One of 2018’s biggest Emmy surprises is the Best Variety Talk Series nomination for “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.” Of course, “The Daily Show” was once an Emmy staple, winning Best Variety Series an astonishing 11 times while Jon Stewart was host. But voters didn’t feel the same way about Trevor Noah‘s version: it was snubbed in 2016 and 2017. Now the South African comedian has finally broken through in the top category, and it could be historic. If he wins he’d be the first black talk show host ever to claim Best Variety Series. (Check out the complete list of Emmy nominees here.)
It has been 17 years since a black talk show host was even nominated: “The Chris Rock Show” contended in 2000 and 2001. And before that “The Arsenio Hall Show” picked up a pair of bids in 1989 and 1990. But neither of them won the top category.
A few sketch comedies with black headliners have been recognized. “The Flip Wilson Show” won Best Variety Series (Musical) back in 1971 and received additional nominations in 1972 and 1973. “Chappelle’s Show” earned its sole nom for Best Variety Series in 2004. And most recently “Key and Peele” received nominations for Best Variety Sketch Series in 2015 and 2016 after the Emmys split talk shows and sketch shows into separate categories; they won in 2016.
Though this is Noah’s first nomination for Best Variety Talk Series, he’s actually an Emmy winner already. He claimed Best Short Form Variety Series in 2017 for “The Daily Show’s” web exclusive “Between the Scenes” segments. This year he’s nominated for “Between the Scenes” again. And he has a third nomination on top of that: Best Interactive Program for “The Daily Show.”
To win the top prize Noah will have to get past two-time defending champ “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” as well as past two-time winner Stephen Colbert for “The Late Show,” “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Do you think he can pull it off?