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Birmingham-Native Roy Wood Jr. on What’s Next After ‘Daily Show’ Exit

Birmingham native Roy Wood Jr. had been in consideration to replace Noah as the show’s host. He served as guest host of “The Daily Show” in April 2023

By Cody D. Short | cshort@al.com

Roy Wood Jr. commented on the news of his departure from “The Daily Show” Thursday, posting on X a quote attributed to Doug Herzog, “You don’t own these jobs. You rent them. They are not yours. Ultimately, no matter how long you are there, you’re just passing through.”

Herzog is former president of Viacom Music and Entertainment Group, which oversees Comedy Central, the network that airs “The Daily Show.”

The Birmingham-raised standup comic and actor also posted a screenshot of a note he wrote and a picture of him sitting with the former “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah, who left the show in 2022.

“After eight amazing years on The Daily Show, where I’ve been able to pursue my comedic and political curiosities with some of the best writers, producers, crew and correspondents anyone could hope for, I’ve made the decision to move on,” Wood’s statement said. “I’m grateful to Trevor Noah, Paramount and especially Comedy Central for giving me the runway to also produce three one-hour stand-up specials, for letting me host two award winning podcasts, letting me write & shoot my own comedy pilot, write a film, and much, much more. I look forward to finding other ways to collaborate with them down the road.

“Until then, I am excited to nurture new ideas and see what the future holds for me in the shifting sands of late night television, scripted comedy, and whatever else the comedy gods may have in store for me in 2024 and beyond.”

Wood joined “The Daily Show” as a correspondent in 2015. Other former performers in the same role include Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Samantha Bee, Ed Helms, John Oliver, Hasan Minhaj, Jessica Williams and Mo Rocca.

Wood had been in consideration to replace Noah as the show’s host. He served as guest host of “The Daily Show” in April 2023.

Wood’s X post comes after NPR broke the story Thursday, that he would not return to the popular late night show. In an audio interview with Eric Duggans, Wood said: “There’s no sense in me doing what I’ve been doing for the last eight years while concurrently trying to think of a new thing to do. The job of correspondent, it’s not really one where you can really juggle multiple things. And I think after eight years I’ve earned the right to take a quick break before January.”

Asked about Wood’s departure and the issues surrounding his decision, a spokesperson for The Daily Show sent a brief statement to NPR: “Roy Wood Jr. is a comedic genius and beloved teammate. His insights and hilarity helped us make sense of the 2016 election, the pandemic, and countless hours of Fox News. We thank him for his time with us and can’t wait to see what he does next.”

Wood is a native of Birmingham, where he started his career in comedy and entertainment. The comedian is also named after his father, Roy Wood Sr., who played a huge role in the civil rights movement in the city.

The year has kept the 44-year-old Wood busy, as he filled in as guest host on “The Daily Show” in April. He also was selected to be the host for the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, where he was widely praised for his commentary. Wood also appeared on Conan O’Brien’s popular podcast “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.”