So by now, you may have heard of the anointment of the vaunted Daily Show’s new heir, Trevor Noah. If you haven’t, that did indeed just happen. If you have, you may not know who he is, so here’s the scoop:
- Standup comic, hailing from South Africa
- Made a name for himself there, as well as on UK TV comedy & satire shows
- Has a hilarious Netflix special, called (heh) African American
Now I’m already pretty stoked about this – first of all, it’s a completely leftfield choice, and I fucking love those. Second, because I’ve never seen someone pull off the highwire act of poking fun at american politics and culture without quickly alienating the home crowd and needing to lay low for a bit – as Sascha Baron Cohen may tell you. But there’s a real likability about Noah’s stage presence and personality, and as I roll this surprising turn of events around in my brainpan, more interesting morsels keep popping out – morsels which I will now share with you. Joy!
The Most powerful black man in the media?
Despite his protestations that he’s only a comedian, many credit outgoing host Jon Stewart with evolving the Daily Show from a topical comedy sideshow into a modern political powerhouse able to catapult issues of its choosing into the public discourse, and – more importantly – raise funds and influence legislation. It was the Daily Show that laid down a template followed by John Oliver on sister show This Week Tonight, with monstrous success, (at least on the topic of Net Neutrality).
So, does that mean…um, we’re witnessing the unexpected coronation of the most powerful black man in American media?
He’s gotta be terrified, and maybe we all should be too
I imagine it’s like if someone said “Here ya go, kid”, and tossed a pre-teen the keys to a fully-loaded Apache helicopter. There’s gonna be some real damage done, and not all of it you’ll be happy about. As for me, I’m all like:
There’s a whole swath of America that wants very badly to publicly destroy the symbolic leader of the progressive left, and with Stewart gone, they’re all going to be looking to burnish their talking-head creds with the new kid – the muckrakers have to be working overtime right about now! You just know Bill O’Reilly is itching to take Noah apart on live television, leaving only the gibbering scraps for endless dissection by viral video. After all, this could conveniently help everyone forget about his own recent turn under the spotlight, hmm?
Comedy Central apparently wants to shake things up
Good for them. Now get out of his way – you wanted different, and you better be prepared to take the heat that different brings these days.
Poking the Eagle
I wonder just how long will America put up with having their ENTIRE POLITICAL SPECTRUM poked fun at by an african? I mean, I love you guys, but y’all aren’t known for your good humor and patience when it comes to international spats. When France last stepped out of line, you permanently renamed a food.
Trevor Noah likes to deliver some real well-researched zingers about history, race and equality – the kind of joke that makes you screw up your mouth with amusement, right before the small prick in your chest blooms into a hot, sharp ache of self-consciousness. But just how tolerant is the political left in this country, before patriotic defensiveness sets in? How willing are American viewers to smile and laugh at themselves with some of those barbs sticking in their ribs? I think we’re going to find out under Noah’s stewardship, and I think we’ll all come out better for it.
Some poor suckers are earning their overtime tonight
Netflix, Amazon, Redbox and all the other streaming services’ poor engineers are burning the midnight oil tonight, to stem the flood of traffic to whichever servers are unlucky enough to be housing his standup specials.
South Africa’s cultural domination of 2015 accelerates
Between Neil Blomkamp’s awesome-looking Chappie hitting the theaters, Die Antwoord’s rising prominence, Trader Joe’s delicious “braai” (Boer-style BBQ) chips that I just discovered and cannot control myself around, and now a son of Soweto helming one of the most popular news shows in America, dude…South Africa’s putting out some good shit right now, man!
I’m fucking jealous
Ahem, some of us have been doing the funny-accented-charming-biracial-dude-with-an-outsider’s-perspective-on-US-culture thing for like 15 FUCKING YEARS with no recognition, and now you’re swooping in to make that schtick seem fresh again? Way to blow up my spot, bro.
Finally, please don’t go Cosby on us
Just don’t. Mm’kay?
[Update 3/31] It appears he already did, with a lil’ Mel Gibson anti-semitism thrown in for good measure. Sigh…
It sounds like Comedy Central is standing by him, but I’m really disappointed. Yes, we’ve all said and tweeted stupid things, but I wouldn’t respect the views of someone who said things like this, nor would I trust them with the news. So he’s starting with a deficit for me.