Popular comedian Trevor Noah has announced he is standing down as host of The Daily Show.
Noah said he was “filled with gratitude for the journey” but that there was “another part of my life that I want to carry on exploring”.
The 38-year-old has hosted the satirical news and talk show since taking over from Jon Stewart in 2015, reports the BBC.
He said the timing of his departure would be announced later and that he would continue as host in the meantime.
Noah began his career in his native South Africa, releasing a string of stand-up specials and hosting a late-night talk show before relocating to the US in 2011.
He was still a relative unknown when he was chosen to take over the Daily Show on the Comedy Central network, but has since become an internationally-recognized star and won numerous television awards.
Noah made the announcement at the end of his show on Thursday night, prompting shocked gasps from the studio audience.
He thanked the show’s crew and loyal fans for an “amazing seven years”, adding: “It’s been wild, truly wild”.
“I remember when we first started… so many people didn’t believed in us,” he said. “[Appointing me as host] was a crazy bet to make. I still think it was a crazy choice, this random African.
“I just [find] myself filled with gratitude for the journey. It’s been absolutely amazing. It’s something that I never expected.”
He said that after everything that has happened during his time hosting the show – including Donald Trump’s presidency and the Covid pandemic – he had decided his “time is up, but in the most beautiful way”.
“I’ve loved hosting this show, it’s been one of my greatest challenges, it’s been one of my greatest joys. But after seven years, I feel like it’s time,” he said.
“I realised there’s another part of my life that I want to carry on exploring. I miss learning other languages, I miss going to other countries and putting on shows. I miss just being everywhere and doing everything.
“I’m really grateful to a network who believed in this random comedian nobody knew on this side of the world.
“I never dreamed that I would be here. I sort of felt like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I came in for a tour of what the previous show was, and then the next thing I know I was handed the keys.
“All I can say is thank you very much.”