It's almost time for the end of an era. After months of talking about it, crying over it, and writing thinkpieces about it, Aug. 6 marks Jon Stewart's final episode hosting The Daily Show. Starting in September, Trevor Noah will host The Daily Show from now until he retires, and we'll have an entire generation of children who will grow up not immediately associating Stewart with the Comedy Central "faux news" program that taught all us millennials — and quite a few non-millennials — all our news. Of course, Stewart and Noah are two very different comedians at two very different stages in their lives, so there can be no doubt that a Daily Show hosted by Noah will be subtly and overtly different from the show under Stewart's tenure. But what exactly will the Daily Show change with Noah as host?
The thing that we have to keep in mind is that we don't want the show to stay the same with a different host. Why would we? Locking Noah in a box and telling him he has to perform as Stewart when he will forever be unfavorably compared to Stewart anyway is unfair to him as a performer and to us as his audience. No one can be Jon Stewart, and no one can do for the show what he did for the show. I'm of the opinion that The Daily Show should do a complete overhaul such that it is almost unrecognizable as the show that Stewart just left, if only because I want to go into Noah's tenure with no preconceived notions of what he is "supposed" to do with his show.
Since that's not possible, here are seven things that might, or should, change under Noah. New host, new show.
1. The Show Might Need A New Opening
The opening is the first thing that people are going to see come September, and I'm definitely not suggesting that they completely dump all that blue and "Dog On Fire." However, Noah could definitely tweak the opening a little bit, just adding a little extra, maybe a logo or a graphic or even a updated version of the theme song that lets us know we're watching The Daily Show With Trevor Noah before the title card even appears.
2. His Rapport With The Correspondents Will Be Different
I mean, this is just a given. Stewart's main shtick was to play the curious straight man to the antics of his correspondents as they ranted and raved about, or made fun of, some inexplicable news story from the other side of his desk. We might get to see even more of a back and forth between Noah and them, with him joining in the fun rather than trying to keep a straight face, or even having his correspondents interview him about certain stories.
3. Not To Mention How He Conducts His Interviews
I've only seen Noah's stand up, so I don't have much of a frame of reference for how he might handle his interviews with celebrities and political figures. Will he be genuinely interested in interviewing them, joking around with them, and allowing them to say their piece like Stewart? Will he hilariously dominate the interview like Colbert, playing Devil's Advocate so they get the chance to defend their positions? Will he change the interview format entirely? We'll just have to wait and see.
4. Noah Might Decide To Add A New Segment
One of the key differences between The Daily Show and The Nightly Show is that Larry Wilmore has an entire segment in which he has a panel of people debate over some issue that is big in the news. Perhaps Noah will introduce a similar segment into his own program to give it a little edge that will make it different from Stewart. Of course, that would bring us right to the next change, which is...
5. In Fact, The Format Of The Show Could Change A Lot
I can't imagine that the format of the show is going to stay exactly the same under Noah's tenure. Oh, sure, there are some segments that he absolutely has to do because they are the essence of The Daily Show, but who says he has to do them every episode? Heck, who says he even has to do them in the same order that people have come to expect them? With a new host could come a complete overhaul in the format of the show that weaves new segments in among a new sequence of the old, breathing fresh air into the franchise.
6. The Writing For The Show Will Definitely Be Different
The jokes that were written for Stewart are going to be different than the jokes that should be written for Noah. They're two completely different comedians, and something that might have been delivered with Stewart's deadpan serious face would just sound odd coming from Noah's mouth.
7. The Target Demographic Could Change As Well
Stewart has hosted The Daily Show for so long that he pulled in a steady audience of young'ins and old'ins alike, people who grew up with Stewart, people who watched Stewart as an alternative to the news, people who fell in love with The Daily Show for the first time when Stewart was hosting. Noah is younger and newer than Stewart, and he might bring in an even younger target audience to the Comedy Central show.
One thing is for sure, however. No matter how much The Daily Show changes, we should be excited for those changes rather than afraid. It's a new era, and that is not, necessarily, a bad thing.