If anyone was waiting to see how Trevor Noah would perform as host of The Daily Show, last night’s episode was not the show they were waiting for. Because we won’t really know how he’s going to do until we got those last few Stewart jokes out of our systems.
That’s not to say that Noah was a poor host or that last night’s episode was bad. It just felt much more like the epilogue of Stewart’s show than the premier of Noah’s. Stewart’s ghost was still present in the good but not great riff on John Boehner’s leaving. He was there during Noah’s spit take and Mets reference. And he was addressed specifically at the top of the show when Noah talked about how honored he is to take over The Daily Show. For the first time in 16 years, the show was better when Stewart wasn’t around.
Because at those moments, it just felt like too much. Noah was a good host. He was great during his interactions with the corespondents, and surprisingly, in some ways he was a better interviewer than Stewart. What he’s not very good at is being a Jon Stewart impersonator while also trying to establish himself as the new face of our favorite late-night show. It’s too much to do, and it made Noah look like he was trying to hard. It made him hold a couple of those grins for a second too long, and by God, if he catches Colin Jost disease I will burn this place to the ground.
But like a lot of awkward first dates, it did show a lot of promise. Hopefully now that Stewart’s been given his due the show can move on to actually being Noah’s show. And if he can work with everyone as well as he did new correspondent Roy Wood, Jr. (who was amazing), we should have our favorite fake news show around for another 16 years.