The tweets and the backlash itself inspired all kinds of reactions, ranging from critics calling for Comedy Central to find a new host to fellow comedians defending Noah. Jim Norton fell in that latter camp, and expressed his feelings in an essay for Time where he wrote about outrage culture, crossing the line in comedy, and how he felt about Noah’s Twitter jokes.
“[Noah] also neglected to take into account that Western culture as a whole has become an increasingly reactionary mob of self-centered narcissists who all have their own personal lines drawn in the sand,” Norton wrote. “A comedian is fine unless he crosses their particular line, which, of course, in the mind of a self-centered narcissist, is the only line that matters.”
He went on to say that the “image people have of comedians staring defiantly over a stationary line of good taste is simply inaccurate.”
“The line doesn’t exist,” he wrote. “The correct image for people to have is one of a circle, with a comedian standing in the middle of it, surrounded by a myriad of races, religions, social beliefs, sacred cows, and political ideologies … There is simply no way to consistently do the type of comedy that addresses these things without upsetting somebody.”
Noah himself admitted that the jokes in question “didn’t land,” and Norton (kind of) agreed: “I read the tweets he was ‘under fire’ for, and some were funny, some weren’t.” But that’s not the point. “They weren’t vicious or written to be harmful,” he wrote. “And everyone reading them knows that.”
Read Norton’s full essay over at Time.