On September 29th, when comedian Trevor Noah announced he would be leaving “The Daily Show” after hosting the political talk show for seven years, audiences were shocked. The in-studio audience responded with audible gasps, and viewers at home were equally astonished. Now, a new profile of Noah for The Hollywood Reporter reveals that we weren’t the only ones: even his crew didn’t know what was coming that day.
“The Daily Show” showrunner Jen Flanz tells THR that the moment she, head writer Zhubin Parang, and the rest of the crew realized what Noah was doing, it was as if they “lost all feeling in our bodies.” In a five-minute segment, Noah spoke at length about the show’s unexpected impact and the gratitude he felt for his time as its host, before saying, “I found myself thinking throughout the time, everything we’ve gone through — the Trump presidency, the pandemic, the more pandemic — and I realized that after the seven years, my time is up.”
Flanz described the moment to THR, saying, “He starts talking and talking, and I look at Zhubin, like, ‘What is he doing? We’re going to have to edit this.'” The outlet reports that Noah had nothing on the teleprompter at the time and that the host decided against using a script for the announcement. It also describes the somber moment when Flanz and Parang approached Noah’s desk during the act break after the reveal, only for him to apologize for the surprise. “He couldn’t even look at us,” Flanz says, explaining that she tried to crack a joke to help get through the moment.
The Showrunner Found Out At The Same Time As The Studio Audience
The whole ordeal sounds like it could’ve been somewhat painful for the blindsided crew of the series (“Do I look like I knew?” Jen Flanz recalls whispering to Zhubin Parang when he asked if she had a heads up), but Trevor Noah said he felt the need to tell everyone at once within the context of the space they’d built together. “This is where we create the thing,” Noah told THR. “[The show] is where we’re together, our space, and so for me, it felt like the most natural way to tell everybody at the same time.” He also says this was a way for everyone to hear it from him first, as opposed to through the workplace grapevine.
I’ll admit that this does seem like a pretty intense decision to me, especially given the fact that staff meetings also exist for the same purpose. But Noah’s departure will mark the third host transition Flanz has witnessed (the show originally started with Craig Kilborn before Jon Stewart’s tenure), and she says she was able to instill some confidence in shell-shocked crew members in a meeting after the show. “Trevor apologized to everybody,” Flanz says, adding, “I felt pretty confident saying, ‘We’re so lucky that we had Trevor for seven years, but this place is an institution.'”
While there’s no word yet on who will replace Noah as the host of the series that’s now in its 28th season, Comedy Central has announced when fans should expect his departure. December 8, 2022, will be Noah’s last episode as host of “The Daily Show,” followed by a hiatus until mid-January. In the meantime, you can catch episodes of the series on Comedy Central and Paramount+, with new episodes airing Monday through Thursday.
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Author: Valerie Ettenhofer
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November 22, 2022