×
Back to IndieWire

Inside the Return of ‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’ Live Audience Taping

Noah brought back live laughs April 11, weighing in on everything from Will Smith's Oscars incident to Ketanji Brown Jackson's appointment.

"The Daily Show With Trevor Noah"

“The Daily Show With Trevor Noah”

Matt Wilson/Comedy Central

It’s been 759 nights since “The Daily Show” had an in-person studio audience — or, as one viewer categorized it, two years and almost one month exactly since what should have been a great 2020 spring break.

A live studio audience for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” returned for the hit nightly political satire series April 11 — the first following the March 13, 2020, pandemic shutdowns.

“Oh man, I’ve missed you guys,” host Noah told the audience. “And I’m so sorry that we were separated for two years. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have left that Tupperware open in Wuhan. My bad, guys.”

He joked, “The important part is, we’re all here together again, and the reunion sex is gonna be amazing.”

And yes, Noah did wear pants when he was taping “The Daily Show” from home during the pandemic.

From trips, slips, and slaps to masks, plus guest Ben Stiller breaking down Apple TV+’s “Severance” and a new “Daily Show” set, here’s everything that you didn’t see on TV on Monday night’s episode.

Gen Z Fans Came Out to Attend

Most of the 150-plus studio audience hailed from universities across the U.S., with plenty of international relations and political science students in attendance. During the warm-up for the live show, guests shared why visiting the set was so important to them. One woman, sitting front row on stage, had traveled from South Africa to see Noah in-person. Students from Kenya and Zimbabwe were also sitting in the risers, and even a preacher from North Carolina shared his message of peace and love ahead of the show.

COVID-19 Is Still a Precaution

“The Daily Show With Trevor Noah

Matt Wilson/Comedy Central

Noah joked that the spread of COVID in Washington, D.C., among top politicians like Nancy Pelosi proves that the pandemic is still ongoing, despite the mixed messages of threat levels from Dr. Fauci.

“This just shows that unfortunately we cannot let our guard down when it comes to COVID,” Noah said. “And I hope each and every one of you in this packed indoor audience remembers that. In fact, tell the person next to you. Pull down your mask so they can hear you clearly and tell them to stay safe.”

“Daily Show” correspondent Roy Wood Jr. gave his mock traffic update to remind people to stay home (less traffic, and less COVID-19 exposures) before wondering why the viral illness doesn’t have a scarier name like “Sky AIDS.”

The Special Bond Between Audience and Host

"The Daily Show With Trevor Noah"

“The Daily Show With Trevor Noah”

Matt Wilson/Comedy Central

As “The Daily Show” producers reminded audience members, everyone in attendance is part of the show itself. Applause, boos, cheers, and jeers all fed the live energy in the studio. And Noah even added that there is a special bond with his first studio audience in two years, saying if guest Ben Stiller happened to trip and fall walking out on stage, no one but those in attendance would know. Ah, the magic of editing. Little did anyone know that Stiller would purposefully slip on stage with a wink to the audience later.

Trevor Noah Weighs in on the Oscars Slap and Ceremony Ban: “This Isn’t a Punishment”

The April 11 episode of “The Daily Show” marked the series’ return since its break on March 18, so Noah finally gave his take on the Will Smith-Chris Rock altercation at this year’s Oscars.

“It has been two weeks since the craziest Oscars moment in living memory,” Noah said. “And yes, I’m talking about how ‘House of Gucci’ didn’t win best hair and makeup. The whole movie was hair and makeup! That was the craziest thing that happened at the Oscars.”

Noah continued, “Oh! I almost forgot. There was also the moment where Will Smith introduced his hand to Chris Rock’s face, which had everyone asking, ‘How will the Academy Awards punish Will Smith?’ Well, now we’re finding out.”

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced April 8 that Smith would be banned from attending the Oscars for the next decade, or as Noah said, until “I Am Legend” is a reality.

“Although I will say this, when I first saw the headline, I thought this was the worst punishment ever, but then I heard he still gets to keep his Oscar and he can still win Oscars! So in many ways, this isn’t a punishment,” Noah added. “This is a favor. Will Smith doesn’t have to go to the ceremony. He doesn’t have to get dressed up. He doesn’t have to sit through a bunch of boring awards he doesn’t care about: ‘Best punctuation in a digital recycled film. Kill me!’ He doesn’t have to pretend to be happy when he loses.”

Noah said, “I wish I could get banned from the Emmys. Every year, I have to go and act like I might beat John Oliver; it’s a nightmare. Put on my hopeful face: ‘It could be me!’ It’s not going to be me. I know it’s not, it’s not going to be any of us. It’s always John Oliver.”

Noah joked that the Academy should have consulted Rock about Smith’s punishment, because if Smith was still going to the Oscars “that’s at least four hours when Chris Rock knows where he is” to not get attacked, adding, “Now he could be anywhere!”

And Noah proposed a different solution: “Honestly, I don’t think they should have banned Will Smith at all. I actually think they should hire Will Smith to replace the ‘wrap it up’ music they play at award shows,” Noah said. “Do you know how quickly winners will finish their speeches when they see Will Smith watching them on the side of the stage?”

“The Daily Show” Celebrates Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Historic Supreme Court Induction

“The Supreme Court: the only place where wearing a robe makes you more powerful,” Noah opened the current events segment, which honored judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman confirmed to the Supreme Court.

“This is happening just in time for the courts to eliminate all rights for Black people and women,” Noah said. “But this is really powerful. Think about it: She will now be the most powerful Black woman in the country to have her opinions entirely dismissed by two-thirds of her coworkers. This is huge.”

Correspondent Dulcé Sloan threw her hat in the ring to become the first Black “Judge Judy” since she’s been judging people for decades.

Ben Stiller Shares “Severance” Package and Teases Return to Acting

“Severance” director Ben Stiller sat down with Noah to discuss his Apple TV+ futuristic workplace series, which may seem like it sprang out of the COVID remote employment age but in fact was in development for five years.
Noah quipped that Stiller is now a “moody director” following “Escape from Dannemora” and other darker projects. Stiller applauded writer Dan Erickson‘s script for making “Severance” so prescient, and no, Stiller can’t quite relate to the bleak cubicle life shown onscreen.

“The worst job I had, actually it wasn’t that bad, was I was a talent intern at a talk show. I had to take care of the stars that came in — this was when I was in college in California — the show was called ‘Thicke of the Night.’ Alan Thicke had a talk show,” Stiller said. “So I’d walk Charlton Heston to his car or I’d lend Rick Ducommun the comedian $20 and then never get it back…But I never worked in that office sort of drudgery.”

Noah then asked if fans have “lost Ben Stiller the comedy guy” and it took Stiller a moment to respond.

“I love acting, and I love doing comedy. It’s just been a while since I’ve actually decided to do it,” Stiller explained. “I’d love to do it in the future. It’s just kind of figuring out how to jump back in.”

Thank You and Goodnight

Noah thanked the live studio crowd, but jokingly worried that they had “ruined” all future shows for him. Why? Because they were just that enthusiastic to be back after two years. And with that, “The Daily Show” was reunited with its daily studio audience.

@thedailyshow

Welcome back, everyone! We’ve missed you! #DailyShow #fyp #foryoupagе

♬ original sound – The Daily Show

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged ,


Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox