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Trevor Noah is leaving his gig hosting “The Daily Show” after seven years, he told his viewers Thursday night.
He didn’t reveal when he plans to leave the show but did say it would not be “immediately.” Details remain to be worked out, Noah said.
He didn’t mention a replacement nor discuss specific plans for his future.
“I realized that after … seven years, my time is up, but in the most beautiful way,” said Noah, 38, who replaced Jon Stewart at the helm of the late-night Comedy Central show on Sept. 28, 2015.
“I’ve loved hosting this show,” added the South African-born comedian. “It’s been one of my greatest challenges. It’s been one of my greatest joys. I’ve loved trying to figure out how to make people laugh even when the stories are particularly shitty on the worst days.”
He said returning to stand-up after a two-year break amid the COVID-19 pandemic made him realize he wanted to continue exploring other avenues, including performance and traveling. He thanked the network and program team for giving him a tremendous opportunity when he was little known in the U.S. — and he thanked the audience.
“I never dreamed I’d be here,” he said.
“I’m not disappearing — don’t worry. If I owe you money, I’ll still pay you,” Noah quipped.
The network issued a statement expressing its gratitude to “Trevor for our amazing partnership over the past seven years. With no timetable for his departure, we’re working together on next steps.”
As “we look ahead, we’re excited for the next chapter in the 25+ year history of ‘The Daily Show’ as it continues to redefine culture through sharp and hilarious social commentary, helping audiences make sense of the world around them,” the statement said.
Noah had a tough act to follow after Stewart.
“I will say, the first two years were horrible — and it was horrible because I had taken over one of America’s most beloved institutions,” he told Variety in an interview in 2020.
“Even though Jon Stewart had passed over the reins to me, it was essentially a year of people telling me I shouldn’t be doing the job and I was unworthy of being in that seat. And I continued to believe that,” he said.
But Noah found his footing — and millions of fans. His popularity enjoyed a ratings bump after the presidential election of Donald Trump, whom Noah is particularly adept at flaming.
The program under Noah grabbed its fifth straight Emmy nomination this year for best variety talk series — but it lost to the category’s current powerhouse, HBO’s “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.”