Sketch comedy, potluck, political satire, lip syncing, drag queens, kid-friendly rock and roll and animated, nostalgic purple grapes: these are a few of our fans’ favorite things. And it turns out that the esteemed voting committee for the 69th Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy Awards likes them quite a bit too.
In a time of great political turmoil, people are seeking a respite from the madness through humor – a trend evident through the recent success of Comedy Central’s late-night talk shows.
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah just marked its most-watched quarter, with an average of 1.5 million nightly viewers, according to a Comedy Central press release. The quarter contained the show’s most-watched and highest-rated week (May 29), since Noah took over from Jon Stewart.
The Daily Show’s strong ratings were reflected on social media, with more than 12 million likes, shares, comments and other interactions during the quarter across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Lines stretched for blocks in Midtown Manhattan near Trump Tower last weekend, but not for a protest. Instead, tourists and locals converged just down the road to see The Daily Show’s homage to the self-proclaimed “Ernest Hemingway of a hundred and forty characters,” the man known as @RealDonaldTrump.
Like a farmer welcoming rainclouds, Trevor Noah has turned something most of us would prefer to do without – the unending tumult pouring from Washington, D.C. – into a building block for something essential: humor.
It is a resource that appears to be especially welcome at this moment of astonishing political turmoil. Last week was The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’smost watched ever, with 1.045 million total viewers, a 36 percent increase over the same week last year. The achievement nudges the program closer to recording eight consecutive months of year-over-year growth among total viewers.
Noah may have had a little help driving ratings. “Noah’s ratings run this week is most likely due in no small part to the problems plaguing Trump,” wroteVariety’s Joe Otterson, referring to the president’s dismissal of the FBI director, ongoing investigations into Russian influence in the presidential election, and other issues.
Indeed, as the pace of news has accelerated under the new administration, The Daily Show has adapted. “Things have definitely sped up,” head writer Zhubin Parang told Vulture’s Jen Chaney in February. “We used to be able to predict what the show would be the afternoon before the day, and now we just can’t ever assume that the show we have planned at 7 p.m. the night before is going to be anything like the show that’s ultimately going to air the next day.”
What Noah and team do ultimately air is unfailingly an incisive examination of the day’s headlines. When news broke early last week, for example, that President Trump disclosed classified information to high-ranking Russian officials on a White House visit, Noah was ready:
“This sounds like a story that we would invent, right?” an astonished Noah asked his audience. “Trump invites the Russians into the Oval Office, and then, in his meeting, starts bragging, ‘I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day.’” Watch the full take below:
The day after that, the Justice Department appointed a special counsel – former FBI chief Robert Mueller – to investigate allegations that Trump campaign aides had colluded with Russia to influence last fall’s presidential election.
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.
“It is a tremendous honor to be a part of such a historic event even though the president has chosen not to attend this year. SAD!” Minhaj quipped in a statement. “Now more than ever, it is vital that we honor the First Amendment and the freedom of the press.”
With his Daily Show pedigree, Minhaj is no stranger to political satire—especially when it comes to our commander in chief:
NCAA’s March Madness basketball extravaganza wasn’t the only bracket tournament captivating Americans last month. Third Month Mania, orchestrated by Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, waded through the nearly 35,000 Donald Trump tweets to identify his greatest Twitter post of all time.
Courtesy of Comedy Central.
Third Month Mania was a truly “unpresidented” contest, yet its turnout was “yuge.” More than 6 million viewers delved into Trump’s Twitter archives to find the most outlandish tweet, and Noah announced the winner on Wednesday night’s episode.
And the lineup is about to get even better, with the advent of a new late-night talk show starring Jordan Klepper. A longtime correspondent on The Daily Show– which the yet-to-be-named program will follow on weeknights – Klepper will bring his energetic wit and droll skepticism to his own platform.
On the strength of fearless political commentary and a globally resonant perspective, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah hammered through February with record ratings, wrapping his most-watched and highest-rated month with 1.5 million viewers. International ratings shot up 22 percent.
Even in a crowded late-night talk show space brimming with talent, Noah continues to stand out, recording the only current monthly or quarterly year-over-year ratings increase in both total viewers and in the 18-49 demographic among daily late-night talk shows:
Noah’s ratings have climbed as he offers smart, incisive commentary on a bruising political landscape of fake news and alternative facts, of accusations of mass voter fraud and U.S. immigration bans. His analysis of President Donald Trump’s first week in office has been viewed nearly 5 million times on YouTube alone:
That ratings have increased even as the news cycle accelerates under the Trump Administration is a reflection of The Daily Show staff’s creative tenacity. “Things have definitely sped up,” Daily Show head writer Zhubin Parang told Slate’s Jen Chaney recently. “We used to be able to predict what the show would be the afternoon before the day, and now we just can’t ever assume that the show we have planned at 7 p.m. the night before is going to be anything like the show that’s ultimately going to air the next day.”
While Noah’s commentary frequently critiques Republican policies and actions, part of the show’s appeal is his willingness to engage guests from across the political spectrum. His December conversation with conservative television and online video host Tomi Lahren about Black Lives Matter, the meaning of the American flag, and race relations is the show’s most-watched on YouTube:
Bold conversations like these have helped propel the show’s digital and social engagement as well, with a 42 percent bump in digital views over February 2016 and more than 6 million social actions (likes, shares, comments, reactions, retweets), a best among the daily late night shows.
You can join the social conversation by following The Daily Show on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, and by liking the show’s Facebook page.
As Noah continues on pace toward his best ratings quarter ever, Comedy Central has announced a new edition to its late-night lineup: American and Australian comedian Jim Jefferieswill join the network for a weekly show starting this summer. Here’s a little taste of Jefferies’ acerbic style from a Netflix special he released last year: