Trevor Noah is No Jon Stewart — And Shouldn't Try to Be

If you remove the media microscope, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah has promise but should have more "with Trevor Noah."


The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is now underway, after months of cautious optimism and anticipation. While not much has changed in terms of the writing and overall production, it does have the feeling of when Bewitched switched out Darrins. Same show, different lead. Noah has taken on a Herculean task, as Jon Stewart is a beloved national treasure whose humor is matched only by his curiosity and intellect. He gave The Daily Show its tone and made it an institution. New Darrin needs a moment to find his footing and his own voice. Stewart trusted him with the show, and so should we.

I saw Noah for the first time two years ago at Hannibal Buress's show at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. He reminded me of Eddie Izzard. He wasn’t just funny, he was a keen observer. Noah had been in New York only briefly, but somehow managed to “get” us instantly. Not in a pandering crowdwork kind of way, but with the eye of an outsider who notices everything. The instincts, the tone, the object work and voices, they all hit. It’s my hope that as Noah becomes more comfortable with his new role, and bring some of that “outsider looking in” perspective to The Daily Show.

[Noah] can offer us something the other comics cannot, which is the experience of a young black South African living in America and watching our various parades of absurdity go by.

His pitch-perfect lampoon of New Yorkers could easily extend to observations about our country, culture, and politicians. Some think of Noah as an odd choice, given all the comics on the scene. But he can offer us something the other comics cannot, which is the experience of a young black South African living in America and watching our various parades of absurdity go by. He won’t be Stewart, and he shouldn’t try to be. If Noah succeeds, it will be because he eventually starts playing to his own strengths and unique experience.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was one of the most influential forces in shaping my comedic taste. He took over for Craig Kilborn when I was in the 8th grade, and for the next 16 years I felt, as Noah said last night, as if Stewart were “ [my] refuge… and political dad.” I fell in love with irony because of Stephen Colbert correspondence piece, and during the Bush Administration I felt my rage turn into laughter. Stewart helped me make sense of a world and a time that wasn’t making a lot of sense to me, through the use of terrible puns, Goodfellas references, and interviews that were funny/serious/poignant/ridiculous. I love Jon Stewart for what he did for me during high school, college, and beyond. I think I’ll love Trevor Noah, too, but in different ways and for different reasons.

Comedy Central doesn’t need to keep reassuring us that nothing has changed. There’s a new host in town, and he will make the show his own, eventually. For my advice for watching The Daily Show, meet me at Camera 3: don’t compare Darrins, guys, they’re two different people.

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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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