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Comedian Trevor Noah replaces Jon Stewart on The Daily Show

TIME FOR A CHANGE: South African comedian Trevor Noah (left) will replace Jon Stewart, who has been hosting the The Daily Show for over 15 years

SOUTH AFRICAN comedian Trevor Noah will be the new host of The Daily Show, replacing comedian Jon Stewart who has presented the programme for over 15 years.

The 31-year-old made his debut as a contributor to the nightly Comedy Central satirical show last December.

His first correspondent appearance took aim at racial tensions in the US, where he said: "I never thought I'd be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa."

Current host Stewart announced he would be stepping down at the start of the year, after being the show's front-man for 16 years.

Since Stewart announced he was leaving, a handful of possible replacements have been considered, but it Noah has become the 'chosen one'.

“You don’t believe it for the first few hours,” Noah told The New York Times, speaking from Dubai where he's currently on tour. “You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you’re in a place where you can’t really get alcohol.”

Beyond The Daily Show, Noah is also well-known in South Africa from hosting his own late-night talk show, a handful of radio programs and the South African Music Awards.

In a Comedy Central press release Stewart said: “I’m thrilled for the show and for Trevor. He’s a tremendous comic and talent that we’ve loved working with…In fact, I may rejoin as a correspondent just to be a part of it!!!”

Under Stewart's guidance, The Daily Show has become one of the most important political programmes on US television.

Even though he insists he is a comedian, not a journalist, Stewart's passionate monologues on politics, race and social justice exert a real influence on political debate in the United States.

"He essentially invented a new way to deliver the news that spoke to a younger generation less trusting of the traditional sources but still very interested in the world." said Dan Pfeiffer, an adviser to President Barack Obama, when Stewart announced he was quitting.

Stewart is expected to step down from the hosting gig sometime between July and the end of the year, according to Variety.

Noah tweeted: "No-one can replace Jon Stewart. But together with the amazing team at The Daily Show, we will continue to make this the best damn news show!"

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