Trevor Responds to Criticism from the French Ambassador – Between The Scenes | The Daily Show

Trevor Responds to Criticism from the French Ambassador – Between The Scenes | The Daily Show

I wanted to share this
little story with you. I got into a little
bit of trouble with the French Government. (audience laughing) I know. The French Government. So what happened was, let’s
start at the beginning. France won the World Cup. (audience cheering
and applauding) And so on the show,
we celebrated that
and I had this joke where I said, I said
Africa won the World Cup. (audience cheering
and applauding) Yeah, and I was shocked at
how angry a lot of French people got, like genuine,
a lot of French people were angry and they were like,
“Oh Trevor how can you say this, why would you
say these things? (audience laughing) You know this is horrible.”
and I was like okay, I get it, not everyone
likes every joke that you tell and I get that
but this was interesting. I got a letter from the
ambassador of France. And I’ll read it to you,
it was about that joke. And he says, I’ll try to read
it how I hope he wrote it. (audience laughing) Which was he says, “Sir I
watched with great attention your July 17th show when
you spoke of the victory of the French team at the
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia final which took
place last Sunday. I heard your words about
an African victory, nothing could be less true.” (audience laughing) Now, first of all, I think
it could have been less, I could have says they
were Scandinavian. (audience laughing) That would have been less true, that would have been less true. He says, “As many of the
players have already stated themselves, their parents
may have come from another country but a great
majority of them — all but two out of 23
were born in France. They were educated in
France, they learned to play soccer in France,
they are French citizens. They’re proud of
their country, France. The rich and various
backgrounds of these players is a reflection of
France’s diversity. France is indeed…” Now that
line there was interesting. The rich and various
backgrounds of these players is a reflection of
France’s diversity. Now, I’m not trying to
be an asshole but I think it’s more a reflection
of France’s colonialism. (audience cheering
and applauding) Because it’s not like it’s
just like random players, like they all have
something in common. Like all of those players
if you trace their lineage you’re like how did
you guys become French? Like, how did your family start
speaking French? Oh, okay. (audience laughing) And it says here, he says,
“France is indeed a cosmopolitan country but every citizen is
part of the French identity and together they belong
to the nation of France. Unlike in the United
States of America, France does not refer to its
citizens based on their race, religion or origin. To us,
there is no hyphenated identity. Roots are an individual reality, by calling them an African team
it seems like you’re denying their Frenchness. This,
even in jest, legitimizes the ideology which
claims whiteness as the only definition
of being French.” So now here’s the thing,
first things first. I understand what he’s
saying ’cause I read up on this afterwards,
right? I take criticism. I’ll listen to what
somebody says to me. I genuinely believe you
should, and what it turns out is in France, a lot
of Nazis in that country use the fact that these
players are of African descent to shit on their
Frenchness, you know. So they go you’re not
French, you’re from Africa go back to where you came
from, you’re not French. They use that as
a line of attack. Now my thing, my opinion is
coming from South Africa, coming from Africa and
even watching the World Cup in the United States of America, black people all over the
world were celebrating the Africaness of the
French players, right. Not in a negative way but
rather in a positive way going look at these Africans
who can become French. You know what I mean, it’s a
celebration of that achievement. And so, this is what I find
weird in these arguments is that people go they’re
not African, they’re French. Then I’m like why
can’t they be both? (audience applauding) Right, why is that duality
only afforded to select group of people, why
can they not be African? So what they’re arguing here is, in order to be French
you have to erase everything that is African,
’cause what do they mean when they say that
our culture, our this. So you cannot be French and
African at the same time, which I vehemently
disagree with. I go if you see those
players I love them, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante,
I’ve watched all of them. Like, I love those players
and I love how African they are and how
French they are. I don’t take their
Frenchness away but I also don’t think you need to
take their Africaness away. And that is what I
love about America. America is not a perfect
country but what I love about this place is that
people can still celebrate their identity in
their Americaness. You can go to a St. Patrick’s
Day parade in America celebrating that you are Irish. You can go to a Puerto
Rican day parade in America still celebrating the fact
that you are Puerto Rican and American at the same time. You can celebrate
Juneteenth as black person and be like “yo, I’m
African-American,” which is the duality
of the two worlds. But here they’re going,
“No you are only French.” (audience laughing) And here’s why it
vexes me, to be honest. This is what I find interesting, is like, when I read
stories from Africa and I watch what
politicians say, especially in France
about African migrants: when they are unemployed,
when they may commit a crime, or when
they are considered unsavory, it’s the
African immigrant. When their children go on to
provide a World Cup victory for France, we should only
refer to them as France. And we even saw it with
that African man who climbed the building to rescue the
baby, do you remember that? – [Audience] Yes. – We watched him
climb that building, he rescued the child and
then they gave him French citizenship, they said
you are now French. So now I’m going so is
he now no longer African? (audience laughing) Is that what you’re
saying? So when he was on the ground
he was African. (audience laughing) And then he climbed up
and as soon as he rescued the baby now he’s French.
So if he dropped the baby, The African dropped the baby. (audience cheering
and applauding) I don’t believe that you need and here’s like I would
say again with respect I understand what the
ambassador is saying. I’m not joining the attack
and I know don’t get me wrong, I know we live in a
world where like nuance is something that
is in short supply. And so you will find in
America for instance, the alt-right saying, “That’s
what we’ve been saying, they’re not French and
we’re saying but if Trevor says it it’s not racist, but
if we say it it’s racist.” Yeah, yeah. I’ll
say yeah, you know why? Because I believe
context is everything. There are certain things
you can say to somebody that like when I
say to my friends, What’s going on, my nigga?”
and if a white person came and said the same thing, yeah
there’s a big difference. (audience laughing) When I’m saying they’re
African I’m not saying it as a way to exclude
them from their Frenchness but I’m rather using it to
include them in my Africaness. I’m saying, “I see you my French
brother of African descent.” Do you know what I’m saying,
that’s what I’m trying to say, when somebody else
says it the other way. You can use the same
line in different ways. People are like,
so it’s different? Yeah, yeah it’s different,
it can be different. It’s like somebody saying, “So
if you play with your naked child it’s a problem but if
I do it I’m a pedophile?” Yeah, yeah there’s
a big difference. There’s a huge difference. (audience clapping) So I will continue to praise
them for being African because I believe that
they are of Africa. Their parents are from
Africa and they can be French at the same time. And if French
people are saying they cannot be both, then I think they
have a problem and not me. (audience cheering
and applauding)


