New Daily Show Not Enough

I’ve been watching The Daily Show with Trevor Noah for nine episodes now. I’m still waiting for it to “click” — and trying to put my finger on just why I’m still waiting for that to happen.

Obviously, I miss Jon Stewart. I wish him well in his new professional wrestling career.

Stewart’s unique personality was deeply embedded in The Daily Show DNA. Simply putting someone else in his chair is not enough.

Sure, they’ve changed the opening credits and the set. The earth now rotates in the astronomically correct direction, which should please Neil deGrasse Tyson when he makes his inevitable first guest appearance on the show. Not enough.

The format is largely unchanged. Noah opens with his commentary. This is followed by a series of video clips on some of the more bizarre recent news developments, correspondent “interviews” and/or “on location” (green screen) reports, and a celebrity interview. Each show ends with a “moment of zen.” Not enough.

The funny thing is, I didn’t have this problem when John Oliver took over for Stewart for an extended period while Stewart worked on his film Rosewater. I thought I would have trouble accepting Oliver as a British national passing judgment on American political stupidity, but I did not. That rules out Noah’s South African origins as the source of my issue with the new show.

Maybe I found Oliver more acceptable because I knew Stewart would eventually return. Maybe it was because I was familiar with Oliver through his frequent presence on the show as a correspondent during the Stewart years. Noah made a few appearances near the end of Stewart’s tenure, but he was still pretty much an unknown to me when he took the helm. Maybe it was because Oliver is just damn funny.

Hmm. I wonder how long Oliver’s contract with HBO for Last Week Tonight runs. Really, one night a week with John Oliver is not enough.

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