Trevor Noah ‘terrified’ but cool ahead of his Monday ‘Daily Show’ debut

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Daily Show’ host Noah to focus on Web to lure younger viewers.

Johannesburg – The appointment of Trevor Noah as host of The Daily Show has shone a bright light on South Africa’s comedy industry, according to veteran comedian John Vlismas. On Friday morning, journalists were granted a sneak peek at the “Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” during which the host answered questions about the regime change and showed off the spiffy new set, which is buried in a warehouse out on the nether-reaches of Hell’s Kitchen.

Accented in gray, brown, deep reds and blues, the set evokes his predecessor’s, albeit with some subtle tweaks — which seems to be Noah’s approach to the show itself. “I look at ‘The Daily Show’ as a beautiful house that I’ve inherited,” Noah explained, looking handsome and at ease as he perched on a director’s chair in front of the anchor desk. “I’m not going to break the house down and start trying to build a house from there; I go ‘this is a beautiful house that’s been there for many years, it’s a landmark.’ So what I’ll try and do is create it into the home of my dreams, using my new family.” “So as time goes on, I’ll be breaking down a wall here, changing a color there, moving a counter over there,” he added. “But you will know there’s a new person living in the house, because you’ll be complaining about the noise.” In terms of guests, Noah seems to be aiming for a familiar mix of entertainers, politicians and cultural figures, although he says his show will include more musical performances. He made his American television debut in 2012 on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, becoming the first South African comedian to do so. During the session, Noah explained the decision-making process that went into crafting the show’s first week of guests, which includes Kevin Hart, Chris Christie, and Ryan Adams. “Every single guest is there for a reason,” Noah said. For the first week’s lineup, Noah outlined how each guest was chosen to make a statement about the show’s revamped identity: Comedian Kevin Hart (“that’s what the show is, it is a comedy show first and foremost”), Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe (“like myself, a new voice in a space, but from a female side”), musician and Taylor Swift disrupter Ryan Adams (“he’s done in essence what we’ve done here: he’s taken something loved and cherished by many and created a new version”). The promo includes Klepper and Minhaj playing up American ignorance of Noah’s homeland of South Africa, while Walters and Hodgman assure us that there are still old people on the show — including an old white man, as Hodgman points out in a nod to the prevalence of the demographic in late-night.

Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie was picked to confirm that “the show is still going to be political; it’s still going to be American politics.” But it remains to be seen how Noah will deal with the intricacies of the American political system that were his former boss’s bread and butter. Jon Stewart was mired in the system, and the South African-born Noah is much more of an outsider — a viewpoint he intends to use to his advantage in the writers’ room. “I also bring in a certain level of ‘did you see this other thing that comes from another place,’ and then we get to talk about that,” he explained. “They get an outsider’s perspective.” As he reiterated a few times, Noah doesn’t see his learning curve as a disadvantage. He’s now gone into a world where he was the ‘the best black comedian,’ and now he’s just Kevin Hart.’” “And Ryan Adams, I think was a beautiful mix of many different worlds of music,” Noah went on. “He comes from … I wouldn’t say an extreme underground world, but he’s not an ultimate pop star, let’s say. Rather, he expects that balancing his fresh eyes with the experienced perspectives of his writers (most of Stewart’s writing staff have stayed on) will provide a new way in to some of the show’s well-trodden topics. “The fun part is the learning, and I think sometimes transferring that learning into a TV show and giving that to the audience is fantastic, like when you have a child, they learn new things and then you get to relearn it with them,” he added.

Take covering the recent Republican debates: Noah said he and his team worked together to figure out how to stay true to the show’s brand and to his sensibilities simultaneously. “For the writers, they’ve got a history with all of these people,” he explained. “I’m watching the debate and someone says something about something one of the politicians did 10, 15 years ago, and they’re like ‘that’s like the time that happened.’ And I’m the person going ‘why is that funny? And I was like, ‘I don’t know, seems like a pretty amazing guy to me.’” While Rand may be the first candidate in Noah’s heart, he seems open to whichever GOP candidates want to step into the ring with him. After saying that he’d love to have Ben Carson on because “it would be a very energetic interview,” he spoke a little bit about Donald Trump, a notoriously slippery interview subject — even Colbert seemed to have a tough time with the blustering candidate when he appeared on “The Late Show” earlier this week. “Donald Trump is an interesting one, because the truth of the matter is he doesn’t say much,” Noah acknowledged. “Really what we’re doing is enjoying the spectacle of it all. Are we doing this just for entertainment or are we really trying to get answers, are we really trying to go into a political space with these people?” Noah’s on-the-fly political humor chops got a little test this morning, when Saraiya broke the news mid Q&A that John Boehner was stepping down from his congressional seat, and asked Noah to share some of his failed Boehner jokes with the audience. That’s the sad thing.” “I’m a big fan of thinking before I say or react to anything,” he added. “So that’s what we would be doing right now is talking about it and reminiscing on our favorite John Boehner moments, and [the writers] would be taking me back to some I didn’t know of.

Let my heart get broken.’ I want to be in the position where I get to start over fresh with some of these people and try something new.” “I’m not afraid to say I don’t know,” Noah continued. “I don’t know everything. He’s somebody who doesn’t seem vexed by what he’s saying, because I think he understands he’s trying to elicit a response, or one that makes people think.” And if you’re wondering, Noah said that he thinks he’ll have no problem relating to the peculiarities of American culture. “I found [while] traveling around the world, America was the one place I innately understood what was happening because South Africa and the United States of America have a very similar history,” he said. “Different timelines, but you know, the directions we’ve taken and the consequences and then dealing with the aftermath of what we then think is the beginning of democracy – and then realizing that that’s just the first step.

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