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The Case For Giving Trevor Noah a Chance

Why experience, and room to grow, can trump a thousand armchair thinkpieces.

Image courtesy of Comedy Central.

Early into Trevor Noah’s first broadcast as host of The Daily Show, he promised the audience he’d “continue the war on bullshit.” It was a reference to beloved former host Jon Stewart’s parting words on his final broadcast and a confident way to kick off a new era. When you are newly at the helm of a pop culture product that a loyal viewer following holds so precious, it’s a courtesy to tip your hat to the man who made it so. But for Noah’s debut, it was also a necessity.


On the heels of the announcement that he would be taking over the post, there was a flurry of Internet deep-diving to “expose” Noah as a hack and unqualified to do the job. (Google “Trevor Noah not funny” and you’ll find pages of collected years-old tweets with the “evidence.”) And yes, a lot of the quips from Noah’s past were pulled from low-hanging fruit—namely “fat chicks” and dubious racial commentary—but, hey guess what, we’re supposed to get better at our jobs over time.

But before Noah could even utter the first words of his inaugural monologue, he was already being scrutinized. Writer and UPenn professor Sophia A. McClennan essentially “precapped” how he would fare as host over at Salon—good for FOX News, bad for the audience. While her piece was heftily supported by evidence of Stewart’s excellence at political satire and a critique of Noah’s international perspective (which is, arguably, a good thing as the presidential campaign and the issues of our global relations and positions on immigration continue to ramp up), it was missing one key thing from its critique: An actual episode of The Daily Show with Noah at the helm.

Noah, new correspondent Roy Wood Jr., and TDS’s writing staff all performed well last night, riffing on the newly-discovered flowing water on Mars (with apt racial commentary that is becoming part of Comedy Central’s fabric) and John Boehner’s departure as Speaker Of The House. It was with the latter that they were able to make even more fun of how much Noah seems unwelcome by the public, using the name John/Jon as marker for fear of change. And, again, no matter the host, “Jon Is Gone” jokes would have been written.

What doesn’t need to be written, however, are “hot takes” on something that doesn’t yet exist. And the main takeaway from last night’s show should be that new things not only need time to breathe before they are put under a microscope, but also need to happen before declarations can be made about what they are. McClennan wrote, “Thus far Noah seems to neither get the significance of ‘Bullshit Mountain’ nor even care.” Instead, it was the first pledge Noah made behind the desk. Perhaps thinkpiece writers should make that vow, too.

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The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.





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The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

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