Trevor Noah surprised everyone by announcing his exit from The Daily Show, including his longtime correspondent Roy Wood Jr. Wood found out about it at the same time the rest of us did (except he was attending the News and Documentary Emmy Awards ceremony at the time). Speculation has already begun as to which person (or persons) might take the reins, and as for whether Wood would, the answer is not no.
“I think if you’re asked, you have to at least consider it. You can’t say no to an opportunity like that. You can’t turn your nose up at it at least,” he says in an interview with The Daily Beast’s podcast The Last Laugh. “I think you have to sit and assess what you want to do creatively, and that’s something I haven’t thought about yet. How would I design the car? Would I put a front wing on it? Would I put some Fast And Furious neon lights on? Would I tint the windows?”
He continues, “And then figuring out, creatively, if that makes sense. Because I think beyond The Daily Show, there’s a bigger discussion to be had about what the fuck the next iteration of late-night is going to be. I think this is bigger than Trevor Noah. I think that we are at a creative molting as an industry.”
Wood views the role of any performer in the genre as a balancing act between “trying to make people laugh” and “[exposing] the bullshit.” He reflects, “Whatever the next shows are within the world of political satire, across whatever networks, we’ve got to figure out a way to be a bridge. We’ve got to figure out a way to use humor as a bridge.” Though, he notes, building bridges with those whose views are so far opposed from one’s own can be a risk: “[Then] you try that and you book Kanye and you have to not release the episode because he was wilding.”
When it comes to political satire on late-night TV, Wood asks, “How much of this is actual discourse and legitimate conversation, and how much of this is corrosive and destructive to the stability of our democracy? And if it’s destructive to the stability of our democracy, whatever joke you have, it ain’t worth it.”
“So you know, it’ll be interesting to see, but to have your name in the hat is an honor. So I’m not going to sit here and act like that’s not a cool thing to have someone even consider that I could do it,” he concludes. “But how would I do it? I haven’t thought about that. Creatively, I have no idea what Comedy Central is going to do. My job, in the meantime, is to just be a good-ass correspondent.”
For the record, Wood does think if the network went “totally rogue” and chose a contender outside the correspondents’ pool, “that’s a huge bet on the Paramount side.” In his opinion, “it has to be a name someone knows, that we’re familiar with, if I’m running the network.”
That being said, he’s also planning ahead for what it might look like to continue acting as a correspondent under a new regime. “[If] I’m there and I’m not the host, then what does the role of correspondent evolve into, or change into, based on the next creative iteration per the creative direction that the host sets forward?” He ponders. “So I’m thinking more about that, if I’m being honest with you, bro. I’m thinking a lot more about, OK, what does my job change into?”