It wasn’t the glorious farewell Bill O’Reilly would have received from former Daily Show host Jon Stewart, but that didn’t make Trevor Noah’s trip down memory lane on the occasion of the Fox News host’s firing any less satisfying.
“Here at The Daily Show, we want to give O’Reilly the sendoff he deserves,” Noah said Wednesday night. “Because let’s be honest, he’s not going to get it on Fox, that’s for sure. Those guys are probably going pretend that nothing is wrong.”
He couldn’t have known when he taped the segment how right he was.
“‘No news to report here, everything is fine,’” he imagined the network reporting. “‘Back to you Megyn, I mean Greta, I mean Gretchen, I mean... who’s left?’”
“So let’s give Bill his proper due, because you may not know this, but Bill O’Reilly was the biggest figure in cable news,” Noah said. “At one point, no one even came close, because they were afraid he might sexual harass them.”
Over the course of his 10-minute segment, Noah revisited some of O’Reilly’s greatest hits, from “Fuck it! We’ll do it live!” to the “War on Christmas.” Where some saw “madness” in O’Reilly’s early days, Noah said Roger Ailes saw “greatness.”
“And he reached out and said, ‘Come join me at Fox, O’Reilly, and together we will build a cable empire fueled by white Christian resentment,’” Noah said as Ailes. “‘And then, as our master stroke, we will both be forced to leave because we couldn’t keep our penises in our white Christian pants!’ Allegedly.”
After playing a montage of clips that demonstrated the “special place” O’Reilly had in his heart for black people, Noah said the host was “lucky” they aren’t all the “criminals he thinks they are” otherwise, frequent guests like Marc Lamont Hill would have “bust a cap in his ass so fast” for, among other things, telling him he looked like a “cocaine dealer.”
“Looking back on all of O’Reilly’s greatest hits, the one thing that’s hard to believe is that it took him this long to lose his job,” Noah said, criticizing advertisers for sticking with the show through all of its racism and only abandoning it once the sexual-harassment charges started to mount.
“Maybe the reason Fox kept O’Reilly on for so long was that sometimes, he was so racist it somehow became funny,” Noah said before presenting the clip in which O’Reilly marveled at how civilized the black patrons at Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem were the day he had dinner with Al Sharpton. “This is so racist I can’t even be mad about it. Because you realize, in Bill O’Reilly’s mind, going to a black restaurant was basically going to be like walking into the middle of the Rodney King riots.”
Noah also blamed a lot of the “anger and victimhood you heard from Trump voters” on O’Reilly. “A lot of people said Jon Stewart was the Yoda of cable news,” he said of his predecessor. “Well, Bill O’Reilly was the Sith Lord.” And “there is much anger on the dark side.”
“So, it’s sad to say, but farewell, extremely old friend,” Noah concluded.