On Monday, the most common response to the news that Trevor Noah had been tapped to replace Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s Daily Show was: Who?
To answer that question, folks started delving into the background of this relatively obscure South African comic and found some disturbing tweets, particularly about women and Jews. By Tuesday, the most common response to Noah was: Eww.
Here's an example. After Apple announced it was buying Beats in a deal that potential made a billionaire out of Beats co-founder Dr. Dre, Noah tweeted, "Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man. #BeatsByDreidel."
Nice pun, not-so-nice shout-out to the "Jews control the entertainment industry" conspiracy theorists. By the way, Noah has said his mother is half Jewish.
For a moment, at least, Noah appeared to be an exciting, refreshing choice by Comedy Central and Stewart, bringing both ethnic and continental diversity to what has become one of the country’s most influential news programs. But now, he's being lambasted as either a comedy hack or a Twitter troll with a taste for misogynistic and anti-Semitic humor.
Is it fair to sort through Noah's nearly 9,000 tweets to surface a few that are likely to offend? This guy is a comic, after all, and no comic is better than the one who pushes the audience right up to the line of uncomfortable hilarity. The Anti-Defamation League, which doesn't hesitate to call out anti-Semitism, wished Noah good luck in the new gig in a statement Tuesday that included the subtlest of rebukes ("We understand that comedians often use humor to poke fun at stereotypes and to push the envelope of political correctness, and it seems that many if not most of the tweets sent by Trevor Noah over the years fall into those categories.").
But what do you think? Take our mirthlessly unscientific poll, leave a comment or do both!
Here's where to comb through the Twitter feeds by Garza: marielgarzaLAT and Healey: @jcahealey. Happy hunting!