Trevor Noah’s History of Jewish and Fat Jokes Has People Up in Arms


It’s been 24 hours since Comedy Central announced that relatively unknown (to Americans, at least) South African comedian Trevor Noah will be taking over for Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show later this year. And already, people on Twitter have dug back through his old tweets and singled out jokes that are being called “anti-Semitic” and “racist,” among other things.

Here’s a sample of the offending tweets, dating back to 2009, via The Hollywood Reporter.

On Jewish people:

On women:

On the LGBT community:

Even though many of these Twitter jokes are years old, they are gaining new attention now that people want to find out more about the man who will replacing Stewart. Much of the criticism appears to be of his comments on Jews and Israel, a topic that also tended to get Stewart, who is Jewish, in trouble:

Even comedian Roseanne Barr thinks some of Noah’s jokes go too far:

UPDATE — 1:00 p.m. ET: As you can see above, Barr deleted her comment, but you can see a screenshot below:

And Republican strategist David Frum implied that Comedy Central never would have chosen him had they seen the tweets in question:

But then there are others who suggest that Noah would not be facing this type of backlash if he were white:

And he even got some unexpected defense from Fox’s comedic Red Eye co-host Andy Levy:

Noah has not responded directly to the criticism, except to post this cryptic message, which he subsequently deleted.

That move has some questioning whether Noah will delete his entire Twitter account, but given the fact that his 2 million followers were probably a big selling point for Comedy Central in the first place, that seems entirely unlikely.

There were relatively few hints of this side of Noah’s comedy in his handful of correspondent appearances on The Daily Show over the last few months. But anyone who has seen his stand-up comedy knows — including, presumably, Comedy Central execs — he has a tendency to disregard political correctness, especially when it comes to race.

As you can see in the clip below from his 2013 special African American, Noah is adept at using his status as a biracial non-American to say things that Americans of either race might not be able to express. But as he is learning today, there are some topics that are still seen as off-limits for comedy by some people in this country.

[Photo via screengrab]

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