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Hasan Minhaj and Kal Penn are Leading Candidates to Host Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show’

Hasan Minhaj and Kal Penn are Leading Candidates to Host Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show’

  • They are among celebrities in contention to replace Trevor Noah, who left the job late last year.

Hasan Minhaj is not the only Indian American in contention for the open host role at Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” to replace Trevor Noah, who left the job late last year. Kal Penn, who was among a host of celebrities who guest hosted the show, “is among candidates who could be tapped as a permanent host,” The Wrap has reported. 

Penn, who had the distinction of snagging an interview with President Biden, hosted from March 13-16. That interview saw “658,000 viewers tune in,” The Wrap said, “before viewership decreased on Tuesday and Wednesday, with 614,000 and 570,000 total viewers tuning in, respectively.” He did receive “a slight boost on Thursday, drawing in 580,000 viewers to finish out the week,” according to the stats put out by the multi platform media company. “The rotating hosts also benefited the show ratings-wise, as it saw “a 21% boost in ratings from January to mid-April 2023 when compared to the same weeks last year,” the report added. 

However, according to CableTV.Com, an online platform, providing cable TV information and news, Comedy Central won’t name a new permanent host until the fall. Since relaunching on Jan. 17, the show has been hosted by a series of weekly guest hosts including Al Franken, Chelsea Handler, D.L. Hughley, Leslie Jones, John Leguizamo, Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes and Marlon Wayans.

In November last year, Variety magazine had named Penn among the potential people that could replace Noah. “The Paramount Global network could look for a host well-versed in political comedy, or simply someone who has straddled the divide between Hollywood and Washington,” Variety said. “People like Samantha Bee, the former “Daily Show” correspondent, or Kal Penn, the actor who logged a stint in the Obama administration and hosted a short-lived late-night show on Disney’s Freeform, could have the experience Comedy Central is seeking.”

Speaking about the article on “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” in December 2022, Penn told Corden that he’s open to hosting the show. Penn said he “grew up on Jon Stewart’s TV show, so obviously, I revere Trevor Noah, so the mere fact that I was even mentioned in an article like that is a huge honor, I feel like I should leave it at that,” he said. “I mean, who wouldn’t want to have that opportunity? It’s a show that I think many of us grew up on and just really appreciate.”

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Meanwhile, Minhaj, a former correspondent for “The Daily Show,” who guest hosted from Feb. 27 to March 2, “brought in an average of 602,000 total viewers, “according to The Wrap. He worked on the show as one of its team of faux “correspondents” between 2014 and 2018.

In an interview with Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast in May, Minhaj admitted that he is “definitely open to have a conversation” about hosting the show. It’s a very different conversation then, when I first got hired at the show when I was 29,” he said. “My life is in a very different place. And so that’s a bigger life/family convo. It changes a lot of things,” he said. “It’s an all-encompassing, all-consuming thing.”

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