It’s the Daily Show with Trevor Noah! Jon Stewart’s replacement had an almost impossible task last night, not only filling in for the legendary satirist, but winning over the most pernickety audience imaginable.
It’s a challenge that clearly weighed on the South African comedian’s mind. He opened with a tribute to Stewart, calling him “our voice, our refuge, and in many ways our Political Dad.”
“And now it feels like the family has a new stepdad,” he continued. “And he’s black.”
Noah also addressed criticisms that a woman should have been the successor, revealing that many were asked but all said no – “so once more, a job Americans rejected is now being done by an immigrant.”
He vowed to continue the show’s endless, righteous “war on bull****”, but did people believe him?
The best part of any TV event is critics quoting other critics, thereby establishing a consensus. So let’s do that.
According to Rob Harvilla on The Concourse (part of the Gawker blog network), Noah “totally didn’t suck.”
The Guardian said the shock of seeing Noah appear after the familiar opening was like “looking in the mirror fresh after a haircut.”
(This is a surprisingly useful phrase. “How did the job interview go?” “It was like looking in the mirror fresh after a haircut.” “And the date?” “It was like shaving after a swim.” “And the haircut?” “Terribly.”)
Referring to Noah’s ‘black step-dad’ gag, The A.V. Club came up with a metaphor and ran as far and as fast as they could.
“Trevor’s not the stepdad in this scenario; he’s the kid who’s been left with dad’s really cool, very valuable car. Any modifications to the vehicle are so far superficial; in his inaugural turn at the wheel of The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, he didn’t take the car out on the highway and open ’er up. He took a gentle ride around the block, picking up friends old and new along the way, eventually finding a parking spot where he could take out his phone and share this Kevin Hart clip he just found on YouTube.”
CNN Money (yes, CNN Money) went for a nautical theme, saying Noah “started to row the boat without rocking the boat.”
The Hollywood Reporter forgave Noah for not immediately making sweeping changes, noting that it took Stewart a while to turn into Jon Stewart. “It was about being as broad and welcoming as possible, reassuring a nervous fanbase, ”reviewer Daniel Fienberg claimed, but believed it would take “a few weeks or months” before it will truly be “time to review The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”