Most of Noah’s farewells take on the same tone — nostalgic, but cheeky. Aside from a brief interview with comedian Neal Brennan, the episode is entirely devoted to looking back at Noah’s seven years at the helm and poking fun at his vague plans for the future. At one point, Noah, who often refers to his South African upbringing, joked “just a few hours before I flew back to Africa”.
“Rafiki holding the new baby,” he continued, citing a famous scene from the movie “The Lion King.” “We all have to be there. It’s the whole thing.”
Noah announced he was leaving “The Daily Show” in September, explaining on air that he wanted to spend more time in other areas of his life, whether it was family and friends, live comedy and touring. Seven years later, he said, “My time has come. But in the most beautiful way.” , Hasan Minhaj, Kal Penn, Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes and Marlon Wayans, among others.)
The Daily Show transformed into a cultural institution under the late-night show’s second host, Jon Stewart, who spent 16 years with the show. Noah, a South African comedian virtually unknown to U.S. audiences in 2015, was an unlikely successor to Stewart, but Comedy Central executives chose him to appeal to a millennial audience.
Ultimately, Noah, 38, was able to do more than speak truth to a younger crowd. As The Washington Post’s Elahe Izadi observed this week in reflecting on his years as host, “Noah can bring something that Stewart and his once-rumored possible replacements can’t: a style that only outsiders can bring. To give the comic point of view he offers it’s part of it.
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On Thursday, “The Daily Show” reporters dedicated their segment to saying goodbye to Noah.
Stock reporter Michael Costa noted, “As much as I love numbers, I prefer a different n-word: nostalgia.” Weatherperson Desi Lydic gave Noah a rather self-centered exit interview: “You miss me most What?” she asked. Internet trends expert Ronny Chieng joked that he didn’t need Noah anymore — “Thanks to the show, I’m in multiple pillar franchises,” he boasted — while traffic reporter Roy Wood Jr. implored Noah to drop the bullshit Gibberish: “Admit it. You’re not African.”
Lottery announcer Dulcé Sloan directly answers the question on everyone’s mind: What’s next for Noah? It was hard for her to understand. According to the host, he didn’t have any specific plans. “So you just quit your job and do nothing? Wow, you’re really half white,” Sloan commented.
Surprise guest Jordan Klepper, a former reporter who has returned to the show on and off, has his theory: Maybe Noah will run a candy store. Klepper introduced the idea in a video segment in which he interviewed New Yorkers about how Noah’s departure made them feel. Some have passion in their ideas. One thought Jimmy Fallon was a “Daily Show” reporter.
New Yorkers can be considered a suitable sample of the US population, with varying views and perspectives. Noah admits towards the end of the episode that he still doesn’t know much about the country, and is becoming more and more aware of the fact that “the more I learn, the more interesting it is”.
So maybe Noah didn’t swoop in and fix America after all. But he does manage to convey some valuable lessons he’s learned over the years and tries to incorporate that into the way he plays.
The first lesson, he said, is that “problems are real, but politics is just an invented way to solve them…it’s not binary. There are more than two ways to solve any problem.”
The second is “never forget the importance of context”. When Noah first started hosting the show, people hated him for superficial reasons, like his hair and accent, he said. Seven years later, “These people still hate me — but now for the right reasons. Because they know me. They understand me.”
There were multiple references to Noah’s haters throughout the night — “those who hated watching, we still got the ratings,” he quipped — but positivity reigned supreme. He thanked viewers on several occasions, and specifically called out black women for shaping the way he sees the world.
That cry dovetails with the final lesson Noah hosts on the show: Gratitude.
“It taught me to be grateful for all that I had, all that I didn’t even realize I had,” he said. “Thank you to the wonderful people who help me make each episode.”