Trevor Noah on ‘social distancing’: Dont breathe on me, bitch’

Late-night hosts continue to assess the response to coronavirus, from so-called social distancing to hand sanitizer

Trevor Noah

More and more events, festivals and political rallies are cancelled as Americans seek to stop the spread of coronavirus, said Trevor Noah on the Daily Show. The new phrase of the moment is social distancing, also known as dont breathe on me, bitch.

Social distancing is the term du jour for steering clear of crowded public spaces, such as subway cars and theaters, and close contact with other humans, sort of like the opposite of what you guys are doing right now, Noah told his studio audience. I actually wish social distancing was a thing when I was in middle school, because it wouldve made all the times I ate alone in the bathroom seem way more responsible.

The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow)

Talking about the latest coronavirus containment buzzword: social distancing.

March 11, 2020

Institutions and businesses are, in recent days, cracking down on social distancing. Colleges are cancelling classes or, in some cases, ending the semester. Google, Amazon and other businesses are encouraging or enforcing work from home policies. But in all seriousness, social distancing is not an option for much of Americas workforce because without paid leave, many people have to work, despite the danger, said Noah. Which is insane, when you think about it. Like imagine if Godzilla is attacking a city, but delivery people still have to keep doing their jobs.

The point of social distancing is to minimize the spread of the virus to protect vulnerable populations like the elderly and immuno-compromised people. But it turns out one of the groups whos most at risk just DGAF, said Noah, pointing to a CNN clip of Baby Boomers playing softball outside Orlando; when asked whether hed change his lifestyle to minimize risk, one said: I think thats bogus, and I think its something that each individual has to decide on their own.

Im sorry, thats insane you dont just get to decide what you think about a disease, said Noah. No one is in the doctors office like Doctor, be honest, is it bad? and the doctors like, Eh, its up to you.

Stephen Colbert

On the Late Show, Stephen Colbert turned to the local coronavirus response in New York. The biggest cluster of cases is in the suburb of New Rochelle, where New Yorks governor, Andrew Cuomo, designated a one-mile-radius containment zone on Tuesday (Oh, what a cluster-suck, said Colbert) and deployed the national guard.

The national guard. Containment area. These are Family Feud answers to the question: Name something you hear in a zombie apocalypse, said Colbert. Show me: Oh God! Hes eating my brain!

Cuomo also cancelled gatherings to minimize the spread. Oh, so its just a precaution, nothing to worry about, said Colbert. In fact, Governor Cuomo tried to calm anxious residents, saying This is literally a matter of life and death.

Colbert pointed back to his Family Feud board. Show me: Literally a matter of life and death Number one answer!

Cuomo also announced that New York will produce its own hand sanitizer to be available at government offices, and since its New York, it will also be available on a folding table next to a fake Louis Vuitton clutch, used paperbacks and a bootleg DVD of Mr Poppers Penguins, said Colbert.

Given coronavirus fears, the Dow dropped 2,000 points on Tuesday, so the president immediately held a press conference to announce his plan to plan to have a plan to do stuff, said Colbert, who summarized the speech: Im here with Mitch McConnell, with others, with everybody to announce some hastily thrown together measures that I feel like Im just throwing handfuls of dry dog food at a charging tiger but, uh, heres a tax cut, or maybe some loans, substantial reliefs for everybody, small companies, fat companies, sexy companies, ugly companies! Tell me when one of these works!

Jimmy Kimmel

Tuesday was Super Tuesday II, in which residents of several states such as Michigan and Mississippi voted on the remaining Democratic candidates: Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and in case they dont survive the coronavirus because theyre old, Tulsi Gabbard, said Jimmy Kimmel. Does Tulsi Gabbard know shes still in the race? It feels like one of those things where you forget to cancel your health club membership.

While Biden and Sanders cancelled rallies on Tuesday because of the coronavirus, Trump said he would continue on as normal, which is a first, Kimmel said.

Speaking of coronavirus, The White House says they have everything under control, which must be why they delayed the release of a report from the director of national intelligence that says the United States is not prepared to handle a pandemic, said Kimmel. One possible reason why we might not be prepared is back in 2018, Trump fired the entire US pandemic response team to save money.

But dont worry, he has a plan, Kimmel deadpanned: on Tuesday morning, Trump commented we need the wall more than ever on a retweet of someone who argued The Wall could save America from coronavirus. There are more than 1,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in America and fewer than 10 in Mexico, said Kimmel, so, hes right, the wall would help to protect them from us.

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Now Apocalypse: Gregg Araki lands on TV with a queer, sex-positive comedy

The director of Mysterious Skin and Nowhere has crafted a new series filled with millennials dealing with online dating, social media and sex

At the end of the first episode of Gregg Arakis new television show, the raunchy, drug and snark-infested LA jamboree Now Apocalypse, the protagonist Ulysses, played with perpetual weed-induced bemusement by Avan Jogia, turns around to expose the trendy neon text on the back of his denim jacket. I have seen the future, it says, a riff of sorts on the famous jean jacket worn at a 1988 Aids demonstration by the artist David Wojnarowicz, who died from complications related to the disease just weeks before the release of Arakis seminal, brazenly queer Aids-era road movie, The Living End. With that film in which Thelma and Louise are replaced by a pair of handsome, rabble-rousing HIV-positive men and the Teen Apocalypse Trilogy that followed, Araki himself appears to have seen the future, or perhaps even engineered it.

A part of the New Queer Cinema movement that included directors like Todd Haynes, Isaac Julien, and Gus Van Sant, Arakis worlds are populated by the young, hot, sexually fluid and existentially worrisome. They are nihilistic, rudderless men and women who anxiously invoke thoughts of suicide or nuclear catastrophe and are slaves to their whims, be they casual sex, acid trips or violence, especially toward what one character in the new series calls the miserable capitalist patriarchy. Gritty, colorful, and militant, Arakis low-budget work in the 90s operated in but still outside of that decades indie boom; the director deployed his guerrilla film-making tactics and genuine iconoclasm in service of a decidedly queer, zany and sexed-up vision of life on the post-Reagan, post-Aids fringes.

If The Living End and Nowhere, the cinematic mescaline cocktail that closes Arakis Teen Apocalypse Trilogy, emerged from the spirit of political rebellion and postmodernist norm-busting that defined queer culture and the new queer cinema of the 80s and 90s, Now Apocalypse is a similarly audacious but somewhat more mainstream distillation of Arakis favorite themes.

Its characters are millennials, not Gen-Xers, and as such they came of age in the time of the internet, global capitalism, political conspiracy, legal weed and general overexposure. Free love is less potentially fatal, and the inherent art and subterfuge of text messaging is a given. Instagram has made art and photography obsolete, one says; another describes Tinder as dicks flying at me 24/7. In the spirit of Arakis cheeky absurdism, some of them have downright Dickensian names: the aforementioned Ulysses, plus Barnabas, Severin and Jethro, each of whom traffic in comic hyperbole.

The show, all 10 episodes of which were written and directed by Araki and co-written on spec by the Vogue sex-advice columnist Karley Sciortino, follows a group of friends not unlike those of the directors past work, specifically Nowhere and 2010s Kaboom, of which Now Apocalypse plays like a fleshed-out, episodic counterpart. Both of those films featured protagonists like Ulysses: young, horny, bisexual drifters beset by paranoid navel-gazing. Ulie, like James Duvals character in Nowhere, has apocalyptic visions of some sort of reptilian alien, almost always seen mid-coitus. Smith, of Kaboom, has similar premonitions, but of kidnappers wearing animal masks.

Surrounding Ulysses is a typically Arakian band of millennial misfits. One standout is Kelli Berglunds Carly, an acid-tongued aspiring actor who pays the rent by webcamming with sad old men, and whose collection of dildos and ball-gags is compared to a nuclear weapons stockpile. Ford (Beau Mirchoff), Ulyssess roommate, is a more generously rendered version of the straight beefcake Chris Zylka played in Kaboom; hes a naf, too earnest for this cynical world, who cant ejaculate without saying I love you and breaks down in Circle Jerk, a sexuality support group for straight dudes. His partner Severin, played by Roxane Mesquida (who played a lesbian witch in Kaboom), is an unfeeling astrobiologist whose cryptic work may be surfacing in Ulyssess increasingly bizarro alien dreams.

Avan Jogia and Kelli Berglund. Photograph: Katrina Marcinowski

Alongside them all are the familiar inhabitants of Arakis vibrant southern California wastelands: the sleazy gay film producer; the ridiculous, BDSM-fearing alpha male; the Antifa activist with plans to blow up a Bank of America; and the flaky dating-app prospect (Tyler Posey), with whom Ulysses shares a literally cosmic orgasm in an alleyway.

As immediately recognizable as the ideas in Now Apocalypse will be to any Araki fan and indeed the director has recycled his favorite tropes for three decades, the heedful bisexual protagonist and the swole, simple-minded straight roomie among them television gives them room to breathe. His films, which typically run 80-something minutes, can feel like fever dreams, paroxysms of color, sex and general punkery that require more development.

On television, however, and with the assistance of Starz, a network thats embraced a certain strain of hypersexual melodrama, Arakis irreverent vision feels somewhat mainstream, even a little sanitized. The California of Now Apocalypse is cleaner and less grungy than Nowhere or The Living End, and more like that of its fellow sex-positive, prestige television counterparts Insecure and Looking. Of course, were it not for a trailblazer like Araki, the diverse, quirky, and considerably more permissive TV firmament into which Now Apocalypse is entering might not exist. Perhaps he did see the future.

  • Now Apocalypse starts in the US on Starz on 10 March with a UK date to be announced

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Janeane Garofalo is a tiny thing, but the air around her crackles

I think about all Garofalos combined experience on screen and stage, and smile at how lucky I am to have seen her in the flesh

One of my favourite romantic comedies was released all the way back in 1996, and while it rarely makes it on to the best-of lists, trust me, The Truth About Cats & Dogs isup there with the greatest. Its avery loose play on Cyrano De Bergerac, except in this version aman falls in love with the face andbody of one woman and the voice of another. That other woman is Janeane Garofalo.

As ateen and even now Iconnected instinctively and intensely with hercharacter: acharming, funny, insecure feministradio host. Ihave followed Garofalos career ever since, but herlower profile in recent years means I havent dedicated much brain space to her.

Last week, I went to see her in theBroadway revival of Scott McPhersons family drama-comedy Marvins Room. My findings are asfollows: Janeane Garofalo on stage is just as potent as she is on screen. Her character, Lee, is one oflifes strivers: a bit broken and brittle, a little tart, but possessed ofan iron will to have survived thusfar.

I dont go to the theatre as often asI would like 15 months of living in New York has seen only four visits but every time I am stunned by the intimacy of it. Garofalos a tiny thing, still, but the air around her crackles.

Afterwards, I spent hours looking up YouTube clips. Shes done so much! (Please watch The Truth About Cats & Dogs and Romy And Micheles High School Reunion immediately.) I thought about all Garofalos combined experience on screen and stage, and smiled at how lucky I am to have seen her in the flesh. It was a smug smile, yes.

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Why I love… Donald Glover

His face is cute and elastic, making it a perfect vessel for comedy

How many times have you scoffed at the wunderkind with the six-figure book deal? Or the singer with a record-breaking number of nominations for their debut effort? Its not just me, right? Somaybe thats why the subject ofthis weeks column remained in my yeah, whatever file for so long. I mean, who gets tobe good at writing and acting and making music and at such ayoung age?

Step forward, Donald Glover. No two ways about it: Glover, 33, had an excellent 2016. Ifirst heard of him in 2008, when he was awriter on the Tina Fey workplace comedy 30 Rock. He was only 23 when he washired and went on towin three Writers Guildawards for hiswork on the show. Naturally, Ifeltnothing butimpotent jealousy.

Then it turned out hecould act, too, playingthehilarious TroyBarnes, a former high-school jock embracing his innernerd inCommunity.

His face is cute and elastic, making it a perfect vessel for comedy (and a handy choice for reaction gifs). Glover also radiates sincerity even at the height ofsilliness. Theres something particularly soulful about his mien in Atlanta, the critically acclaimed (and Golden Globe-winning) comedy drama he created and stars in (one of my favourite TV shows of 2016).

His nerd credentials are also solid: hell beplaying Lando Calrissian in the new Star Wars movie, and has arole in2017s newSpider-Man film. ButitsGlovers music, released under the pen name ChildishGambino, Ive connected to most: I loved his PM Dawn and Tamia covers, but Ihavent stopped playing Awaken, My Love!, a beautifully funky and moving album, since itcame out last December.

Im over my envy. Now Im just inlove.

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Trevor Noah on Trump’s America: ‘Divided people are easier to rule’

The Daily Show host compared the current US political climate to apartheid he witnessed growing up in South Africa in his essay for the New York Times

Trevor Noah has compared Donald Trumps America to South African apartheid in a new essay for the New York Times.

The Daily Show host has expressed his disappointment and fears over the decision to elect the reality TV star as president while calling for unity as the ultimate weapon against him.

The past year has been so polarizing and noxious that even I find myself getting caught up in the extreme grandstanding and vitriol, he writes. But with extremes come deadlock and the death of progress. Instead of speaking in measured tones about what unites us, we are screaming at each other about what divides us which is exactly what authoritarian figures like Mr Trump want: divided people are easier to rule. That was, after all, the whole point of apartheid.

The South African comedian also writes about how his mixed ethnicity forced him into surviving on both sides while in his native country and how the US is facing a similar racial division.

America, Ive found, doesnt like nuance, he writes. Either black people are criminals, or cops are racist pick one. Its us versus them. Youre with us, or youre against us. This national mentality is fueled by the hysteria of a 24-hour news cycle, by the ideological silos of social media and by the structure of the countrys politics. The two-party system seems to actively encourage division where none needs to exist.

He refers to the success of Trumps flagrant misogyny and racist appeals that has masked the similarities among many Americans who just want good jobs and homes.

Mr Trumps victory has only amplified the voices of extremism, he writes. It has made their arguments more simplistic and more emotional at a time when they ought to be growing more subtle and more complex. We should give no quarter to intolerance and injustice in this world, but we can be steadfast on the subject of Mr Trumps unfitness for office while still reaching out to reason with his supporters. We can be unwavering in our commitment to racial equality while still breaking bread with the same racist people whove oppressed us.

As well as hosting the Daily Show, Noah recently released a memoir called Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood.

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