Trevor Noah’s seven-year tenure as host of “The Daily Show” came to an end last week, and despite issuing what came across as an earnest and heartfelt goodbye, he will not be missed.
Noah, a cynical leftist hack, was unable to fill the shoes left by his predecessor Jon Stewart, another cynical leftist hack whom many credit as the progenitor of what is now the ubiquitous rabidly leftist propaganda mill that is late-night television.
However, unlike Stewart, Noah was unable to find a balance between his position as Comedy Central’s chief shill and actually, occasionally being funny, instead choosing to double down as a leftist activist whose jokes disproportionately targeted people to the right of any given Democrat Party talking dot. This may, in part, explain the show’s steady decline in viewership.
Indeed, under the 38-year-old host’s stewardship, “The Daily Show’s” ratings plummeted, which might be why he sought an exit. By his seventh year headlining the show, Noah had lost 65 percent of his audience. The South African comedian-turned-American political activist averaged just 383,000 viewers, down from his average of 1.1 million in 2015. His all-time high, naturally, accompanied his debut as the show’s host with 3.47 million viewers.
Noah’s nonstop shilling on behalf of the left’s interests (calling himself a “Cuomosexual,” chastizing “anti-vaxxers,” accusing “Star Wars” critics of racism, and more), simply put, wasn’t entertaining. And it was an explicit attempt at alienating half of his potential audience.
In an editorial written for The New York Times after the election of President Donald Trump, Noah even said he believed he had an obligation to overtly antagonize “the opponents of liberal, progressive America.”
When I took over “The Daily Show” from Jon Stewart in 2015, I was surprised to learn that my job as a late-night comedy host was not merely to entertain but to eviscerate — to attack, crush, demolish and destroy the opponents of liberal, progressive America.
His focus on using his platform to “eviscerate” the enemies of “progressive America” explains his opposition to Israeli defensive actions while ignoring the atrocities committed by terrorist organizations such as Hamas. It also contextualizes much of his anti-Catholic bigotry.
Noah’s anti-Catholic rhetoric was so apparent that the Catholic League took note. In a press release detailing some of the more egregious anti-Catholic statements made by Noah since starting as the host of “The Daily Show,” Bill Donohue, the league’s president, said, “Noah will go down as one of the most vulgar and bigoted comedians in television history.” Much of the anti-Catholic sentiment expressed by Noah amounted to jokes at the expense of victims of past sexual abuse scandals or about Pope Francis’s genitals.
Fully embracing the left’s “do as I say, not as I do” lifestyle, in his Times editorial, Noah criticized his ideological adversaries’ lack of intellectual nuance, writing:
Mr. Trump’s victory has only amplified the voices of extremism. It has made their arguments more simplistic and more emotional at a time when they ought to be growing more subtle and more complex.
Noah unironically believes that Republican voters, cultural conservatives, or anyone else deemed to be an “opponent of liberal, progressive America” must have nuanced and complex reasons for why they think inflation is bad, a southern border wall is good, or that abortions hurt women. On the other hand, he and his peers are perfectly justified in comparing the sacrament of baptism to “waterboarding babies” without backlash and don’t see the harm in calling you racist if you don’t like “Star Wars.” This mentality permeated every aspect of “The Daily Show” under Noah; you will be hard-pressed to find an instance in which he doesn’t reduce his adversaries’ stances to the flimsiest of strawmen while ensuring good faith dialogue for those with whom he already agreed.
The far-reaching goodwill “The Daily Show” and its personalities earned by providing viewers with hours of well-intentioned belly laughs and inebriated chortles in years past has expired, and rightfully so. The transformation of American comedy to the corporate dissemination of a condescending holier-than-thou, left-wing ethos is an utterly miserable phenomenon that worsens our shared cultural experience and only breeds mutual resentment.
Despite Noah’s departure, “The Daily Show” will continue, and a different well-known comedian will host the show each week in his stead. It’s unclear, at this time, if Comedy Central plans to hire another full-time host to replace him, but what is clear is that with a rotating roster consisting of intersectional luminaries such as Chelsea Handler, Kal Penn, Leslie Jones, Hasan Minhaj, John Leguizamo, and Al Franken, “The Daily Show” will continue to wage war on enemies of left-wing orthodoxy.
Samuel Mangold-Lenett is a staff editor at The Federalist. His writing has been featured in the Daily Wire, Townhall, The American Spectator, and other outlets. He is a 2022 Claremont Institute Publius Fellow. Follow him on Twitter @Mangold_Lenett.