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Comedy Central has named a replacement for Daily Show host Jon Stewart and, no, you haven’t heard of him. Trevor Noah is a 31-year-old South African comedian who has appeared on American TV a handful of times and hosted a late-night show in his home country.
The most important question on the minds of The Daily Show faithful: “Is he progressive?” Upon the announcement of his new gig, Noah assured reporters that he won’t waver from liberal orthodoxy. “We are both progressives,” he said about Stewart and himself. “I’ll bring something different because I’m different, but because it’s a team, it’ll be the same as well.” The same but different; that’s a relief.
The far less important question was, “Is he funny?” Well, when Nelson Mandela is listed as a guy’s top comedic influence, you know he’s going to bring the laughs. Here’s the first Noah routine that popped up on You Tube:
Early in I felt the same dread as when I see an open-mic comedian say, “ever wonder if Jack Nicholson goes to the car wash? I think it’d go… a little something… like this…” (I assume Noah’s other routines include “You might be a Xhosa if” and “In apartheid South Africa, the race finds you” riffs, but I’m on deadline here.)
The good news for Noah is that a successful Daily Show host doesn’t need stand-up chops. He needs only to read the prompter, play a video clip, and make a funny face. After the audience is through hooting and clapping, the host smirks and moves on to the next set-up. Rinse and repeat. So after wrapping up a headlining gig at the Bustan Palace Hotel in Muscat, Oman, Noah will jet to the States to receive acclamation. Or will he?
On Monday, social media fans scoured his tweets to find evidence of humor. What they found instead was, to use progressive parlance, problematic:
Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn’t look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) September 18, 2009
Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man. #BeatsByDreidel
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) May 12, 2014
South Africans know how to recycle like israel knows how to be peaceful.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) June 2, 2010
Jokes about the Holocaust, greed and Israel: That’s the anti-semitic trifecta. But you’ll notice another trend in his tweets — they aren’t funny.
“Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I’m sexy!” – fat chicks everywhere.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) October 14, 2011
So she gets fat? RT @missdanibagel: When a woman is loved correctly, she becomes 10 times the woman she was before
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) July 18, 2014
Originally when men proposed they went down on one knee so if the woman said no they were in the perfect uppercut position.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) December 20, 2012
Even knuckle-dragging chauvinists like myself know that jokes involving body shaming and domestic violence are très problématique.
Many conservatives bashed Noah’s jokes as racist, sexist, etc., to point out liberal hypocrisy and score a few points against the partisan show. Thankfully, far more cons focused on his distinct lack of humor. Meanwhile lefty critics were uniformly concerned with Noah’s crimethink, since the true purpose of comedy is to “create oneness,” not laughs.
I sincerely hope that everyone on the right drops the outrrrage! tactics used by social justice warriors. Yes, if a Republican said any of these jokes he would be out of a job tout de suite. That’s no reason to mimic the humorless lefty scolds who shriek “that’s not funny” whenever a joke crosses some line.
Comedy Central can hire whomever it wants; I have no interest in chasing a person out of a job for stepping on a toe or three. It’s not like The Daily Show will replace Noah with a staunch Republican. If they drop this guy, he’ll be replaced with some other liberal shill who will tell the faithful exactly what they want to hear.
To date, Noah’s only response to the controversy was a tweet he posted and quickly deleted: “Twitter does not have enough characters to respond to all the characters on Twitter.”
That wasn’t funny either.