Tonight is the beginning of a new era: Trevor Noah takes over for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.
Noah will be the third host to sit in the Daily Show chair, four if you count John Oliver – who took over for Jon Stewart while he directed a movie. But Noah was hand-picked by Jon Stewart to be his replacement, and after hearing the 31-year-old comedian talk about crafting his legacy, it’s clear why Trevor got Jon’s vote.
Noah told Global Grind:
“To think of a legacy before you’ve even begun day one is, in a strange way, aiming too far. I go hiking a lot and the one thing you learn is you don’t look at the top, you just look at the step ahead of you. If you look too far ahead, you’ll trip over what’s right in front of you. So the legacy will be fulfilled up until the point of every step I take, every move I make, will get me to a place – and then at some point I will turn around and be like, ‘That was my legacy,’ as opposed to trying to create a legacy.
“I’ll try to improve myself as a person and hope that when I get to a certain point, I’ll look back and say that is what I achieved.”
Noah isn’t trying to recreate the wheel. While he will add his own spin on things, he wants people to know this is still The Daily Show, just with Trevor Noah. He wants to build his own relationship with politicians and he’s even revealed his first week guests, so people know what to expect.
They start off with Kevin Hart, because first and foremost, this is a comedy show. In the middle of the week, Noah will welcome Chris Christie, because the show is NOT steering away from covering politics, and on Thursday, they will close out with singer/songwriter Ryan Adams, because Noah wants to start adding more musical guests to the roster.
As far as there being a new host of The Daily Show, Trevor says Jon picking him personally helped a lot.
“The best thing that happened to me is the fact that Jon said, ‘This is who I pick. I don’t know about anybody else. I think there are many great choices, but this is who I pick.’ The team, including myself, trust Jon Stewart enough and his judgment to go, ‘Well, clearly you know something we don’t, so we will go with that.'”
Noah’s team of correspondents are also excited to be under new leadership. Hasan Minhaj likened it to having the keys to dad’s sports car:
“It all starts with the man behind the desk. With Jon, you have a 52-year-old Jewish dude from New Jersey, that’s the voice and his world experience shaped that. Then with Trevor, you have a biracial mixed man of the future from South Africa taking the desk, and that shapes his perspective.”
Minhaj goes on to explain how Trevor is bringing skill from his stand-up comedy act behind the desk:
So imagine if they are talking about a German person, Trevor can go and do those voices and bring an element to late night that hasn’t been done before. It’s like Ferris Bueller when they stole his friend’s dad’s sports car. Only difference is, Jon actually gave them the keys.
The most telling thing about Trevor is when I asked him what he learned after appearing on Jerry Seinfeld’s show “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.”
“Seinfeld’s show is a great show, as it’s what a show should be – authentic. Make what you love and do what you want to do, and trust that you know that there are others like you who like and love the same thing,” Noah said.
“It’s difficult to do, because often we are in a mad dash to be second. People think, ‘Oh, look at the success of that, let’s do more of that.’ It’s very scary to say no, this is what I like, I trust that other people will like it as well. Because when you do that, you will never have a day of work.
“That’s what I learn from Seinfeld. You never work, you just create and enjoy that there are people who will enjoy what you’re doing. Then your reward will come from that. So you don’t become a tortured artist, you become an artist enjoying your craft.”
Another great look at how Trevor’s mind works is when he said, “You have to learn to not care about the people that don’t like what you’re doing. Because the people that do like what you’re doing are often less vocal. Which is a very difficult thing to be cognizant of when you’re doing all of this.”
The Daily Show is in good hands – tune in tonight at 11 p.m. on Comedy Central to see for yourself.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter