Jon Stewart’s replacement on The Daily Show will be Trevor Noah, the New York Times reported this morning. For many, the choice will come as a surprise, or at least a bit of a mystery: The 31-year-old comedian has made only three appearances on the show.
Instead, the comedian has made his name in large part outside of the United States. He has hosted several shows in his native South Africa, where he was born to a black South African woman and a white Swiss man, whose relationship was illegal under Apartheid. When the New York Times spoke to him, he was on a comedy tour in Dubai. He speaks six languages.
Like John Oliver, Noah, who comes Jon Stewart–approved, often turns his outsider’s perspective into comedy. In his first appearance on The Daily Show, he asked Stewart to play a game of “Spot the Africa,” in which he had to distinguish between photos of Africa and photos of the United States.
Other times his material is less political. One of his most popular videos on YouTube has him telling a fish-out-of-water story that plays with how the word napkin has different meanings in different countries.
But Noah has said in his stand-up that he does not like to be introduced as a comedian from Africa. On the Late Show With David Letterman in 2013, he said, “They make it sound like a guy in leopard skin’s going to come running on the stage.”
Though many will be happy that Noah is not just another white man on late night, others will be disappointed that the trend of nearly all-male late-night hosts continues. In February, support began to swell around Jessica Williams, before she called herself “underqualified” and suggested she didn’t want the job.
As for Noah, he expects some will think he’s underqualified as well. “We live in a world where some people still say Beyoncé can’t sing,” he told the Times. “Clearly I’m not immune to that.”