April 1, 2015

"The Problem Isn’t That Trevor Noah Is Offensive. The Problem Is That He’s a Giant Dope."

Headline at Slate.
The problem is not that Trevor Noah tells offensive jokes. It’s not even that he routinely breaks The Daily Show's covenant of speaking truth to power in favor of speaking truth to fat chicks or Thai hookers or, as the Washington Post’s Wendy Todd points out, black Americans who give their kids names that Noah disapproves of. The problem is that Noah’s jokes are so annihilatingly stupid.
Jeez, they're swarming this poor man. A giant dope? Isn't that insult dopey? I read the article, and it seems that Noah's problem is he needs better joke-writers. I'd say: He's getting "The Daily Show"'s joke-writers, so the question is only how he looks, how he delivers the jokes, and how he manages the interviews. If you're not going to rest on the ground that his old jokes were so offensive that he can't be the face of the brand, what's the problem? He's a giant dope? That makes zero sense. It's as if the writer — Jessica Winter — doesn't know that there are writers. That's annihilatingly stupid.

Now, the Wendy Todd article (linked above) makes a much stronger point: It seems that "The Daily Show" may be installing Noah because he's been getting away with mocking black people. Todd, who is black, says:
[On "The Tonight Show"] Noah joked that black people are misidentified as African Americans. “They’re not African, but we’ll play along,” he said, adding, “Many of them really try to connect with Africa, you know? Some of them have these African names. They’ll be like, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s my girl Wanda, yeah, yeah. Yeah that’s right, that’s Dashiqua, or dat’s Taniqua.” Noah emphasized all this “hilarity” by using stereotypical B-Boy hand gestures to drive it home — because this is how all black people communicate, obviously. Leno’s predominantly white audience ate it up....

Not only did Noah get away with these routines, now he’s being rewarded for them. And the sadder thing is that the next time we have this “there aren’t enough people of color in the late night arena” conversation, people will point to Noah and say, “See, we gave you another one.”

84 comments:

sane_voter said...

I am just going to sit back and enjoy watching the left eat one of their own for a change.

Bob Ellison said...

Jeez, they're swarming this poor man.

Implosion alert! They're trying to kill Noah's career because he has issues, and even lefties are smart enough to see them.

Tank said...

Now, the Wendy Todd article (linked above) makes a much stronger point: It seems that "The Daily Show" may be installing Noah because he's been getting away with mocking black people.

Well, yeah. You can't be mocking black people. That would make them all cry. And if you say the magic word (it starts with n), then they all kill themselves.

We could make a list of all the people you can't mock, but it's easier to just say it's ok to mock straight white men. OK, Christians too.

I wonder how all of the very "tough" black men feel about people who think that they can't stand it if some comedian makes a joke.

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

If they let him mock black people every night (and gays, women, feminists, Zero, trannies, etc), I might watch. THAT would be different. But he won't, because ... he's a progressive.

rhhardin said...

Black names for their kids Loveline youtube.

H/T Derbyshire

Simon said...

Every joke has a butt; Mr. Noah's mistake was to choose the wrong one. Had he been offensive to conservatives, libertarians, and Christians, he would still be being cheered by those who now attack him.

Hagar said...

If his tweets did not "reflect who he is," why did he make them?

Anonymous said...

"The problem is not that Trevor Noah tells offensive jokes. It’s not even that he routinely breaks The Daily Show's covenant of speaking truth to power .."

LOL! Now that's funny.

traditionalguy said...

He is already a star for daring to say dumb stuff to get attention...which is a kind of joke in itself.

His defense is that he has always been marginalized by being raised in South Africa with a Black mother and a Swiss father. No one like his Otherness.

The Neo-Puritans from Ivy League American culture can never spend the time to understand him. But he is the perfect man for today's immigration express.

RMc said...

And the sadder thing is that the next time we have this “there aren’t enough people of color in the late night arena” conversation, people will point to Noah and say, “See, we gave you another one.”

Not hiring blacks to host talk shows is racist. However, actually hiring blacks to host talk shows is also racist.

Will Cate said...

This is all just so stupid. When Jon Stewart leaves, the Daily Show is dead. Comedy Central should just retire the brand, and move on.

campy said...

Giant dope? As a Person of Size, I'm outraged!

traditionalguy said...

Seeing so much wild consternation about his bad jokes out of the past makes me wonder how really good he is likely to be.

Comedy gores both sides' ox. And this dude has no filter on his expression of thoughts. He will expose the Neo-Puritans silly profundities too.

The Drill SGT said...

what Tank said first.

Xmas said...

I hope they don't push him out of the job.

I suspect he'll be terrible though. I mean, Stewart was terrible his first couple of years. He really didn't "win" his audience until his scuffle with Tucker Carlson on Crossfire.

Brando said...

The SJWs are swarming like hyenas, and this is one reason humor on the Left is endangered.

Look at the facts--we have a comedian, who like most comedians, tries out his jokes on Twitter to gauge reactions. Noah's jokes (at least the ones that are causing the rending of garments) were unfunny, and arguably offensive (the Jewish ones at least). He deserves criticism for that, as feedback is key to improving your act. But then, let it go--trying to spike his career over this just sends the message that in comedy you have to keep all your jokes in a "safe" place, which is an idea that is antithetical to comedy. It'd be like making a batter afraid to swing, lest he ever miss.

I agree that his role on Daily Show would be quite different from a comedian doing standup (the one time I saw Jon Stewart doing standup he was pretty unfunny--maybe it was a fluke, but Stewart isn't really known for great standup; yet he was a hit in his Daily Show role). The jokes are mostly created by the writers, and if he can deliver well and do interviews, then who cares what dumb tweets he made while coming up as a comedian?

I do just love though that the Left (or at least Salon) was SURE that the Right would be coming after Noah like banshees, and simply because he is African (because the Right is obsessed with race, which is odd coming from a writer who brought up the race issue first). Then, a few unfunny but offensive tweets are found, and suddenly we see the SJW lynch mob in full force.

Eventually comedy will be the exclusive province of libertarians.

Brando said...

"This is all just so stupid. When Jon Stewart leaves, the Daily Show is dead. Comedy Central should just retire the brand, and move on."

Since when have the media money grubbers ever killed a cash cow for this reason? We're on like the tenth Superman or something.

Jim said...

Blacks are noticing that the Black talk show host they are getting has no connection to the American Slavery Experience. Sort of like the Black President that they got. However, when they have a Black supreme court justice, who has the American Slavery Experience, they hate him. You just can't please some people.

Laslo Spatula said...

Welcome, Mr. Noah, to your intended audience.

Good luck threading the needle of what they consider acceptable humor.

I'm sure they have a helpful guide-book.


I am Laslo.

MayBee said...

Wow.

How invested in The Daily Show is the left?

eddie willers said...

Not hiring blacks to host talk shows is racist. However, actually hiring blacks to host talk shows is also racist.

Quite a few years ago, I was having a discussion with a young liberal and made a prediction:

The banks that are now being accused of being "Red-Lining Racists" for not making loans will become "Predatory Lending Racists" for making loans.

He is no longer a liberal.

tim in vermont said...

Gore 'was lazy dope as student at Harvard'

My favorite "Dope" headline.

Fernandinande said...

Slate: It’s not even that he routinely breaks The Daily Show's covenant of speaking truth to power...

Slate bees funny!

Most Popular U.S. Baby Names

Russell said...

On a side note, is it just me or does is just play to form that having a foreigner read the satire news that basically will berate us on how messed up the US is, seems to be the new trend on these shows. John Oliver and now Trevor Noah (Ok, trend may be a stretch). If Bill Maher ever retires, look for HBO to find a funny Australian or Latin American.

chickelit said...

His defense is that he has always been marginalized by being raised in South Africa with a Black mother and a Swiss father. No one like his Otherness.

He wields more potential than Barack Obama in related matters. More potential because people can tune into Noah voluntarily rather than having him foisted by a political party. Now it's a butterfly/wheel thing.

Fernandinande said...

HT, Sailer:

http://drboli.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/bumper-sticker-speak-power-to-truth.gif

Bob Boyd said...

The church ladies don't like the new pastor.

Bob Ellison said...

I want to see the birth certificate.

Peter said...

"It's as if the writer ... doesn't know that there are writers. "

Well, yes, we all know there are writers, which means that the words that come out of performers and presidents are rarely their own.

Nonetheless, in this business it's the job of the writers to remain invisible: they're behind-the-scenes talent, not on-camera talent.

So it's hard to blame someone for taking the illusion (that the on-camera talent wrote the jokes) at face-value, even though it's an illusion.

Because without the illusion, what's the point of the on-camera talent, and why would that talent be "the star," and not the writers?

And in any case, it's entirely possible for a joke-reader to ruin even a well-written joke.

Shanna said...

If they let him mock black people every night (and gays, women, feminists, Zero, trannies, etc), I might watch. THAT would be different. But he won't, because ... he's a progressive.

