When it premiered in 2015, “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” was not a clear hit. Noah, a comic from South Africa, arrived in the wake of the beloved Jon Stewart, and he turned the show’s focus away from media criticism. As a result, the ratings suffered.
But like a number of other comics, Noah is benefiting from the increased political consciousness engendered by the Trump administration. He’s also gotten better at the art of comic news coverage. The show, which airs nightly at 11:30 on Comedy Central, just finished up its most-watched month since Noah first took over. In August, “The Daily Show” averaged 1.6 million viewers per episode, a 37 percent rise from last August.
The news is good for Comedy Central, and even better since August’s numbers also indicate that Noah is the No. 1 late-night talk show among millennials, passing even “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon,” “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
Last week, Noah raised some hackles when he went after Antifa for its violence, calling the members “Vegan ISIS.” Some accused him of taking President Trump’s “both sides” stance by criticizing the anti-fascist group. “When you think you’re punching Nazis, you don’t realize that you’re also punching your cause,” he said. “Because your opponents, they’ll just use every violent incident to discredit your entire movement, and they make it seem like — they make it seem like — in a world where white supremacists have a friend in the White House, the real problem is you guys.”
Matthew Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.