Backlash for Trevor Noah as he is accused of stealing jokes

2015-10-15 10:38
Trevor Noah (AP)

Johannesburg - It's been a tough first month for Trevor Noah as host of The Daily Show. He took over the reins from Jon Stewart on 28 September and received mixed reviews from US critics.

Now, three weeks into his new position and Trevor is facing allegations of joke theft - the worst possible claim that could be lodged against a newbie on the international circuit.

Respected entertainment site, The Hollywood Reporter, is reporting that Trevor did a stand-up show at Politicon in Los Angeles. Politicon is described as a comic-con style event for politics and entertainment, which sees a two-day live broadcast filled with comedians, debates, movie-screenings and book signings.

The line-up included the likes of Trevor Noah, political commentator James Carville and well-known columnist, Ann Coulter.

But it was Trevor's stand-up routine that got the most attention, as US media immediately picked up on similarities between his gags and that of Dave Chappelle, an American actor and comedian.

In the set, he referred to himself as a 'racisim connoisseur' detailing the different types of racism on America.

"Before I came to America, I thought I knew all kinds of racism. I've always considered myself something of a racism connoisseur. I appreciate the finer racism. Not to say I appreciate all racism, but a finer racism."

Critics immediately drew parallels to the term "racism connoisseur," which in American circles is considered to be a phrase coined by Dave during a HBO special back in 1998. 

"Traveling has made me a racism connoisseur, if you will. You know, it's different region to region. Anyone ever been down South? So you guys know what I'm talking about. The racism down there is just fucking... it's perfect."

Videos of his set and that off Dave's have now been fodder for critics who have slammed the South African, bringing up previous reports of Trevor being labelled a "joke thief".

Here's Trevor stand-up...

And here is Dave Chappelle's version back in 1998

Ratings failure?

According to The Inquisitor.Com the accusations of plagiarism come just after it was revealed that The Daily Show dropped a massive 33% from the same time last year., a news network site says that the numbers from Trevor's first week on air clearly show that Trevor 'bombed' with US audiences. 

"Despite all the free hype from every corner of the left-wing national media, Noah bombed during his first week with an average of just 1.02 million viewers. That’s down a breathtaking -33% from this same time last year. And at this same time last year we were not in the middle of a historic presidential election delivering all-time high cable news ratings during the debates."

Despite the drop in numbers, most critics have called the transition from Jon Stewart to Trevor Noah a 'smooth' one that many thought wouldn't go as 'easily' as it did.

At the same time, the show was a hit with South Africans, with the first week being the most watched show on Comedy Central.

Both Trevor and Comedy Central did not comment on the plagiarism claims.