The changing of the guard over at The Daily Show was bound to cause changes in other aspects of the show. And here's a change that I can really get behind. The Daily Show has added three new correspondents to the show's roster — Ronny Chieng, Desi Lydic, and Roy Wood Jr. — and, besides giving us more people to love and to fill the void left by Jason Jones, Samantha Bee, and Jon Stewart himself, the correspondents are also noteworthy for another reason: they are two people of color and a woman. You'd think such a thing wouldn't still be noteworthy in this day and age, but further diversifying the roster of almost every show currently on television would be a breath of fresh air. It seems that when Trevor Noah took over as host of The Daily Show, he made it a priority.
This casting decision brings the number of correspondents of color up to six and the number of female correspondents up to two, out of eight correspondents overall. (Jessica Williams fits into both categories.) Add host Noah himself to that, and you have seven people of color in total. Much like everyone else who has grown up with Jon Stewart as the host of The Daily Show, I have been waiting for Noah to make a move that really served to prove that he was taking the show and making it his own while still preserving the integrity of the program we all know and love. Guys? This is that move.
Of course, I'm not saying that Stewart didn't have a diverse cast of correspondents. His regular cast included four people of color and two women out of a cast of eight (with Williams, again, fitting into both categories), which gives him the same amount of points as Noah as far as representation of of both marginalized groups go. However, Noah's tenure will see a pool of correspondents in which there are three times as many people of color in the group than there are Caucasian correspondents, and that's pretty groundbreaking in and of itself. What does this mean for the future of the show? Well, just think of how many different cultures, backgrounds, and viewpoints are now represented by the diverse roster.
Sure, The Daily Show has never shied away from any news topic, no matter which group of people the story is affecting the most, but there is no good replacement for having the affects on a culture be spoken about directly by a member of that culture. In the past, correspondents have achieved that by interviewing the members of that group, but imagine how much stronger the story would be when approached and framed from the point of view from someone from that culture to begin with. The opportunities here are endless, and it makes me excited to see where else Noah will be taking the show in the future. Visibility and representation are two words that I throw around a lot as I become increasingly distressed by the uniformly Caucasian television shows that I watch regularly, so to have The Daily Show not only continue to be a haven of diversity, but even go so far as to increase their amount of diversity, affects me deeply.
I still miss Stewart. That's a fact that will never change. But, despite some mild controversy, I trust Noah to deliver a show that is very relevant to my interests, that teaches me and entertains me, and that gets me to look at the world in an entirely new way. This is just the first step of what will hopefully be a very bright tenure at the helm of The Daily Show.