Trevor Noah was named to be Jon Stewart’s successor as host of The Daily Show back in March. Now the 31-year-old entertainer from South African is only days away from the September 28 premiere of his brand new venture. However in the months leading up to this grand event, Noah was subjected to a bit of controversy.
The media highlighted and showcased a series of jokes that the biracial comedian posted to his Twitter that some found to be racist, sexist and antisemitic. To find these debatable jokes, someone took the time to sift through his more than 9,000 tweets, and they went all the way back to 2009 to discover these “offensive” jokes.
In Entertainment Weekly’s Fall TV Preview, Noah addresses the unfortunate situation.
Definitely. I understand where it comes from. But people would say, “Are you going to change?” And I’d say, “You went back three years to find the tweets! If I haven’t repeated those things, haven’t I changed?” If you look back three years and you’re not disappointed in who you were then, you’re not progressing.
Noah dismantles the cogs in the outrage factory:
But we live in a world of faux outrage. It’s hashtag this, hashtag that. There are people who jump onto trends before they even know what the trend is about. People want to be part of the good, but they don’t want to put the work in, so they think, “Can’t I just say that I agree?” Then you have an artificial inflation of what the problem is. All of the sudden you get all of these big scandals, but they’re not big, because everyone is on the periphery of the argument.
The comedian explains that in his home country there aren’t hashtags, only fists:
In South Africa, we have that in the rawest form: mob justice. In the townships, they’ve lost faith in the police, so they’ll exact a punishment themselves. One person catches a thief, and within then minutes, 50 people are beating up the thief. Some people are just walking past; they don’t know why the person is being beaten up! But they think, “You must be there for a reason.” It’s a place to let out your inner anger.
Noah discusses his politics, whether he leans left, center or right:
I never grew up with those terms. We don’t have “progressive” and “conservative” [in South Africa]. Even the word conservative is strange to me, because it implies that you’re against progress. So, Cecil the Lion — when I look at that story, I’m not going, “What is the left’s angle? What is the right’s?” I’m going, “What is the truth in this thing?” People hunt for sport all the time. We’re gonna make it seem like we’ve never walked past a bar that’s got buffalo heads in it? Then you realize, well, maybe it’s people finding an outlet for rage about police brutality. It’s like, “This poor lion did nothing! You just went out of your way to kill that lion!” It’s like the universe gave us a metaphor.
The comedian revealed that it will be more than politics on his show:
Politics, media, anything. Like I’m always amused by Vice. Sometimes it’s less about the news and more about “Look, we found 2-year-old babies that smoke!” Stuff like that is easy to satirize, because that’s really the role of The Daily Show, to sift through what should be news and what shouldn’t.
Excellent job by Noah exposing the fake outrage that the media preys upon, but it will be much, much more difficult when he is actually a part of the media. We’ll see how he handles his new role.
Read the entire interview here.