“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah argues he stands apart in an increasingly crowded late-night space.
“We’re the only late-night show with a host of color,” Noah told TheWrap. “We are the only late-night show that has an international voice that speaks to politics,” added the South Africa native.
Noah’s tenure at the “Daily Show” has come during a time when the late-night space has undergone numerous changes. When his predecessor, Jon Stewart, was the host, late-night was dominated by the likes of Jay Leno, David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, with Jimmy Kimmel joining the fray in 2003.
But a lot has changed since then.
Both Leno and Letterman have since left the airwaves (though Letterman now has a talk show with Netflix), and the past few years have seen the debuts of John Oliver, Samantha Bee, James Corden, Stephen Colbert (as Letterman’s “Late Show” replacement).
Next year, Showtime will enter the late-night space with a weekly series from former Viceland hosts Desus Nice and The Kid Mero, so Noah won’t be the only minority host in the space for too much longer. Comedy Central has also made numerous attempts to fill the void at 11:30 left by Colbert’s defection to CBS with Larry Wilmore, Chris Hardwick and Jordan Klepper, whose show, “The Opposition” was canceled last week.
Noah said he welcomes the increased competition, noting that the influx of weekly shows like HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” and TBS’ “Full Frontal” have expanded upon what hosts can do in late night.
“I think of them as shows that are all doing something different in and around the same space,” Noah continued, likening all the different late-night show formats to cars. “You have entry level cars, luxury cars, SUVs and sedans. You have so many different type of cars being sold.”
With correspondents including Hasan Minhaj, Dulcé Sloan, Ronny Chieng and Gina Yashere, Noah argued the “Daily Show has “the most diverse cast” in late-night. “That helps us create a show that I think speaks to a wider array of news and political stories,” he said.
After a slow start, Noah’s “Daily Show” has gained steam. Compared to the most recent quarter, “The Daily Show” is pacing three percent higher among the advertiser-coveted adults 18 to 49 demographic. But the one thing that’s been missing is an Emmy win.
Outside of a Creative Arts Emmy win last year for its web video short series, “Between the Scenes,” Noah’s “Daily Show” has struggled to stand out to TV Academy voters. Noah is very aware of the show’s “illustrious history” Emmy wins. “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” won the Emmy for Outstanding Variety series every year from 2003 to 2012.
“In many ways it would validate what we’ve already come to know of ourselves,” Noah says on getting that elusive win. “That we’re doing great work, that we’re growing our audience, that we’ve become a part of the zeitgeist that continuously dissects the news.”