How Trevor Noah’s ‘The Daily Show’ is like a new iPhone

30 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

How Trevor Noah’s ‘The Daily Show’ is like a new iPhone.

In his review of Trevor Noah’s debut as Jon Stewart’s successor, the New York Times‘ Jim Poniewozik compares the new version of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” to a new iPhone—“sleeker, fresher and redesigned”—but doing essentially the same thing. “If Mr. Despite successfully hosting his first episode of The Daily Show, like any newcomer there has been continued scepticism over Trevor Noah’s abilities as a comic, more so on an international stage. “There were jokes, occasionally, but the whole thing was suffused with the sort of reverence that’s antithetical to comedy.Noah seemed a bit more at ease in his second outing, devoting a large portion of the program to blasting celebs and presidential candidates for cozying up to one another.

These daily wrap-up articles are also sent out via email as the Atlantic Daily, a newsletter with stories, ideas, and images from The Atlantic, written especially for subscribers. Ratings data on Tuesday showed that Noah’s first outing drew about the same TV audience as Jon Stewart’s farewell in August after 16 years with the late night Comedy Central show. It was, truth to be told, an impossible—and unenviable—task, filling the shoes of arguably this generation’s greatest political satirist, Jon Stewart. That algorithm, capable of processing a day’s media inputs into a satirically argued package, is what makes ‘The Daily Show’ ‘The Daily Show.’ This first outing was about proving that he could run the software without crashing.” That’s good, but neither “algorithm” nor “operating system” goes quite far enough. The circumstances remain the same: Women are not dominating late-night television for the same reason that they’re not running most corporations or most countries.

Add to that the murderer’s row of comedians rumored to have turned down the gig, including Amy Poehler, Chris Rock, Louis CK, and Amy Schumer (news broken by The Daily Beast), and you’ve got quite the pressure cooker situation. It started when Noah coined the phrase “panderdemic,” or when politicians try way too hard to appeal to youths. “We’ve reached that stage in the campaign when it becomes impossible to stop the spread of candidates desperately trying to appear hip,” he said. Despite a last-minute appeal from Pope Francis and former wardens, the Georgia Board of Parole and Pardons denied clemency to Kelly Gissendaner during a Tuesday hearing.

Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane had travelled to New York City for the United Nations General Assembly and visited Noah at his studios. “Mr. In Apple’s case, it’s a product creation process that “crystallizes” (Marc Andreessen’s term) a new category, which the rest of the industry then scrambles to copy. Yes, Noah mined some clever material from the Pope’s US visit and Speaker of the House John Boehner’s resignation, but there were more than a few clunkers. As promised, the South African-born comedian made few changes to the format of political and pop culture satire and a nightly interview that was developed by Stewart. “I just have to ask: What were we all so afraid of?” he said. … One of the biggest questions about Noah has been whether the show will retain Stewart’s progressive bent, teeing off on the litany of hypocrisies perpetuated by the GOP and Fox News.

However, Noah added., “Just as we have candidates who want to be associated with celebrities, we have certain celebrities who want to be associated with candidates.” He went on to say that Kanye West is a noted Ben Carson fan, as the rapper called the GOP presidential candidate/neurosurgeon a “brilliant guy.” “Congratulations doctor,” Noah said wryly. “The man who hangs out with these people all day thinks you’re a genius.” Cue a photo of the Kardashians on the screen. The method by which Apple accomplishes this is not well understood—especially on Wall Street, where Cupertino’s latest hit is generally assumed to be its last.

Especially bad was a joke about the Pope ‘undercompensating’ by driving a small car. ‘I’m saying the Pope has a huge cock’, Noah had to explain. The fresh-faced 31-year-old fanned the flames by acknowledging in the lead-up to the premiere that he’d be focusing on “a bigger lens” than “Fox News,” taking equal aim at “the Gawkers, the BuzzFeeds.” “I was very glad when I came in this morning to find that my security card still worked,” joked Noah, his boyish charm and watery-eyed nervousness endearing as ever. The process is often described in terms bordering on the mythical. “The culmination of this hypothesis,” wrote Asymco’s Horace Dediu in a 2013 essay Why doesn’t anybody copy Apple?, “is the ‘chief-sorcerer’ theory of success which places one magician in charge of casting all the right spells.” “It’s complex, it’s subtle, it defies explanation but it’s not magic. And then there was an absolute groaner about Boehner being the bouncer at ‘Club Congress’ which is a boring club because ‘everyone has AIDS’, explaining his pun on ‘aides’.

