Earlier this week, it was announced that Jon Stewart is returning to The Daily Show to host on Monday nights through the election year, as well as executive produce. Between this and the Comedy Central program’s various correspondents hosting Tuesday through Thursday, this means that the search for a permanent host following Trevor Noah’s exit in December 2022 has been pushed back for roughly another year. That said, more details have now emerged about close Hasan Minhaj came to landing the host gig prior to Stewart’s recruitment.
Minhaj, who was a correspondent on The Daily Show from 2014 to 2018, and guest hosted on the week of February 27, 2023, was reportedly the frontrunner to succeed Noah at the beginning of August 2023. According to THR, the deal for him to become the new host was “all but done by late summer,” and had the hiring gone through, this would have marked Minhaj’s return the TV talk show host space following the cancellation of his Netflix show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj in 2020. So what went wrong?
Well, for one thing, both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes sidelined plans to relaunch The Daily Show with a new host in September 2023. However, regarding Minhaj specifically, the comedian was hit with controversy that very month when a New Yorker article was published claiming that he’d embellished or simply made up stories for his standup act. Minhaj described the story “needlessly misleading” to THR shortly thereafter, and on October 26, 2023, he uploaded a detailed video response to The New Yorker’s allegations.
By that point though, Hasan Minhaj was “suddenly seen to be a liability,” resulting in the search for the new Daily Show host widening again. Kal Penn, another guest host from 2023, was also reportedly under heavy consideration for the job around the same time Minhaj’s was said to be the top choice, and Variety has said that “executives tried to interest” John Mulaney in becoming the new permanent host. Meanwhile, correspondent Roy Wood Jr. departed The Daily Show last October once it became clear he wouldn’t be offered the hosting job, and he was seen during the Emmys broadcast earlier this month mouthing, “Please hire a host.”
Which brings us to January 24, when Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios CEO Chris McCarthy brought Jon Stewart out to The Daily Show’s staff, and the public learned about this status quo change immediately afterwards. Even ahead of the Stewart news, it was reported that The Daily Show would “rely heavily” on its team of correspondents throughout 2024. Following the 2024 election, we’ll just have to wait and see how Comedy Central intends to handle the host situation in 2025. Who knows, maybe by that point they’ll be willing to consider Hasan Minhaj again if the controversy is no being talked about.
Jon Stewart’s new run on The Daily Show kicks off Monday, February 12. Revisit past episodes with a Paramount+ subscription, and scan through the 2024 TV schedule to learn what other programming is coming up.