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« April 2015 »

Memo to Trevor Noah: TIME FOR YOUR DAY IN COURT.

Been a while since I've gotten to do one of these. This week, Daily Show correspondent and South African comic Trevor Noah got the unenviable job of following Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show. And with the new role came new attention, and with the new attention came perusing of old jokes on Twitter, and with jokes on Twitter came outrage. Which means it's time for a rare installment of COMEDY COURT!

THE DEFENDANT: New Daily Show host Trevor Noah. I was unfamiliar with his work before he joined the show, and his pieces on the show have been in the generally solid but kind of unremarkable stuff you get with new correspondents before they find their stride and start distinguishing themselves. I have no idea what kind of host he'll be.

THE CRIME: Racism, sexism, anti-Semitism.

THE DEFENSE: - "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." Comedy Central statement.

THE EVIDENCE: Let's start with the supposed anti-Semitism, mostly surrounding three tweets according to reports.

One of the tweets is at the expense of Israel - specifically, saying Israel isn't very peaceful. Since the Venn diagram of "people who think this is anti-Semitic" and "wingnuts who'd like to see The Daily Show taken down a peg" is a single circle, we can safely dismiss it.

The second tweet is about how he would have felt extra guilty accidentally hitting a Jewish kid with his car because his car is German. That's a historical joke at the expense of the Holocaust, so it's also not anti-Semitic, even though it's a joke that mentions a "Jewish kid".

The third tweet was how about Jewish women don't give blowjobs. This one's the closest to being a problem, because this particular stereotype is very old and very hacky. But it's still a common go-to stereotype in comedy. Not a funny one, but one thousands of comedians get away with all the time.

As for the racism, I assume it's reverse racism for a tweet about how most white women don't have big asses, which is really more tacky and sexist than racist, especially since charges of "reverse racism" are almost always agenda-based bullshit.

As for sexism, well, there's a very faint through-line of objectification, culminating in the most unpleasant tweet of the bunch, at the expense of "fat chicks" who dare to go out and have fun in public.

THE VERDICT: Not guilty. Beyond being shitty and tasteless once or twice four or more years ago, the uproar and outrage seems to be mostly misplaced and possibly targeted. Unless new evidence comes to light, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.