Patton Oswalt's epic Twitter rant about Trevor Noah, and the fair weather ally


The best comedians make you laugh and cringe at the same time.


“Critiquing the “PC crowd” was an easy win for Oswalt, and I understand why he took it.”

No, no it wasn’t. Wading into that morass is NEVER an easy win. The ease with which people become offended and militant only seems to be accelerating with our faster modes of communication. There is no longer time for contemplation, benefit of doubt, tempered reaction or considered perspective. There is simply REACT and the scorched earth that follows.

Edit: I’ve been at fault in that department myself.


So an essay criticizing Oswalt for “not encouraging nuance” ends with frustration that he doesn’t fit into some false with-us-or-against-us dichotomy?


Ensure, not insure. C’mon Patton.


The problem with Trevor Noah’s tweets is that we have been given a high standard for integrity by the person he is replacing. Jon Stewart makes fun of powerful people and himself. It’s cheap and mean to point jokes at people of oppressed groups for simply being a part of that group. I’d hope that the new daily show host wouldn’t engage in that. That’s not being pc. That’s not censorship. It’s making a valid point about social justice. Like I said, the daily show has set a high standard…


Sometimes, lefties are as guilty as batshit conservatives about being others’ morality police…

For me, Oswalt just missed the point. Noah’s old posts might’ve been in bad taste or whatever, and folks point that out, and the response to Noah being called out on that isn’t to BEMOAN THE STATE OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS like some sort of asshole, but to maybe critique a society where we’re all judged for something we wrote down on the internet in 2011 like it’s a fuckin’ scavenger hunt for the stupid shit we’ve done in life.

Rather than whine like a droopy dick about people getting offended, he should be making the more coherent point: when you judge someone based on four-year-old twitter conversations, you are holding people to an impossible standard.

And that’s the issue: when folks try to play Purity Police on either side of the political specturm, it’s always a goddamn scavenger hunt for dirt, when that’s absolutely pointless.


Nicely written, Caroline, thanks!

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He’s not on your side and has never been on your side because there are no sides to take. We are not computers of 1’s and 0’. I suspect there will never be anyone completely on your side even if human cloning were to be introduced.
It is completely possible to disagree with someone on something while agreeing on something else. If you break contact with every person who’s views you don’t agree 100%, you will live an incredibly lonely life where some of the time you can’t even talk to yourself.
I don’t agree with mr. Noah’s jokes, but I’ll fight to the de… griev… slight bodily harm for his right to say them.


Was there a Trevor Noah rape joke i missed? If not, I don’t see how your point in this piece is well supported.


But… had twitter been around, when Stewart was his age and at his stage in his career, who knows what kind of embarrassing stuff he might have put out for the world to see years later?


“Jokes we can probably all agree aren’t worth defending.”

This goes to show that you don’t get Oswalt’s point. You say “all agree” as if comedy has this spectrum test of moral certitude that it must pass before we can all be allowed to laugh at it. Thats insanity. there will never be a joke, an idea or any concept that we all agree on.


I think the issue is that comedy is incredibly nuanced and subtle.

With just a little tweak in the delivery and focus all four jokes could be fine and utterly inoffensive. The fact that some people find some offensive isn’t evidence of some deep-seated anti-Semitism or misogyny, it’s the fact that comedy is a job and comedians sometimes screw up.

I think Patton’s point is that people are holding Trevor Noah to an impossible standard, you can’t attach a disclaimer to every joke or be terrified of causing offence and still be funny.


#If you don’t hold comedians to an impossible standard, I’m no longer sure you are on my side.


I think that anyone confused about what side he’s on needs to read the latest Salon interview. I find the idea of “progressive thought” and “comedic freedom” being on opposite sides really odd, and if anything just validates what Patton said in that interview.


It’s weird, reading this right after the Ronson interview and some of the associated links.

I am again struck by the likely possibility that the only safe course of action remaining is to stay at home and bar the door and not say anything to anyone ever again.


I’d be willing to bet a considerable amount of money that if we could get the Daily Show staff (with their insanely great archival search abilities) to go through tapes of all of Jon Stewart’s standup material from his pre-Daily Show days, we’d find more than a couple of lame jokes made at the expense of women and historically oppressed people.

Give Trevor Noah a chance. If he starts spewing offensive shit AS the host of the Daily Show, I’m sure he won’t last long. But at least in my mind, the fact that he tweeted a handful of jokes in poor taste four frickin’ years ago has very little bearing on his ability to do the job.


That’s my main hope. The writing staff will keep things in line and funny. Obviously Jon Stewart hasn’t been writing all these jokes by himself all these years.

“Comedy is not pretty.” - Steve Martin


It’s not impossible to not makes jokes at the expense of people for their looks or their sex or their ethnicity. The daily show’s main purpose is going after the politically powerful. That’s a great target. Power and corruption.