On Monday, The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah expressed his doubts about the supposed hate crime committed against Empire actor Jussie Smollett. Tuesday night, he brought in reinforcements.
Jaboukie Young-White, the 24-year-old comedian who came on board as a correspondent on the show last October, was able to speak to this story from a distinct perspective. Like Smollett, he is both black and gay.
“This story has been weird for me, Trevor,” he began. “As a gay person, I’m used to speaking on gay issues. As a black person, I’m used to speaking on black issues. But I’m not used to them intercepting.” The only other scenario he could imagine is if RuPaul robbed a bank.
“And I’m also part of a third community that’s been devastated by this: the actor community, Trevor,” he said. “Because of Jussie, everyone will think actors are liars now, because that’s our job, which is true. But on top of that, I look like him.” When Noah protested, he added, “To white people, I do.”
As for why Smollett would apparently stage an attack on himself, Young-White said, “If he wanted to raise awareness for LGBTQ rights, he should have just donated money. If he wanted attention, he should have just leaked his nudes. And if he wanted to hang out with two guys at 2 a.m., Grindr is right there.”
And when Noah asked if this will harm “real victims” of hate crimes, the correspondent said, “Not really. Because that would have required people to care about queer people—specifically queer black people, in the first place.” He cited the very real “gay and trans panic defense,” which allows defendants in 47 states across the country to get lighter sentences if they claim their victim was trying to hit on them.
“In 47 states, including New York, someone could beat a gay person like me to death,” he explained, “and then go, ‘Well, I don’t know, he wanted to suck my dick.’ And you know what, maybe I did. But that’s still not a good reason. I mean, imagine if women could use that defense, there would be no men left. None!”
“Honestly, Trevor, I think this is a teaching moment for us all and personally I’ve learned one really valuable lesson, which is that actors should not write their own projects!” Young-White concluded. “I mean, this thing had way too many plot holes. He totally miscast the villains. Two Nigerian Trump supporters? Like, you can’t just cast black people as racist white people. This isn’t Hamilton!”