Trevor Noah has been telling a joke that sounds remarkably similar to one that Dave Chappelle told nearly 20 years ago.
The new “Daily Show” host has been accused of stealing joke in the past, but The Hollywood Reporter pointed to a standup routine he performed Saturday that was closely similar to material once performed by another Comedy Central star.
“Before I came to America, I thought I knew all kinds of racism,” Noah said during a 20-minute routine at Politicon in Los Angeles. “I’ve always considered myself something of a racism connoisseur. I appreciate the finer racism. Not to say I appreciate all racism, but a finer racism.”
Chappelle also described himself as a “racism connoisseur” during an HBO special that aired in January 1998, and other jokes from that same routine showed up slightly altered in Noah’s material.
Noah, who is from South Africa, jokes that he appreciated “blatant racism,” because “you know exactly where you stand,” and he recalled such an encounter he allegedly had.
“Charming racism in America changed my life,” Noah said. “I discovered it in a place called Lexington, Kentucky. Probably one of the most wonderful places I’ve ever been — charming, friendly people. Racism with a smile and a tip of the hat … I was walking through the streets, a man walked up to me, didn’t know me from a bar of soap, came straight up to me and looked me dead in the eye, and he was like, ‘Good afternoon, n****r.’ ‘Good afternoon.’ I’ve never seen racism with a smile. I didn’t know what to do. He just said it like it was a fact. As if I fought him, he would have been like, ‘What, didn’t you know?'”
Compare Noah’s routine, which The Hollywood Reporter pointed out he had performed multiple times over the summer, with Chappelle’s.
“Traveling has made me a racism connoisseur, if you will,” Chappelle joked 17 years ago. “You know, it’s different region to region. Anyone ever been down South? So you guys know what I’m talking about.”
Chappelle describes southern racism as “f*cking perfect,” punctuated by the bon appetit gesture.
“(It’s) stewed to a perfection, it’s conformable, it’s out in the open,” Chappelle joked. “There are no secrets in Mississippi, everybody knows the deal. ‘Morning, n****r!’ ‘Morning, sir!’ Not up here. Here in the big cities, it’s a secret, and we should be like them. We should keep our sh*t out in the open and vent a little — I mean with limits. You don’t want to say whatever comes to your mind, that might be a little much. White dude be walking down the street minding his business and a brother walk up to him: ‘Hello, you white oppressor, you slave-master rapist of Africa.’ ‘Why hello, my big-lips, spear-chucking friend.'”
Canadian comedian Russell Peters previously accused Noah of stealing jokes from himself and David Kau, although he later backtracked and said his claims were just a “prank.”
Representatives for Noah, Comedy Central, Chappelle and Peters declined to comment on the report.
Watch Noah’s standup bit:
Watch Chappelle’s standup bit: