Trevor Noah’s Tweets: Are We Fair to Criticize?

Posted by Angela Ufheil

Many “Daily Show” fans grieved when Jon Stewart announced his retirement. Now, they are voicing another dramatic emotion – anger.  Comedy Central presented Trevor Noah as the new host in a recent press release. Noah is a South African comedian who has appeared on the “Daily Show” three times since 2014.

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But it was not Noah’s inexperience that angered people. Several tweets from last year ignited the fire within Daily Show fans. A Buzzfeed article compiles the now-infamous tweets, which include jokes about women and Jewish people that many feel are sexist and anti-Semitic.

Others argue that the biggest problem with the tweets was that they were not funny. Either way, some people defended Noah, but others asked Comedy Central to find a different host.

Noah will apparently keep his new job. “Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included,” Comedy Central said in an Entertainment Weekly article. “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.”

Jon Stewart asked that viewers give Noah a chance to earn their trust. Buzzfeed includes video from last night’s “Daily Show.”

I have several questions about this issue. First of all, do we think Comedy Central made the right decision? Do we agree that a comedian should not be judged by a few off-color jokes?

Also, what do we think about journalists picking up this story? Was too much attention given to a few dumb tweets? Or does it make sense for us to be picky about the next host of the “Daily Show?”

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4 responses to “Trevor Noah’s Tweets: Are We Fair to Criticize?

  1. Comedy Central said “to judge him on a handful of jokes is not fair,” but I think it’s pretty fair to make educated judgements based off of much more than a handful of jokes. I’m interested to see how he does as Stewart’s replacement, but not necessarily excited.

    I actually think Comedy Central might be doing this for the publicity. No press is bad press, right?

  2. I think we should be critical of the “Daily Show” and their hosts because they relay information just as well as NBC or ABC or another nightly news station. Many people get their news from Comedy Central, and I think Comedy Central as well as the public needs to be critical of their decision to name the new host.
    However, I don’t know if the public should protest the new “Daily Show” host because he wrote a few bad tweets in the past. As a prior comedian, he was trying to attract as many people as possible through humor. I think we should see how he does as the new host, first. If he makes derogatory comments on air, then we have a problem.
    I disagree with Molly, though. I don’t think Comedy Central would do this for attention, only because people were talking about Jon Stewart leaving the show before they named Trevor Noah as the new host.

  3. I agree with Beth – I don’t necessarily think we should judge him based solely on those tweets, I think we need to wait and see what he does on the show. I’ve definitely tweeted embarrassing things (holla at 7th grade Emily) but when I’m working at a professional magazine, I’m not going to be writing those things. As long as he acts professionally on air and keeps discriminatory comments off the show, I don’t see why his social media past should be discussed.

  4. I definitely agree that discriminatory comments in his new position will create a huge problem (and probably lose Noah his job). But even if he doesn’t show that side in his anchor position on “The Daily Show,” does it still bother us that he may not be the greatest out-of-the-spotlight? Or do we only care about how we do his job?

    Also, Beth’s comment brought up another question for me. She mentions that Noah will be reporting the news, just like an anchor on NBC or ABC (albeit in a more entertaining way). So, why don’t we scrutinize other anchors as much as we do this one from Comedy Central? Or do we, and I’m just missing something?

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