These days, Trevor Noah is answering a lot of different variations on the same question: What will your “Daily Show” be like? In a new interview with The New York Times, the 31-year-old comedian gives his biggest clues yet about what to expect when he takes over at the end of the month, how he feels about being a second choice, and the Twitter scandal that tried to take him down before he had even filmed his first episode.
“With one of the tweets, I wrote a joke about being fat,” Noah says of a controversy that erupted shortly after his appointment as Stewart’s successor earlier this year, as people combed through his old Twitter posts. “And then they were like, “He’s fat-shaming.” That tweet was about me. I’ve been fat before. I’ve suffered through depression and used food to comfort myself. I grew up in an abusive household where chocolate was my only solace. There was a time when I was in a relationship, and both myself and my girlfriend got extremely fat. And we joked about it.”
The background of Noah, who was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, will also influence a new broader worldview of “The Daily Show.”
“The show will be a representation of my interests,” he explains. “As America is increasingly learning, if a butterfly flaps its wings on the Chinese stock exchange, there’s a good chance it affects America. Syria’s crisis has gone from the Syrian crisis to the Greek crisis to the European crisis. And very soon, it may now become an American crisis.”
Noah insists that he will work, and he has been working very hard already, even though fans have yet to see the efforts. “We basically had five weeks to do what [Stephen] Colbert joked he had nine months to do,” Noah points out, explaining the prep period. “I’m willing to bet we had the shortest turnaround time of any reboot of any late-night show, which is an insane undertaking. Our goal is to get as close to the place we want to be and then build on that foundation.”