Trevor Noah was on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon last night; they played the Wheel of Political Impressions – and he was great. He also, in my opinion, gave the best analysis of all the late night hosts of Donald Trump’s “she’s not my type” explanation in response to E Jean Carroll’s rape accusation:
“If your denial leaves people thinking there is a type of woman you would rape, that’s not a good denial.”
It’s short. It’s clear. It’s right on. It’s perfect. But juuuuuuuust in case you need him to elaborate, here’s Trevor’s follow-up:
“But it shows you how out of whack Trump’s priorities are. He’s being accused of rape and his first concern is letting people know what his standards are for women. It’s like you’re accused of murdering someone at a Holiday Inn and your response is, ‘I stay at the Ritz-Carlton!’”
Trevor’s been more visible than usual lately, also recently covering The Hollywood Reporter. It’s a solid profile, tracing his career from South Africa to America and he gets into the specifics of his decision-making, and why he actually wasn’t interested at first in taking over The Daily Show from Jon Stewart. I love what he says about the negotiation process after they offered him the position:
What followed was a contract negotiation made trickier by Noah's already significant touring income, which was poised to take a major hit. "I remember I said, 'I'll have to figure out how I'll manage with taking a pay cut,' and they were like, 'What do you mean a pay cut? You're going to become host of The Daily Show," says Noah. "And I go, 'Yes, and I know this is hard for an American to process, but you can be very successful working in the rest of the world. Please don't think I'm belittling you. … I just have to make sure I'm not giving up the world I've built for myself for something that somebody else controls.'"
It’s hard to go into a negotiation not buying into what the other side of the table is telling you – that you’ve been “chosen”, and so should be grateful, like they’re doing you a favour, like this is the best thing in life, what they’re presenting to you and there couldn’t possibly be a better option. It’s hard to reject that premise and sit up straight and believe that, no, no, this is a meeting of equals. You should also be grateful that I’m here, that you have the opportunity for someone like me to join your team.
But of course all of this is happening because it’s Emmy season and everyone is out here campaigning. In recent years, Emmy campaign budgets have matched the size of Oscar campaign budgets, and the strategising and politicking is just as intense. Trevor is campaigning. The Daily Show received its first nomination last year with him in the chair (Jon Stewart obviously received several of them) but the frontrunner in the Outstanding Variety Talk Series category is Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, on a three year win streak. Trevor appears to be mounting a challenge though. I don’t know that he can pull it off this year and if John Oliver doesn’t win again, my prediction would be that it goes to Stephen Colbert – but Trevor, who is the youngest among all the expected nominees, is clearly hustling…which I appreciate. I appreciate that he’s participating in the process. And also seems to be enjoying it. As Duana always says, her #1 rule, is that they look like they’re having fun. After all, this is about getting awards for being entertainers. And, generally, at the Emmys, they’re better at this than at the Oscars. What is it about the Oscars where some people feel like it’s such f-cking torture?
Yours in gossip,