The Daily Show is back to square one in the search for a permanent host, right after Hasan Minhaj blue’d himself out of the most prestigious position in American Journalism after being diagnosed with a case of BS, a severe autobiographical disease. As a massive fan of Hasan, this is a sad, depressing moment, but even if this weren’t the case, I am still of the opinion that he shouldn’t be the host of TDS because I don’t think there should be a permanent host on The Daily Show. By actual fate, in the months since Trevor Noah’s departure, its own correspondents have proven themselves to be more than capable of pulling the double role of contributors and hosts.
Desi Lydic, Jordan Klepper, and Roy Wood Jr. have put on the guest host cap for a week each, while Dulcé Sloan’s turn made it into one episode before the Writer’s Strike put a pause on everything. Ronny Chieng, Michael Kosta, and Lewis Black had also been announced. They all killed it, and in fact, this entire improvised experiment has worked amazingly well. They may have accidentally discovered a way to shake up the late-night format as a solution to the tiring grind of being the main face and MC four nights a week, 40 weeks out of the year. The rotating gallery of hosts each brought their own energy (and clearly a way by Comedy Central to try out the potential long-term replacement).
But it was the main cast who actually knocked it out of the park because they already had that late-night experience under their belt. And while other people (coughmycolleaguescough) were arguing about whether Roy or Dulcé or Jordan should take over full-time hosting duties, the actual answer became obvious: All of the correspondents should do it, rotating in and out every two or three weeks.
Over two and a half decades, The Daily Show has replaced Saturday Night Live in its role as seeder of future Comedy stars. But since the late Stewart years and Noah’s tenure, it has cultivated a roster of talent that excels at the other strength of the show: Actual journalism. I was not being a dick when I said that hosting TDS is the most prestigious job in American Journalism right now. Okay, perhaps eventually, that title will fall on John Oliver’s seat at Last Week Tonight, but the point still stands. The Daily Show is still fulfilling the public responsibility role mainstream journalism in the US has failed or refused to do.
By rotating in and out as hosts and correspondents, Lydic, Sloan, Wood Jr., Chieng, Kostas, and Klepper will get the chance to take on the more editorial role of host while delving into their own interests as correspondents, in a perfect balance of their comedic and journalistic skills. But the best part will be creating chances for them to bounce off of each other, as host and correspondent, in almost every combination, which was ultimately the best part of the transitional guest-host period:
Call of the search, Comedy Central. And if any of the executives there argues, “But wait!, that’ll mean we’d have to raise everyone’s salaries to account for the new role!” then the counterargument should be: Yes.
Alberto Cox is still in the process of organizing that portfolio link.