'Comedy' would be a lot funnier if you were allowed to mock anyone who deserves it.

I actually rather liked the little clip I watched of this guy, or at least I think he had potential, but I'm not sure that he has the understanding of american culture or the guts to pull it off. The only way this new daily show will work is if he makes it truly his, instead of trying to do what Stewart did.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

On the one hand the outrage machine is truly tiring to watch, even if it is only "more speech" at this point.

On the other hand it's hard to sympathize with members of the Left when they're treated to a small fraction of the type of response anyone identifiably on the Right gets whenever they make the news for any reason. I'd like to hope that having a few prominent Left-ish entertainers get burned by this crap would serve to tamp these kinds of responses down, but I'm not sure what it will actually take.

TCR James said...

Best line in the article was this little bit of unintentionally spoken truth:

Not since John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate have the vetting capacities of a powerful political force been cast into such doubt.

Oh, so the Daily Show is a political force? Pray tell, what are its politics? All this time I thought Stewart was just a down-the-middle comedian...

MadisonMan said...

The church ladies don't like the new pastor.

(laugh). This is exactly what it looks like.

Chuck said...

Of course it is just comedy. The only reason this is such a big story at all now, is because The Daily Show has been so politicized under Jon Stewart, and because the Left has been so vicious in attacking non-Left celebrities for their old quotes, Tweets, private utterances, etc.

Payback is a bitch. Political payback is a particularly nasty bitch.

William said...

He's certainly getting a lot of publicity. A lot of people will tune in just to see what the fuss is all about.........There's a different kind of chemistry with late night comedians than other comics. They're the one you go to bed with, and the relationship is more intimate. It's not enough for the jokes to be funny. You have to really, really like the guy/gal.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Perhaps off topic but i wonder if his mother is South African? Or his ancestors?

Even under aparthied sa had a huge problem keeping other africans out.

Treatment by black africans by black africans was so bad that aparthied was viewed as an improvement.

John Henry

Michael The Magnificent said...

Speaking truth to power, sure.

But speaking truth to the American black community and their enablers on the left? Trevor, prepare to be driven from your new job.

JSD said...

Getting access to “The Daily Show” joke-writers isn’t going to help Trevor Noah. Jon Stewart was the show. That’s why he was getting north of $20 million a year. But I’m sure it can get by with an inexpensive replacement.

Did anyone see the Louis CK show when he tries out for Letterman spot? I wonder if Comedy Central executives made Noah work out at the boxing gym.

phantommut said...

"You see, Frodo, I user racial stereotyping for good!"

tim maguire said...

I'm so glad we got past those awful right wingers going after Noah with their vicious smear machine.

Now we can get down to the real business of utterly destroying him with our wonderful liberal truth machine.

one of the bobs said...

Now that the outragists are out in full effect I sorta hope he keeps the job...

SGT Ted said...

I all stocked up on popcorn and beer!

This is especially delicious seeing as how that leftwing dope predicted that it would be conservatives that would seek to get him fired.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, you pick the strangest people to feel sorry for -- Trevor Noah today, Teresa Sullivan, "Jackie," and Sabrina Erdley yesterday. What ever happened to "you made your bed, now lie on it"?

Sebastian said...

Where's George Carlin when we need him?

MadisonMan said...

@John Henry, his Mom is Xhosa (I recall), his Dad is Swiss.

Because you know how the Swiss love Chocolate. (Trevor Noah's line, not mine)

Steve M. Galbraith said...

Everything - and I mean everything - to the left is about power. Who has, who doesn't.

This is much like the RFRA controversy in Indiana. When these laws were viewed as protecting weaker or the correct religious group, the left fully supported them. But now when they are viewed as protecting the rights of the wrong group the left is opposed.

As long as comedians direct their humor at the right group then anything goes. But if it's used against perceived "powerless" groups then it's simply not allowed.

Historically the left deserves credit for looking out for oppressed and unpopular groups. A great deal of credit. But this modern left, the one in the West is doing more harm then good.

Henry said...

The problem is that the liberal super-ego is a television show.

damikesc said...

how he delivers the jokes

Silly faces and mugging to the camera is all it seems to take.

TosaGuy said...

"The church ladies don't like the new pastor."

Bob Boyd wins the thread.

Chris N said...

I think his mother is Xhosa and father Swiss-German, so during Apartheid, that would have made him illegal.

I thought he was funny enough when I saw him on YouTube. Polished delivery and timing. It's tough to do comedy cross-culturally. He seemed 'safe' and very South African.

