“A lot of people don’t know you’re one of the first people to wish me good luck for the job,” Trevor Noah said, welcoming his first ever political guest, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to The Daily Show.
That happened on Long Island, over the summer. “You were wearing shorts. I will never remember that, Noah said, correcting to “forget that.”
Christie joked it’s better he forget. “You look good in shorts,” Noah insisted, revealing more nerves, and maybe a slightly disturbing obsequiousness in interviews.
“Oh, stop now. Listen, there’s no requirement to lie on your first week on this job,” the veteran campaigner responded, charming Noah, and the studio audience.
“I guess that’s different from your job,” Noah shot back, getting his footing.
Christie’s remarks about how he’d make sure non-residents of this country did not overstay their visas made the South African comedian feel “like you were talking to me personally. But what I didn’t get was the biometrics,” he said. “Do you want people to get FedEx stamps?”
“No, no, no,” Christie said, seeming to try to mimic Noah’s South African accent, badly.
He explained his plan to track tourists and students using their thumb prints. If the database “says you’ve overstayed, we tap you on the shoulder and say, ‘Thanks for coming. You should go home’,” Christie said. When Noah mentioned the pricetag, Christie shot back that it’s a lot cheaper than building Donald Trump’s wall across our country’s southern border, adding, “How about that?!”
“Touche, my friend! Touche!” Noah beamed, like someone hearing good news being brought to him from a distant land.
It appears that Noah’s role in late night will be to play the outsider who asks the seemingly dumb questions that cut to the heart of things. Like, early in the show, when he wondered why, in the United States, “you let your baby lions shit in your sandboxes in your bathrooms.” The conversation, while entertaining, seemed less like an interview with a presidential candidate, than watching someone study with their tutor to take the citizenship test.
When the New Jersey governor began to talk about entitlements that need reforming, and got to his well-rehearsed “Why would we trust the government. They’ve already lied to us and stolen from the trust fund for social security which is why we’ve got a problem now” line, for instance, Noah seemed genuinely confused, wondering “Who is the government? I’m confused. Are you–”
“No! No! No! I had nothing to do…” Christie interrupted, sensing Noah does not understand the role of a state governor.
Winding things up, Noah wondered “What is your plan to get those [polling] numbers up?”
“Coming on the first week of The Daily Show With Trevor Noah,” Christie said, candidly.