Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Trevor Noah: America’s black stepdad

By Noosha Uddin

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Michael O'Brien/Flickr

(Michael O’Brien/Flickr)

“Once more, a job rejected by Americans is now being done by an immigrant.”

That was just one line of Trevor Noah’s monologue this past week as The Daily Show’s new host on Comedy Central. And with it came the laughs, the satire and a true manifestation of the American dream for immigrants everywhere.

“It’s weird because dad has left,” Noah joked about his predecessor Jon Stewart. “And now it feels like the family has a new stepdad…and he’s black.”

His 22 minutes of airtime was peppered with snarky side-comments about his race, South African nationality and worthiness of being on the show, all while paying tribute to the show’s former host; it was a humbling satire that won the audience’s hearts instantly. As much as I loved Noah’s debut, his new position as host of one of America’s most popular late night shows brought me, a daughter of a non-white immigrant couple, more than just the usual politically informative entertainment.

To me, Trevor Noah is one step closer to what the United States is meant to be for the world, a thriving nation where people of all over can come together to flourish and succeed. Call it cheesy, call it overrated, but in the household I’ve grown up in – and I’m sure in households of other first-generation Americans – it’s proof that those stories of opportunity and the American dream have a tangible meaning. If a bubbly, dimply, dashing South African immigrant can take over for Jon Stewart, who’s to say any other immigrant can’t do it?

It goes to show that the entertainment industry, which probably needs more reform than any other industry in the United States when it comes to diversity, can finally do something right for the growing demographic of the nation.

In the first few nights, we already see a change in the Daily Show’s substance. Jokes aside about the Johannesburg-native’s “global perspective” on the show, Noah goes on to relate Donald Trump mannerisms to those of an African president, shedding light on regional politics that’s often been overlooked by the mainstream media. It’s a much needed viewpoint, especially with all the homogenous, Americanized perspectives of global news that primarily feature events pertaining to the nation’s interests. It’s a chance to see the unfamiliar side of the world through the same sardonic medium of late night television.

Noah’s been under some criticism about his brash humor on his first day at the job, as well as tweets that have been under some fire earlier this year. But no one’s perfect, and he’s just getting started on the Daily Show.

If his brazenness is what he’s decided to bring to the show, that’s his call. These complaints and criticisms in the past week, if anything, mirror the public’s sense of reluctance to accept Trevor Noah as a new face on Comedy Central’s listing.

If you ask me, it’s about time we had a non-American host a popular television show for the nation, reviving the age-old hope in every immigrant’s heart in the country.

Noosha Uddin is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

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