March 30, 2015 09:10 AM

Today, in breaking fake news

Trevor Noah, one of the The Daily Show‘s newer faces, will succeed Jon Stewart as host of the Comedy Central staple, the network said in a statement.

Currently on tour in Dubai, Noah, 31, told The New York Times that he was grateful for the opportunity but aware of the “significant challenge” inherent in taking over hosting duties from a man who had done so for nearly 16 years.

“You don’t believe it for the first few hours,” he told the newspaper. “You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you’re in a place where you can’t really get alcohol.”

“I’m thrilled for the show and for Trevor,” said Stewart, 52, in a network statement obtained by PEOPLE. “He’s a tremendous comic and talent that we’ve loved working with,” he continued, adding that he “may rejoin as a correspondent just to be a part of it!!!”

“It’s an honor to follow Jon Stewart. He and the team at The Daily Show have created an incredible show whose impact is felt all over the world,” said Noah in the statement. “In my brief time with the show they’ve made me feel so welcome. I’m excited to get started and work with such a fantastic group of people.”

South African-born Noah joined the show as a contributor in December and appeared on just three episodes prior to his major promotion.

Stewart announced his departure from The Daily Show in February after having hosted the series for the better part of two decades, leading it to win 20 Emmy Awards.

“He told me, ‘I was where you were when I took over the show,’ ” Noah told the Times about Stewart. ” ‘Nobody knew me. I was just starting out, finding my voice, and that’s when I was handed this seat.’ Now, it’s my turn to steer this ship.”

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