“My time is up”: Noah announces Daily Show departure one day after ripping Biden

Source: Hot Air

Well, that didn’t take long.

I kid, I kid … I’m sure Trevor Noah didn’t get forced out of his cushy late-night Daily Show gig because he ripped Joe Biden’s mental acuity after the president’s “Where’s Jackie?” incident. It appears that this decision was Noah’s, although there’s more to that, too.

But I bet I know why he suddenly felt comfortable making that joke the day before making this announcement:

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Noah revealed his plans to an audience at Thursday evening’s taping of the program in New York, saying that “I’ve loved hosting this show. It’s been one of my greatest challenges. It’s been one of my greatest joys. I’ve loved trying to figure out how to make people laugh even when the stories are particularly shitty on the worst days.”

Why now, though? It’s not quite now, apparently. Even though Noah’s announcement sounded very much like a valediction, he apparently will remain on the air for an undetermined amount of time. At least, that’s what his employer thinks:

It was not immediately clear when his actual exit would take place, or whether the Paramount Global cable network had begun to consider a successor. Jill Fritzo, a representative for Noah, could not be reached for immediate comment.

“We are grateful to Trevor for our amazing partnership over the past seven years.  With no timetable for his departure, we’re working together on next steps,” the network said in a statement. “As we look ahead, we’re excited for the next chapter in the 25+ year history of ‘The Daily Show’ as it continues to redefine culture through sharp and hilarious social commentary, helping audiences make sense of the world around them.”

That certainly makes it sound as though the decision was Noah’s, but as I suggested, there’s more to that story too. The Daily Show stopped redefining culture years ago, if it ever did that at all. Viewership for Noah has plunged over his seven-year run, The Daily Mail reports, perhaps even worse than for late-night comics overall:

Viewing figures were typically around 1.5 million for each episode during Stewart’s tenure and rose as high as 2.5 million in 2013.

Nine years on, and viewing figures for the week of September 19-25 showed The Daily Show pulled in an audience of just 363,000, according to television and film ratings site ShowbuzzDaily.com – a drop partially attributed to the rising popularity of YouTube and streaming platforms versus legacy media, but also associated with the show’s increasing political bias and perceived tilt towards embracing ‘woke’ ideology.

By saying, “My time is up,” Noah may have been hinting at that environment. As Variety points out at the first link, late-night comedy has slowly been dying overall anyway. While the broadcast networks haven’t yet abandoned it, Warner/Discovery canceled both Samantha Bee and Conan O’Brien in the past year in favor of other programming. Viacom and Comedy Central narrowed down its late-night commitment from three talk shows to just The Daily Show before Noah announced his departure. Even at NBC, they trimmed off their 1:30 am show with Lilly Singh last year. Broadcasters are moving away from this genre, so Noah’s clearly not the only comic who’s crashing in the ratings. Noah may just have decided to jump before he got pushed.

Given the nature of Comedy Central, they can’t exactly abandon this format. What will they do? Variety expects them to go even more woke than before:

Comedy Central has several potential replacements for Noah on its roster. The host works with a large circle of faux “correspondents” that includes mainstays such as Desi Lydic, Roy Wood Jr., Ronny Chieng, Michael Kosta and Dulcé Sloan. Jordan Klepper, who once hosted “The Opposition,” a show that followed “Daily,” is a regular contributor, and has gained traction online for segments in which he visits conservatives at rallies and asks them questions about the state of the nation. Comedy Central has also been working with Charlamagne Tha God on a weekly showcase that mixes comedy, commentary and news.

If that’s the entire range of their options, they may pine for a return of Noah. Predictable comedy isn’t compelling, and clapter only gets you the neediest of viewers who are desperate enough for validation to stay up that late for it. Bee’s program and its arc should have made that clear, even at Comedy Central.

That’s why one has to think that Noah’s departure announcement immediately after attacking Biden’s clear cognitive issues is not entirely a coincidence. Noah may have felt a little more free to swing for the fences after making that decision. It might be the last comedic surprise on Comedy Central for a while, too.