Who is Trevor Noah? South African Comedian or Anti-Semite?


The blogosphere is in a tizzy over reports that relative newcomer (at least to the United States) Trevor Noah will replace Jon Stewart on Comedy Central‘s The Daily Show. Lisa Respers France of CNN reports that Noah, 31, made history as the first African comedian to perform on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She writes:

He’s been on the cover of Rolling Stone in South Africa, where he’s extremely popular. He’s joked about being the son of a black African woman and a white Swiss man who met when interracial relationships were illegal in South Africa.

“My mom would be arrested. She would be fined, and still she was like ‘ooh, I don’t care, I want a white man, ooh,’ ” he once told an audience at London’s Soho Theater during his standup show “The Racist.” “And my dad was also like, well, you know how the Swiss love chocolate.”

In 2012, he told NPR that he was fascinated by how Americans discuss race.

“I got to Baltimore, and I was expecting … because urban means built up and new, you know,” he said. “So I got there, and I was, ‘Whoa, it’s not as urban as people told me.’ … But it’s very black. I’ll tell you that much.”

Race, identity and ethnicity have figured in prominently in his act. Noah spent time in the U.S. and returned to South Africa where he says that comedy is on the rise. He now lives in the U.S. again and says he doesn’t want to be thought of as a South African comedian, but simply as a comedian. On ‘The Daily Show,’ he debuted as a correspondent in a segment entitled ‘Spot the Africa,’ which juxtaposed modern-day South Africa and the United States.

Since the announcement, Noah has come under fire for making anti-semitic jokes on his Twitter account.

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Comedy Central is standing by Noah releasing the following statement cited by Politico:

“Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included. To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.”

Read more at CNN or NPR.

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