The Daily Show Ratings Are In: Kal Penn and Hasan Minhaj Fared Impressively As Guest Hosts
- The two Indian American comedians beat more established names, including Wanda Sykes and Chelsea Handler, to stay in contention for a permanent gig.
Kal Penn and Hasan Minhaj turned up bang in the middle of the rating race of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show’s rotating guest host contest (not necessarily an official contest). In an impressive showing, the duo came in 4th and 5th respectively, beating more established names like Wanda Sykes, Chelsea Handler, Marlon Wayans, and D. L. Hughley.
In the top rungs is former senator Al Franken who came in first, followed by John Leguizamo and Sarah Silverman in second and third places.
Al Franken, who hosted from March 20-23, scored the highest total average viewership with 792,000. John Leguizamo, who hosted from March 27-30, had an average of 633,000 total viewers. Sarah Silverman, who hosted from Feb. 13-16, rounded out the top three highest-rated celebrity guest hosts with an average of 613,000 total viewers.
Kal Penn, who had the distinction of snagging an interview with President Biden, hosted from March 13-16, and brought in an average of 606,000 total viewers. His first night hosting, saw 658,000 viewers tune in. Viewership decreased on Tuesday and Wednesday, with 614,000 and 570,000 total viewers tuning in. But Penn received a slight boost on Thursday, drawing in 580,000 viewers to finish out the week, Wrap reported.
Hasan Minhaj, a former correspondent for “The Daily Show,” hosted from Feb. 27 to March 2. He brought in an average of 602,000 total viewers. He started the week with 580,000 viewers on Monday and dropped slightly to 565,000 viewers on Tuesday. However, Minhaj finished the week out strong with 627,000 viewers on Wednesday and 637,000 viewers on Thursday, according to the stats put out by the Wrap.
The ratings may help the network in deciding on a permanent host for the show which has been without one since Noah quit. The Daily Show has not really yet found its footing since Jon Stewart left the anchor chair in 2015. It did manage to retain its sheen when Noah was chosen to succeed Stewart and appealed to a more diverse and even younger demographic. But the show never scaled back the heights when Stewart was at the helm.
Kal Penn who has been openly lobbying for the role of a permanent host could be definitely in contention with his showing as a guest host. While the three comedians who came in higher have greater name recognition, Penn appeals to younger and more diverse generations that advertisers favor.
It is not certain if Hasan Minhaj, who lost his Netflix gig “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” despite winning two Peabody Awards and two Webby Awards, will want to return to an anchor’s chair. He has recently completed his nationwide tour of “The King’s Jester” which was turned into his second Netflix Special and is now deeply involved in several TV and film projects.