On Monday night, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah made its debut and we have to say, and early returns on the host’s performance are pretty positive. He looked natural in his new seat, most of his jokes hit the mark, and — if worse comes to worst — he can always fall back on that million-dollar smile.
He also came out of the gate with a bit of an edge. An approach that may be in part due to a conversation he had with his predecessor.
Earlier this month in an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Noah told another new, under-the-microscope host about the advice he’d received from Jon Stewart, or the “Jewish Yoda,” upon taking over for the comedy icon: “Trust your discomforts.”
In other words, trust the kind of jokes that walk up to the line, but don’t cross it — the kind that make you feel just a bit uncomfortable.
Noah seems to have taken that advice to heart, as in the first ten minutes of his inaugural show, he made jokes about AIDS, crack, and meth, insinuated that the pope was well-endowed, and imagined how one might work the new Vicar of Christ-themed emojis into a round of sexting.
That’s a pretty ballsy way to introduce yourself to the American public.
After his monologue and a conversation with Correspondant Jordan Klepper — who was panicked over the prospect that the new host might suck enough to put him out of work — Noah brought Comedian Kevin Hart on stage for an interview.
While Noah didn’t make any missteps during the conversation, it was the one time in the show that he didn’t look comfortable. Whether it was his admiration for Hart or his inexperience with this sort of interview, he seemed to fade into the background at times. Luckily, Hart was more than happy to pick up the slack in the laughs department. Still, things went pretty smoothly overall.
If you’re looking for the big takeaway, perhaps the most important revelation of all from Noah’s inaugural episode was his promise to “continue the war on bullshit.” Stewart was a supersoldier in that war and fans are hoping against hope that their new host can carry on his legacy.
The jury will be out for quite some time, but this was a strong start the Trevor Noah regime.
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah will air weeknights at 11 p.m. EST.