  1. You are right.
    I'm a filipino, and in the USA Filipinos celebrate a certain day to commemorate their being Filipino.
    They are african-french.
    I love africans. I love how talented they are and knowing their history, i like them a lot.

  2. 3.50:
    why would i celebrate becoming french as an africa. is it a big deal to become french and is it something big that need celebration for becoming french as an african person?

  3. I disagreed with Trevor regarding the glorification of USA with these festive days: America San Patrick Day and Puerto Rican Parade, those days exists because these groups fought hard to have it, not because Americans said lets have a Puerto Rican Parade. Also " What is up my Nigga?" should do not be say by none. All countries that colonised have the same aptitude towards immigrants.

  4. Disgusting… I thought alt-right, white supremacy and hardcore ethnonationalism weren't given platform in the mainstream! And yet dude:

    1.Equivalises Africa and a small nation with crystalised culture;
    2.Claims you can't be a member of some culture if you're not genetically similar enough to its majority and/or have an impure lineage;
    3.Pokes fun at what is essentialy a poor, coastal Nigerian's accent (unfortunately French don't speak like that. They rarely even speak english, even if they know it lol), an accent of people who starve in large part because of oil companies he depends on every day (probably more than many people) while being a rich, famous, privileged American (oh wait, according to 2. he can't be an American, if we traced the lineage far enough… well, if we did, we're essentially all from Africa!);
    4.Implies "Africans" are so stupid they would waste as much money on a dumb sport as the richest countries in the world, instead of investing it into infrastructure, enterpreneurial support and combating corruption, so people can grow out of poverty and dependence on ex-colonisers, by attributing the success to "Africa" and not France…

    As people say – bad guys often don't know they are the bad ones and sometimes they manage to fool others as well!

  5. Travor you are really smart I love your shows please teach the world that we also have many good and talented people in Africa.

  6. Fun fact
    Zidan looks so white but he's from Algeria and when he hit Italian player in world cup finals 2006… Everyone start to refer him as Algerian because before when they won world cup in 1998 he was 100% French

  7. Partially correct. Not fully because they got training and good life in france not in africa. Look at south africa for instance seems like only country sophisticated in africa

  8. USA is a very new country compared to France and the other countries of Europe. There is not enough history for the USA citizen to feel the same way as European country feels about their identity. Beside USA is a country composed by many different nationalities invading and stealing land from the Native American which probably feels like the French you describe in your comment.

  9. I get your point, but he also has a point too.
    I’m a Mexican-Puertorrican-Spanish-American. And that same duality you’re calling for is also what divide us. We see each other as different people, when we’re all Americans.
    I always laugh when I’m asked if I’m white, if I say yes then the second question is, are you white not Hispanic? What kind of stupid question is that? Why they don’t ask, are you white not Italian or Irish or whatever?

