Trevor Noah’s coverage of the Golden Globes showdown between Meryl Streep and Donald Trump was nothing if not surprising Monday night.
After an extended riff on the confusion that ensued between Fences and Hidden Figures—leading both Jenna Bush Hager and Michael Keaton to say “Hidden Fences”—The Daily Show host moved on to the most-talked about moment of the night: Streep’s fiery acceptance speech.
Noah admitted that Streep’s unexpectedly strong takedown of President-elect Donald Trump was “powerful” and a “highlight” of her already “distinguished” career. “Except for this one tiny part,” he continued, which, “like her character in Florence Foster Jenkins, was tone-deaf.”
The comedian was referring to the moment when Streep declared, “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”
“I understand what Meryl Streep was trying to do, and I don’t know if I could have done better, but here’s the thing I feel like we could all learn as people,” Noah said. “You don’t have to make your point by shitting on someone else’s thing, because a lot of people love football and the arts.” He noted that he spent his Sunday watching football and then the Golden Globes.
To make his point, Noah joked that the NFL commissioner “acts” like he cares about concussions. He went on to undercut himself by saying that to focus on that part of the speech “undermines” her “larger point” about “respect” and “empathy.” But the bulk of his commentary centered on a lack of inclusiveness by Streep—not Trump.
Remarkably, Noah did not even bring up Trump’s petty overreaction to Streep’s speech until the second segment of his show, and when he did it was merely as a preamble to a piece about the president-elect’s response on Russia’s election hacks.
“I thought it was a little weird last night that Hollywood celebrated itself for being progressive but ignored how much they reinforce negative stereotypes,” Noah added. “Think about it: In Hollywood, Middle Easterners are almost always terrorists. Black people are gangsters and slaves. It’s not like there aren’t other diverse stories to tell. Just look at ‘Hidden Fences,’ you know?”