March 30, 2015

"The Daily Show" chooses Trevor Noah, a South African, to replace Jon Stewart.

The NYT observes that Noah is "nonwhite," but that there's a question "why the network did not choose a woman to crack the all-male club of late-night television hosts."
[Noah] grew up in Soweto, the son of a black Xhosa mother and a white Swiss father, whose union was illegal during the apartheid era. “My mother had to be very clandestine about who my father was,” Mr. Noah said. “He couldn’t be on my birth certificate.”

By the time he started performing stand-up in his 20s, Mr. Noah said he had long been taught that “speaking freely about anything, as a person of color, was considered treason.”
According to the NYT, Michele Ganeless, president of Comedy Central, "said that Comedy Central... drew up 'a shortlist' of possible successors 'and Trevor checked off every box on that list and then some.'" That doesn't make sense. If the "list" is a list of "possible successors," how could one person on that list check off "every box on that list and then some"? Obviously, there's some other list. Presumably, it's a list of things Comedy Central thought would be plus factors. I guess being female wasn't one of them. Ganeless seems to have unwittingly stated that Comedy Central really wasn't hoping to put a woman in the anchor seat. Either that or gushy puffery about Noah caused her to say something she didn't mean to say.

Why is Ganeless president of Comedy Central? Perhaps she was promoted beyond her appropriate level.

Anyway, I'm not sold on Noah. I watched the clip of him that was linked at the beginning of the NYT article — I sat through the Coke-and-Pepsi commercial for "Mixify" — which shows him in a colloquy with Jon Stewart. Noah began with what seems to be the old joke "I just flew in and boy are my arms tired." When the predictable groans ensued, Noah held his arms up in the Ferguson hands-up-don't-shoot position and said:
"No, seriously, I've been holding my arms like this since I got here. I never thought I’d be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa. It kind of makes me a little nostalgic for the old days, back home."
So, get ready for jokes against America told in a not-American accent. I guess, not American was on the Comedy Central checklist of plus factors that Noah checked off (and then some).  Yeah, I know, you don't have to get ready because you don't watch "The Daily Show." I don't either anymore. I used to watch every day. I still record every show, but I can't remember the last time I felt like clicking on the recording. Maybe I got tired of Jon Stewart's incessant yelling in disbelief. How could America be so awful? But does that mean I want to hear Noah's mellifluous murmuring about how awful America is?

I know, I'm old. The show is not intended for me. I saw the commercial for Mixify. Coke and Pepsi's effort to get people to "mix" their soda-drinking with nutritious food was, to me, a ludicrously transparent effort to fend off government regulation, not what they want you to think it is:
#Realtalk: Coke, Dr Pepper and Pepsi understand that balancing your mix of foods, drinks and physical activities can get a little tricky. And since our products can play a part in that equation, we’ve teamed up to help make it easier to find a balanced mix that feels oh so right. That’s where Mixify comes in. It’s like a balance wingman.

Bringing you new combinations to keep your mix fresh and your body right. Like mixing lazy days with something light, following sweaty workouts with whatever you’re craving, and crossing cats with dragons. Because at the end of the day, finding balance keeps you feeling snazzier than the emoji of the dancing lady in red. Balance what you eat and drink with what you do. That’s how you Mixify.
Hashtag Realtalk? A balance wingman? A little tricky? Actually, it's not tricky at all. Don't drink soda. It's not tricky to me, that is, but I take it Coke and Pepsi are trying to trick teach tricks to people who are not me. And maybe those kids will love Trevor Noah.

52 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Given that I've never watched the Daily Show -- I don't have cable -- I don't see how this affects me.

I'll comment though: The choice seems to be very Politically Correct. A mixed-race man who makes jokes about America with negative connotations. I guess feminist lesbians aren't funny enough?

Curious George said...

"“I never thought I’d be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa,”

Sounds like he's been to Madison. eh garage?

Tank said...

“I never thought I’d be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa,”

Please go back to South Africa where you feel safer.

=================================

I found Jon very funny in small doses at not very frequent intervals.

================================

They might have picked a man because they want to have a funny show.

Darrell said...

If he has ANC Communist connections, he filled out their wish list right there.

Witt's End said...

They didn't bring in a woman because

1. you can't use a woman who's not a feminist, and

2. Feminists have no sense of humor.

Laslo Spatula said...

No doubt the audience for which this is aimed will believe such comedy is 'edgy'. Self-congratulation all around.

I am Laslo.

mccullough said...

A foreigner won't work

MadisonMan said...

A woman would too easily sound strident.

And then people would think of Hillary!! and vote for someone else. Comedy Central must be in the tank for the Clintons -- because it's Comedy Gold if they're in office.

Brando said...

It probably matters less who the anchor is, and more what the joke writers come up with. For the most part, the jokes tend to focus on (1) how inane cable news is in general and (2) how absurd and awful the Right is. Which is fine--it plays to what they think their audience wants--but it also leaves a lot of targets on the table and misses out on plenty of political humor. And I think their audience (and potential audience) would appreciate that humor more than they're given credit for.

bleh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brando said...

"A foreigner won't work"

I think that's true. It's one thing if it seems to be an American letting loose on his own--it keeps it "within the family"--but if a foreigner is ripping on us it may just seem nasty. How is Jon Oliver's style? I haven't seen his new show, but I imagine if he's brutal about America (rather than playfully amused) it would have the same effect.

Laslo Spatula said...

Arms are tired?'

I just flew in last night from South Africa and MY arms are tired -- from a flaming tire.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

“My mother had to be very clandestine about who my father was,” Mr. Noah said. “He couldn’t be on my birth certificate.”

So he is like Obama, then.


I am Laslo.

Bob Boyd said...

Trevor Noah has all the things Americans have loved about Barrack Obama and Piers Morgan in a single package.
Giving him the Daily show is like introducing the new, improved Hula Hoop because Hula Hoop sales have plummeted.

Laslo Spatula said...

#Realtalk: Pimps understand that balancing your mix of women and sexual activities can get a little tricky. And since our girls can play a part in that equation, we’ve teamed up to help make it easier to find a balanced mix that feels oh so right. That’s where Pimpify comes in. It’s like a balance wingman who can provide chicks who give blow-jobs for cash.

I am Laslo.

MayBee said...

The audience is male, right? So they can't go with a woman.

But, good for the Daily Show. I hope they are happy with their choice and maintain their over sized influence on the political media writers, who have a sharp nose for what matters most.

rehajm said...

I've seen several new anchors (or newsreaders or whatever you want to call them) sporting English with a foreign accent. New people on CNBC, NBCSports Net, Golf Channel, HBO, etc. Seems like a new twist on the old Masterpiece Theatre belief that Americans will perceive someone speaking English with an accent as more intelligent and credible.

Or perhaps it's recognition Americans aren't all in on lefty spew spouted American lefty anchors anymore.

I'm Full of Soup said...

So Brit Jon Oliver has one show, this S. African has another national talk show and CBS is advertising another foreigner as the new host of its Late Late Show? Sounds like a trend - perhaps setting up a post president career for Obama to go back to Kenya and then re-enter as a talk show host. [sarc alert]

Shanna said...

It's one thing if it seems to be an American letting loose on his own--it keeps it "within the family"--but if a foreigner is ripping on us it may just seem nasty.

I think it will depend on his tone.

Craig Ferguson hosted one of the late shows and was charming, but I think he actually likes america so it was coming from a different place. I think the Daily show will have to remake itself with a new host regardless. It certainly changed when Craig Kilbourne left.

Anonymous said...

"#Realtalk"

I'm feeling culturally appropriated.

Diamondhead said...

Ah, a white black man.

Bay Area Guy said...

The Daily Show needs .....to.....simply......fade ....away........

CWJ said...

Althouse wrote -

"...a ludicrously transparent effort to fend off government regulation..."

Agreed. And by going in together, coke and pepsi minimize their wasted expense for this ad while maximizing their projected public mindedness.

hawkeyedjb said...

It's just so, so edgy to express your disdain for America! So brave! You'll stand out because of your courage!

People believe that.

Peter said...

“I never thought I’d be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa”

But are you afraid of your fellow South Africans? Google "Crime in South Africa” to find out why, perhaps, you should be.

damikesc said...

So they hired an idiot.

Lovely.

Alexander said...

It's the Daily Show. You think the intended audience gives a rip if a foreigner talks about how crap America is? That's a feature - not a bug. These are the same people who love seeing American celebrities go overseas and talk about how shit we are, and how more 'European' we should be. These are the people who sit in coffee shops and sneer about how if anyone needs to 'get out' of America to make it better, it's the white American prole.

And, bonus points!, they'll be some outrage on the right over the fact that it's a foreigner on our airwaves saying our native population is shit. Nothing legitimizes left-wing comedy to left-wingers like having someone on FOX saying it's not funny.

tim maguire said...

I love a good rant and Jon Stewart is a great ranter, so I which youtube clips periodically, but I can't remember the last time I watched a whole show.

"Hands Up"? Really? They had to go all the way to South Africa to find someone who hates America sufficiently to entertain a liberal audience? Really?

tim maguire said...

Brando said...How is Jon Oliver's style? I haven't seen his new show, but I imagine if he's brutal about America (rather than playfully amused) it would have the same effect.

Similar to Stewart, but smarter and with a harder edge. He's an entertaining ranter if you agree with him, but if you disagree then it's difficult to overlook the bullshit and cheap shots.

Curious George said...

If Obama had a son, he would look Trevor Noah.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Speaking of John Oliver, I'm surprized Althouse hasn't blogged about this bit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ9prhPV2PI

Robert Cook said...

Stewart has really jumped the shark. He always tended to be a bit shticky, but now he bellows and carries on as if he's entertaining the cheap seats at a state fair.

Larry Wilmore of the Nightly Show is quite good, as is John Oliver.

(I don't watch either one; I'm asleep before or by 11:30 each night, and I don't check HBO very often to see what's on. I have seen clips of Oliver and a few "first 15 minutes" of Wilmore when I haven't been asleep.)

MayBee said...

