Trevor Noah Has "Stolen Material," Says 'Last Comic Standing' Judge Russell Peters

Byron Keulemans
Trevor Noah

Peters claims that the new face of 'The Daily Show' is a "thief" who has used his jokes without permission.

Newly selected Daily Show host Trevor Noah continues to face scrutiny surrounding his jokes. 

During an episode of Channel NewsAsia's Conversation With, host Lin Xueling asked comedian Russell Peters whether he was jealous of Noah for getting the Comedy Central gig, along with the fact that Noah is "cute and skinnier than you."

Peters, a judge on the previous season of NBC's Last Comic Standing, denied that he's jealous before going on to say, "He's also a thief, but that’s irrelevant."

"He's stolen material from [South African comedian] David Kau, he's stolen material from myself," Peters continued. "You know, but whatever. That’s his gig now, and congratulations! [Laughs.] That’s all I can say."

When Xueling asked whether Noah was just "borrowing" from Peters, the comic replied, "That's not borrowing! You don't borrow in this business. If you are a comedian, that's like stealing somebody’s underwear and putting them on. That doesn't make any sense. Why would you do that?" Peters did not specify which jokes he was referring to.

This is not the first time that Noah has faced allegations of stealing jokes. In a June 2013 interview with Mahala, Noah addressed Kau's assertion that Noah had stolen material from him. Kau made the accusation while performing during Comedy Central South Africa's 2012 roast of South African singer Steve Hofmeyr.

"Nobody owns comedy, nobody owns a premise, nobody owns an idea," Noah said. "Comedy is your personal take on a thing. ... Like, half the jokes young black comedians are doing in America right now, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy were doing 20 years ago."

Asked at the time how it feels to face such allegations, Noah said, "You feel like shit, obviously. But you learn. You learn to do the thing. Every successful comedian in [South Africa] has had a phase where guys have gone after them."

Last week, Noah faced criticism over previous tweets that were perceived by some users as anti-Semitic or misogynistic. Fellow comedians have largely been supportive of Noah amid the Twitter uproar, including the cast of Last Comic Standing's forthcoming season. 

For his part, current Daily Show host Jon Stewart addressed the controversy over Noah during Monday's episode, calling his successor "an incredibly thoughtful and considerate and funny and smart individual." Stewart asked audiences to give Noah time to win them over.

Reps for Noah and Peters did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Peters' interview can be seen in the video below.

Email: Ryan.Gajewski@THR.com
Twitter: @_RyanGajewski

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