Some weeks ago, Trevor Noah was named as the next host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. And as usual whenever anything happens ever, a bunch of people got outraged. This would be an utter non-event except for how marvelously it demonstrated the hypocrisy of the progressive Thought Police. You’ve really got to love it.
Noah is a South African comedian just obscure enough to preside over the show as it hurtles into irrelevance, which it will inevitably do once its current host, Jon Stewart, leaves. But this is 2015, which means even the most meaningless and unremarkable occurrence isn’t complete without its attendant outburst of overblown political hysteria.
The announcement of Noah’s selection was swiftly followed by an equally uninteresting kerfuffle in which people with very little to do spent their astoundingly abundant free time digging up off-color tweets from Noah’s past. Turns out he’s made jokes about punching women and hitting Jewish kids with German cars. The resultant outrage was as unreasonable as it was predictable. People talked about boycotting the show. They wanted Noah dropped from the contract. “How dare a comedian make jokes?” They tweeted furiously.
Yawn. By now this stuff just feels like we’re following a script — everyone watching at home was setting a timer for the tearfully insincere apology that we all felt sure would follow like clockwork.
Except then something happened that isn’t in the script. High-profile talking heads rallied to Noah’s defense. Stewart and Comedy Central announced they would stick by their man. The comedian Patton Oswalt wrote a 53-tweet Twitter-screed mocking the absurd progressive insistence that comedy “should not be . . . privileged, misogynist or anti-trans, . . . or offend any feelings the joke listener may or may not have or have ever experienced in the past.” The Daily Beast published an article lamenting “the toxicity” of the Twittersphere’s hyper-sensitive “callout culture.” Suddenly, from out of the blue, well-connected people started defending Trevor Noah’s right to be an insensitive dipstick.
It’s worth stating the obvious fact that they were absolutely right to do so. Noah’s jokes were in poor taste, there’s no question. They were also crushingly unfunny. But this idea that comedians — or anyone, for that matter — should be forbidden from making fun of people is of course utter nonsense. It’s like saying carpenters should be forbidden from cutting wood. There’s a growing mob of ultra-progressive online commentators who sit around just itching to boycott even the most mildly distasteful opinions. They have been long overdue for a good, old-fashioned roast. Theirs is a mockery of an ideology, and it deserves to be mocked. It’s about time, in fact.