  10. So you deny them their heritage to make a point or to make yourself able to argue that France won. It's done world wide Trevor. It's not new, it's not unique and it's not cute. I am a multiracial American. I will never deny or hide any part of who I am

  11. So typical of the France's politics. Denying the background of their citizens, and banning from the society those who want to live their french citizenship a different way. I'm french, live in France, and I'm telling you, to have beautiful speeches on nationalism and patriotism and diversity, they are the first. But to respect human's rights, to respect the diversity they claim to be proud of, it's only on their own terms… Example: banning birkini on the beacj, banning hijab sport wears from shops, forbidden veiled women to be part of the society, forbidding them from working, or even going to school, being so rigid on what being french means and what "integration" implies, allowing racism to spread over the media with racist journalists being on air 24/7, and so on and so on. France is the last country of the West that can talk about diversity…

  12. They would probably say you can't be french and Irish, British, American…..only French… this isn't an attack on Africans…'s just the French patriotic mentality.

  13. Yes I completely agree. Its the difference between assimilation vs integration. I lived in the Netherlands, learnt and spoke fluent Dutch. When it came time to getting a job I worked without being paid because I was an outsider, I had people not want me to touch them because I was not of Dutch descent(so many more events). One day a patient told me directly " these useless dirty immigrants should go back to their own country… …except you of course". That is when I realized my only value to them was in the service I was providing them for free and not in that I was a human being who was equal. I left, very disappointed in a country that claims to be so open-minded. I really respect and admire people who can deal with the dichotomy when living in a foreign land. Unfortunately I am not comfortable in my own nationality because of years of racism/colonial judgements. So I don't have the courage to just stand up for myself and tell those racists "you have a problem and not me". Thank you for your confidence, it helps me in the search of some of my own.

  14. I have found that much comes down to wording. For example, I live in Sweden and if I said to someone who doesn't look typically Scandinavian "you're african, right?" Chances are they would feel pretty insulted, unless if you ask "do you have african roots?" Especially when it comes to people who were born and raised in Sweden, since the swedish culture and identity is a big part of you then. Then you kind of end up in this middle ground with you ethnical/cultural identity (called third culture). We don't really have terms such as swedish-african. So that's why we call everyone swedish, but then we can also talk about having different roots. But it makes me very sad when I read in the comments about how common it is in europe for people to be called french/german/swedish etc when they do good, but if they do something bad then they are african or middle eastern insted. As if european = good, not european = bad… I do recognize that from news reporting. It's like if a Swedish man commits a crime he's being refered to as simply a "man", but if he's got african roots he's not just a man anymore, then he's the "african or black man".

  15. It's difficult to understand from abroad, but in France we have the concept of Secularism (laicite) instead of living in communities.

  16. The French are so racist. Not that we need more examples (Tete de Negre is a chocolate ball desert in France "Head of Nigger") but also read "The Politics of the Veil."

  17. Just one remark:
    Puerto Rico IS a USA territory, why shouldn't be allowed to celebrate Puerto Rico's day in the USA?
    And also:  There is noone who gets angry when they see them celebrate Puerto Rico's day?  Are you sure?  Really?
    Racists are dumb people, they don't need to be right to feel entitled to complain about "others".

  18. But guys the level of English in the letter, I mean don't y'all agree that the ambassador should apply for an English major in Harvard…I mean, c'mon

  19. I give my props to France. American media trying to project the american racial divide unto Europe. Race/Skin color is so much less of the European reality than America's insane obsession with it. Get over it

  20. I see where Trevor is coming from, but I still agree with the french position more. Of course one can have multiple identities that overlap. But, and here is where I think the key is: that identity, single or multiple, is defined by each individual person. If Paul Pogba thinks of himself as french with african origins, that's okay and no one should deny him that right to remember where his ancestors are from. If Kanté at the same time thinks of himself only as french and doesnt think that it matters to him much where his parents or grand-parents once lived, that's okay too though*!
    It boils down to: Identity is a personal question. A racist asshole cant deny these players' frenchness, they are french, they are representing the country in the biggest sport event on the globe. Some of them may also claim another identity, that of african, spanish (Hernandez) or other. But, to say it bluntly, that's not yours to decide Trevor. They may all feel african on some level, and if they do, I got no beef with that. Maybe some dont, and that should be acceptable to everybody aswell. On that level, some criticism of the joke was correct I believe. You took it uppon yourself to call them all african, which is just assuming they must feel that way even if you dont really know that they do.

