'The Daily Show' Hires 'How to Be Black' Author Baratunde Thurston

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Baratunde Thurston

The former digital director for 'The Onion' will create viral content for the Trevor Noah-hosted program.

Comedy Central has tapped comedian and social critic Baratunde Thurston to oversee digital content for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Thurston, who will be a supervising producer on the program, spent five years as director of digital for The Onion. And his mandate at The Daily Show, which is overwhelmingly consumed on digital platforms, will be to create viral content that can live outside of the half-hour linear television program.

Much of Thurston’s comedy is grounded in race, something he shares with Noah, a biracial South African. Thurston hosts the podcast About Race and penned the New York Times best-seller How to Be Black. And he’s not unfamiliar to Comedy Central viewers: He’s appeared as a panelist on Larry Wilmore’s The Nightly Show.

Thurston will continue to host his podcast, which he co-hosts with Raquel Cepeda and Tanner Colby. But there will be more guest co-hosts as part of the adjustment. He'll also continue with the site Cultivated Wit, but in a different role. Co-founder Brian Janosch (former deputy managing editor of The Onion) is now CEO. He will maintain a leadership position and continue to provide, as he puts it, “spokesmodeling services.”

At The Daily Show, Thurston's primary mandate will be to move The Daily Show even further into the viral universe.

“There’s more to what The Daily Show can make than what people have seen,” Thurston told the New York Times. “This is a 21-and-a-half-minute show that airs on a box in your house, and it can also be a great experience on these other platforms.”

In a press release announcing the hire, Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless added: "Baratunde brings a very unique set of skills to The Daily Show. We've been admirers of his comedic work on all platforms for a long time. We’re thrilled he is joining the team and can’t wait to see what he and the team create for the show under Trevor Noah.”

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