When news came sometime in 2015 that South African comedian Trevor Noah was going to be taking over from Jon Stewart, who had hosted The Daily Show (TDS) for 16 years, South Africans must have been overjoyed. It may be safe to say that Black people everywhere rejoiced that one of theirs was doing well. Was there a tiny part of me that wished Trevor were Nigerian or that Nigeria being the acclaimed Giant Of Africa, should always be on top? Possibly, yes.
I’d just discovered Trevor shortly before he landed The Daily Show job. I thought him not only very funny but intelligent. He handled racial issues with such depth yet managed to remain funny.
But the Trevor Noah on The Daily Show (Comedy Central) is not the same as the Trevor Noah on comedy tours. Nor can he afford to be the same Trevor Noah. While one is daring, the other has to fit into an already established structure in which he is an outsider who must not rock the boat. In this already established structure, he may be unable to be as daring as his predecessor who was an insider. And so there are times when this other Trevor Noah will self-censor while trying to perfect this balancing act. Which is not to say Host, The Daily Show doesn’t look good on his CV.
So which Trevor Noah do you prefer?