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Hitting the big time

March 30, 2015

A young South African comedian will take the helm of one of America's most influential satirical news shows, The Daily Show. Trevor Noah, 31, will replace Jon Stewart, who has hosted for 16 years.

Süd Afrika Komiker Trevor Noah
Image: Dominic Barnardt/Gallo Images/Getty Images for MTV

Trevor Noah will take over the reins of one of late-night America's biggest talk programs, The Daily Show, the Comedy Central channel announced on Monday.

It comes after incumbent host Jon Stewart, who has led the show for 16 years, announced last month he would retire as host, although that date has not yet been announced.

The show, which is syndicated around the world, has won wide praise for Stewart's bitingly comic take at news and how it is covered in the media.

US Komiker Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart has not set a date for his Daily Show exitImage: picture alliance/ZUMA Press/W. Dabkowski

Noah, relatively unknown in the United States, has appeared a handful of times on the show. He is well known back home, having hosted his own late night talk show in South Africa.

His first appearance on The Daily Show touched on his home country - with a play on South African stereotypes as well as US police brutality.

"I never thought I'd be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa. It kind of makes me nostalgic for the old days, back home," Noah quipped.

Noah, who grew up in the Johannesburg suburb of Soweto, was born during apartheid to a black, South African mother, and a white, Swiss father. His career in post-apartheid South Africa was the subject of a documentary film, "You Laugh But It's True," by director David Paul Meyer.

"You don't believe it for the first few hours," Noah told the New York Times from Dubai upon learning of his new job. "You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you're in a place where you can't really drink alcohol.

Stewart offered his endorsement of Noah, tweeting he was "very excited" to welcome the show's next host.

jr/sb (AP, AFP)