There’s a general consensus among most viewers of The Daily Show that host Trevor Noah isn’t capable of displaying the same gravitas as his predecessor Jon Stewart. But anyone who thinks that probably isn’t watching his Emmy-winning online-only series “Between the Scenes.”
Unlike the joke-heavy scripted segments of the long-running Comedy Central show, Noah’s “Between the Scenes” clips are completely off-the-cuff and often more insightful than his usual commentary. And at the end of a week in which President Donald Trump openly mocked his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual-assault accuser Christine Blasey Ford at a campaign rally in Mississippi, Noah threw out the script and shared his honest reflections with his audience.
Between that moment at the rally and Trump’s declaration that it’s a “very scary time for young men” in America, Noah said he realized the president’s “most powerful tool is that he knows how to wield victimhood, he knows how to offer victimhood to the people who have the least claim to it.” Trump is saying that “the real victims of the #MeToo movement are men.”
Noah said that people “take for granted how powerful” that message could be for the (mostly white) men who make up the largest portion of Trump’s base. He said he knows many men think the #MeToo movement has gotten “out of control,” but doesn’t quite understand how they can believe that, reminding the audience that “99.9 percent of men have not been accused” of sexual misconduct.
If you add up all of the powerful men who have been accused, Noah said the number is barely 100. “You could fill 100 men into a comedy club and then Louis C.K. could come and surprise them, that’s how few that number is.” But meanwhile, Trump is acting like “all men have to band together to stop this from happening because it could happen to you.”
“If you can convince men that they are the real victims of the #MeToo movement, you get men to fight against the movement that’s really about holding men who are doing bad things accountable,” Noah continued. Compared to the number of women who have actually been sexually assaulted, he said the number of men who have been falsely accused is miniscule.
The host compared the situation to something he experienced post-Apartheid in his home country of South Africa. “The country was changing and you had tons of white people who were like, ‘I’m afraid now, what’s going to happen to me? The black people are going to eat us!’” He asked, “How did you go from being the person in power to being the victim overnight?”
Bringing it back to Trump’s characterization of Brett Kavanaugh as a victim, Noah said the “worst thing that could happen” to him is that he goes back to being a federal judge. “What’s the worst thing that happens to Dr. Ford?” he asked. “She gets mocked by the president of the United States for coming forward with a story about sexual assault.” When her strongest memory from that summer night in 1982 was the guys laughing at her.
“People go, why don’t women come forward?” he added. “Because when you do, the president of the United States will use you as a punchline in front of a crowd.”
Noah then admitted that he finds himself worrying on occasion, “What if I get falsely accused?” But then he realizes the chances of that are exceedingly rare. “But if you can convince people that they are, in fact, the victims when they are in a position of power, then you have the most powerful tool that you can wield.”