Last night Trevor Noah turned his hawklike gaze to that villain of our times, Antifa:
“The question is, who are these black clad mystery fighters coming for the alt-right? Oh! Anti-fascist. Antifa. First of all, that’s a great name. It’s short, it’s punchy—excuse the pun—and most importantly, you don’t have to know how to spell ‘fascist.’”
The segment, which you should not watch, unless you like to get your heart rate up first thing in the morning, is six minutes of half-hearted down-punching at a group Noah and his writers make scant effort to understand. (Confusingly, it’s also titled “Punch-Drunk Left,” which seems to indicate some awareness that punching left is… a joke, but I guess that’s just a happy coincidence). It’s the same tired argument: Antifa might have a noble mission, but its violent elements undermine the credibility of that mission. He lets a series of Fox News clips make this argument for him—what?—after he says this:
“You see, now, here’s the real problem: It doesn’t matter what your noble goal may be, it doesn’t matter what you say you’re fighting for. When people see that, all they think is, ‘Oh shit, it’s Vegan ISIS.’ Because you don’t realize when you think you’re punching Nazis, you don’t realize that you’re also punching your cause. Because your opponents, they’ll just use every violent incident to discredit your entire movement, and they make it seem like—they make it seem like—in a world where white supremacists have a friend in the White House, the real problem is you guys.”
Haha, fuck Antifa and fuck vegans too for some reason! Fend off white supremacist mob violence yourselves, people of color! Eat shit, all of history! Cops rule, kids drool!
Look, I know The Daily Show has been full of shit for years, but it used to at least not take Fox’s side. Maybe, if comedians fancy themselves anti-Trump, they could endeavor to meet some minimum threshold of not legitimizing right-wing propaganda? I think that would be nice.
More pressingly, though: What… is Noah good at? Is he funny? No. Is he smart? Also no. Does he have good politics? Hahahahahahahah. He’s… rich, I guess? And does okay enough impressions? Is that it?
Hey but on the bright side, at least it’s not like The Daily Show is the highest-rated late night talk show among millennials or anything. Could you imagine if people actually watched this shit?
Seth Simons is Paste’s assistant comedy editor. Follow him on Twitter.