On Monday, Comedy Central announced that South African comedian Trevor Noah would be replacing Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show. To get a feel for Noah’s brand of humor, one could simply watch his debut on the fake news show in December of 2014, when he jokingly declared that present-day America had worse race relations than Apartheid South Africa.

After introducing Noah as the show’s newest contributor at the time, Stewart noted: “And I know that you flew in, I guess, yesterday from South Africa.” Noah replied: “Yeah, I just flew in and boy are my arms tired….No, no, seriously, I’ve been holding my arms like this since I got here.” He made the completely discredited “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture with his hands and added: “I never thought I’d be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa. It kind of makes me a little nostalgic for the old days back home.”

Later in the exchange, Stewart wondered: “But you’re not saying that things in Africa are better than they are in America, are you?”

Noah responded: “No, no, no, I’m not saying that – you guys are saying that.” A soundbite followed of left-wing New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof ranting on CNN:

The United States right now incarcerates more African-Americans, as a percentage, than Apartheid South Africa did. The race gap in wealth in the United States right now between the median white family and the median black family is eighteen-fold, that’s greater than the black-white wealth gap was in Apartheid South Africa.

Noah concluded: “Here’s the amazing part, for South Africa to achieve that kind of black-white wealth gap, we had to construct an entire Apartheid state, denying blacks the right to vote or own property. But you, you did it without even trying.”

Even the response from Stewart’s reliably liberal audience was muted as Noah made the incendiary racial jokes.

With Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore having already taken over Stephen Colbert’s time slot, the addition of Noah may give Comedy Central a full hour of late-night race-baiting.

Here are excerpts of Noah’s December 4, 2014 Daily Show appearance:

11:11 PM ET

JON STEWART: Ladies and gentlemen, this is a great night for us. We’re always excited on the show to find new talented voices that can contribute to our program, so we are very pleased to welcome our newest contributor from South Africa, Mr. Trevor Noah. Trevor, thanks for joining us, nice to see you. Welcome, sir.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

TREVOR NOAH: Thank you very much.

STEWART: How are you? We’re really delighted that you’re gonna be joining us. And I know that you flew in, I guess, yesterday from South Africa.

TREVOR NOAH: Yeah, I just flew in and boy are my arms tired.

STEWART: Okay. Alright, there, oldie but a goodie. Very nice.

NOAH [HOLDING HIS HANDS UP]: No, no, seriously, I’ve been holding my arms like this since I got here. I never thought I’d be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa. It kind of makes me a little nostalgic for the old days back home.

(…)

STEWART: But you’re not saying that things in Africa are better than they are in America, are you?

NOAH: No, no, no, I’m not saying that – you guys are saying that.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF [NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST, ON CNN]: The United States right now incarcerates more African-Americans, as a percentage, than Apartheid South Africa did. The race gap in wealth in the United States right now between the median white family and the median black family is eighteen-fold, that’s greater than the black-white wealth gap was in Apartheid South Africa.

STEWART: Oh, my God.

NOAH: Here’s the amazing part, for South Africa to achieve that kind of black-white wealth gap, we had to construct an entire Apartheid state, denying blacks the right to vote or own property. But you, you did it without even trying. We trained for decades and you just waltzed in and won the gold medal.

STEWART: Well, that’s – you know, blundering into things is how we roll.

NOAH: Well, at least we’re getting better.

(…)


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