Masego Serape, public relations manager for South African radio station Power FM, said Noah delivered a “brilliant” performance that included commentary on American politics, a frequent source of satire for Stewart. “That opening monologue. He brought up the fact that in Dunham’s inaugural feminist newsletter on Tuesday, she featured an interview with Hillary Clinton. “The trick is to find the perfect match between celebrity and politician,” Noah said. That was beautiful,” tweeted Simmi Areff, a South African comedian, referring to Noah’s tribute to Stewart and the challenge of taking over as a relatively unknown figure in the United States. “He was often our voice, our refuge and in many ways our political dad,” Noah said of Stewart. “And it’s weird because dad has left and now it feels like the family has a new stepdad — and he’s black.”

The screen showed a frozen image of Dunham looking incredibly ecstatic in response, and Noah went for the obvious nudity-themed dig: “I haven’t seen Lena Dunham that excited since HBO made its office clothing-optional!” he said. As scholars who study gender and humor have pointed out, women’s humor ruffles feathers, with “gender stereotypes” hindering “the development and recognition of women’s humor.” At the same time, there’s no question that a long line of women would make brilliant empresses of late night programming; Tina Fey and Ellen DeGeneres would be effective, engaging, wildly entertaining and hilarious hosts. Anyway, looks like Comedy Central’s wish that 31-year-old Noah would appeal to millennials is coming true — because you can’t get more millennial than making a “Girls” joke. I suspect that studio heads and the advertisers responsible for programming remain afraid that putting a women behind the desk will lead to a decline in male viewership. (Meanwhile, they don’t seem all too concerned about the female share.) It’s the 50-and-older crowd that reliably continues to tune into live programming for news and entertainment. Just look at the things Ben Carson says,” Noah added, before referencing a comment Carson made in April about how “we allow the hip-hop community to destroy” our values. “And I’m sure Dr.

Ben Carson could find something he likes about hip-hop, for example the rampant homophobia,” joked Noah. “Perhaps you guys have more in common than you think! Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn, a historically black college in Dallas: “I always found it distasteful when schools recruited me because I’m black. No homo.” “That’s right, Hillary knows how to win the nation,” said Noah. “First you have to win the butt-smotherers,” he added, pointing to a clip of Allison Williams’s character getting her salad tossed on Dunham’s HBO series Girls. But the professionalization of dog walking had its roots not with wealthy individuals repurposing their equestrian lifestyles, but, more likely, with working-class people who cleaved it off from various jobs into which it had been traditionally folded.

Arguably the funniest moment in the interview came when Dunham brought up Lenny Kravitz’s viral pants-splitting video, in which the rocker was shredding so hard onstage that he ripped his leather pants, revealing his pierced twig and berries. “That was a dick joke. Decades later, as the demand for dog walking has grown in particularly dense, gentrifying urban centers, many an entrepreneur has seized upon it as a scalable service enterprise like any other. Even though Christopher Hitchens’ Why Women Aren’t Funny is now a few years old, it remains emblematic of his generation’s beliefs about a conventional, biological and historical inability to create comedy and humor. Humorists are always at the head of their generation’s class, given their ability to willfully and wickedly push, prod and pinch their audiences into thought, emotion and laughter.

In these instances I become some noble example of triumph over adversity, of perseverance in the face of stacked odds, of authentic insight miraculously shining through an inarticulate surface, etc. The women who create humor articulate what’s ubiquitous but unspoken; they say, with wit and courage, what most of us are too cowardly or anxious to admit. In much the same way that we need comedians of different racial backgrounds, female comedians can tackle subjects that are taboo, or that white male comedians can’t address with as much insight or depth. While they’re at it, the best of them help us find our own humor in the everyday; they help us remember to laugh at what we didn’t find funny the first time around. By questioning, mocking and demystifying the world, funny women illustrate that humor is our culture’s third rail: electrified, powerful and dangerous.

When women’s voices are heard more effectively during the day in more places, I’m sure we’ll be able to have them heard above a whisper after midnight.

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