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Daily Show host Trevor Noah apologises for 'ignorant and racist' Bollywood war joke

Noah was speaking about the tensions between India and Pakistan.

Source: Comedy Central UK/YouTube

DAILY SHOW HOST Trevor Noah has apologised and defended himself against accusations of racism and insensitivity following jokes he made about the India-Pakistan conflict.

In a monologue on the satirical news programme, the South African comedian put on an Indian accent and portrayed a potential war between the two nations in the form of a Bollywood movie. 

“If they did go to war it would probably be most entertaining war of all time,” Noah said on the Comedy Central programme 

Tensions between the nuclear nations ratcheted in recent weeks following a suicide attack in the disputed Kashmir region that killed 40 Indian soldiers and the violence that followed.  

The loss of life caused some to criticise Noah for making light of the situation and for promoting racial stereotypes while doing so. 

Bollywood actress Swara Bhasker tweeted a clip of Noah’s monologue, saying that his stereotyping was “ignorant and racist” and that “Hindi is not gibberish”.

Indian comedian Mallika Dua also criticised the routine, labelling it as “shockingly unintelligent and tone-deaf”.

Tweet by @Swara Bhasker Source: Swara Bhasker/Twitter

(Click here if video doesn’t play)

Indian writer Zainab Sikander also criticised Noah given a history of gun violence in his own family, tweeting:

It’s sad when someone who’s had a violent past mocks war through a Bollywood stereotype. @Trevornoah’s mother was shot in the head by her husband (Trevor’s stepfather). Imagine someone making fun of it with a Xhosa stereotype – the tribe his mum belongs to.

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Responding to the criticism on Twitter yesterday, Noah said that people who had issues with his jokes needed to put them in perspective.

Despite his defence, Noah apologised for any hurt he caused and responded to Sikander, noting that he has himself joked about his mother’s shooting.

“Actually if you watch my stand up you’ll see that I did make jokes after my mother was shot in the head. 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,” he posted.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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