Fans of The Daily Show are curious about Trevor Noah, who Comedy Central has announced as the new host of their flagship news show. He’s not as well-known as many of the contenders who had been considered frontrunners in the race for the job, though he has made three appearances on The Daily Show so far. But his 2013 special African American, streaming on Netflix, offers a much more detailed look at his personality and sense of humor.
The stand-up performance, which runs over an hour, focuses on his identity as a mixed-race South African and his journey to America, where — as it turned out — race was even more complicated than in the land of apartheid. He jokes about being mistaken for Latin-American, watching depressing UNICEF ads about Africa (“Where’s that, Cleveland?”) and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa (when one kid gets a beating, he says, “because it’s Oprah’s school, everybody’s getting one! You’re getting a beating! You’re getting a beating!”).
Noah’s performance in the special is more high-energy than his past Daily Show appearances, and fans might be charmed not only by his South African cadences but his talent for other accents as well. And in a late-night landscape that’s overwhelmingly white, Noah’s fresh takes on race, bolstered by his outsider’s perspective on America, make him an especially exciting choice for The Daily Show.