South Africa Is Psyched to See Trevor Noah Host 'The Daily Show'

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Noah, photographed at the Ivy Club in 2013, is oddly calm about his show's debut. David Bebber/The Times/NI Syndication/Redux

For Americans, Trevor Noah's appointment as host of The Daily Show means a sharp international perspective heading the long-running satire show.

But for fans in South Africa—Noah's home country—it's a massive and unexpected source of visibility and pride.

"This is the biggest thing to happen to a South African entertainer since Charlize [Theron] won the Oscar," wrote the introduction to a column by Rebecca Davis for South African online newspaper The Daily Maverick. "Overnight, Noah has gone from being a stand-up comic better known in South Africa than anywhere else to being potentially one of the most powerful voices in the USA," Davis wrote.

New York-based South African entertainment journalist Nadia Neophytou tweeted similar words in celebration:

South African comedian Loyiso Gola compared it to the moon landing:

A headline in the newspaper The Star gets at why Noah's promotion feels so monumental: The Daily Show is more than just a niche comedy show. It's a leading source of satire news, and a chance to "steer comedy" for the larger TV world:

The Star
The Star Early Edition/pressreader.com/

And it will affect how U.S. viewers—and the rest of the world—see Noah's home country. The decision "portrays South Africans as forward thinking, intelligent, progressive and in touch with the world," South African ventriloquist Conrad Koch told Reuters.

Perhaps the most striking visual demonstration of this reaction comes from South African satirical cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro. The artist—better known as Zapiro—took inspiration from Michelangelo's famous Sistine Chapel panel titled The Creation of Adam. The result shows Stewart floating in a bed of clouds, surrounded by angels, with his finger outstretched to Noah, wearing a South African tie.

The cartoon's title? "Trevor Noah's Midas Touch."

South Africa Is Psyched to See Trevor Noah Host 'The Daily Show' | Culture