Trevor Noah Taking Over 'The Daily Show' Is Awesome, But We're Still Disappointed The Role Didn't Go To A Woman
The buzz of the day is that South African comedian Trevor Noah is inheriting The Daily Show torch, when Jon Stewart makes his still yet announced exit. Immediate react: hell yeah, because Noah's presence in The Daily Show seat will make for an all-black anchored late night lineup on Comedy Central with Larry Wilmore following with The Nightly Show. But as Bustle's Mary Grace Garis asked earlier today: where are all the women?
Even though it's encouraging and refreshing to see another late-night host that is a person of color, those feelings are complicated by the fact that there still won't be a woman in the chair. It stirs up the uncomfortable argument that not all minority issues can be addressed at once, or, more crassly put, "Wait your turn." But that doesn't mean we can't be mad while still celebrating Noah's takeover of The Daily Show.
It's worth noting that Bill Simmons of Grantland tweeted a plausible-rumor that The Daily Show was after "three big-ass names" to fill Stewart's seat before landing on Noah: Louis CK, Amy Poehler and Amy Schumer. Whether or not there's truth in his tweet is up in the air, but it doesn't seem entirely unrealistic, as both Schumer and CK are Comedy Central treasures and Amy Poehler cut her teeth on satirical news when she ruled Weekend Update.
But it isn't a question of if Trevor Noah deserves the spot: he does, and his previous segments on the show have been thought-provoking and funny, in a way that's unique from Stewart's brand of comedy. But being excited about the groundbreaking move from Comedy Central is dulled a bit by wishing they had made more of an effort to hire a woman.
This could easily trip down the slippery slope of "oppression politics." "If you want a woman replacement, does that mean you're against a black host?" No, not in the slightest. Believe it or not, investments in POC issues and feminist issues are not mutually exclusive. As Flavia Dzodan infamously shouted from the e-rooftops over at Tiger Beatdown, "My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit." As a woman of color, I of course can not speak for other women of color, but I am encouraged by the fact that Noah was Comedy Central's final choice. It is progress for people of color. If Comedy Central had chosen a white woman to fill the seat—like Schumer or Poehler, both of whom are badass and that I love—there would still be a part of me disappointed by the fact that the host would be a white woman rather than a woman of color.
But I don't fault The Daily Show, nor do I accuse them of limiting representation. At the moment, they have a number of young, sharp and hilarious correspondents that are not white, including the goddess Jessica Williams (who said herself that she was too young yet to be hosting), and their most recent addition, Hasan Minhaj. Rather, it's a symptom of the limited and homogenous face of late-night television; since Chelsea Handler left her show, it's been the same parade of white hosts, save for Larry Wilmore, who's doing a bang-up job. Longtime Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee is also jumping ship to create a new show with her husband Jason Jones on TBS (Jones is also departing The Daily Show), but it's still unclear if her new program will have her in the host's seat.
The Daily Show is one of the most progressive late-night shows on air, if not the most. But that does not mean that Jon Stewart and company are infallible; and while we congratulate Trevor Noah for his new position, we still maintain that it's a letdown that we may have to wait another seventeen years before seeing a woman hosting The Daily Show. Progress doesn't have that kind of waiting time.