The Daily Showdown
February 12, 2019

Virginia, "a state that used to be known for things like slavery, plantations, and being the capital of the Confederacy," is now seeing that "proud" history "tainted by accusations of racism," Trevor Noah deadpanned on Monday's Daily Show. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) capped a week of blackface scandal by sitting down with Gayle King at CBS News, and in a "baller" move, Northam said "he should keep his job because he's learned his lesson," Noah said. "Ironically, he's learned so much about black history that it's getting him into even more trouble."

Noah played the clip about indentured servants in early colonial Virginia. "Poor Northam, man," he said. "Seems like no matter what he says, he just makes it worse. Because almost everyone who saw that clip had the same reaction as Gayle. They're like, 'Uh, indentured servants? That's a nice way to say slavery. Like, what do you call blackface? Extreme tanning?'" But "some historians do say the first Africans to arrive in Virginia were actually indentured servants, not slaves," he pointed out. "I'm not gonna lie: One of the things that makes Northam so entertaining is that he's like the Michael Scott of politics, right? Every time he tries to get out of a hole, he just keeps digging himself deeper."

Still, black Virginians want Northam to stay in office by a 3-to-2 margin, "which seems crazy, but it actually makes sense," Noah said. "Think about it: To black people, especially in Virginia, every white guy serving in office has probably done some racist sh-t in their past. So you might as well have a white guy who has already been caught and feels bad about it. ... Until his term is over, he's gonna be working every day to pay black people back for what he's done. And I know what you're thinking: You're like, 'What are you saying, Trevor? He's their slave?' No, no, no, not slave, indentured servant." Watch below. Peter Weber

January 25, 2019

Trevor Noah found quite a bit of note in the ongoing Brooklyn federal trial of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, and a broader relevance to America's biggest ongoing fight. El Chapo's trial "has reached its halfway point, and what we've learned so far is muy loco," he said on Thursday's Daily Show. There's sex, drugs (obviously), betrayal, and allegations that he bribed the former Mexican president with $100 million. "To be fair, the Mexican president has already denied it from the deck of his $101 million yacht," he joked.

Noah ran through some of the henchmen testifying against El Chapo — The Beard, Lollipop, the IT guy — and "this IT guy is one of the biggest reasons El Chapo might be going down. And he only agreed to turn because the FBI paid him." With the government shut down, the FBI has no money to pay informants, Noah added, and "the U.S. Marshals who are guarding El Chapo? They aren't getting paid because of the shutdown. And now I'm not saying they're gonna be bribed, but if there's anyone you want to be extra careful with, it's El Chapo. This guy has escaped from prison twice already."

"Remember, the reason El Chapo became the most powerful drug lord in history is that he figured out how to smuggle more drugs across the border than anybody else, and during this trial, we've found out how he's done it," Noah said. "El Chapo was using planes, tunnels, and even submarines to smuggle drugs into the U.S. So I guess it's a good thing that Trump is building that wall! The sad thing is, even if Trump sees this trial, it won't change his mind. If anything, he'll probably just double down." Noah guessed the next barrier.

In between scenes, Noah theorized that Trump doesn't actually care about the wall at all, and Democrats aren't as opposed as they seem. Watch. Peter Weber

January 23, 2019

After 33 days of partial government shutdown, "the effects are piling up," Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. Low-income renters are losing housing aid, welfare is running low, the FBI is warning about not being able to pay informants, IRS employees are staying home, and the TSA is getting desperate. Basically, he joked, "the government is so broke, that they're selling ad space on the Constitution. And now, things seem to be moving in the wrong direction. Because instead of debating the wall or how to end the shutdown, politicians are arguing about a whole new issue: the State of the Union speech."

Noah ran through Wednesday's drama, from President Trump saying he still planned to give the State of the Union speech from the House next week to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) telling him no, not while the government is shut down. Trump can't speak in the House without an invitation and Pelosi isn't inviting him, but "at the same time, this is Donald Trump — you can't tell him where he can and can't go," Noah said. "This is the same guy who popped up in the dressing room of the Miss Teen USA pageant." He had some fun imagining a "congressional bouncer" keeping Trump out of the House chamber.

That won't be necessary, because "in a surprise move, the president surrendered," Noah said. He showed Trump's comments, which sounded like "he's choosing the next word on his predictive text," among other oddities. "I don't know if Nancy gave Trump a wedgie behind Congress one day, but she did something because she's the only person he hasn't given a nickname to," he noted. "Everyone else he's like: Cryin' Chuck Schumer, Liddle Marco Rubio, Pocahontas Elizabeth Warren, Lyin' Ted Ted. And he's like, 'Nancy Pelosi, or as I call her, Nancy.'" Noah also questioned whether the FBI is really out of cash, and you can watch below. Peter Weber

January 21, 2019

"Martin Luther King Jr. Day: A day when Americans celebrate a Civil Rights icon — and Americans who don't, get off work," Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show. "And over the weekend, everyone was getting into the MLK spirit — even America's whitest man," Vice President Mike Pence. Noah suggested Pence's lashing of President Trump to MLK and improving democracy was a little much: "'Through the legislative process?' I think Mike Pence just skipped over the whole protesting and getting beaten up part," he said. "Like, I never watched the trailer for Selma and thought, 'Oh man, that looks like some intensive legislative process!'"

Dulcé Sloan came out to celebrate "the real Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, not the whitewashed Hallmark version," and she found his imperfections a little sexy.

