Trevor Noah shows potential


Legendary Jon Stewart has left the building, and Trevor Noah is now more than a month into the difficult task of replacing one of late-night comedy’s longest standing icons.  While no one has expected Noah’s beginning to even compare to the genius that was Stewart’s show, Trevor has shown that there is a lot of potential for him to make the show his own.  Let’s break down what has been bad, what’s been good, and what you should be excited for in the future.

The Bad:  No one expected this show to become “must-watch television” in its first week, or even month, and it hasn’t.  Unlike Stephen Colbert, his peer over at CBS, whose previous talk-show experience has allowed him to hit the ground running with his “The Late Show,” Noah comes into the American late-night scene very green and inexperienced, and it showed.

His first few episodes were very arguably over-littered with jokes about how he has a mountain to climb in replacing Stewart, and how he is in over his head.  Even into his second week, Trevor laughed entirely too hard when guest Seth Rogan said, “I never thought this would happen [being on his show] either, because I don’t know who you are.”

The worst, though, came the day of the tragic shooting in Oregon, on Oct. 1.  Instead of addressing the issue and speaking on what happened, Noah simply said that the show gave out their thoughts and condolences, and the previously scripted show continued as usual, as if he did not feel ready to take on such a large issue the day it broke.

Dear Trevor, you are at the helm of one of the most followed and recognized political night shows, by virtue of being there, you are ready.  Time to act like you deserve your position.

Also to make the list: Interview skills and overly long, drawn out correspondents’ sketches.

The Good:  Noah is not afraid to editorialize and push an opinion, and it is fantastic.  Every late-night host finds their niche.  With Jimmy Fallon, it’s stunts and funny sketches; with Stewart, it was holding media and politicians to their words and pointing out hypocrisy – while everyone pushes an opinion from time to time, it looks like Noah will not be afraid to make that a key pillar of his show.

After sharing how NASA found running water on Mars, Noah cut to new correspondent Roy Woods Jr. – whose future definitely needs to be watched, he killed it on the opening weeks – who frustratingly lamented how he and Trevor would never be going to the seemingly inhabitable planet.  “Brother can’t catch a cab, you think we can catch a spaceship?! Black people ain’t going to Mars!” he exclaimed at one point. While water on Mars was by no means a story with racial implications, Noah, like several other stories in the show’s opening weeks, was not afraid to point out potential racial implications behind them.

His best editorial work, though, came after the Oregon shooting, where he addressed the then recently hot-bed issue of Planned Parenthood funding, and wondered why pro-lifers, especially presidential candidates, are so quick to stand up for life in the womb, but not life in the world when it comes to gun violence and gun control policy.  While he did not acknowledge that some candidates don’t believe that gun control can curb violence (reason possibly being that studies have proven that control does in fact do this), he showed that he, from the beginning, will not be afraid to take some of the nation’s most polarizing issues, and let us know how he feels about them.

What to look forward to:  Political coverage.  His funniest moment, equal to some of the hardest laughs I ever gave Stewart, came in a genius piece where he took quotes from Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, and explained how they made him feel at home.  In his explanation, he ran several clips of African warlords and dictators, saying almost word for word the exact same things that Trump has expressed, both in terms of policy and personal beliefs.

After the first month, I think everyone who has been watching is excited for what else he will contribute to election coverage in the next year.

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