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"If you laugh with somebody, then you know you share something," Trevor Noah, the new host of The Daily Show tells PEOPLE

By Lindsay Kimble
Updated September 28, 2015 03:35 PM
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Credit: Peter Yang/Comedy Central

As Trevor Noah prepares to take over Jon Stewart‘s seat as a the new host of The Daily Show on Monday night, he tells PEOPLE he’s always known he enjoyed making people laugh.

“I’ve always loved it. Because I grew up as an outsider, I always knew that that’s the one thing that bridged the gap,” Noah says. “If you laugh with somebody, then you know you share something. Even if you look at a person and go, ‘I’m totally different’ – you can laugh together. You realize you share way more than you did.”

The comedian, who hails from South Africa, says he always relied on comedy to find his way in the world – and, eventually, his home on Comedy Central.

“It was very organic. The way [Jon and I] met, the way we started working together, we found common ground,” Noah said of Stewart who departed the show in August after more than 16 years. “Here’s a guy who grew up in Jersey on the other side of the world. Here’s a kid who grew in Soweto, and yet we see eye to eye on many issues.”

The star says fans will be pleased to see the show retains its own voice – even with a new anchor behind the desk. And he’s especially excited to take the reins in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

“I don’t know how happy I was until [Donald Trump] joined,” he tells PEOPLE. “And then, when he came in, I was like, ‘Oh, wow. Okay. This is fun. This is really fun.’ ”

Noah wants Trump to stick around long enough for the Daily Show writers to “have fun with it” but “not too long that it becomes a problem.”

The 31-year-old promises never to go for cheap laughs, though: “I would never aim to take pot shots because there’s always so much happening, unfortunately, that I think I can find something to laugh at that is more meaningful,” he says.

“But, I will not discount a good, silly joke. Donald Trump’s hair is funny. It’s always going to be funny, and that’s just the human condition.”

Comedy can be healing, according to Noah, and he says it is necessary to deal with the often depressing news of the day.

“Without comedy, what do we have? I feel like a day without laughter, what do we have?” he says, adding, “If we don’t laugh, we are all just going to be extremely depressed. And there’s no way to deal with it. Sometimes, that’s the best way to get over it is just laugh through it.”

Reporting by SCOTT HUVER

RELATED VIDEO: Jon Stewart Gets Choked Up During Star-Studded Final Episode of The Daily Show

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

premieres Monday at 11 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.