Let Roy Wood Jr. Host The Daily Show Full Time, You Cowards

Okay, I admittedly came in hot by calling the folks at Comedy Central "cowards" in that headline, because that's probably not the correct word to use to describe a channel that has been letting Trey Parker and Matt Stone run wild for over 25 years. When it was announced last fall that Trevor Noah would be leaving "The Daily Show" after seven fantastic years, fans immediately started fantasy booking his successor. There was a big push for Samantha Bee, of the recently canceled "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" to become the show's first full-time female host, with others hoping the job went to one of Noah's roll of correspondents. Comedy Central instead announced that they would showcase a weekly rotation of guest hosts, with some of comedy's smartest minds sitting behind "The Daily Show" desk.

Things kicked off with "Saturday Night Live" alum Leslie Jones, with Wanda Sykes, D.L. Hughley, Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman, Hasan Minhaj, Marlon Wayans, Kal Penn, Al Franken, and John Leguizamo all delivering some fantastic episodes of the long-running political commentary talk show. Correspondents Jordan Klepper, Desi Lydic, Dulcé Sloan, Michael Kosta, Ronny Chieng, and Lewis Black are all also scheduled to host in the upcoming months, and Comedy Central has stated they won't announce a new host until later this fall. Admittedly, I have been loving the season of rotating guest hosts and even predicted at the end of 2022 that the change would feel fresh and exciting and could be the future of the series.

But then Roy Wood Jr. hosted this week and showed that the future of "The Daily Show" is not a roster of rotating guests — the future is Roy Wood Jr.

Who is Roy Wood Jr.?

For the uninitiated, Roy Wood Jr. is a humorist, journalist, and comedian who has been working as a correspondent for "The Daily Show" since 2015, making him the longest-serving correspondent currently on the show. Like all of the other correspondents, Wood Jr. has branched out into plenty of other projects, like his stand-up specials "Father Figure" and "Roy Wood Jr.: No One Loves You," the latter of which remains Comedy Central's highest-rated original stand-up premiere. Wood Jr.'s voice was a vital part of Trevor Noah's tenure on "The Daily Show," and his continued close-knit relationship with Comedy Central, like hosting podcasts produced by the network or becoming the voice for the final season of the storytelling series, "This Is Not Happening."

Back in January, Wood Jr. spoke on his podcast about his future on the hit series, and admitted that he was pushing pause on his Comedy Central-produced "Roy's Job Fair," while he "figure[s] out what the f*** to do in the world of late night." There was and is no guarantee that Wood Jr. is going to take over the job as host full-time, but as he said on the podcast finale, "In the interim, not knowing how that's going to go. I got to put a couple of the pots on the stove, man, and I got to make sure that one of them bits pays off." 

If there's any good left in this world, the bit will come in the form of hosting "The Daily Show," or, perhaps, the reboot of "@midnight" set to replace "The Late Late Show with James Corden" after he leaves later this spring.

Roy Wood Jr. is the evolutionary next step

While "The Daily Show" was originally hosted by Craig Kilborn from 1996 to 1998, the series has become somewhat synonymous with Jon Stewart as he hosted the show for 16 years. When Trevor Noah took up the mantle in 2015, he had massive shoes to fill. It took a little while for audiences to understand that Trevor Noah was not going to be Jon Stewart (and it was weird to expect that of him, but whatever), but once folks adjusted to his style as a host, Noah successfully made the show his own and really shined during the quarantine-era of the pandemic.

Roy Wood Jr. was instrumental during this time as well, and he feels like the natural, evolutionary next step for "The Daily Show" because of it. He has a solid grasp of the humor and type of stories the current audience gravitates toward the most, but still tackles topics in his own way. His breakdown of the ridiculous caucasity of "the two whitest restaurants in America fighting over who gets to use a Mexican word," relating to the Chipotle and Sweetgreen lawsuit, was absolute perfection.

Throughout his week of hosting, it never felt like we were watching a special guest. As much as I adored Chelsea Handler and John Leguizamo's weeks, there was always an air of, "Isn't this a neat little treat?" Whereas Wood Jr. felt like I was watching a new season of "The Daily Show." It's also clear that veterans of the show are rooting for him, with Jon Stewart showing up dressed like Obi-Wan Kenobi (or Baby Yoda, if you ask Roy Wood Jr.) on Trump's arraignment day to offer sage, Jedi wisdom. If that isn't a metaphorical passing of the torch, I don't know what is.

A diamond in a rich fortune of options

I want to make it abundantly clear that there are plenty of worthy candidates to become the full-time host of "The Daily Show," and I'd be happy with any of the correspondents getting the promotion, but Roy Wood Jr. is the perfect fit. Desi Lydic has also been a rumored front-runner for the gig, and she is hilariously talented, but watching her and Wood Jr. discuss the controversy surrounding Jill Biden inviting both the winning LSU and losing University of Iowa women's basketball teams to the White House was evidence enough that these two have found their perfect homes on "The Daily Show."

This isn't to say that Lydic wouldn't be a fantastic host, because she certainly would be, but her skills as a commentator and willingness to play into the "well-meaning white lady" trope make her a valuable asset as a correspondent. She'd certainly have to give that up if she took over as a host, which would be a detriment to the series considering she's one of the best in the show's history in walking the line on how to approach issues through a white lived experience.

It feels like Roy Wood Jr. was made for this job, and while I'm certain the future guest hosts will be an absolute delight, the bar has been set. This is Roy Wood Jr.'s job to lose, and I hope Comedy Central is smart enough to see the golden goose sitting right in front of them.