The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Where Fake Correspondents Become Real Stars

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah puts a surrealist spin on American politics with its daily takedowns of all that is obscene, absurd and inexplicable in Washington, D.C. By doing so, the satirical news source not only fills a vital role in U.S. entertainment and media, but it also incubates a steady stream of rising on-air talent. Lately, those correspondents who report alongside Noah have been showing up all over the place, re-affirming the show’s role as one of the premier talent incubators on TV today.

The Daily Show’s Jordan Klepper is breaking out into a new role as host of a late-night show of his own, which will air weeknights following The Daily Show, while Hasan Minhaj entertained a constellation of elite journalist, celebrities, and politicians at the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner (WHCD), an event typically attended by the president.

But Trump opted to skip the dinner in favor of holding a rally in Harrisburg Pennsylvania, after announcing in February that he would be the first president to skip the event since Ronald Reagan (who was recuperating after being shot) in 1981. Journalists predicted this year’s soirée would be unconventional. And it was.

As host, Minhaj rolled out hilariously on-point jabs directed at the mainstream media, members of Trump’s cabinet, and Trump himself.

“The man who tweets everything that enters his head refuses to acknowledge the amendment that allows him to do it,” Minhaj said. “In four hours, Donald Trump will be tweeting about how bad Nicki Minaj bombed at this dinner,” he continued, poking fun at the president’s famous lack of command when it comes to details.

His quips were well-received by the press. “Intriguingly, ‘fake journalist’ Hasan Minhaj articulated most succinctly what seems to be wrong with American discourse,” wrote Variety, “Cracking jokes about how he was likely to be downgraded from American citizen to a series of numbers any minute now.”

The New York Times reporter Michael M. Grynbaum covered the event, calling it “cathartic.” According to Grynbaum, “Attendees said the often-frivolous dinner felt oddly profound. Part pep rally, part therapy session, the event became a moment of catharsis for a political press corps that has faced months of unrelenting strain.”

Cathartic, dry humor is certainly a mark of The Daily Show, a program which delivers real news via sarcastic yet empathetic commentary. It’s a brand that likely influences Minhaj’s comedic style, and one that resonates with Americans baffled by the chaotic ascent of a president who brags about groping women, has accused Barack Obama of wiretapping him with no evidence, and insists his inauguration crowds were the largest ever in spite of clear proof to the contrary.

The Daily Show ratings soared during the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trevor Noah and his team offered viewers unconventional coverage of one of the most surreal elections in U.S. history.

From the campaign trail, where correspondents offered bipartisan ridicule at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, to live debate coverage, to the final hours of election night, The Daily Show captured the essence of American politics in a manner that legitimately captured the zeitgeist despite its off-beat delivery.

The numbers prove this manner is winning its target demographic, the millennial audience. The show just wrapped its best ratings quarter ever. As of April, 1.5 million viewers tune in live each night to watch Noah and his correspondents pick apart current events.

Comedy Central continues this winning streak of gonzo, political satire for late-night. The President Show features actor Anthony Atamanuik as Trump, offering viewers one of the most meta interpretations of “fake news.” Atamanuik’s impersonation of Trump is so accurate; many unsuspecting bystanders in on-air skits could not tell the difference between comedian and POTUS.

Watch the fake president get some genuine flak from a young American:

Watch The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Monday through Thursday at 11 p.m. on Comedy Central, and The President Show Thursdays at 11:30 p.m.

 

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