South Africa's Trevor Noah to replace Jon Stewart on 'Daily Show'

Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:28pm EDT
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By Susan Heavey and Patricia Reaney

(Reuters) - Trevor Noah, a South African comedian little known to U.S. audiences, will replace Jon Stewart as the host of the Emmy Award-winning, late-night parody newscast "The Daily Show," Comedy Central said on Monday.

The Viacom Inc-owned network said it selected Noah, 31, because he is an "enormous talent" and "wickedly funny." His premiere will be announced at a later date.

Hailing from the township of Soweto, Noah joined "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" as a contributor in late 2014. He said it was an honor to step into Stewart's shoes.

"He and the team at 'The Daily Show' have created an incredible show whose impact is felt over the world," Noah said in a statement. "I'm excited to get started and work with such a fantastic group of people."

South Africans celebrated Noah's big step up, saying his talents will appeal to a global audience and he will change people's perceptions of their country, which is still grappling with the legacy of apartheid-era human rights abuses.

"Over the years, Mr. Noah has proved that laughter is the best medicine and has helped our country and its people to find healing through laughing at themselves," said Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa.

Noah's appointment marks the second major handover at the comedy cable network. Larry Wilmore took over Stephen Colbert's time slot in January after he left the network to succeed David Letterman, who is retiring in May as the host of CBS Television's "Late Show."

But Noah is younger than the middle-aged Wilmore, Colbert and Stewart, who said last month he was giving up the gig but gave no clues about his next career move.   Continued...

Comedian Trevor Noah in an undated photo.     REUTERS/Courtesy Comedy Central