Trevor Noah Explains His Surprise ‘Daily Show’ Departure – Rolling Stone

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Trevor Noah explained why he told literally nobody that he was leaving The Daily Show before announcing it in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

Noah told THR that his surprise announcement back in September was truly a surprise. No one from his co-workers and longtime Daily Show producers to executives at Comedy Central and its parent company, Paramount, knew it was coming until he told the audience during an episode taping that his time at the show was up after seven years (his final show will be Dec. 8).

“Part of the reason I did it that way is because I didn’t want anybody to be the person who then tells somebody else, who then tells somebody else, who then tells somebody else,” Noah said. “And this is where we create the thing. [The show] is where we’re together, our space, and so for me, it felt like the most natural way to tell everybody at the same time.”

Noah added, “Maybe this comes with not being raised in America, but I believe that everything should end. A lot of American business and American media is just like, ‘Keep it going as long as possible,’ but I think it’s healthy for things to end when they’re still in a good place. I want to leave before I’m burnt out, because there are many other things I’d like to do.”

Noah notably squeezed in his bombshell announcement while there was still a chunk of the episode left to tape. Longtime Daily Show producer, and current showrunner, Jen Flanz, remembered going over to Noah’s desk with head writer Zhubin Parang to chat during the commercial and said Noah “couldn’t even look at us.” 

She continued, “He said, ‘I’m sorry,’ and we were like, ‘Let’s finish the taping, let’s get all these people out of here, and then we’ll talk.’” 

Flanz offered some insight into the scene after the taping, too, saying, “It was exactly what you think it would be: quick and very quiet. Trevor apologized to everybody, and then, since I was there for the transition from Craig [Kilborn] to Jon [Stewart] and Jon to Trevor, I felt pretty confident saying, ‘We’re so lucky that we had Trevor for seven years, but this place is an institution.’”

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Arguably the only hint Noah gave about his departure was to Paramount executives Chris McCarthy (who oversees Comedy Central) and Keyes Hill-Edgar, during a lunch the day before. McCarthy said they were discussing ways to scale back Noah’s Daily Show commitments to “give Trevor more flexibility.” While he didn’t know Noah would announce his departure the next day, McCarthy said he told Hill-Edgar after lunch, “We lost him.” 

Noah’s final episode of The Daily Show will air on Dec. 8.

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