Reporters attending NBCU Summer Press Day — a sort of press speed-dating through NBCU’s summer programs – naturally wanted to talk to Last Comic Standing panelists about Trevor Noah. The new host of The Daily Show came under scrutiny this week when Comedy Central announced his hire and journalists — seeking more insight into the South African comic who’s largely unknown in this country — dug up some eyebrow-raising tweets about Jews, women, domestic violence, Asians, athiests, etc.
One reporter timidly asked the competition series’ judges onstage to weigh in on the “Twitter age of umbrage,” in which tweets are taken “out of context” and the “spirit of what was intended,” and wondered if this caused them to “temper your persona.” She could not screw up the courage to say Noah’s name.
And, unfortunately, Last Comic Standing judge Roseanne Barr, who’d already tweeted her outrage about Noah’s tweets, was MIA, though she’d been scheduled to attend. So it was left to Last Comic Standing host Anthony Jeselnik to bravely rush in where the reporter feared to tread:
“After the Trevor Noah thing – I think you’re referring to,” he began. Jeselnik forecast that next time a comic gets a job and journalists comb through that comics’ Twitter history to learn more about him, if they come up with anything radioactive, the public’s reaction will be a bored “We’ve already done this.”
“I don’t tweet because I don’t know how,” chimed in judge Keenen Ivory Wayans. “But I really think that Twitter is like, people get heckled from around the globe now. … It’s a forum for idiots. I don’t know why anyone gives any credence to it.”
Norm Macdonald, meanwhile, speculated that once Twitter no longer is anonymous, the kind of blowback Noah experienced would end. No word on what he thought about Noah’s tweets.
Wanda Sykes added to the discourse by explaining that, after a few drinks, she has to block herself from tweeting.
One day after announcing its new Daily Show host, Comedy Central said it is standing by Noah while the media, and the blathersphere, blasted away at Noah’s Twitter history, digging up some pretty incendiary stuff in less than 24 hours.
“Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included,” Comedy Central said, following a brutal morning of Noah bashing in the press. “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.”
Others, however, aren’t so sure, after half a day’s worth of headlines wondering Did Trevor Noah’s Twitter History Just Kill The Daily Show? or insisting, Trevor Noah Goes From Hero To Villain In 24 Hours.
Noah dismissed his tweets as bad jokes that “didn’t land.”