Can Trevor Noah Pass the Ultimate Late Night Test?

In honor of late night’s newest addition, we bring you a visit from the ghosts of monologues past.

Trevor who? A little-known South African comic seemed an odd choice to succeed Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show. But we’ll be pulling for Trevor Noah when he makes his September 28 debut. No doubt he’s already crafting his monologue, a decisive opportunity to make a nationwide impression. His jokes should be pithy, wry, and endearingly self-deprecating. Here, a look at how the legends of late night met their trials by fire. 

1. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson —  NBC  — October 1, 1962

Johnny Carson: “They’re referring to me as the new king of nighttime television, and I think that’s just a little too much. Prince, yes…”

2. Late Night with David Letterman — NBC — February 1, 1982

David Letterman: “You folks are apparently a bright group — bright enough at least to read the applause sign.”

3. The Late Show with Joan Rivers  — FOX — October 9, 1986

Joan Rivers: “There are two places I will never be seen in — one is Boston, and the other is Tom Selleck’s bedroom.”

4. The Arsenio Hall Show — Paramount Domestic Television — January 3, 1989

​Arsenio Hall: “Do you remember all that weight Oprah lost? Old Oprah meat, that’s me.”

5. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno  — NBC  — May 25, 1992

Jay Leno: “Let’s see how you all feel in 30 years.”

6. The Daily Show  — Comedy Central — January 11, 1999

Jon Stewart: “Welcome to The Daily Show. Craig Kilborn is on assignment in Kuala Lumpur.” 

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