After a few short weeks as the new Daily Show host, 31-year-old South African Trevor Noah is already bringing a global perspective to his jokes. He didn't grow up completely immersed in day-to-day American pop culture or politics, but he's now tasked with covering and mocking both from one of the most prominent pulpits in late night.
From the opening segment of his debut as host, Noah has reminded the audience that he's bringing a fresh perspective on the beloved show.
"I'm not going to lie, growing up in the dusty streets of South Africa, I never dreamed that I would have, well, two things really: an indoor toilet and a job as the host of the Daily Show, and now I have both, and I'm quite comfortable with one of them," he said in the first episode.
Noah is open about his background and frequently incorporates it into his comedy. In the same opening night segment, he brings up immigration, simultaneously mocking himself and reminding the audience where he's coming from.
"Why didn't they get an American to host?" he asked. "And, again, Comedy Central tried, and so, once more, a job Americans rejected is being done by an immigrant."
Noah has already drawn frequent comparisons between American and South African culture to point out some basic striking differences between the two. In his Oct. 8 segment about bipartisan criminal justice reform, he addresses the high volume of people imprisoned in the U.S., claiming that Americans seem to love prison so much, they even put it in their board games.
"You don't understand how weird that is for me," Noah said, pointing to a Monopoly board. "There is no game in Africa where part of the fun is going to jail for doing nothing wrong."
His most compelling comparison is his claim that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump is America's "African president." In this segment, Noah pairs clips of Trump with similar behaviors and quotes from various corrupt African leaders. He claims that it's not that Trump isn't presidential, "it's just that he's running on the wrong continent."
What starts off as a lighthearted jab at Trump's many idiosyncrasies and outrageous statements turns into a darkly humorous warning about just how dangerous Trump's popularity and presence could become. Toward the end of the segment, Noah's comparisons escalate in gravity, pairing Trump quotes with quotes from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and ending with a direct link to former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. While funny, these links point to the underlying threat of Trump hysteria.
Noah's ability to zoom out and see the bigger, more globalized view of American political issues is a unique skill set that other late night hosts don't have. In only a few weeks, Noah has established the value of his diverse perspective, one that will keep paying off for viewers in the months and episodes to come.
Watch the full segment of "Donald Trump: America's African President" here:
Source: Comedy Central