Comedy Special Review: Charm trumps focus in Trevor Noah’s Lost In Translation

Trevor Noah was an unexpected but canny choice for Jon Stewart’s replacement on The Daily Show. While he’d been a charismatic presence during appearances in his brief tenure as a correspondent there, his move behind the desk was surprising—he’d only been on the show for four months (and intermittently at that) before being named heir to Stewart’s venerable truth-teller’s throne. But, despite youth, perceived inexperience, and a penchant for regrettably hacky Twitter jokes in his past, the idea had its merits, especially when so much of the news being comically dissected in Stewart’s final months concerned racial tensions in America.

Noah, raised in poverty in Soweto, South Africa (“the home of some of the best racism in the world,” jokes Noah), brought a point of view to The Daily Show that felt necessary, even refreshing. In his correspondent pieces on the show (some …

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