When it comes to finding Trevor Noah’s permanent successor, The Daily Show is reportedly headed back to the drawing board. The late-night series is “going back to square one” with its revolving door of guest hosts for upcoming episodes after Hasan Minhaj, a former Daily Show correspondent and host of Patriot Act, was previously floated as a frontrunner for the permanent gig, Variety reports.
Sources told the outlet that “The Paramount Global cable network is considering a wider array of candidates to take the reins of the program” beyond Minhaj, who faced backlash in the wake of a recent story in The New Yorker. The piece reveals that the comedian fabricated or otherwise embellished some Islamophobic experiences he details in his comedy specials. In an interview with The New Yorker’s Clare Malone for the piece, Minhaj admitted that some of his stand-up material was not factually accurate. “The emotional truth is first,” said Minhaj. “The factual truth is secondary.” He added, “Every story in my style is built around a seed of truth. My comedy Arnold Palmer is 70% emotional truth—this happened—and then 30% hyperbole, exaggeration, fiction.”
Minhaj elaborated on this process in a statement to Vanity Fair: “All my stand-up stories are based on events that happened to me. Yes, I was rejected from going to prom because of my race. Yes, a letter with powder was sent to my apartment that almost harmed my daughter. Yes, I had an interaction with law enforcement during the war on terror. Yes, I had varicocele repair surgery so we could get pregnant. Yes, I roasted Jared Kushner to his face. I use the tools of stand-up comedy—hyperbole, changing names and locations, and compressing timelines to tell entertaining stories. That’s inherent to the art form. You wouldn’t go to a haunted house and say, ‘Why are these people lying to me?’—the point is the ride. Stand-up is the same.”
Comedy Central and WME, the talent agency that represents Minhaj, declined comment to Variety on the trade publication’s latest reporting. Minhaj, who completed his stint as guest host of The Daily Show in March, was never officially announced as the new permanent host.
The Daily Show’s potential pivot arrives as late-night shows are set to return in the coming days following a newly-secured WGA deal. Bill Maher’s new season of Real Time will debut on HBO this Friday, followed by John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight on Sunday, and network hosts Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers will be back behind the desk by Monday night. As first reported in Deadline, The Daily Show will return on Monday, Oct. 16 with a to-be-announced guest host; an official replacement is slated to be named in 2024.