Trevor Noah explains how he has changed The Daily Show

Trevor Noah (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
Trevor Noah (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images) /

In a new interview, Trevor Noah talks The Daily Show in the age of a pandemic

Late-night television changed drastically when the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the country. And while these shows are slowly returning to normal, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is one that may have changed for good.

From a visual and production standpoint, the changes at late-night have been obvious. Shows moved away from television studios and live audiences into the homes, apartments, and garages of hosts like Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, and James Corden.

There has also been a tonal shift at these shows. Beyond just delivering jokes, late-night has become a medium for public service announcements and charity initiatives during the pandemic.

Being forced to strip away elements of production was unavoidable. But what has been a choice by shows like The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is to let important discussions take precedent over jokes. Noah explained in an insightful interview with The LA Times:

"I’ve had to be more real because the veneer of showbiz, to some extent, has been removed. There’s a disparity between what you want to tell the [TV audience] as opposed to what you want to tell [the studio audience] and how they’re responding,I think in many ways I’m meeting an appetite by satisfying my own. I’m going to try to voice my opinion and step out a little more than usual."

If you’ve been watching The Daily Show over the past five months, then you’ve noticed the changes that Noah discusses. The show has become less concerned with satirizing and mocking the day’s events and more concerned with getting people the information Noah thinks they want.

This has come through in-depth interviews with newsmakers such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and through Noah’s own insightful monologues. As Noah told The LA Times, this approach is something he has fully embraced during the pandemic:

"I came to realize the show during this time has no rules. The show will be what it needs to be on the day. We’re trying to create as much as we can with what we have. And we’re also trying to create a show that’s as honest as it can be."

Trevor Noah has charted out the future of The Daily Show

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah has by no means become a nightly news program. Fans are still entertained by Noah and his team of correspondents and the Comedy Central show offers an escape from the actual news media.

But Noah has made it clear he understands the moment and he understands that The Daily Show is very much his vehicle to steer. Watching The Daily Show makes it clear that the past few months haven’t been a temporary detour but a more accurate reflection of what Noah wants the show to be.

It is similar to how Stephen Colbert reshaped The Late Show in response to the 2016 election. The show is vastly different than it was under David Letterman but that’s the point. The show was given over to Colbert so it could evolve under his guidance. Now, five years after taking over for Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah has remodeled The Daily Show into what he wants it to become.

When The Daily Show inevitably moves back to the studio, the perspective and attitude Trevor Noah forged during the pandemic will come with him. And audiences, late-night television, and the public will be better off for it.

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What’s your opinion of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah during the pandemic? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.