how are you saying goodbye to a late night show redefined by your presence? Well, if you listen to the advice of Comedy Central executives, Paramount Global boardrooms, and all Daily Show staff – you don’t. But for Trevor Noah, who stepped behind the Daily Show desk for the last time as host on Thursday night, you say goodbye to a party — and thank you.
“One last time,” said Noah, opening the show. “Let’s celebrate.”
Bidding farewell to a full cast of reporters and crew and starring with the Liverpool favorite “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” Noah spent his last show encouraging viewers to appreciate human lives and context across the party divide – all looking back at a show that changed forever under his leadership.
When Noah announced his departure from the show earlier this month, the bombshell reveal sent fans scrambling for reasons behind the sudden exit. Industry insiders said the announcement came as a shock not only to Paramount and Viacom executives, but to the show’s cast and crew, who heard the news live alongside the show’s studio audience. “Part of the reason I did it that way is because I didn’t want anyone to be the person who then tells someone else, who then tells someone else, who then tells someone else,” Noah said. . The Hollywood Reporter. “And this is where we create it. [The show] is where we are together, our space, and so for me, it felt like the most natural way to tell everyone at the same time.”
Starting in 2023, while The Daily Show hosted by a rotating list of guests, Noah will embark on a 28-city North American stand-up tour. But according to Noa, there is no fight or blowup or great great job opportunity that caused him to leave, nothing other than a desire to do something, anything, new. This lack of plans was enough for reporters Michael Kosta, Desi Lydic, Dulce Sloan, Roy Wood Jr., and Jordan Klepper all to have some light fun during their turn in the spotlight.
“You’re leaving a job to do nothing?” Sloan said. “Wow, you really are half white.”
While the big question on everyone’s mind is what Noah does next, the show took a fascinating look back at Noah’s journey from unknown newcomer to beloved (and somewhat divisive) public figure. Instead of featuring some of the host’s most influential videos, there was a light mix of his favorite tag line, “Get the fuck out of here, man.” It also featured cheeky celebrity send-ups from Oprah, Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Nick Offerman, Bill Gates, and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton—a veritable exercise in why we should teach celebrities how to shoot horizontal iPhone videos. But Noah took the credit and the thanks with aplomb, continually redirecting the attention to the audience and the executives in the audience who first chose him.
“Enjoy every moment,” he said in a reflective moment, advice he directed towards a younger version of himself. “There are moments in life that mean something. [But] it’s hard to appreciate in life how all the growth comes from the shitty moments… And don’t invest in crypto.”
When Noah was tapped by execs and given the blessing of former host Jon Stewart in 2015, he was relatively unknown in the world of American stand-up comedy and had only been a Daily Show reporter for three months before stepping in as host. But Noah’s lack of experience with American politics, which many saw as a weakness, gave the former host a new look during the rise of candidate Donald Trump. While later years would see Noah criticized for his tendency to “talk it like human beings” during some tense political situations, Daily Show the host charted the show from a global perspective, allowing Noah to infuse his comedy with a serious intent to see the good in others. Since then, the South African comedian has increased the show’s online presence tenfold, and battled initial ratings dips to become one of the primetime TV staples of the millennium.
Does Noah’s departure signal a sea change in late night television? It’s hard to say. In our current understanding of the format, guests have to be fresh enough to prevent the series from stagnating but established enough to attract attention and retain viewers. And for every success story like Fallon, Colbert, and Stewart, a class Noah now joins, the failures have the potential to push comedy progression back years. That was not the case with Noah, as Thursday’s guest, comedian Neal Brennan, pointed out. “[You] it brought variety to the evening,” he said, presenting his *literal* flowers to Noah. “You turned The Daily Show inside The Breakfast Club.”
It is easy to imagine a final Daily Show with Noah that was much more than the one filmed on Thursday. There were no big guests, no sweeping memorials, and a surprising lack of tears. But what was present at every break, every camera reset, every moment backstage as the reporters hugged and kissed and kissed over growing children, was a celebration. There were more thanks than small points, and even a moment when Noah pushed everything aside to thank Black women for their support and knowledge.
“Who do you think is teaching me?” he said, mentioning his mother and grandmother. “Unlike everyone else, Black women can’t afford to fuck around and find out.”
Trevor Noah said goodbye to his show of seven years with the air of a confident man in his choice – and he focused on creating a final bow that centered the friends and family that meant the most to him.
“It was the craziest journey that I didn’t foresee and I didn’t expect,” Noah told a full audience. “It’s been an honor, thank you.”