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:
Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn't look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) September 18, 2009
Messi gets the ball and the real players try foul him, but Messi doesn't go down easy, just like jewish chicks. #ElClasico
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) January 25, 2012
Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man. #BeatsByDreidel
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) May 12, 2014
I like women that don't wear make up. For me they're like pizza- still great the next morning!
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) May 2, 2010
"Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I'm sexy!" – fat chicks everywhere.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) October 14, 2011
A hot white woman with ass is like a unicorn. Even if you do see one, you'll probably never get to ride it.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) November 28, 2011
On the LGBT community:
Looking at how successful all the Kardashian women are, I don't blame Bruce Jenner at all.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) February 5, 2015
I'm watching Olympic women's hockey. It's like lesbian porn. Without the porn. #InLove
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) July 31, 2012
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:
— Ari David (@AriDavidUSA) March 31, 2015
— Dani Klein (@YeahThatsKosher) March 30, 2015
— DAVID DRAIMAN (@DAVIDMDRAIMAN) March 31, 2015
Even comedian Roseanne Barr thinks some of Noah’s jokes go too far:
— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) March 31, 2015
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:
Funniest thing about @TrevorNoah is the reveal that nobody at Comedy Central knows how to do a Twitter search.
— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 31, 2015
But then there are others who suggest that Noah would not be facing this type of backlash if he were white:
Interesting that white comics make offensive jokes and are celebrated or tolerated but Trevor Noah well that's not acceptable.
— roxane gay (@rgay) March 31, 2015
And he even got some unexpected defense from Fox’s comedic Red Eye co-host Andy Levy:
— andy levy (@andylevy) March 31, 2015
Noah has not responded directly to the criticism, except to post this cryptic message, which he subsequently deleted.
Pretty quick tweet & delete from Trevor Noah pic.twitter.com/L2Yr8Dab74
— Anna Brand (@thebrandedgirl) March 31, 2015
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.
Pegging the over/under of when Trevor Noah deletes his Twitter account at 10 hours. Place your bets.
— Josh Spiegel (@mousterpiece) March 31, 2015
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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