In case you haven’t heard yet, since the announcement that South African comic Trevor Noah will succeed exiting Jon Stewart as the host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” (just yesterday actually), he’s been subjected to expected scrutiny via the web, as some scoured his past work and his social media accounts for information about the comedian, finding a number of posts on his Twitter account that they deemed to be offensive, to women and Jews.
Noah and Comedy Central I’m sure expected this. I’d suspect that Comedy Central vetted him thoroughly before they selected him as Stewart’s successor, and were likely very ready for the onslaught of criticism that would follow, and has evidently followed.
The network has now released a statement in response to the fracas, stating: “Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included. To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.”
Clearly a vote of support from the network, implying that he’s not going anywhere, despite the negative press over reactions to his past tweets.
A Twitter member since 2009, Noah has accumulated more than two million followers, and is known for his irreverent posts on popular culture, global politics and matters of race. As with many comedians, his jokes do push the boundaries of what is socially permissible and what’s considered in bad taste.
For example, in one Twitter post from 2011, he writes: “Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I’m sexy!” a quote that he attributes to “fat chicks everywhere.”
In another post from last year, 2014, he quotes another Twitter user who writes, “When a woman is loved correctly, she becomes 10 times the woman she was before;” to which Noah adds: “So she gets fat?”
And in another 2009 post, Noah has posted jokes about Jewish people and about Israel. As he wrote: “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!”
Another post from 2010 reads, “South Africans know how to recycle like israel knows how to be peaceful.”
But he’s an equal opportunity social critique, making fun of Americans, South Africans and people from numerous other countries. For example, when a fan tweeted at him last October, asking him to please come to Texas, Mr. Noah replied: “But you’ve already got Ebola?”
And although many have criticized Noah, suggesting that he may not be the right man for the job, Comedy Central clearly isn’t concerned, given their response above – essentially a declaration of support for the comedian, who will fill Jon Stewart’s seat after he exits as host of the satirical news series.
But really, is there a comedian worth their salt today, who may have been on Comedy Central’s short list of candidates for the job, who hasn’t said anything publicly that someone somewhere would find offensive? Isn’t that kind of expected?
I think, in time, much of this will be history, and we’ll all move on eventually. Unless something really damning surfaces. But, again, I suspect that Comedy Central thoroughly vetted him before handing him the keys to the kingdom.
What do you say about all this?