Trevor Noah Chosen to Replace Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show’ Despite Calls for Female Host
Sure, Trevor Noah has been a great success in his home country of South Africa, and has even proven he can make Americans laugh at themselves during his recent segments on “The Daily Show,” but what happened to all the great female comedians who were up for the job?
As soon as Jon Stewart announced he’d be leaving the show, it was hard for some to contain their excitement at the thought that Comedy Central might actually get a woman to head a late-night political comedy show for a change. After “Daily Show” veterans John Oliver and Larry Wilmore got their own shows, it seemed like the late-night audience was all but ready for a female face to deliver their scathingly funny dose of nightly comedic news.
And there were definitely female comics to choose from, with names like Amy Poehler and Sarah Silverman being floated, not to mention “The Daily Show’s” own Samantha Bee (although she is a bit tied up with other projects now). A poll by Quinnipiac University even showed that Tina Fey was an overwhelming pick for the part.
So what gives, comedy gods? Why pick Noah over other talented comedians? Here’s what the Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon has to say:
In the announcement of Noah’s hiring, Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless told The New York Times, “You don’t hope to find the next Jon Stewart—there is no next Jon Stewart. So, our goal was to find someone who brings something really exciting and new and different.”…Now, to the credit of Ganeless, she was asked the burning question alluded to at the top of this piece. “Seriously? Again? Not a woman?” Her answer to the Times: “We talked to women. We talked to men. We found in Trevor the best person for the job.”
That’s comforting, and perhaps refreshing to hear. After all, the chorus of culture critics crying for a female late-night host isn’t begging for tokenism, or a female hire for the sake of a female hire. The demand stems from the passionate belief that there are qualified female comedians and hosting talent out there who deserve their places behind these patriarchal desks.
But that “best person for the job” nonsense is also complete horseshit, and the greatest indicator of the institutional barriers, the institutional laziness, and the institutional cowardice that are forecasting the inevitability that no woman will ever again hold a major position in late-night. And if she does, she’s not going to end up there the easy way.
Horseshit, indeed. Read more of The Daily Beast’s depressingly titled, “The Trevor Noah Conundrum: Why There May Never Be Another Woman in Late-Night.”
Meanwhile, to add insult to misogyny, some writers have discovered that Noah has written some grossly sexist (among anti-Semitic, smarmy, you name it) tweets. Check out what Slate’s Jessica Winters thinks of the comedian:
It’s true that Twitter is a space for comics to try out material that isn’t fully baked. And I have no doubt that Saint Jon Stewart has some fat skeletons in his closet—after all, he took over the Daily Show from smarmy king-of-the-bros Craig Kilborn, who strictly enforced a tiresome weekly quota of “Janet Reno looks like a man” gags. But during Stewart’s 16 years at the helm, The Daily Show has taken on a moral authority and responsibility that simply cannot condone this kind of bigoted and misogynist … no, who am I kidding. The problem is not that Trevor Noah tells offensive jokes. It’s not even that he routinely breaks The Daily Show’s covenant of speaking truth to power in favor of speaking truth to fat chicks or Thai hookers or, as the Washington Post’s Wendy Todd points out, black Americans who give their kids names that Noah disapproves of. The problem is that Noah’s jokes are so annihilatingly stupid. Are they even jokes? Are they meta-jokes, like the “My arms are so tired” airplane joke he made on his first Daily Show appearance? Or did he mean that as a joke, too?!? Trevor Noah: ontological mystery.
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi ZapataWait, before you go…