Stewart was walking dead on that show, the schtick was over. So, the brand follows the incentives and feels pressure to stay hip and get Noah, which seems kinda racist, but totally New York/comedy writing room these days. Got to be cool, and worldly, man.

He might be good in that job, so who knows?

What's really funny are the group thinkers, dullards, moralists and ideologues etc. parading through the public square right now...

A Conga Line of hysterical morons.

Chris N said...

Im guessing a lot of the Left is about power, because all many have are ideas and ideology. Universities, twitter, media etc. are targets to activate, control and 'change' according to the ideas. Status becomes crucial, especially victimhood status. Political activism is written in the bylaws. Outrage is essential.

I've met libertarian ideologues, but they tend toward excessive individualism and anarchy and/or they get lost in a cloud of pot smoke or go down the Gold Bug rathole.

I've met a few Republicans who had nothing else going on in their lives, but they tend to balance out better I think. They at least feel pressure to be married, have kids, jobs and act from self-interest, even if they're ideologues and essentially, losers.

Bob Boyd said...

Adam Carolla once commented about dealing with political correctness while doing his show in Los Angeles.

"I'm in a snow globe full of retards and cat shit."

Gahrie said...

because he's been getting away with mocking black people.

Because of course, Black people must never be mocked.

The only people who can be mocked are straight, White, conservative men.

Beth B said...

Just trying to get over the absurdity of a black woman, born & raised in post-civil rights era America, lecturing a biracial South African man, born & raised during apartheid, about racism. Embarrassing...

Lem said...

The church ladies don't like the new pastor.

I should tweet that.

Anonymous said...

Remember the show "Dallas"? When was it on? Must have been in the 1980's or 1990's, basing my memory on where I lived at the time.

Anyway, my wife and I were following the story from week to week when one day we realized it was a giant waste of time and mental energy. I took our TV and set it next to the dumpster, the universal sign in our apartment community that it was free for the taking. Someone picked it up right away.

I have always felt guilty that I abetted someone else's waste of time and energy by not just tossing it through the open door of the dumpster.

I have no idea how to watch the Daily Show even if I was so inclined. TV has been over for me for decades.

Try it, you'll like it!

bleh said...

He's just not funny. If you are both funny and a member of a disadvantaged group, you can get away with jokes about race and gender and sexual orientation.

He's just not funny.

JAORE said...

Comedy can not be offensive, said no one ever with a real sense of humor.

But the Comedy Central "truth to power" line..... gold!

LarryK said...

I caught some of Noah's act on Youtube and thought he was painfully unfunny. Being funny also seems like a pre-req for hosting a talk show host on Comedy Central (ad-libbing etc). With any luck TDS will wither and die; it's pernicious and very, very stupid. But it will probably only be replaced by something worse...

Brando said...

"Just trying to get over the absurdity of a black woman, born & raised in post-civil rights era America, lecturing a biracial South African man, born & raised during apartheid, about racism. Embarrassing..."

Remember that for SJWs who you are matters (certain races trump others) but only so long as you hew to the party line. That's why Clarence Thomas gets no credit for being raised poor in segregation era Georgia.

CWJ said...

As someone upthread said, he's getting a lot of free publicity. I expect his initial audience will be huge by Comedy Central standards. If his writers are on their game, and he opens by skewering the right (in both senses of the word) people, this will all be forgotten.

This is the warm-up act. Grievance and griping is how to excite the left. It's his to lose at this point.

Writ Small said...

So, John Stewart handpicked his successor?

The Slate piece offers one explanation: "Maybe Jon Stewart just wanted to blow the building up as he strolled away with his shades on."

I think that, like Andrew Sullivan, John Stewart was burnt out and his judgment skewed after years of spinning Obama's screw ups as secret genius. In Stewart's case, a black man of mixed race parentage who held middle America in contempt just HAD to be much smarter than his actions suggested.

lemondog said...

So.... how is this latest outrage to be characterized against this black man / white black man? Racist, pro-Jew, anti-anti-Semitic, right of free speech, anti-free speech, democracy in action, undemocratic.......

Is he gay?

LarryK said...

You know who'd make a great TDS host? Ron White. Smart and funny as hell. He'd also be a trailblazer, since he'd be the first talk show host to drink whiskey on air.

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

I'm skeptical that most of these critics even watch the show.

Will Cate said...

"Since when have the media money grubbers ever killed a cash cow for this reason? We're on like the tenth Superman or something."

