Yesterday Comedy Central announced that South African comedian Trevor Noah will replace Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show beginning in December. Curious fans of the show scrambled to learn more about Noah, whose fan base is large but not concentrated in the United States. Those people found a Twitter account (with two million followers) that included multiple instances of jokes that many deemed tone-deaf and tasteless. For example:
"Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I'm sexy!" - fat chicks everywhere.— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) October 14, 2011
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
Originally when men proposed they went down on one knee so if the woman said no they were in the perfect uppercut position.— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) December 20, 2012
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
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
There is outcry, across social media and on most news sites today. This morning Noah tweeted and then deleted “Twitter does not have enough characters to respond to all the characters on Twitter” but has otherwise not commented on the blowback. The Atlantic staff writer Spencer Kornhaber and senior editor James Hamblin discuss.
Hamblin: Are these jokes real or some kind of performance-art parody?
Kornhaber: That would be nice, if it turned out to be a parody of some sort. I guess. But it’d have to have been started back in 2009, which would make for a pretty long-running conspiracy. The first thing that strikes me about these tweets is just how inept they are as attempts at humor. They didn’t make me chuckle guiltily. They just made me embarrassed for him. Right?