Jon Stewart’s successor has been chosen with the blessing of the incumbent Daily Show host himself.
“I’m thrilled for the show and for Trevor,” Stewart said in a statement. “He’s a tremendous comic and talent that we’ve loved working with.”
Trevor Noah, a 31-year-old comedian from South Africa, has only appeared on The Daily Show three times so far. And yet he’s set to become only the third host in the show’s history.
Race and politics figure heavily into Noah’s brand of comedy. “Race is a big part of what South Africa is today—we’re still dealing with race relations, and it’s a huge part of what we are,” Noah said in an interview with Time Out London. “I’m a product of that existence, of that world. My racial identity has been reclassified at least three times just in my lifetime, so it’s…very important to me.”
He was born to a black mother and a white Swiss father. “I was born a crime,” he told CNN in 2013, explaining how interracial marriage and interracial sex were illegal in apartheid South Africa.
Just don’t necessarily expect him to take on an activist role when he’s sitting in the host’s chair.
“The first purpose of comedy is to make people laugh. Anything deeper is a bonus,” he told Interview in 2013. “Some comedians want to make people laugh and make them think about socially relevant issues, but comedy, by the very nature of the word, is to make people laugh. If people aren’t laughing, it’s not comedy. It’s as simple as that…Without the laughter it becomes poetry or public speaking or a soliloquy; it isn’t comedy anymore.”
Noah’s material sits on the mellower side of the comedic spectrum. This is not to say his work can’t have edge, but, for instance, The New York Times, which broke the news on Monday of Noah’s promotion, has already described him for having a particularly “earnest” profile on YouTube and Twitter.
His earnest streak comes through even clearer when you take a look at his Facebook page.
For instance, get a load of these dogs:
“Hey Guys, as much as I appreciate the comments on how people feel about my looks, I would rather we only leave posts about the world of comedy,” he wrote on his page in 2009. “I created this page as a forum for people to communicate with me and for me to connect with true fans…”
In maintaining this forum, he has given out advice on sexual health:
Cautioned against road rage:
Gotten all sentimental over lovers kissing at airports (a post that makes him sound like a Love Actually character):
Given (tongue-in-cheek?) advice on good credit history:
Had fun with Christmastime racial politics:
And shown his support for President Obama:
Noah isn’t mean-spirited in his stand-up comedy, and he comes across as rather thoughtful when touching on social and political issues of the day.