When the news broke out that South Africa’s own Trevor Noah had been selected to take over from Jon Stewart in hosting the Comedy Central daily show, The Daily Show, everybody including Noah himself, was beside themselves with happiness and congratulations came from all corners of the country and the world alike. Comments like, “this makes it such a great honour to be a comedian in South Africa” were the order of the day.
Jon Stewart is the current host of the show and he has been at the helm of this American comedy show for the past sixteen years. When he announced that he would be stepping down from hosting the show, many began to wonder who would fill the big shoes he would be leaving behind. There was no doubt a lot of jostling for the position and when it was announced that Trevor, who had appeared on the show twice and received a standing ovation from the crowd, it immediately catapulted the thirty one year old Soweto-born coloured into the international limelight. This is when some tweets that he had posted sometime back were raked back into the limelight. This is when all hell broke loose as they say. He has been accused of being anti-semitic as in one of his tweets he seems to be denigrating the Jews. Another of his tweets says, “Originally when men proposed they went down on one knee so if the woman said no they were in the perfect uppercut position.” Trevor’s detractors use this to accuse him of encouraging violence against women. This is also the accusation that is also levelled against him in another tweet in which he says something about fat chicks.
There has been, however, a fierce defence to the position of Noah from fellow comedians from all over the world, particularly in America itself. Patton Oswalt was especially fierce in Noah’s defence, posting a 53 tweet rampage in which he argues that jokes are meant to entertain every single person who hears them. Aasif Mandvi, who is Daily Show correspondent also comes to Noah’s defence when he says, “The guy made some off colour, irresponsible tweets. He was trying to be funny. How much are we responsible for the things we said on Twitter five or 10 years ago? …” In his own defence, Trevor has asked that he be not judged by the handful of tweets that were his attempt at being funny and which did not even hit the mark. This is also the warning given by a correspondent of The National, an American newspaper, who warns that the things that we do in an attempt to get popular on the internet will most likely haunt us when we become really famous. This, he attributes to the fact that as soon as we are popular, some people will go and unearth all the tweets and posts that we placed on line those many years ago.
As far as the producers of the Daily Show are concerned, no word has been forthcoming from them regarding the tweets fiasco that the future host of their show is currently embroiled in.