The “Daily Show” host criticized Meryl Streep’s remarks on his Comedy Central show on Monday night, calling them “tone-deaf.”
Although he described the speech as “powerful” and a “highlight” in the actress’ distinguished career, Noah said she went wrong in slamming football and mixed martial arts.
“It was really great except for this one tiny part for me, where Meryl Streep, like her character in ‘Florence Foster Jenkins,’ was tone-deaf,” he said.
“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts,” Streep said on Sunday when accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award.
However, Noah noted that her intentions were well-meaning.
“I understand what Meryl Streep was trying to do, and I don’t know if I could’ve done better in that moment, but here’s the thing I feel like we could all learn as people,” Noah said. “You don’t have to make your point by s—ting on someone else’s thing, because a lot of people love football and the arts.”
He then advised viewers not to focus solely on that aspect of the speech, and thereby risk missing the larger picture: “It was a speech about respect, it was a speech about empathy, and most importantly, it was a speech about responsibility.”
Surprisingly, Noah only briefly mentioned Trump’s reaction to the speech in a later segment on the show. Trump called the 30-time Golden Globe nominee “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood” in response to Streep’s criticism of him at the awards show.
“You and all of us in this room belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners, and the press,” Steep said on Sunday, without naming Trump. She later added that “disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence” after recalling an incident in which the now-president-elect appeared to imitate a disabled reporter.