Maybe Roy Wood Jr. could still be the next host of The Daily Show after all.
After announcing his departure during an interview with NPR in which the program’s longest tenure correspondent implied it conflicted with his ambition to land the vacant hosting gig.
Wood was even clearer that he could be Comedy Central and Paramount’s choice to replace Trevor Noah, who left the show at the end of 2022, in an interview on Sherri Monday.
“I was shocked at the decision myself, because number one, we were in a strike,” he added. “Who you know comes off strike and then quit the job?”
Wood was one of 14 guests hosts to emcee The Daily Show on a weekly trial basis until the show went off the air in early May due to the writers’ strike. Also included were Leslie Jones, Sarah Silverman, Chelsea Handler and past and present correspondents Hasan Minhaj, Jordan Klepper, Desi Lydic and Dulcé Sloan (though Sloan only hosted one night before the work stoppage).
In August, a report indicated Minhaj was likely to become the new permanent host, but it was never announced — and a controversial September exposé in the New Yorker that revealed the former Patriot Act comedian embellished many of his most well-known standup routines may have derailed him.
Wood was candid with Rolling Stone while discussing the backlash Minhaj faced. The comedian drew ire for “crossing a line” by embellishing stories involving real people in which the Muslim-South Asian American comic painted himself as a victim of racism and Islamophobia.
“I understand the integrity issue that people are bringing up with regard to Hasan and his stand-up,” Wood said. “Do I think that the things that happened within his stand-up make him incapable of being a Daily Show host? Nah. I think he would still be a perfectly fine host and a perfectly fine candidate to host The Daily Show. There’s a gang of people who are never going to forgive him for what he’s done, and I think that goes against the whole concept of forgiveness. Comedy Central is between a rock and a hard place. If Hasan was their frontrunner, there’s a lot of atonement that would have to probably happen with regard to Hasan.”
“The love online has been very kind, very dope, and very genuine. It’s weird when people are angrier than you are about something,” he laughed.
“There’s love for me and vitriol toward [The Daily Show], and it’s also hard because you’re trying to get people to understand that Comedy Central has the final say and not The Daily Show. But it’s been very touching to have people appreciate what I do enough to voice an opinion about it. Traveling the last four days straight and talking to strangers in airports about it has been a little — difficult isn’t the word, but people don’t know how to approach me because they don’t know what state I’m in. Some people will come up and say, “Man, go do your thing!” and others will come up and they’re almost in mourning, like I posted about my dog dying or something. I’m fine. I’m thankful. I had a job for eight years, bro. That’s an excellent run.”
The Daily Show returns to Comedy Central with a new slew of guest hosts including Michael Kosta, Desus Nice, Charlamagne tha God, Michelle Wolf and past guest hosts Silverman and Jones.
A new permanent host is expected to take over at the start of 2024.