Down the hall, beyond the green room, and to the right, The Daily Show’s dim and disused control room is littered with the production crew’s notes of Jon Stewart’s farewell broadcast. Watched by 5.1 million people on Aug. 6, 2015, Stewart’s departure was orgasmic triumph, the end of an era, a moment of zen—but not quite a finale.

We’re now t-minus 12 days until The Daily Show’s incoming host, Trevor Noah, inherits the anchor’s desk, the 11:00 p.m. time slot, and a 1.5 million-strong audience of insomniacs and dormitory leftists. This is regime change, incomplete until Sept. 28, when The Daily Show with Trevor Noah debuts. Yet today, when Noah, sporting his sharpest navy suit and smelling as fresh as his haircut, arrives and shakes my hand, the control room is unquestionably his.

In March, when Comedy Central announced that Trevor Noah would be replacing Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show, critics vomited bewilderment, with reactions ranging from “Who the fuck is this Trevor Noah?” to “He’s no Amy Poehler, that’s for sure.” In that vacuum of context or familiarity with the guy, we quickly scoured Noah’s Twitter and compiled a history (2011-2014) of crude punchlines that he cracked at the expense of “fat chicks” and Jews.

Noah did not apologize. Instead, he answered this inaugural backlash with a comedian’s standard-issue defense; “To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn't land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian," he tweeted. Just a couple hours earlier, Comedy Central had issued a press statement with a similar gist. “Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included,” the network said. “Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.” 

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