I was sad to hear that Stewart was leaving The Daily Show (just like everybody else) but was excited to see what Trevor Noah was going to do. I'd seen Noah's stand-up and thought he was funny and boyishly cute to boot. All of these optimistic feelings came about at a time when a Trump presidency was not breathing down the back of our collective necks. If anything, it seemed like Noah took the anchor desk at the best time. He could ease himself into our hearts with Trump jokes (which are easy to make) and once the election was over and Trump was NOT elected, he'd parlay his easily gained popularity into a successfully comedic take on American culture and politics.
But not so much. In my humble opinion, his jokes aren't hitting the spot. And here's the thing... they absolutely NEED to hit the spot now that Trump's going to be around for 4 years. The stakes are through the roof and we're like Halle Berry in Monster's Ball(s). Trevor Noah is our Billy Bob Thornton and we need him to make us feeeeel good.
Trevor Noah, bless his heart, tells jokes that feel like more of a detached commentary about Americans. Occasionally, he'll throw in a bad accent or give a goofy expression that makes me wish for Stewart's comedic timing. It's especially disappointing when Noah's jokes fall flat or when he has awkward interactions with his show's guests, avoiding controversial questions and instead opting for quippy jokes and playful observations. Sometimes he just looks lost. And even with all of these criticisms, I wouldn't say that he's a bad host. Jon Stewart did many of these things too. The difference is that Stewart's jokes packed a punch in that they were filled with so much information, so many supporting news clips, so much evidence, that the punchline was based on the absurdity of all of the contradictions. Noah's jokes rely on a funny face or funny observations. Additionally, Stewart had a level of confidence that allowed him to challenge American culture, politics and politicians in a way that would take Noah a lifetime (in America) to aspire to. Stewart would literally beg certain politicians, journalists, etc. to be on his show, salivating at the opportunity to go toe to toe with these people. And they were shook. They. Didn't. Want. That. Work.
Simply put, Jon Stewart was a savage. And while Noah is intelligent, funny and friendly, when our president elect is tweeting shit like this...
The closest we had in recent months has been Larry Wilmore (who had a ton of kinks in his show The Nightly Show as well - but was still better than the current Daily Show in my opinion). With Larry Wilmore's controversial brand of comedy (see: controversial jokes made during the White House Correspondence Dinner) in addition to the yeeeears of experience he has writing comedy, it's easy to see why he's a savage in his own right. It takes balls, confidence and an unreal level of comfortability in one's career to make the jokes Wilmore made. Although he paid the price, it was great seeing him just go for it. Additionally, John Oliver's been filling the spot nicely over at HBO on Last Week Tonight. His videos - packed with a ton of information about current goings-on - are getting shared all over my facebook page and it's my go-to when I want the biting comedy that's been missing from The Daily Show as of late.
On a brighter note, I'm hoping that Trevor Noah gets better, sharpens his teeth a bit and starts making jokes that rile people up again. Of course, I would love to have that person like right now, but greatness takes time.