As soon as South African comedian Trevor Noah was named as Jon Stewart’s successor for host of The Daily Show, people starting pouring over Noah’s comedic and social media history. The results were… interesting. By Tuesday, the new story was “Is Trevor Noah a racist/anti-Semite/misogynist?” Because of course. For what it’s worth, I think most of Noah’s “questionable” tweets are just sort of hacky, like the kind of old-school jokes you would hear at a Don Rickles show. But some of them are… eh. It’s worth noting that Noah is actually one quarter Jewish (his mother is half-Jewish). Here are some of his questionable tweets:
Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man. #BeatsByDreidel
Messi gets the ball and the real players try foul him, but Messi doesn’t go down easy, just like jewish chicks. #ElClasico
Merry Christmas everyone. May Black Santa bring you all that you deserve.
“Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I’m sexy!” – fat chicks everywhere.
A hot white woman with ass is like a unicorn. Even if you do see one, you’ll probably never get to ride it.
South Africans know how to recycle like Israel knows how to be peaceful.
“I actually prefer the women’s league to the mens.” – Nobody ever, about any sport. (except maybe, beach volleyball)
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!
Is he an anti-Semite? Eh. I think he feels – probably correctly – that he can joke about Jewish people because he’s one-quarter Jewish. Same with any racial jokes – he’s half-white and half-black and he grew up in South Africa, for goodness sake. But I’ll admit that some of the jokes about women bugged me.
So, what has the reaction been? On the internet at large, some people are already hating on him and some people are already defending him. The national director of the Anti-Defamation League basically said that Noah is a comedian making jokes and people should calm down, but that if he does cross the line, they’ll jump down his throat. And Comedy Central released a statement as well:
“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.”
I kind of think Comedy Central should have expected this and perhaps Trevor should have expected it too and gone ahead and cleaned up his Twitter days before he was announced as Stewart’s replacement. Part of the reason why people have jumped all over these tweets is because Trevor Noah was and is such an unknown. If Amy Poehler or Tina Fey or Jason Jones or someone like that had been named Stewart’s successor, no one would be picking apart a few jokes made a year ago because those comedians are already “known.” There was a gossip vacuum and Noah’s social media served as the perfect filler.
Photos courtesy of Comedy Central, WENN.