Trevor Noah’s ark: Where the women don’t walk in two by two

The visibility of diversity is necessary. Some are bored with talking about it. Some are bored with arguing about it, and many are bored with seeing the same vanilla choices being made over and over again, whether it’s in the boardroom, the newsroom or the rec-room.

To be faced with opportunities to make decisions that move society 10 steps backwards and places the same white male patriarchs in the same positions they and their sort have held for years and years is decidedly regressive. Anyone who makes those types of decisions may as well wrap a hide around themselves, gather their club and make a speedy exit toward the nearest man cave where they will be protected from all the criticism that is bound to come their way.

No forward-thinking human being feels like they need to explain why this is a problem anymore: if you’re castigated for being a backward fool, it’s because you deserve it. No one wants to try to educate you anymore because, frankly, in this day and age when you are met with a blank space and you don’t jump at the opportunity to fill it with diversity, well then you’re just plain stupid. And even if you think it isn’t the right choice, because you’re used to just one thing and you’re used to that one thing looking one way, then at least pretend. Pretend to be smart. And that, is the one thing the Daily Show cannot be faulted for. Change.

One step forward
There’s a lot of surprise and debate about whether Trevor Noah is accomplished enough to fill Jon Stewart’s shoes. He’s not American, so how in tune is he with that society and its politics? Sure, he’s a quick thinker and he’s probably a great observer, but is he so in touch with the country that he gets to host one of its most popular late-night television shows? A satirical one at that? But hey, they hired him, they know what they’re doing, and even if they don’t, even if the Daily Show fails miserably post-Noah and takes a nose-dive that forces the production team to recreate, reinvent and revise the voice and intention of the show itself, the Daily Show will still win for making that decision. Because that’s what glass ceiling are for – to be broken.

At some point, the Comedy Central folks sat back and said, we can oil this machine with another white man, like everyone else in the industry, or we can move past that, and that’s what they did.

But wait, here’s the damper … they’re still not hiring women. Dear Comedy Central, you could have gone there … but you didn’t.

Ten steps back
In degrees of diversity, women still feature last – or not at all – and black men, well, they still run the risk of being the “token” if they are hired. But I can almost guarantee that Noah doesn’t see it that way, and he doesn’t have to. He’s male. He gets to tweet crap about Caster Semenya’s sexuality or about how Jewish women don’t give head and totally get away with it. He get’s people to defend him and say: “That happened three years ago. It’s funny.” Who’s laughing? Women? No. Why? Because it’s not funny. The same way some men probably think women won’t be funny until they start joking like men … about other women of course. (Go test this out at one of those situations where the men are at the braai and the women are making the slaai. Like, talk about boobs or something and use a hand gesture. You will be a hoot! Because obviously that’s what you want. To be acknowledged as funny by men because you said “boobs”).

Women get the daytime talk shows. They get the “how to cook this” and “how to clean that” shows. They get them, because their ilk are at home getting the supper ready and making right for their husbands. Their tellies are on in the background while they’re trying to get the last scribble out their kids’ pencils so that the homework can be done before bath time. Well come on network television, get your head out the ass of 1950.

Late-night comedy talk shows? Reserved for men. Why? Because men can laugh with other men. There is a fear among network television producers that, should they cast women as hosts, the ratings will plummet because their numbers show that the vast majority of the late-night viewership – especially for these types of shows – is male and thus they will lose money.

Stagnant times
In other words, they think men don’t want to watch women host late-night comedy shows and they’re not willing to give them a chance, especially not on shows that have a reputation and following. As a woman you might get the odd chance to dabble in the treacherous waters of trying out something new, maybe even late at night – but in today’s competitive market, when even the best episode of the Daily Show competes with the funniest cat video of the day, you’re probably destined to fail.

And that’s probably what all the networks go on … “Remember how we had a woman have that late-night show one time and it was kinda funny but mostly it failed because no one knew about it ever and so all women’s shows should automatically go into the fail bin and the shows that are already successful should just remain hosted by men!”

The real failures are the people who continue to make regressive choices in industries that are meant to be challenged, that are ripe to explore new avenues and that exist on the expectation that new life will be breathed into them by a new breed of creatives with new ideas.

They choose to keep their asses firmly fixed on the patriarchal stool at the old boy’s club where they homoerotically (something they would never admit to because they’re “real” men) high-five their fellow blokes because they’re the funniest people in the world, ever.

And they’re so high on testosterone that they can totally ignore the unseen problem that’s going to cause the inevitable sinking of the ship.

(To every woman who has ever come across this at work or a social event, or wherever, and managed to keep the bile from spewing out of her mouth just at the sight of it, I salute you).


Hlophe complaint is an eerie echo

But the new complaint against the Western Cape judge president is also unprecedented

Mabuza contract grows by R10m

Eskom’s negotiators in a R100-million maintenance contract came back with a proposal to push up the costs

‘There were no marks on his neck’, Neil Aggett inquest...

The trade unionist’s partner at the time he was detained at John Vorster Square says she now believes his death was not a suicide

Study unpacks the ‘hidden racism’ at Stellenbosch

Students say they feel unseen and unheard at the university because of their skin colour

Press Releases

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.