Evolve or perish. It’s Darwin’s idea but it applies as much to show business as it does to The Origin of Species. Comedian Trevor Noah took over The Daily Show yesterday, replacing beloved liberal contrarian Jon Stewart. He’s going to evolve it into his own thing, one trusts, but first baby steps, baby steps. The Daily Show wasn’t broke, after all. So Noah didn’t try to fix it; he just drove it. Stewart was gnomish and Noah stands quite tall — but that literal measure is about the only one by which Stewart’s shoes will be easy to fill. Noah didn’t stumble in his new footwear, though he refrained from dancing too much on day one. Hey, he’s just getting used to the fit.
Brian Lowry at Variety thought Noah was “more at ease and in command than he ever was as a correspondent.” Noah, as he had to, praised Stewart, but also tucked a little ageist dig into his encomium, calling Stewart “in many ways our political dad.” Stewart is 52. Noah, at 31, is looking to evolve The Daily Show into a place where viewers encounter their political brother instead.