was happening,” Noah said. “South Africa and the United States have a very similar history. It’s different timelines, but the directions we’ve taken, the consequences, dealing with the aftermath of what we then think is the beginning of democracy, and then realizing that’s just the first step — that freedom is the beginning of the conversation — that’s something that I’ve learned on both sides of the world.”