Jon Stewart, our generation’s favorite comedian turned anchorman, is leaving “The Daily Show” at the end of this year. Who can and should replace him?
Jon Stewart has hosted “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” since 1999 and has developed a massive following. Stewart’s transition into the show resulted in a strong shift from pop culture commentary to a more politically focused program. The show provides satirical responses to local, national and global news, which Stewart presents with equal parts of laughter and passion. As opposed to many mainline news sources, “The Daily Show” tends to draw in a younger audience. The Pew Research Center reports that approximately 55 percent of “The Daily Show”’s viewership consists of those between the ages of 18 and 49. Further, the present audience of the program represents twice the proportion of liberals in the public.
Stewart’s announcement about leaving the show he has hosted for 16 years has raised a huge question for the future of the late night political staple. Who will replace Jon Stewart as host of “The Daily Show”?
While Stewart himself has not publicly voiced any preference regarding his replacement, avid fans have provided more than enough suggestions. At this time two political comedians appear extremely appropriate for the position. First is Trevor Noah, a comedian and political commentator from South Africa. Noah boasts extensive experience with political commentary through comedy and has several popular standup specials. Second, a far more well-known candidate, is Amy Poehler. With “Parks and Recreation” having just ended, Amy Poehler is likely available for a new position. While both are strong choices that would bring good experience to the show, Trevor Noah is by far the best person for the job.
Trevor Noah’s reputation for bold commentary on race relations and economic disparity will be his greatest advantage. As someone who has lived in South Africa and has an understanding of the way racial divisions can negatively affect a nation, Noah would bring both experience and a sense of continuity to “The Daily Show” as it continues to address pressing social issues of the day. Having gained an even larger fan base following his interview with Stewart last year, Noah who displayed both his witty sense of humor and firm grasp on controversial political topics, Noah has established a strong contention for the possibility of him hosting.
While Noah’s extensive experience in political satire makes him a strong candidate for the position, Poehler is both better known and far more popular. Having a long history as a commentator and activist, especially regarding feminism and other social equality issues, and her experience as a comedian and actress, would allow for a smooth transition into a role as host of the show. Although Poehler has never been on the show herself, she could bring a new perspective to the show that would be incredibly valuable. Amy Poehler would be a strong candidate for the role, but Comedy Central would likely have to contend with other programs and upcoming shows, especially her long-time employer NBC, for her time.
Despite Stewart’s consistent fight for the socially marginalized, Stewart admits that as a white male he is inherently privileged. With this in mind it could be wise for producers to appeal to a larger demographic through a host that represents a different background than the typical host. Stewart tackled many issues of the day in a fair-minded, while highly critical way that will make it difficult for anyone to take his place. Despite Poehler’s extensive experience in acting, Trevor Noah would draw a wider viewership to the show, as well as greater experience in political commentary, that Amy Poehler would have a hard time competing with. If Comedy Central can convince Noah to take on the mantle, he would be the best choice for the position.