WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — We live in a world where technology fuels our interactions and thoughts on a daily basis. Comedian Trevor Noah is just one of the 288 million active users on Twitter. Every day 500 million tweets are sent. Most go unnoticed, but how does the game change when you’re in the limelight?
The newly announced host of “The Daily Show” came under fire this week after the public took notice of multiple tweets, some targeting Jews and women.[tweet https://twitter.com/Trevornoah/status/4081446354 width=’330′] [tweet https://twitter.com/Trevornoah/status/124793524095950848 width=’330′]
Both the 31-year-old South African comedian and Comedy Central came forward with defenses of the criticism.
“To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn’t land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian,” Noah posted Tuesday on his Twitter account, which boasts 2 million Twitter followers and almost 9 thousand tweets.[tweet https://twitter.com/Trevornoah/status/583019964556152832 width=’330′]
Comedy Central spoke out calling Noah a “provocative” comedian who “spares no one, himself included.”
Did Noah make a mistake by sending these tweets, or is the public being overly critical of a career that in some ways thrives off taking jabs at different groups? Did Comedy Central fail to vet the new host or is it that they didn’t see a real issue at hand?
“How does one define ‘vetting’ in today’s digital universe? I’m sure the executives at ‘The Daily Show’ did some sort of due diligence. How deep media companies dig into a comedian’s Twitter account is an evolving process,” Ross Johnson, founder of Johnson Public Relations, told CBSDC.
Though Noah received a fair amount of scrutiny for the comments, much of the public realizes even if Noah doesn’t hit the mark on being “funny” that he doesn’t necessarily deserve the backlash he’s receiving.
“Trevor Noah is not running to fill Obama’s gig. He’s taking over for Jon Stewart,” Johnson said. “Pushing the boundaries comes with the job of ‘Daily Show’ host. The question is this: If Noah cannot make a joke about an obese woman or a Jewish person, who else can he not make a joke about? And who makes that decision?”
The public shaming of Noah prompts the question: do we all need to lighten up? Given the nature of Noah’s career and the fact that his comments are, well, jokes, some may argue if you don’t like him, then just don’t watch him.
“Some performers come out with guns blazing when the spotlight is on them just to cut through the clutter of boring media personalities. Some personalities who work in big media try to get their bearings before going full tilt. I think Noah should try the former. Ultimately, Comedy Central likes their hosts who taste good, not hosts with good taste,” Johnson said.