Who is Trevor Noah?

Why the new “The Daily Show” host is exactly what we need

Lizzie Goncharova

Lizzie Goncharova

Jon Stewart’s announcement that he will be leaving “The Daily Show” after sixteen years of hosting came as a blow to dedicated viewers who watched him transform the show into the wildly successful satire program it is today. Once people had recovered from the initial shock, however, rumors began to circulate about who would take his place. Numerous names were mentioned from John Oliver, the former correspondent and stand-in host who now has his own show on HBO, to Amy Poehler or Louis C.K. Even a hologram Stewart was thrown out as a possibility because really, who else can fill those shoes?

So when South African comedian Trevor Noah, three-time correspondent for “The Daily Show,” was named the next “The Daily Show” host, a lot of head scratching and Googling took place to learn more about him. Although Noah has established himself and his comedic brand internationally, he is relatively unknown in the U.S. But that will soon change.

Even a hologram Stewart was thrown out as a possibility because really, who else can fill those shoes?

Noah’s stand-up brings to light how society’s definitions of who we are drive our interactions. Being the biracial son of an African mother and a German-Swiss father in a time and place where that union was illegal, Noah knows his fair share about oppression and misrepresentation. His writing is smart and his accents are on point as he draws humor out of familiar misunderstandings. But most poignantly, Noah’s style of comedy demonstrates misconceptions about the effects of racial stereotypes and the prolonged presence of racism in a country that claims to be “post-racial.”

Being from South Africa, Noah brings an outsider’s view to our political and social comedy scene. This is a major advantage because, as we have seen with John Oliver before him, Noah can make fun of all of us without any partisan interference. He can crack jokes at the expense of all while still pointing out horrifying societal problems.

But most poignantly, Noah’s style of comedy demonstrates misconceptions about the effects of racial stereotypes and the prolonged presence of racism in a country that claims to be ‘post-racial.’

As we have seen in his brief stint on “The Daily Show,” Noah’s promotion to head honcho will bring a wider view of world politics to the comedic platform. His smart wit and unique history give Noah the tools to continue a successful program.