Brow Beat

Watch Trevor Noah Sprint Through Stories About Beyoncé, Zimbabwe, LeBron James, and Iran

Trevor Noah sits at a news desk; the image over his shoulder is a photo of Beyoncé.
Trevor Noah? Beyoncé? Go on! Comedy Central

The eternal problem for late night tv shows, in our age of way, way too much news, is trying to fit what feels like a thousand years worth of disaster into the ten-minute-or-so time slot they devote to current events. In this Daily Show segment, Trevor Noah finds an elegant way to square the circle: Although there is no time for him to go into much detail about any of the four unrelated topics he covers—Beyoncé, Zimbabwe, LeBron James, and Iran—he makes a point of alluding to everything he’s not talking about, so interested viewers can follow up on their own.

Some of the transitions between topics stake out a position—he uses the school LeBron James just built to very briefly make the case for public services over philanthropy—and some, like the end of his Zimbabwe story, just acknowledge he’s not painting a full picture. But all of them are preferable to giving viewers the impression they’ve got all the information they need when they don’t. Here are the bigger questions Noah alludes to:

On Beyoncé’s Vogue cover: This story has once again brought up the conversation of how the fashion industry has so often taken inspiration from people of color without actually involving them. And if we had the time, we would get into that, but we’ve gotta move on.

On Zimbabwe: If we had the time, we could talk about how this is only the beginning of Zimbawe’s difficult road back to being economically successful on the continent, but we just don’t have the time.

On LeBron James: Although this is a really beautiful story of philanthropy, it does raise the question of why communities need celebrities to provide services that should be provided by the government. You know? No one should be out there going, “I hope my team wins the Super Bowl so they can buy us a fire department!” You don’t want that. But we don’t have the time to talk about all that.

The Daily Show might not have the time to go into any of these topics in detail, but you probably don’t have the same time constraints. Visit your local library and take a journey into the heart of any or all of these issues through the magic of books! Or at least do some half-hearted googling.