Empire star Jussie Smollett had a big, crappy day today: He was arrested by the Chicago Police Department on charges of faking a police report, got accused of manufacturing an attack against himself because his paycheck on the Fox show wasn’t big enough, and, in the indignity to end all indignities, became the period-before-the-at-sign subject of a Donald Trump tweet, bolstering the confidence of his slathering MAGA crowd.
Now, The Daily Show and Trevor Noah have done a deep-dive on Smollett’s no-good, very bad day, dedicating one of their top segments tonight to his evolution in the court of public opinion, from alleged hate crime victim to alleged hate crime creator. Noah seems especially taken with the absurdities that have crept in from the investigation of the case, which, if you follow the CPD’s narrative, do not paint Smollett as necessarily being a criminal mastermind of any kind.
There’s lots of discussion of phone calls, poorly-aimed cameras, and just general clusterfuckery, but the most painful moment comes when Noah camps out for a good long while on the face-palmiest aspect of it all: The CPD’s assertion that Smollett paid his alleged co-conspirators with a check, suggesting that he’s never watched any movie or TV show in which a crime occurs, ever. (Including, presumably, his own.)
For what it’s worth, Smollett and his legal team continue to state that he’s innocent of all the charges against him. The rest of us, meanwhile, have to adjust ourselves to the ways this case has twisted and turned, and the implications it has for people who are actually subjected to violent attacks because of their race or identity. At least we can get a few bitter laughs out of it along the way, right?