While The Daily Show viewers might know CNN anchor Chris Cuomo for his “breaking news,” host Trevor Noah said on Tuesday that “if you talk trash to him in the streets, the only thing that might end up breaking is your face.”
Noah was referring to the video that went viral this week of Cuomo confronting a man who apparently called him “Fredo” from The Godfather. After telling the man that for Italian-Americans “Fredo” is equivalent to the “n-word,” Cuomo threatened to throw him “down these stairs like a fucking punk.”
“Yo, Chris Cuomo doesn’t mess around!” Noah said after playing the video. “Now I see why CNN makes people fight in separate boxes. That’s just workplace safety.”
In a statement after the incident, a spokesperson for CNN said, “Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him.” Cuomo himself added that while he appreciates the support, he “should be better than the guys baiting me.”
On the one hand, Noah said he could understand how Cuomo might think that “Fredo” constituted a “negative Italian stereotype.” But Noah also found it “funny” that “the reaction he chose also seemed like a negative Italian stereotype.”
After imitating Cuomo’s outburst with a thick Italian accent of his own, Noah introduced correspondent Roy Wood Jr. to weigh in. “Is calling an Italian person ‘Fredo’ the same as calling a black person the ‘n-word’?” he asked. Instead of answering, Wood simply stared menacingly into the camera for a few seconds before walking off the set. “Roy Wood Jr., everyone!” Noah said.