Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren clashed with The Daily Show host Trevor Noah in a 25-minute debate Wednesday night. They took on many hot-button issues, including Black Lives Matter, Trump’s win, and sitting down for the national anthem. One particular item of note is Lahren’s point that Black Lives Matter promotes violence against police officers and Noah’s counterpoint that those violent individuals do not represent the essence of an entire movement. Lahren likened the movement to the KKK, and Noah continuously drew a distinction, saying that the KKK’s agenda is fundamentally racist, while Black Lives Matter is not.
Noah responded to her claim of not “seeing color,” with, “So what do you do at a traffic light?” He also won one major point, asking how if a group of violent individuals can represent an entire movement, then should the group of violent police officers that gunned down unarmed black men represent all police officers? Her logic would suggest so. I would have also pointed out that her logic would imply that the KKK represents Donald Trump, because if they are marching in the streets using his name, then don’t they represent him?
Trevor Noah covered Esquire, and the new host of ‘The Daily Show’ gave an honest take on the challenges of his role, his heritage, and taking the reigns from Jon Stewart. Read some quotes below, and visit Esquire for more.
Growing up in Apartheid South Africa:
He was an outsider, an interstitial kid: too white to be black, too black to be white. And he was funny. “I was a little shit. My dad’s friends used to complain that I had a radio in my chest…Let’s say a group of white kids were about to fight with a group of black kids. You could break the tension with a perfectly placed comment and crack everybody up. And now, once they’ve laughed, they can’t fight. Because now they’ve broken that facade of impenetrability. That was always my favorite thing…to pierce a moment with a well-timed joke.”
Flying as an African during the Ebola scare:
The man taking temperatures walked right past him, because Noah didn’t look African enough. “I’ve never felt so conflicted in my life…Don’t get me wrong, I never want anyone to think I have Ebola, but I also don’t want anyone to assume that I can’t have Ebola.”
On Jon Stewart:
Jon Stewart warned him about the anger. Staying in this business and mainlining the politics of either side can make you an angry person. Certainly Stewart was consumed by it at the end; the job aged him like a president. “But that was the reason he said I should do it, because I’m not angry. So for me, it’s weird when people are like, Why aren’t you angry? Because maybe the conversation doesn’t need more anger. Maybe that’s what’s not going to help.”
How he grabs audience’s interest:
Maybe it’s a two-minute explainer. Maybe it’s a quick news update for digital. ‘If you just have those, people go, That’s how I get my news every morning. I click on that, dedicate two minutes, then maybe watch another two minutes. I’m saying we should do it like drugs – make the news like drugs. Give them a little taste and get them coming back, and then we charge them.”
As a bi-racial South African man, Trevor Noah aligns with television’s admirable steps toward a more diverse landscape. And given that he only got his feet wet in December during his Daily Show debut, he’s also affirming Comedy Central’s great gamble. It’s a bit of a shock, but since their brand has always represented a fresh, anti-establishment perspective, perhaps it’s strategic to veer a little left of center. After all, aren’t there enough white hosts in this market?
Noah himself has expressed surprise by the selection, despite his excitement. But given that he’s only made three appearances on the show, it seems that the now infamous “Lean-the-fuck-away-from-me” debacle with Jessica Williams might have more legs than I originally thought. Williams was a fan favorite to take the reigns, and after she politely declined interest via social media, she received criticism from a Billfold writer who cried “imposter syndrome,” which is “a well-documented phenomenon in which men look at their abilities vs the requirements of a job posting and round up, whereas women do the same and round down.” Williams did not take kindly to the criticism, claiming, “Because of my choice, you have diagnosed me with something without knowing me at all. For the world to see.” While I ALSO know nothing of Williams or her decision to exit the race, I can’t help but question whether a woman with the same level of on-air experience as Noah would either take OR be considered for this gig. And though I’m happy to see change, I’d still like to see a woman in that chair.