Less than two months after Jon Stewart announced plans to leave The Daily Show — after hosting the late-night news satire program for the last 16 years — Comedy Central has identified the new host of the series.
South African comedian and actor Trevor Noah will take over hosting duties on The Daily Show after Stewart’s departure, which is expected to happen later this year. The selection of Noah was confirmed by the New York Times, which spoke to him during his current comedy tour in Dubai.
“You don’t believe it for the first few hours,” he said of being chosen as the new host of the Emmy-winning series. “You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you’re in a place where you can’t really get alcohol.”
Noah has appeared on The Daily Show several times in the past, beginning with a December segment in which he compared the stereotypes of racial divides in Africa and the U.S. (You can watch that segment here). He’s been a semi-regular correspondent since that first appearance, and according to Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless, he was on the shortlist of potential replacements when Stewart announced his departure from the show.
“We talked to women. We talked to men. We found in Trevor the best person for the job,” Ganeless told the New York Times. “You don’t hope to find the next Jon Stewart – there is no next Jon Stewart. So, our goal was to find someone who brings something really exciting and new and different.”
In addition to appearing on The Daily Show, Noah has had a variety of hosting positions that made him a well-known commodity in South Africa and surrounding countries. He’s also toured internationally as a comedian, and has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show in the past.
Noah took to Twitter after his appointment as the show’s host was made official.
No-one can replace Jon Stewart. But together with the amazing team at The Daily Show, we will continue to make this the best damn news show!
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) March 30, 2015
Noah also received a ringing endorsement from Stewart, who was reportedly one of his biggest supporters.
“I’m thrilled for the show and for Trevor,” said Stewart in a statement accompanying the announcement. “He’s a tremendous comic and talent that we’ve loved working with.”
Stewart added that he might “rejoin as a correspondent just to be a part of it!”
There’s currently no specific date announced for Stewart’s final bow as host of The Daily Show.