When tragedy strikes, we often turn to humor to lift our spirits. The Daily Show has always served as much-needed political satire during chaotic times, and last week was no exception. Following the Paris attacks, host Trevor Noah reminded us that in order to cope with tragedy, we must move on. And in order to move on, we must laugh at how politicians seize deplorable acts to use for their own political gain.
Noah began Monday's episode, the first sine the previous the terrorist attacks in Paris, with a sobering message — no jokes, but rather a thoughtful reflection on how the events affected us across the globe and disrupted our humanity. "Our lives are defined by moments — dinner with family, taking a nice drive together, friends gathering at somebody's house to watch Ronda [Rousey] get kicked in the neck," Noah said. "And I think the reason it's so painful is because often terrorism seeks to replace these moments with death and fear. We all are afraid. We replace that fear with anger a lot of the time. But I think what we should try to choose to do is not focus on the perpetrators. Because every attack — whether it's Paris, Beirut, Kenya — seems less about a specific group and more about an attack on humanity itself."
But The Daily Show is a satirical news show, and Noah couldn't keep the jokes completely on hold. Luckily, there was plenty of material from Saturday night's Democratic presidential debate to choose from. First, there was Martin O'Malley's attempt to get in some final words — only to get cut off so the program could go to commercial. ("Poor Governor O'Malley, he lost the debate to commercials," Noah laughed. "It went: Hillary, Bernie, Geico, then O'Malley.") Then there was Bernie Sanders' comparison of himself to President Dwight D. Eisenhower — to whom, ironically, Donald Trump also compared himself last week. ("Deporting Mexicans and taxing the rich?" Noah said. "Sounds like the perfect candidate!") And then there was Hillary Clinton's defense against Sanders' claim that she accepted campaign money from Wall Street, reminding the debate audience that she was senator of New York and helped rebuild downtown Manhattan after 9/11. "You take money from Wall Street because otherwise the terrorists win?" Noah asked. "Hillary, you can't just bring up 9/11 to answer anything."
On Tuesday night, with more time to process the tragedies in Paris, Noah introduced a perfectly timed segment aimed at the political figures that have already begun to use the Paris attacks to their advantage. While President Obama has said that sending troops to Syria to defeat ISIS is not an immediate strategy, many have already expressed their wish to go after ISIS members' heads. "I'm sorry, President Obama," Noah said, "this ‘non-immediate resolution' stuff is just not going to cut it. These are Americans you're talking to. The people who spend millions of dollars on diet pills to make you lose fifty pounds in five days. These are the inventors of the TV dinner. Americans won't even 'gram unless it's Insta!" Noah also noted that many Republican politicians are taking advantage of the Paris attacks to push for less gun control, make comparisons between Muslims and Nazis, and make general racist comments, like Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who said that Americans need to "wake up and smell the falafel" and do something about radical Muslims.
In the wake of the Paris attacks, plenty of US governors have announced that Syrian refugees aren't welcome within their borders. Noah noted that the governors don't have the authority to keep refugees out, and, in the case of Alabama — whose governor was the first to prohibit Syrians from taking refuge in his state — there aren't many refugees actually attempting to enter many of the states. "That has to hurt, Alabama," Noah said. "Alabama's basically the ugly guy at the club he's not going home with." Noah then invited correspondent and Alabama native Roy Wood Jr. to chat about the refugee crisis, who admitted the true reason Alabama is closing its borders to Syrians: They simply don't know enough about them to be racist to them yet.
The week's global events no doubt went over the head of presidential candidate Ben Carson, who has admitted to a general lack of expertise on foreign policy. On Wednesday night's show, Noah took Carson to task, per usual, for his dopey attempts to show his knowledge of the Middle East. After Carson explicitly dodged questions during a Fox News interview about who he'd call first in response to a Paris-style attack on American soil, Noah immediately admonished him for not giving the obvious answer. "Ghostbusters!" Noah shouted. "Everyone knows the right answer to that question!"
On Thursday, after a week's worth of Republican presidential candidates seizing on the controversy surrounding Syrian refugees seeking safe haven in the United States, Noah focused on one candidate's particularly unsavory metaphors: comparing the refugees to tainted peanuts, the recent Chipotle e coli outbreak, and spoiled milk. "Is it just me, or is Mike Huckabee always bringing it back to food?" Noah then pointed out that Huckabee does have a tendency to compare pretty much everything to food: the NSA, social security, even the bloated Republican presidential debates. And then, of course, he provided a super cut of food-themed Huckabee quotes to prove it.