How do you Meme Trump, Noah? Shaping a New Memescape in The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (January 2016 – December 2019)


With The Daily Show’s popularity for late-night televised political satire, the infotainment genre has progressively turned into a major venue for mass-mediated political discourse in the US. Arguably, the show employs creative political memes in tandem with a plethora of multimodal strategies that all function in collegiality in revival of a journalism of critical inquiry showcasing how political dissent is negotiated and mitigated. Set against this backdrop, this paper argues for a new conceptualization of “digital memes” to incorporate the visuals integrated in talk show monologues. These visuals have undergone a shift from being merely “aesthetic-expressive” graphics to share many of the internet meme’s features and hence make them mount to be a sub-genre of memes. More specifically, the study extends scholarship on political memes proposing a more nuanced methodological and analytical framework premised on meme-inherent news values and host-specific converging communication accommodation strategies. The paper is an attempt to introduce an inclusive approach that draws on various perspectives that can do better justice to the rich complexity inherent to memes. For the purpose, a corpus of 235 meme instances from January 2016 to December 2019 in The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’s entertainment-based, ideologically-driven political commentary was examined. This is to capture how the intervention of memetic aesthetics in the topical monologue of the show as far as Trump’s administration is concerned can alter the trajectory of political satire. Findings showcase that the emerging memes in the late-night show, particularly image macro memes, have superseded late-night television as the leading edge of political satire.


Nashwa Elyamany


image macro memes, participatory culture, satirical trope, semio-discursive realizations, c, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah


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