Well, well, well. It looks like Trevor Noah might have to turn in his Liberal Outrage Police badge.
It’s a shame, really. When it comes to hypocritical feigned outrage, “The Daily Show” is a venerable institution. Oh, sure, it may not have the viewership that Colbert gets on CBS now, or rise to the level of fact-free invective that Michelle Wolf is able to muster, but “The Daily Show” remains an institution, like “Saturday Night Live.” It’s also just as unwatchable, but hey, at least it’s there.
Now, a racist routine from his stand-up comedy days has many calling for Noah to step down.
The South African-born comedian had already faced some criticism when he was announced as Jon Stewart’s replacement and old tweets like “Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man. #BeatsByDreidel” and “‘Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I’m sexy!’ – fat chicks everywhere” were unearthed.
Stewart stood behind his successor and Noah was duly apologetic, so things proceeded apace. In the interim, nothing else has popped up that disqualify Noah. The internet has a long memory, however, and apparently Noah wasn’t quite as PC-ready then as he is every weeknight at 11 p.m. on Comedy Central.
In a 2013 stand-up comedy routine — conveniently rediscovered before he starts a tour of Australia — Noah implied that Aborigine women are all unattractive, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.
“All women of every race can be beautiful,” Noah says in the setup.
“‘Oh Trevor, yeah, but I’ve never seen a beautiful Aborigine.’ Yeah, but you know what you say? You say ‘yet.’ That’s what you say: ‘yet.’ Because you haven’t seen all of them, right?”
Hilarious. And then, of course, it went into R-rated territory.
“Plus it’s not always about looks, maybe Aborigine women do special things, maybe they’ll just like, jump on top of you,” Noah said. He then feigned oral sex while making the sound of a didgeridoo, the Aborigine wind instrument. (The NSFW video can be seen here.)
Now, as always, Noah claims you shouldn’t judge him so harshly because he’s Learned Something.
“After visiting Australia’s Bunjilaka museum and learning about aboriginal history first hand I vowed never to make a joke like that again. And I haven’t. I’ll make sure the clip from 2013 is not promoted in any way,” Noah said in a mea sorta culpa on Twitter Monday.
I am so disgusted and appalled by the comments by @Trevornoah and his attempted humour that denigrates Aboriginal women I hope Australians boycott his shows in #Brisbane #Sydney #Melbourne #Perth #Australia That kind of ‘humour’ is not funny and does damage! #racismitstopswithme https://t.co/yplwK2CtI7
— Dr Anita Heiss (@AnitaHeiss) July 22, 2018
Right. At this point, I’d like to humbly request an itemized list of everything Trevor Noah says he has learned in between the time he made a derogatory joke and the present. When new Noah footage resurfaces, we can simply recheck it against that list and see if it’s something he actually learned.
I’m just saying because at this point, Trevor Noah seems to have had a Damascene road moment the second he was awarded the “Daily Show” job and nothing he did in the past is relevant or operative.
At least one Facebook group, Feminism & Decolonialization, is calling for a boycott of Noah’s shows, according to the Daily Wire.
“He grossly sexualises and objectifies First Nations Australian women for a ‘joke,’” administrators of the page wrote.
“He perpetuated incredibly harmful stereotypes … that Indigenous women aren’t beautiful, that Indigenous women are only good for their bodies; and Indigenous women are over-sexualised sex starved beings.”
A later post said that “(i)f men want to make money off of being hailed as ‘feminist heroes’ then they better be ready to be called out. He has not apologised and is actively attempting to hide what happened.
“I won’t hold my breath for a proper apology,” it added.
Other people were similarly unimpressed.
@joewilliams_tew you’re right. After visiting Australia’s Bunjilaka museum and learning about aboriginal history first hand I vowed never to make a joke like that again. And I haven’t. I’ll make sure the clip from 2013 is not promoted in any way.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) July 22, 2018
Looks like it’s gone. Good work peoples. X
— Dr Anita Heiss (@AnitaHeiss) July 22, 2018
Now, did I find the clip offensive? It certainly wouldn’t be something I would have raised in a stand-up comedy routine. I didn’t find it funny. I’m not terribly surprised by it, since Noah has one standard for himself and another for everyone else (not uncommon among liberal-kind).
What I found most dispiriting, however, is that this is a man who often acts as an arbiter of what constitutes bigotry and oppression. Noah has previously said that the president “prefers white people over black people” and has feuded with the French ambassador over the country’s “colonialism” in the wake of the World Cup. Yet, every time Noah saying something repellent for laughs comes out, what we hear is that he’s matured and that we oughtn’t judge him too harshly.
For all I know, perhaps the man has. I just find it peculiar that it’s been used as a blanket to justify so many prejudices expressed so recently, all when the comedian wasn’t exactly in his youth. If more of Noah’s problematic routines manage to unearth themselves, something tells me the “maturation” excuse isn’t going to fly, particularly given that some on the left are already abandoning him.