Trevor Noah, ‘The Daily Show’ team look to 2020 election at SXSW talk


Elizabeth Ucles / Hilltop Views

Trevor Noah speaks to a packed conference room. Noah’s contract as host of ‘The Daily Show’ extends until 2022.

After a contentious couple of years in news and politics, Trevor Noah and “The Daily Show” team are striving to shed a comedic light on the upcoming 2020 election.

Noah and “The Daily Show” correspondents Ronny Chieng, Michael Kosta, Desi Lydic, Dulce Sloan, Roy Wood Jr. and Jaboukie Young-White sat down with CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper at the South by Southwest Conference for a featured session on Saturday, March 9.

“The Daily Show’s” success since Noah arrived in 2015 is no secret. In August, the show averaged 1.6 million viewers and saw a 37 percent jump in ratings from the year before. However, Noah said it’s the “Between the Scenes” segment that offers a more authentic point of view of the main show.

“It’s my most honest expression, and it’s a different pace from what I do on the actual Daily Show,” Noah said. “But, it needs the ‘The Daily Show’ to succeed. The two are the yin and yang of each other.”

Noah explained “The Daily Show” has become even “crazier” by constant news coverage of President Donald Trump.

“What’s nice is that ‘Between the Scenes’ gets to break that pace,” Noah said.

Noah and “The Daily Show” proved popular among younger audiences in recent years. 74 percent of Noah’s views are between 18-49-years-old, according to the Pew Research Center. Chicago-native comic Jaboukie Young-White is the lone millennial correspondent, helping the newscast parody cater to their younger viewers. The 24-year-old said, however, he does not feel the pressure to appeal to the millennial viewership.

“I’m not trying to be like: ‘How do I figure out how to mention Grubhub? What’re the kids doing these days.’ It’s not like that,” Young-White said. “It’s more so just speaking from what I’m experiencing, what people like me and my friends are experiencing.”

Noah said he acknowledges the younger viewer-base and makes concerted efforts for his millennial audience — especially with international news.

Growing up in South Africa, Noah said his home country was almost always in the know about world news. As such, Noah works to inform his younger, American audience of the world as well.

“It is nice to let people know that something is happening that may, in time, affect Americans,” Noah said.

As the U.S. 2020 presidential election amps up, “The Daily Show” will be tracking the primaries and getting as much access as possible. He explained his cast will continue creating a show with jokes that “rattle the cage,” as Noah believes it is essential in the nation’s current state.

“I’m not trying to create a straight up news show,” Noah said. “I want you to watch ‘The Daily Show’ because it’s going to tell you what’s happening in the world but also because it’s going to help you laugh. If you’re not laughing at what’s happening right now, you will go crazy, you will be crying every single day. We try to use the comedy to cope with it all.”