Trevor Noah Defends Jimmy Kimmel for "Engaging" in Politics

Trevor Noah attends The Daily Show FYC 2017 -Getty-H 2017
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

The 'Daily Show' host also reveals what he hopes to accomplish with his upcoming Hillary Clinton interview.

For much of last week, Jimmy Kimmel found himself enmeshed in a political debate as he spoke out against the Graham-Cassidy health care bill on his eponymous ABC late-night talk show and called out Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy himself for having "lied" to him.

While Kimmel's critics argued that the host should stay out of politics, numerous public figures came to Kimmel's defense, including The Daily Show alum Jordan Klepper.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter at this weekend's Tribeca TV Festival, Klepper's former Daily Show colleague Trevor Noah also said he supported Kimmel being a part of the political debate, arguing that Kimmel was exercising his rights as a citizen.

"I think Jimmy Kimmel is doing what most Americans should be doing, and that is engaging in their politics," Noah said. "It's a strange phrase to me when people say, 'Don't get into politics. Stay out of politics.' I go, 'Well, if the people are not in politics, then who's in politics?' It's weird how people are only expected to vote but never voice their opinions before they vote or after they vote, and if you look at the word 'politic,' it comes from the Greek 'of the people,' so essentially Jimmy Kimmel is doing what every other American has the right to do and every other person who lives in this country, and that is voice their opinion about what's happening. Kudos to him. What he's saying is true, and he's put his flag in the ground."

Later, during a panel discussion with the Daily Show writers, Noah was asked what he hopes to accomplish with his upcoming interview with Hillary Clinton, set for Nov. 1, as she makes the media rounds in support of her book, What Happened.

The Comedy Central late-night host said that in addition to having a good conversation with the former Democratic presidential candidate, he hoped to get a more nuanced sense of what her role is now.

"It's been really tough to see with Hillary how everything has to be black and white. People either go, 'She should disappear forever.' Or, 'She should be president right now.' What is the space in between? There is a story to be told there. There is a conversation to be had," Noah said.

Much of the panel discussion focused on how Noah and his team put the show together, with a behind-the-scenes video that aired before the panel illustrating that for one episode in particular.

Like his late-night colleagues, Noah has been forced to adapt to a constantly changing news cycle, which sometimes includes a big story breaking just before or during the taping of the show.

"There are shows we're doing where news is happening five minutes before or even five minutes into the show, and we find a way to include it into the show as we go into recording," Noah told THR. "As the news cycle picks up pace, we've learned to do the same thing on our show, so it's less about thinking about what goes into the show and more about thinking how you fit everything into the show. It's a fun challenge, something that's different. Everyone's realizing that news under this administration is a different beast to tackle because it feels like it's a combination of journalistic reporting and at the same time digesting half of the scandal that is self-inflicted by the president and the White House. It's interesting and a different world."

It seems, much like Stephen Colbert, that Noah is used to having his executive producer tell him about news while he is taping the show, and he then updates the audience before joking about it.

"Then the audience has a moment to take in the shock," Noah explained on the panel. "So when we tape the show, they're not spending all of their time going, 'What is he talking about? When did that happen?'"