NEW YORK (AP) — The deal was done only last week, says Trevor Noah, the 31-year-old South African comedian who will take over "The Daily Show" from longtime host Jon Stewart.
Shortly after Comedy Central made the news official Monday, Noah, on a standup comedy tour, discussed his new gig by phone from Dubai.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: How do you feel to be taking over soon from Stewart?
TREVOR NOAH: I don't think of taking over. I'm joining the team. It's a huge ship that has won Emmys and Peabodys for a reason, because it's a fantastic team of writers and producers working to make that show magic. I get to be a part of that now as the host and a face, sharing that space with my fellow correspondents. I feel really confident. All I needed in my life was Jon's blessing. That's what I have, so I'm looking forward to being part of 'The Best Damn News Show in the World'!
AP: You have a much different background than Stewart. How will that affect the show?
TN: One thing we both share: We are both progressives. Obviously where you're from may inform a lot of your decisions. But traveling the world I've learned that progressives, regardless of their locations, think in a global space. And although I happen to be a guy who's not from the same place that Jon's from, I've lived in America for years before I went back out on the road, and I've learned to love the place. I'll bring something different because I am different, but because it's a team, it'll be the same as well.
AP: You may not have heard: There's a big U.S. election coming up. Are you looking forward to addressing that on the show?
TN (laughing): I love the drama around it! That's going to be fascinating to be part of, this time. And that's the environment 'The Daily Show' thrives in, taking that information and deciphering it and getting it out to everybody in a way that's not biased in any way, hopefully, where you're going, "This is the bare bones of what you need to know and how you need to know it, in the funniest way possible."
AP: Although Stewart has called it a "fake news show," a lot of people do rely on "The Daily Show" as a primary news source. Will that continue?
TN: When you are honest in your comedy, you have to acknowledge the world that you're in. Through a comedic voice you're talking about what needs to be talked about, whether it's race relations or politics or anything that's happening on a global or an American scale. That's exactly the space "The Daily Show" is in.
AP: The late-night talk/comedy realm is pretty crowded. How do you feel to be going up against all that competition?
TN: "Against" is a very strong term. Maybe it's because I come from a very utopian world of being a comedian, but I'm used to many live comedy performances going on in any city I'm in, and each of us is trying to be the best at what we do. I don't think of it as a competition so much as a thriving comedy economy. And now I'm joining on a show with one of the best teams in the world.
AP: How involved will Stewart be in the show once you arrive?
TN: What's great for me is, I have in him a mentor and a friend who I can call on, who can give me advice — a fellow comedian, at the end of the day.