    Follow-up: an obvious little thing here: each and every person on earth has migrant ancestors. It's only a matter of how many generations back you look. In the US, obviously, the ancestors that immigrated are almost all within the last 500 years give or take (except for those whose ancestors migrated the the american continent thousands of years ago – yet they still migrated). In Europe, those migrant ancestors are either recent or very old, but they still exist.
    So, as a German that's lived in France for a very long time, I do in fact think of myself as part of both identities aswell as of a broader european identity. Ancestors of mine came to this continent from somewhere else, most likely through the middle east from Asia and Africa thousands of years ago, as part of the big indo-european migrations. Obviously, I dont feel particularly asian or african as a result of this ancestry. The question, as often, is where we draw the line. People that were born in France of migrated parents will likely keep a more or less strong emotional tie to the homeland of their parents. What about their children (the 2nd generation born in, in this case, France)? What about the 3rd? Some kids may still look quite african after 5 generations, should we then still assume they have an african identity? And if so, why should they have one even, when neither they nor their parents, grand parents etc lived there?
    It's a complex question and I can only repeat: it's up to each of us to build our own identity, and neither politicians nor well meaning comedians should just assume somebody does or does not have an african or otherwise identity.

    *I dont know what each of these plays position on this is, just an example.

  21. Take it from someone whose grandparents were from another country, it is ENTIRELY up to the government and the people to judge your nationality whenever they want, however they want. I'm fortunate that my people (different and same) are willing to accept me, but the government (depending on who's in power) may not.

    Even in Asian countries, what Mr. Trevor said stands true.

  22. So what should the French do ? Send the blacks back to Africa, so when France win the world cup again, it would be won by the white Europeans ?
    This mentality is just racist… Trevor Noah is a racial ideologist.
    If the French would have sent back the Africans to Africa, they'd have been as bad as they're now according to this racist.
    With this ideology, the French lose in all circumstances. And the blacks are always the poor victims who cry on tv shamelessly, and get affirmative action discrimination laws, and other privileges.

  23. Jokes aside. America talks about race too much, basing everyone about race, which makes everyone not equal because of skin color.

  24. "Why can't they be both?" The bud of the original joke was to disregard their French-ness in favor of their African-ness. The only way the joke works is as an acknowledgement of the inherent disparateness of calling a French team an African team – implying that, rather than their French-ness, it was instead their African-ness that caused them to win. You say that you don't take their French-ness away, but the central mechanic of the joke that triggered this response is specifically to take their French-ness away, with a wink and a nod, to then reveal their underlying African-ness. I personally don't care one way or another (I actually think the original joke was funny), but you're being extremely disingenuous in your interpretation of the ambassador's argument, Trevor. Never does the ambassador say that they are not African, but that they are not only African, which is a perfectly fine position to hold when they are French citizens on a French team competing for France, yet facing a joke that only works when delegitimizing their French-ness in favor of something else.

  25. but they were representing france when they were playing ….so you cant just make jokes about africa winning …

  26. I’m biracial. Mostly African and Northwestern European by ancestry. I’d rather be an American than “African American”. I may be brown, but I’ve never been to Africa, and could go my whole life without visiting Africa and I wouldn’t care.

    A dude getting drunk on the streets of Chicago on March 17th is no more Irish than I am German. Doesn’t matter where my ancestors were hanging out 100-400 years ago.

  27. If the French Ambassador was of African descent, I highly doubt this would even be a discussion. He obviously doesn’t have much of a sense of humor and what he said about France not differentiating between their citizens is absolute bullshit. I lived there for 11 years and can verify the racism against citizens of African descent, especially North Africa. I was once verbally attacked by a racist elderly French woman, when I merely asked for directions, and was told to “go back to Algeria” which I am not even from. To her I looked North African, and that was enough.
    So keep telling it like it is Trevor Noah.

  28. Colonizers are the worst. The anglos, the europeans, all of them. Read "Heart of Darkness" to get a glimpse into how colonialists treated the people they invaded and conquered

  29. I'm French and I don't think France won the World Cup. This might sound racist, but at least it's consistent.


  31. hi bro i usually don't comment this kind of video but i am hundred percent with you, the only consider us only when we favor them

  32. Ok okokokokok SO haha so! Identity! One's identity is the reflect of how they feel about themself- To be English can mean that you enjoy tea or that you enjoy beans maybe depending on who you are and how you feel about the English identity!! right? So the concept of one's identity is pretty flexible– Because of that, Identity seen by someone else can seem wrong or biased- and this can (and probably will) create a misunderstanding between people (or fight). Because French can't control its population and how it thinks they decided that whenever a country came into (because some did) or was taken by them they would automatically reunite them under one big Identity (so that it'll limit racism or antisemitism etc.) so that every one would be /so to say/ under the same umbrella. This Identity you'd have guessed is present French Identity!! When this Ambassador (which clearly had too much time on his hand) send this letter it was not to revocate the right to these citizen of their origine but more to reassure the fact that they were part of this Fench Identity and so should be referred as such. Yes they have origine but to this guy these origines are not there nationality and are not the biggest part of their Identity so they should be referred as French–

    Yh that's quite long and maybe false but I needed to put that out there just so some may have a fuller picture (maybe/hopefully)

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