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On Thursday night’s Daily Show, Trevor Noah directed some of his genial outrage at the casting of Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson in a British TV movie, noting that the timing of the announcement, smack in the middle of the controversy over the notable lack of diversity among this year’s Oscar nominations, made the choice particularly unfortunate.
“Are you for real?” said Noah. “All the drama going on over black actors being ignored, and you’re getting a white actor to play to greatest black pop star of all time.”
“And the worst thing is it’s not even like the best white actor,” Noah continued. “Joseph Fiennes? I mean at least if it was, like, Meryl Streep, we’d be like, ‘Yeah, I mean but she’s dope, she’s dope.’ ”
Noah went on to note that Fiennes is best-known for playing Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love. “That’s like the whitest guy in history,” the host laughed. “Why are you rubbing salt in the wounds, white people?”
The host also took issue with the claim that just because Jackson’s pigment had changed, he was no longer black. “That is not how being black works,” Noah pointed out. “Just because your outside appearance changes doesn’t mean your DNA does. Does anyone say, ‘Oh, The Situation used to be white’? No they don’t say that. Just because he’s orange now doesn’t mean he’s not white anymore.”
But the segment took an unexpected turn at the end when with the help of a Photoshopped wig, a new nose, sunglasses and MJ’s iconic red military jacket, Fiennes was almost instantly transformed into Jackson’s doppelganger.
“That undermined me, go away,” Noah said at the sight of the image of Fiennes with the full Jackson treatment.
Watch the full segment below.
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