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Will Ramsay High School’s Roy Wood Jr. Replace Trevor Noah as host of ‘The Daily Show’?

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By Ben Flanagan | bflanagan@al.com

With Trevor Noah leaving “The Daily Show,” is the door open for Roy Wood Jr. to step in as host?

The longtime correspondent on the Comedy Central satire show and a graduate of Birmingham’s Ramsay High School is a candidate to fill Noah’s seat, according to TMZ.

A TMZ report said Wood Jr. is “in the running” to take over. “Sources with direct knowledge tell TMZ that Comedy Central executives view Roy as someone who could potentially become the next face of ‘TDS’,” the TMZ story said.

TMZ reports Wood Jr.’s contract is coming up for renewal and Comedy Central executives consider him “a natural fit” to replace Noah. Read the full TMZ story.

Speculation continues to grow for who might take over, including current and past correspondents like Wood Jr., Jordan Klepper and Samantha Bee, among others.

It isn’t the only hosting gig people see Wood Jr. taking over. The Alabama-raised standup comic topped a list for potential replacements for “The Late Late Show” on CBS after James Corden announced he will leave the job in 2023Vanity Fair named Wood Jr. among ideal candidates along with Amber Ruffin, Nathan Fielder and Ziwe. Author Chris Murphy also suggested “Another Broadway Baby” with a similar musical theatre background to Corden’s, or “an Audio Guru, meaning a popular podcast host like Michelle Collins or Matt Rogers. The piece called Wood Jr. “an obvious choice for the gig.”

“With decades of comedy experience under his belt — just check out his multiple acclaimed Comedy Central specials —plus the political bona fides to take on the current events aspect of the gig, given his many years serving as a correspondent on ‘The Daily Show,’ Wood Jr. would be a wonderful successor to Corden,” Murphy writes.

“His dry and brutally honest takes about hot topics in American politics, from critical race theory to Black History Month, delight as much as they inform, and appearances on Stephen Colbert’s ‘The Late Show’ prove he can banter with the best of them.”

Murphy also said Wood Jr. would serve as “a welcome alternative to the homogeny” of the late-night scene historically dominated by white males.

You can apply the same logic for “The Daily Show” job, though they differ in that one is a network gig and the other cable. Regardless, Wood Jr. remains an appealing candidate for parts on the big and small screens, with a recent appearance in the critically acclaimed comedy “Confess, Fletch,” also starring “Mad Men” actor Jon Hamm.

Wood Jr. also has a popular podcast, “Roy’s Job Fair,” which he referenced on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” while also discussing his upbringing in Alabama. “I did morning radio in Birmingham for 10 years, and one of the things we did in the 9 o’clock hour was we would just invite listeners, if you were working somewhere that’s hiring, call our show and tell us so that people who were unemployed would just know. It was kind of like an audible Craigslist back in like ‘03-’04.”

The 43-year-old comic is well-respected in the world of comedy, having recently appeared on Marc Maron’s hit “WTF” podcast, during which the host sung his praises as “one of the greats.” He plugged his three standup specials (“Father Figure,” “No One Loves You” and the most recent “Imperfect Messenger”) and admitted he wasn’t familiar with Wood Jr. prior to the interview prep, but he was quickly all in.

“This guy’s one of the best. He’s one of the best,” Maron said during the intro. “He’s not afraid of taking risks. He talks about real things. He’s smart. He knows and understands policy, the subject of race from a personal point of view. He wrestles with things that we all wrestle with, but he’s got a delivery and a long-form approach that’s just so sharp and so funny and so deliberate.” Maron continued gushing. “He’s a real deal. He’s a guy that can talk about real stuff in a way that’s provocative and meaningful and funny.”

Maron and Wood Jr. discussed a variety of topics including his upbringing in Birmingham as the son of a journalist (his father) and an educator (his mother). Wood Jr. received a degree in broadcast journalism from Florida A&M University. He said he was interested in working at ESPN, where he could crack jokes and talk sports after riding the bench as a baseball player. Wood Jr. said while growing up in Birmingham, he didn’t know the city had a comedy club. Maron even asked, “Is there one?” Wood Jr. plugged the StarDome and praised owner Bruce Ayers. He performed his first stand-up set at an open mic night in March 1999 when he was 19. “It was decent.”

More on Roy Wood Jr.:

Roy Wood Jr. talks therapy, strip clubs, his Alabama radio days with Stephen Colbert

‘Confess, Fletch’ trailer: Roy Wood Jr. teams with Jon Hamm in long-awaited reboot

Legendary comedian praises Roy Wood Jr.: ‘He’s one of the greats’

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