Viewers who expect The Daily Show With Trevor Noah to continue to be the place to celebrate the lunacy of the 2016 White House race, come September, may be in for a shock, based on the South African comedian’s official debut for The Reporters Who Cover Television at Summer TV Press Tour 2015.
Not a Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders joke in sight as Noah performed an hourlong set at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, attended by the reporters, who are in town to attend the tour, aka TCA. The audience included some of same reporters who had caused Comedy Central such a headache in late March with the discovery of Noah’s tweets between 2009 and 2014 that were slammed by some as sexist, anti-Semitic, and racist.
Noah went with withering social satire during his performance – most particularly, the very in-the-news danger black Americans have faced at the hands of some police. It went over big in the hall, in which the press seemed to be outnumbered by Noah fans, several of whom said they’d obtained tickets for performance — though it was not listed on the theater’s calendar — after being notified by Noah via social media.
“I just don’t want to die and I don’t know how not to die,” Noah told reporters and fans in Santa Monica, of his new status as a black man living in the United States, laying out the theme of the set he’d also performed over the weekend in Washington D.C., according to NPR’s coverage of that East Coast appearance.
“Every time I turn on the news, another black person has been killed for seemingly fewer and fewer reasonable reasons,” Noah began. From press coverage of Trayvon Martin’s murder at the hands of a neighborhood vigilante, Noah said he’d learned it is dangerous to wear a hoodie:
“Who was this young boy…why was he wearing a hoodie? What was he doing in this neighborhood wearing a hoodie?” Noah riffed, pretending he was a TV news talking head covering the death at the time.
From media coverage of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, Noah learned that while “he did not have a hoodie…he approached a police officer.”
From news coverage of the death of Walter Scott, in South Carolina, Noah learned not to run away from a policeman, lest he get shot multiple times in the back.
Noah, who boasted he comes from the home of racism, credited the U.S. with perfecting “charming” racism, talking about the “Southern belle” he met in Lexington KY, with her big hair and “gigantic boobs,” who told him he is “the funniest and handsomest [racial slur] I’ve ever seen.”
“I was shocked – isn’t it ‘most handsome’?” Noah snarked.
Noah, who trots the globe as a comic, observed that, until this country’s Ebola scare, “Muslims were the black people of the sky.”
In the U.S., when a Muslim commits multiple murders, TV news operations call it terrorism, but when a white person like Dylann Roof murders nine black churchgoers, the media calls him a “lone gunman” and does not use the word “terrorist” to describe him. (Which is true; they used the words “white supremacist.”)