Americans like to hear people with accents put us down, don't we?
I mean, not all of us. But it seems there's a certain person who loves to hear British/Australian/SoAfrican (close enough to Australian) sounding people say bad things about....certain elements of our society. So sophisticated!

the wolf said...

His mistake is that he should be far more afraid of other black men than the police based on statistics alone. And it's not even close.

Sebastian said...

Prog insecurity creates demand for daily affirmation by half-black foreign bullshitters. By the cunning of capitalist reason anti-Americanism sells.

A preview of Hillary!'s Fun Adult Camps.

sane_voter said...

His mistake is that he should be far more afraid of other black men than the police based on statistics alone. And it's not even close.

I think the issue is that it is more offensive to him to be attacked, justifiably, by a white cop than a black criminal.

Getting knocked off by a gangbanger is keepin it real, ya know?

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

Why bother putting your hands up if the cops are gonna shoot you anyway? Oh, that's right, Brown didn't have his hands up. Never mind.

Steve said...

Trevor Noah has one thing going for him; he is hilarious. Born to a mixed race couple in apartheid South Africa to a Xhosa mother and a Swiss father and late immigrated to the US. Just give him a chance to make the Daily Show his own.

And you can check out his struggles with no being black enough or German enough and too Mexican here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LQw_J-sbeU

At the Apollo no less.

Shanna said...

Thanks for posting Steve. Pretty funny.

Although that seems to be the apollo in London, which looks a wee bit different from the american version.

William said...

What are the chances of a comic making edgy jokes about gullible leftists buying into a false narrative of hands up, don't shoot. Career suicide. Make edgy jokes about climate change deniers instead. That way lies the boffo yuks and Emmys.

Simon said...

That's nice, the Daily Show has chosen someone to replace the former host. No one noticed because we long ago chose John Oliver's show to replace the Daily Show.

Unknown said...

"What are the chances of a comic making edgy jokes about gullible leftists buying into a false narrative of hands up, don't shoot."

Carlin would have. (Caveat: as long as he believed it). Like journalism used to be about what's news (I think), comedy used to be about what's funny.

chillblaine said...

He checks all the boxes except self-deprecation. A comic cannot succeed without pathos.

holdfast said...

"By the time he started performing stand-up in his 20s, Mr. Noah said he had long been taught that “speaking freely about anything, as a person of color, was considered treason.”

Trevor Noah was born in 1984.

Apartheid ended in 1994.

Trevor Noah was 10.

Trevor Noah is full of crap.

William said...

I watched John Oliver's show last night. He came out against the SI swimsuit issue and big tobacco. You have to subscribe to HBO to get this right on the edge stuff......Australia has a program where cigarette companies are required to post graphic photos of diseased lungs, rotten gums, and other disturbing effects of smoking right on the cigarette pack. The photos are much larger and more prominent than the brand name. They're very ugly to look at. The cigarette companies, not surprisingly, sued to block this law. They lost. Oliver noted their objections and celebrated their loss......If I were doing a comic riff, I would wonder about what's next. Perhaps photos of fat asses, dimpled with cellulite, on McDonald's wrappers. How about cirrhotic liver photos on single malt Scotch bottles? Photos of twisted, mangled bodies in sales brochures for high performance cars? Photos of green, swollen bodies who did not survive the tsunami in the SI swimsuit issue?

Anonymous said...

The box he "checked off" were - Not from America.

Not because Comedy Central is trying to be subversive, but instead because they are terrified that they missed out on John Oliver, and hoping to recreate the success he is having on another network.

My favorite sports team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did similar with a coaching hire, hiring their young Secondary Coach as head coach because their previous young secondary coach, Mike Tomlin, had instant success with the Steelers, and they were afraid to "miss the next Mike Tomlin"... They still haven't recovered from that.

Bilwick said...

I know very little about him except what I read here, but as soon as I heard the announcement on the radio this morning, I went WAAAAAAY out on a limb and guessed, "Another Court Jester for the Hive."

MadisonMan said...

Agree with Shanna. Steve, thanks for that link, that was pretty funny (I was distracted by the red spot on his tongue, but....)

Steve said...

For the first time in the history of Althouse I agree with MadisonMan. I may need to reevaluate. Really, I don't care if he is a lefty or a righty just please be hungry. And saying obvious things to lefty 24 year olds why they laugh doesn't fit my definition of funny.

There must be a 7/11 near the Apollo because he clearly had a cherry Slurpie just before going on stage.

Unknown said...

I've seen Noah perform in South Africa, and he's not afraid to poke fun at our (black) political elite. I wonder if his knowledge of the American political landscape will suffice. I hope he has good writers.

Jason said...

Iowahawk's Twitter feed tore the guy apart. Entertainingly, I might add.

Never watched The Daily Show except in excerpt. Didn't tune in for this one.

holdfast said...

Hey, this guy is really funny with the Jewish jokes.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3019075/New-Daily-host-Trevor-Noah-accused-anti-Semitism-enraged-Twitter-users-drag-tweeting-history.html

Would it be cool if I started posting some of the old South African Kaffir jokes I know? I knows some really funny ones about Mandela and Steven Beko.

If not, why not? How about some Van der Merwre jokes?