Trevor Noah’s announcement last week that he would be stepping down after seven years on The Daily Show was met with about the same level of attention as when he was announced as host. It trended on Twitter briefly, and then everyone went about their day.

Noah never really caught on with the same media outlets that regularly juiced Jon Stewart, blaring about how he "Destroyed" and "Obliterated" things. There are several reasons why this was the case. One was that Stewart, for all his clown-nose-on-clown-nose-off theatrics, was still a capable and interesting interviewer. He was...

Trevor Noah’s announcement last week that he would be stepping down after seven years on The Daily Show was met with about the same level of attention as when he was announced as host. It trended on Twitter briefly, and then everyone went about their day.

Noah never really caught on with the same media outlets that regularly juiced Jon Stewart, blaring about how he “Destroyed” and “Obliterated” things. There are several reasons why this was the case. One was that Stewart, for all his clown-nose-on-clown-nose-off theatrics, was still a capable and interesting interviewer. He was genuinely curious about his guests and didn’t seem like he was just asking questions handed to him on a notecard. Noah, a traditional stand-up comic, was never able to harness that same ability. He ended up fading into the background of a medium that has been now saturated by late-night hosts copying Jon Stewart (John Oliver, Seth Myers, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee).

Despite adjusting his format amid the pandemic back in 2020, Noah did little to move The Daily Show forward and make it his own. It felt like he was merely occupying Stewart’s chair, something just about every journalist today imagines himself to be doing. The Daily Show just doesn’t feel important in the way it did under Stewart. Part of this was how many journalists were professionally jealous of Stewart (“he gets to say out loud all the things we want to!”).

Noah’s other problem is that comedy shows themselves changed. Instead of late-night antics and light-hearted skits, the medium became group therapy for liberals coping with Donald Trump’s presidency. Comedians became scolds, otherizing the 50 percent of the country that did not agree with them. Noah ended up joining a crowded chorus: Jimmy Kimmel crying about gun control, Stephen Colbert cheering on Robert Mueller, Samantha Bee going after Ivanka Trump, Seth Meyers’s unabashed Hillary worship.

This is how Fox News’s Greg Gutfeld was able to rocket past not only Noah’s Daily Show but all those other hosts as well. The field became so crowded with Jon Stewart wannabes that the one person actually tasked with following Stewart couldn’t make himself heard. The media also never really thought Noah “Destroyed” and “Obliterated” things the way Stewart or Oliver did, which didn’t endear him to them.

What becomes now of The Daily Show? Who knows? Perhaps either a complete reimagining or just letting it die would suffice. Either way, it can be reliably predicted that it won’t break any new ground the way Craig Kilborn (who initially hosted The Daily Show when it was created back in the ’90s) and even Stewart himself did. The new host will have to be approved by the hoards of Twitterati salivating at the thought of digging up old offensive tweets. And that’s a high bar to meet.