"We have to admit as people, the toughest thing to combat is our bias," Noah told his audience between takes, outlining Friday's encounter between a group of teens from a Kentucky Catholic all-boys high school and a Native American activist, Nathan Phillips. "It's like a weird story where I feel like depending on who was holding the camera, their story made them look like the victim — every single person," he said. The media should have searched for more video before jumping on the story, but the MAGA-fan Covington high schoolers also weren't the scared naifs trying to defuse the situation they now claim to be, he added, "they were being a--holes, they were being kids."

"I think everyone played the victim card a little too hard," Noah said. "If anything, I know it's crazy statement to make, but I feel like that's what the National Mall is supposed to be about. People go there and protest, say whatever they want to say, and then go home. I think that was a great display of all First Amendment, no Second Amendment. It's a good time." Watch below. Peter Weber

December 26, 2018

"Our country is experiencing the most divisive time in recent history — but the holidays are upon us," Desi Lydic said on The Daily Show's year-end special. "I want to find out what families are doing to stay connected this season." Her attempts to reconcile politically and culturally fractured families by talking to people in midtown Manhattan ended with advice about self-medicating and avoiding racist relatives entirely, so she turned to Dr. David Campt, racial dialogue expert and founder of the White Ally Toolkit, a roving workshop "where woke white liberals learn to effectively communicate with the not-so-woke," Lydic explained. "David's basically the White People Whisperer."

Lydic helpfully played the fool to show everyone what not to do, then tried out Campt's techniques for connecting with and hopefully converting racist relatives on a family in New Jersey. "The Cofranciso family had a history of dinners gone bad, so they were more than willing to let any random strangers with cameras come in to their home if it meant their holidays could be more pleasant," she said. You can watch her uphill struggle with the Confranciscos, and maybe learn a few real world tips, below. Peter Weber

December 20, 2018

"It's time once again for us to take a step back from covering the news of the day and look back at everything that made 2018 the year we all want to forget," Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. "And we'll start with the one guy who won't let us forget him: President Donald J. Trump." This year, he said, "we spent so much time on Trump's evilness that we didn't really get to enjoy one of his most important characteristics, and that is: the dude is super weird. No, seriously guys, the president is a weird dude. We just never talk about it because it all happens under the evil."

"So for a minute, we're not going to pay attention to the bad things he does," Noah said. "We're just going to enjoy how weird the president is. So let's take a moment to look back on 2018, the Year in Trump Being Weird." After Noah ran through some of Trump's verbal quirks, his bizarre habit of just laying stuff down, and that toilet paper incident, Desi Lydic and Jaboukie Young-White reminded everyone of some other weird stories that you might have forgotten happened this year (plus some that obviously didn't), and Dulcé Sloan offered her theory on the rash of white people calling the cops on black people doing nothing wrong.

As a bonus, The Daily Show compared some questions asked of Miss Universe contestants and some posed to President Trump by Fox News, and the contrast doesn't show Fox in a particularly flattering light. Watch below. Peter Weber

December 18, 2018

As 2018 winds to a close, "it feels like the whole country is still nursing a hangover from the 2016 presidential election — Trump is still obsessed with Hillary, Mueller is still investigating Trump, and Democrats are about to launch a slew of new investigations into his campaign," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. "But now, over two years later, we're still about how deep the Russian rabbit hole goes," including the Kremlin's trolls targeting of one particular group. "It turns out, the Russians spent a lot of effort specifically trying to convince black Americans not to vote," Noah said — or to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, same difference.

"Real black American" Dulcé Sloan came out to give her mixed reaction to the news. "Trevor, I feel disgusted, I feel manipulated, and I feel special," she said. "Russia could have gone after anyone — Latinos, Asians, millennials — but they said, We're going after the ones who count: black people. Can you believe that? I mean, some white people actually do think black lives matter." She had some suggestions for Washington. Watch below. Peter Weber

December 4, 2018

"The midterm elections were a big win for the Democrats, but Republicans didn't make it easy for them," Roy Wood Jr. said on Tuesday's Daily Show, a voiceless Trevor Noah at his side. "They gerrymandered districts, they created new voting restrictions, they even printed ballots on nude photos of Mitch McConnell — and if the choice is vote or die, in that case I choose die. But even after Republicans were removed from power, they were saying, 'All right, fine, we'll leave — but we're taking the power with us.'"

Wood pointed to the "blatantly corrupt" lame-duck power grabs in Wisconsin and Michigan, where GOP legislatures and outgoing GOP governors are pushing through laws to weaken their incoming Democratic successors. "This would be like Marvel changing Spider-Man's super powers now that he's black," he said. "And the powers being taken away are not small things" in real life, with Republicans working to keep Democrats from fulfilling campaign promises the voters elected them to carry out. "The ballsiest part about all of this is that Republicans don't even care enough to come up with a good excuse," he said.

And while Republicans in Michigan and Wisconsin are committing "voter suppression after the election," the race for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District "might have been outright stolen," Wood said. "So between Michigan, Wisconsin, and North Carolina, Republicans are doing everything they can to distort the will of the people. And what makes it so ironic is that for years, Republicans have been searching high and low for evidence of voter fraud — but it turns out, it was inside them all along."

And if you are wondering why Wood, not Noah, was anchoring the show, Noah — well, Michael Kosta — explains why below. Peter Weber

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