In a new interview with The New York Times, Jon Stewart insisted that he does not miss hosting The Daily Show. “If you’re asking, Do you wish you had a show? Sometimes I do,” he said. “But not the one that I had. The one that I had is in wonderful hands and continues to elevate in a way that I couldn’t have.”
That statement has never been more true than in our current political moment.
As the only Black host on mainstream late-night television, Trevor Noah has met the moment when it comes to systemic racism and police brutality. And on Monday night, he had reached a breaking point.
“How long? How much? When is it enough?” The Daily Show host asked, facing yet another police killing. This time it was Rayshard Brooks, who was found sleeping in his car at an Atlanta Wendy’s and was ultimately shot in the back by police as he tried to flee.
After running down the details of the shooting, Noah admitted that the situation was “fucking messy,” inadvertently echoing Ben Carson when he added,, “It’s not a perfect story.” But because it’s not a “perfect story,” he said that’s all the more reason to examine it to find out why it ended in the death of another Black man in America.
“Why are armed police dealing with a man who’s sleeping in his car?” Noah asked. “These are the questions we need to ask. Why, why, why, why?” Especially right now, he said the officers should have given Brooks the “benefit of the doubt.”
“The country’s burning down because of the way Black people are dealt with by the police, so let us show you just in a moment that it doesn’t always have to end the way you think it has to end,” he imagined the officers telling Brooks. “I’m not saying that they had to do that, but it would have been nice.”
Toward the end of his opening segment, Noah said that while some people are quick to say, “if you didn’t do that, you’d still be alive,” the “truth is, the ‘ifs’ keep on changing.”
“If you didn’t resist arrest, then you’d still be alive,” he said. “Or if you didn’t run away from the cops, you’d still be alive. If you didn’t have a toy gun and were 12 years old in the middle of a park, then you’d still be alive. If you weren’t wearing a hoodie, then you’d still be alive. If you didn’t talk back to the cops, you’d still be alive.”
Referring to the case of Breonna Taylor, Noah said, “If you weren’t sleeping in your bed as a Black woman, you’d still be alive.”
“There’s one common thread beyond all the ‘ifs,’” he continued. “If you weren’t Black, maybe you’d still be alive.”
For more, listen and subscribe to The Last Laugh podcast.