Oh, it won't be instantaneous. It will be a slow, lingering death. Kind-of like MSNBC.

Charlie Currie said...

Trevon Noah - the un-PC white-black South African-African male.

Just too complicated for protected victim groups to deal with.

The more I hear about him and the more the regressives tie themselves in knots over what to do with him, the more I like him. I may even start watching TDS...nah.

Pianoman said...

The church ladies don't like the new pastor.

Some opinion writer recently commented that the Daily Show was essentially a church service for the Left. Sort of like a Daily Mass, or Vespers.

Shanna said...

Ron White. ....he'd be the first talk show host to drink whiskey on air.

I actually think an old school guy, drinking whiskey on air, would be pretty damned entertaining. It would retro.

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is, what does the Crack Emcee think about all of this?

holdfast said...

"The problem is not that Trevor Noah tells offensive jokes. It’s not even that he routinely breaks The Daily Show's covenant of speaking truth to power .."

Those folks at Comedy Central are the giant dopes if they think that the current GOP is "power".

Brando said...

"You know who'd make a great TDS host? Ron White. Smart and funny as hell. He'd also be a trailblazer, since he'd be the first talk show host to drink whiskey on air."

He does great standup, and it's hard to read his actual political views. A guy like him with a balanced writing staff would make a great Daily Show type of show.

Brando said...

I am surprised that there hasn't been a worthy competitor to TDS with a more "hit both sides hard" bent. There's a lot of material unmined, and while right wing talk hosts like Limbaugh and O'Reilly provide some ideological balance, they aren't really comedy. There are a number of conservative, libertarian and moderate comedians and writers who could staff a show like that (and to make sure no good angles from the left flank are missed, some liberal writers).

Now with TDS going into the post-Stewart transition would be a good time to launch one.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

More obsessed with race & questions of racial identity: 1950's or 2015 America? I guess back in the day it was the rubes who cared, and now it's the educated classes. Progress?

wildswan said...

He's funny.

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

Watch that and tell me he isn't funny.

And the right might be able to watch him - intermittently

Bay Area Guy said...

A giant dope in Hollywood? Jeez, how could that possibly happen....

Bob Boyd said...

@wildswan

You're right. That's terrific stuff.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

The tweets in question aren't offensive to me, but they are lame and hack. I don't know much about the rest of his comedy career, or if his other jokes are better, but I don't think having good writers is enough to make a successful comedian. Writers are essential for a show that's on the air frequently (how often do they do the Daily Show? I don't even know), but you have to have funny people to make a funny show, including the host.

richard mcenroe said...

Look, Comedy Central didn't bring this guy in because of his unique and informed insights on White Amerikka. That would be as stupid as sending me to host a comedy show in Soweto.

What they did was hire a black guy to front them while the company-approved white writers spoonfed him material to read, thinking no one could criticize the material because "hey, black guy."

Lot of businesses did this back in the mid-60's. They even had a word for it:

Trevor Noah is a token.

richard mcenroe said...

This also shows that Comedy Central knows so few talented genuine African-Americans that they had to go to Africa to find an acceptable one.

Or the white boys running the network have "issues" with the local talent.

richard mcenroe said...

Brando -- Fox doesn't want to "hit back" at TDS, or anyone else on the left, really. They are far more MOR than rightwing than the lefties can let themselves see...

Simon said...

I must say that I'm surprised that it's now considered offensive to suggest that Jewish women are not promiscuous. I might have thought it the other way around, personally.

Ctmom4 said...

@ Richard McEnroe - Interestingly, that was the reasoning behind the Obama campaign too.

Brando said...

"Fox doesn't want to "hit back" at TDS, or anyone else on the left, really. They are far more MOR than rightwing than the lefties can let themselves see..."

I don't think Fox should sponsor such a show anyway, as it would be comedy and not news (though sadly so many seem to primarily get their news through TDS). And maybe "hit back" isn't so much what I'm advocating, as "provide some competition". Which I suppose is "hitting back" as it could take away market share.

Consider when Fox News came out twenty years ago, it filled a niche (either the Right, or center, depending on your POV) in the news landscape. Isn't there today a demand to fill another niche in the comedy landscape? Not so much "right wing comedy" but "hit em where the jokes take you" comedy, particularly political humor. My complaint with TDS hasn't been that they tend left wing, but that they have a blind spot for humor that could hit their sacred cows (not consciously, but because they actually DON'T see anything funny about the left, sometimes).

damikesc said...

Brando, I'd argue Red Eye has more comedy and intelligent material than TDS has in years.