South African Comedian Trevor Noah to Take Jon Stewart’s Place Behind the Daily Show Desk

Comedy Central announced today that they’ve firmed up the succession plan for The Daily Show, selecting current correspondent Trevor Noah for the gig. Noah, a South African comedian who joined the program in December 2014, has only had three segments appear on the show, but already has an established presence on the stand-up circuit. Check out his 2014 Live at the Apollo set below.

The 31-year-old Noah creatively mines his own background (born to a Xhosa mother and a Swiss father, he grew up under apartheid in South Africa) and his acclimation to being black in America for his sets. His selection as host of The Daily Show comes as a bit of a surprise, as speculation amongst viewers and reporters was that producers would select a more established performer to anchor their flagship program. While it was doubtful that someone with the profile of Chris Rock or Amy Poehler would shift from Hollywood films to a daily news show, Noah’s name wasn’t one of the ones bandied around in anticipation of Comedy Central’s announcement.

However, the network’s decision to go with a relatively new voice rather than an established one is a savvy one, as it will enable them to adjust the program to Noah’s perspective more gradually rather than make sweeping changes to adjust to someone else’s particular brand. In the light of John Oliver’s success and acclaim for Last Week Tonight over at HBO, embracing a more international perspective at The Daily Show seems a wise move; rather than imitate Stewart’s distinctive style, the network opted to continue its push as a driving force to embrace a wider, more diverse swath of comedic voices. I, for one, am all for it.

Noah himself took to Twitter today to give his take on the announcement: