“They have hired a new 'Daily Show' host, Mr. Trevor Noah and I’m very exited about it,” Stewart began. It was a noteworthy moment in its utter absence of the usual studio audience applause when he spoke Noah’s name. Stewart moved on quickly, like one delivering bad news and wanting to get it out quickly:
“I know there was a large kerfuffle on Twitter. But can say this, I think, without hesitation: Trevor Noah will earn your trust and respect. Or Not.”
Stewart then began setting up a phony equivalency, as if he too had been out of favor with the audience when he was announced to take over "The Daily Show," and had re-earned their trust with varying degrees of success:
“Just as I earned your trust and respect. Or did not. Or, sometimes I earned it, and then lost it, and then kind of got it back. But then it was like ‘F--k that guy’ and then it was like, ‘That rally was so stupid, I hate him’,” joked the man who grew "The Daily Show" from some backwater late-night program into the country’s most important comedy show and one of its leading political forums.
Stewart continued to do damage control for his successor:
“The only thing I would say is, I do hope, you give [Noah] an opportunity to earn that trust and respect, because my experience with him is that he is an incredibly thoughtful and considerate and funny and smart individual. And, man, I think you give him that time and it’s going to be well worth it. I’m excited for where he’s going to take this thing.”
Stewart’s dramatic show opening follows by about a week Comedy Central’s statement in which the network said it is standing by Noah after the media looked at his Twitter history.
Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included, Comedy Central felt compelled to say. To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.
Others, however, aren't so sure, after half a days worth of headlines wondering "Did Trevor Noah's Twitter History Just Kill 'The Daily Show?'" or insisting, "Trevor Noah Goes From Hero To Villain In 24 Hours."
Noah had responded to the maelstrom with another tweet saying, "Twitter does not have enough characters to respond to all the characters on Twitter," which he quickly took down. It was later replaced by a tweet in which Noah said he should not be judged by “a handful of jokes that didn't land.”
Among his tweets:
"Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn’t look b4 crossing but I still would have felt so bad in my german car!"
"Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man. #BeatsByDreidel"
"'Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I’m sexy!' – fat chicks everywhere."
Related stories: Justin Bieber Roast, Pre-Show Cook Up Big Twitter TV Ratings
Trevor Noah Fracas "Much Ado About Nothing," Millennials Get Him, Says Aasif Mandvi, Quoting 451-Year-Old Playwright
Justin Bieber Roast Lures 4.4M Viewers On Comedy Central, Sets Social Aflutter