Trevor Noah: post social media, or just post-humour?

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Exit Jon Stewart, Daily Show master of TV satire: enter, in his stead, Trevor Noah, a mixed-race South African funny man. What’s going on? The great blogger Ezra Klein says that “a decade ago, a police shooting in Ferguson or a religious freedom law in Indiana might have been regional stories at best. Today they become national stories with ease. Satirical new shows, by their nature, follow the news. As the news changes, they need to change, too.” That’s “the future bet on by making Noah host of his own show”. The Stewart era “was tuned for post-9/11 liberalism – and post 9/11 media”. The Noah era “is tuned for post-Obama liberalism and post-social media”.

Which would be more convincing, perhaps, if Noah hadn’t been engulfed in a Twitterstorm from day one, over old jokes about Jews, fat people and black Americans. You sense Fox News puppet masters pulling a few strings, to be sure. But you may also wonder whether “post-social media” isn’t a description of retro-outrage (and nil sense of humour).

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