Trevor Noah criticized for insensitive joke about India-Pakistan conflict

BTW

Trevor Noah faced stern criticism this weekend after joking on The Daily Show that if the India-Pakistan crisis erupted into war, it would probably be “the most entertaining war of all time,” followed by a gag of Bollywood stereotypes.

In the clip shared by many on Twitter, Noah said, “The Indian soldiers would run out on the battlefield and they’d be like,” at this point, Noah switches to imitating an Indian accent while singing, “Time for you to die!” He danced and sang in the accent for a few more seconds, then said, “It would also be the longest war of all time—another dance number?”

Indian Twitter user and writer Zainab Sikander posted the clip with harsh criticism for Noah, saying, “It’s sad when someone who’s had a violent past mocks war through a Bollywood stereotype.” She continued, asking how Noah would feel if someone mocked his mother’s death with a Xhosa stereotype.

To his credit, Noah responded to the criticism from Sikander, saying he actually did make jokes after his mother was killed. “As a comedian I use comedy to process pain and discomfort in my world but I am sorry that this hurt you and others, that’s not what I was trying to do,” Noah said on Twitter.

Unfortunately, he followed up the apology tweet with another that many are saying shows he doesn’t really get it. “It’s amazing to me that my joke about the conflict in India and Pakistan trended more than the story of the actual conflict itself,” wrote Noah. “Sometimes it seems like people are more offended by the jokes comedians make about an issue than the issue itself.” People on Twitter criticized him for diminishing the valid criticisms of his joke, as well as the seriousness of the conflict.

One Indian journalist and Trevor Noah fan, Vidya Krishnan, voiced the frustrations of many. “You wouldn’t have joked abt your mum while she was in the hosp, I’m guessing,” Krishnan wrote on Twitter. “While there is a stand off b/w two nuclear powers..an outsider mocking us on our accent wasn’t funny at all.”

Alex Dalbey

Alex Dalbey

Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.