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One of These Women Should Succeed Trevor Noah as ‘Daily Show’ Host

The Daily Beast 10/1/2022 Matt Wilstein
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty © Provided by The Daily Beast Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty

The last time Comedy Central was on the hunt for a new host of The Daily Show, some of the biggest names in comedy were being thrown around as possible replacements for Jon Stewart. Amy Poehler reportedly delivered the “quickest no in history,” Chris Rock considered doing it for just one season, and Amy Schumer told The Daily Beast that she was tempted but couldn’t imagine being tied to a nightly gig.

Seven years later, Trevor Noah, the then-relatively unknown South African comedian who ultimately landed the coveted gig, has shocked fans—and according to sources behind the scenes, his own staff—by announcing his imminent departure to pursue stand-up and other opportunities.

Let the speculation begin!

When Noah took over the show in 2015, the late-night landscape was even less diverse than it is now. But with his departure and the recent cancellation of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS, it remains whiter and more male than ever. Next year will also see the end of James Corden’s run as host of The Late Late Show, which means that there are presumably two slots open that could, and should, go to female comics.

So with that in mind, here are seven women—not including the equally deserving if somewhat less well-known current correspondents Desi Lydic and Dulcé Sloan—who could easily replace Trevor Noah. That’s assuming, of course, that Comedy Central decides to stick with The Daily Show franchise after 26 years on the air.

Samantha Bee

Samantha Bee Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty © Provided by The Daily Beast Samantha Bee Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

As the longest-serving correspondent on The Daily Show, Samantha Bee was the obvious choice to replace Jon Stewart in 2015 and is somehow still the obvious choice to replace Trevor Noah now that her TBS show is no more. Incredibly, she was not even considered the first time around, as she revealed to me on The Last Laugh podcast in 2019.

“They didn’t ask me or talk to me about it. I mean, literally, no one called or even emailed from the network—at all,” she said at the time. “It was awful. It was really awful. I mean, eventually they spoke to me, but I want to say it was a full month or six weeks after Jon had announced that he was leaving. I was never in contention and I very much knew that. I don’t know that people in the outside world knew how much I was not being considered for the job.”

Still, Bee managed to be an essential late-night TV voice over six years of Full Frontal, making her the lone survivor in a sea of canceled female-fronted shows. And that was never more apparent than in what ended up being her final monologue in June of this year, just days before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

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Amber Ruffin

Amber Ruffin NBC © Provided by The Daily Beast Amber Ruffin NBC

Amber Ruffin, who still writes for Late Night with Seth Meyers despite hosting her own weekly show, is currently the only woman in the explicitly political “late-night” game. The only problem is, The Amber Ruffin Show streams on Peacock so it remains criminally underseen. But it’s easy to imagine her profile rising dramatically were she given the much bigger platform of The Daily Show, where she could not only continue delivering spot-on, joke-filled monologues about the news but also expand her skill set to include long-form interviews. It’s about time a wider audience had the chance to enjoy the jokes white guys like Seth Meyers can’t tell.

Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman Kevin Winter/Getty © Provided by The Daily Beast Sarah Silverman Kevin Winter/Getty

It’s now been nearly four years since Hulu canceled Sarah Silverman’s I Love You, America and we’re still waiting for her to get another shot. It seemed promising when HBO ordered a talk show pilot co-produced with Judd Apatow less than a year later, but then the network decided not to pick it up to series. “I felt like, Wow. I feel they needed this show, to be honest,” Silverman said at the time. “But it’s their channel; they can do whatever they want. Who cares.” Whether or not she would want to step into an existing program like The Daily Show remains unknown, but Silverman clearly remains passionate about the format and would be the kind of big name to give the semi-flagging show a boost.

Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes NBC © Provided by The Daily Beast Wanda Sykes NBC

Speaking of big names who probably wouldn’t want to take over from Trevor Noah but would be undeniably excellent at it, isn’t it about time Wanda Sykes got another chance to host her own show after her self-titled talk show ran for just one season in 2009? At 58 years old, she’s not exactly the young upstart that is often considered for these gigs, but she is easily one of the funniest stand-up comics in the game, full stop, and might be able to bring some of Jon Stewart’s clout and gravitas back to the franchise.

Nikki Glaser

Nikki Glaser Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty © Provided by The Daily Beast Nikki Glaser Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Hear me out. No, the host of FBoy Island is not exactly known for political comedy. But she is one of the most ambitious and opinionated comedians working right now and more than proved she has what it takes to roast politicians of all stripes when she delivered the best Jimmy Kimmel Live! guest-host monologue of the summer in August. I mean, who else is going to be bold enough to make jokes about Marjorie Taylor Greene like this one: “She’s of course anti-abortion. And sadly, so was her mom.”

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Sam Jay

Sam Jay NBC © Provided by The Daily Beast Sam Jay NBC

A former Saturday Night Live writer and exceptional stand-up comedian, Sam Jay is doing just fine on her HBO late-night series Pause. But her willingness to step into a bigger spotlight as the “voice” of this year’s Emmy Awards shows she may have her eye on bigger things. It wasn’t her fault she was a terrible fit for that disastrous broadcast, but she somehow seemed to keep having fun throughout and might just excel if given the chance to share what are sure to be unexpected opinions about the news of the day.

Jena Friedman

Jena Friedman CBS © Provided by The Daily Beast Jena Friedman CBS

Before she was an Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and host of her own irreverent shows like Soft Focus and True Crime Story: Indefensible, comedian Jena Friedman started out as a field producer on The Daily Show. So it would be quite the full-circle moment for her to end up as its host so many years later. And unlike the other women on this list, she has expressed actual interest in the gig. Asked by a Twitter follower this week if she would be up for taking over either Trevor Noah or James Corden’s spot, she replied, “In a fetal heartbeat.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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