Roy Wood Jr. has formally announced his plans to leave The Daily Show.
The comedian and correspondent for the Comedy Central series revealed his plans to leave the show amid its search for a new host in an interview with NPR published on Thursday. The decision to leave, according Wood, was based on the demand of the correspondent’s role on his schedule and attention, as well as a disinterest in continuing in the position while “waiting for someone else to take the top job,” according to NPR.
“I can’t come up with [what] Plan B is while still working with Plan A,” Wood said. “The job of correspondent … it’s not really one where you can juggle multiple things. [And] I think eight years is a good run.”
The comedian and actor said that he isn’t sure how seriously he is being considered for the top spot, which is still being decided following Noah’s departure last year. But he indicated he would still consider staying with the show if offered the host position.
“If you’re offered the chance to host The Daily Show at any point in your life … you have to stop for a second and consider that,” he said. “The next question becomes, ‘What does The Daily Show look like in 2024? And what does late night look like in 2024?’”
In a statement to NPR regarding Wood’s planned departure, a spokesperson for The Daily Show thanked him for his time with the show, adding that the series “can’t wait to see what he does next.”
“Roy Wood Jr. is a comedic genius and beloved teammate,” the statement continued. “His insights and hilarity helped us make sense of the 2016 election, the pandemic, and countless hours of Fox News.”
When asked about the show’s statement, Wood told NPR, “What could they really say?” before adding, “[They’re] not going to give me the job just to keep me.”
While previously speaking about his decision to stay with the show, Wood — who joined the late-night series in September 2015 the same day as Noah debuted as host — told The Daily Beast’s The Last Laugh podcast in October 2022 that his choice to stay with the series under a new host “would depend on the host.”
“It would depend on the creative direction of the show. What are you trying to do? How do I fit into that? And does that creative direction fit my comedic skill sets and give me an opportunity to show who I am?”
Wood’s announcement comes as the search for a new host approaches a year, following Noah’s surprise announcement on Sept. 29, 2022, that he would be departing the show after seven years. It was a decision the former Daily Show host jokingly and reflectively attributed to a conversation with Wood at the time.
Wood’s own week in the hosting chair during April had largely been met with positive reviews, after the show’s entire correspondents team, along with Chelsea Handler, Wanda Sykes, Kal Penn, John Leguizamo and more took turns running the desk. As was his headlining make-turn as host of the White House Correspondents Dinner that same month.
His name would once again be top of mind for industry members and fans of The Daily Show following the news that the late-night series would be continuing its search for a permanent host amid another round of guest hosts. That news followed a story in The New Yorker alleging The Daily Show host candidate and former correspondent Hasan Minhaj, reportedly a top contender for the spot, had exaggerated and in some cases made up autobiographical details of his comedy.
Wood told NPR that the report about Minhaj being considered a top pick, which was published by Variety, also played a role in his consideration of his future on The Daily Show, while adding he still believed Minhaj was a strong choice despite The New Yorker piece.
“I think Hasan checks a lot of boxes that the network would want and people would want,” Wood said. “Hasan’s young, he’s global and he has the political I.Q.”
Source: The Hollywood Reporter