Trevor Noah capped off his first week as host of “The Daily Show” Thursday night with a segment comparing GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to a variety of disreputable African leaders and dictators.
It was the clearest glimpse yet of what the Noah-era “Daily Show” might look like, a piece that used the by-now-familiar “Daily Show” tools (well-researched, precisely edited archival footage) but was told from a decidedly different perspective -- that of a 31-year-old South African.
After brief remarks on the Oregon shootings -- “All I can do is what I do best, which is try to make people laugh,” Noah said -- he moved on to lighter subjects.
He began by noting the conventional wisdom that Donald Trump, with his combative personality and colossal ego, isn’t fit to be president.
But Noah doesn’t quite see it that way.
“For me as an African, there’s just something about Trump that makes me feel at home,” said the comedian, a Johannesburg native.
First, there were Trump’s infamous remarks about Mexican immigrants bringing crime across the border -- eerily similar to statements made by South African President Jacob Zuma.
“What I’m trying to say is Donald Trump is presidential. He just happens to be running on the wrong continent,” Noah said.
Then, there are the tall tales Trump has told, most recently on stage at the Republican debate, about otherwise healthy and beautiful children allegedly developing autism within days of receiving vaccines.
“Was that factual? No? But was it presidential? Depends where you come from,” Noah said, cutting to a news report about Gambian President Yahya Jammeh claiming he is able to cure AIDS with bananas and herbs.
But the similarities didn’t end there. Noah and his team of archival researchers were able to unearth footage of notorious figures Idi Amin and Robert Mugabe making grandiose, decidedly Trump-like pronouncements.
“If anything happens to Trump, We have a backup copy in Africa,” Noah joked.
The segment built to a comparison between the former host of “Celebrity Apprentice” and arguably the most infamous African villain of all time, Moammar Kadafi.
“Weird hair? Check. Lavish lifestyle? Check. Fringe discredited views about President Obama’s origins?” Noah said, launching into footage of the late Libyan dictator suggesting Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim -- virtually identical to claims made for years by Trump. “Check.”
As Noah observed, Kadafi even set up a tent on the grounds of Trump’s Bedford, New York estate during a 2009 visit to the United States: “He could have stayed anywhere, but the only place he felt truly at home was in Donald Trump’s yard.”
The comedian ended the segment by urging Americans to make another historic decision in 2016.
“It’s time to be bold once more and elect America’s first African president.”
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