justin trudeau blackface

American talk show hosts are loving the Justin Trudeau blackface scandal

Canada's political sphere is reeling today in the wake of a bombshell leak featuring not one, but four separate images of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in brown and black-face makeup.

The PM has apologized profusely for his actions, all of which took place at least 18 years ago, but his ruling Liberal party is nonetheless shaken with only one month left to go before a federal election.

It's terrible timing for Trudeau and his supporters, many of whom have expressed disappointment in Canada's notoriously tolerant leader.

American comedians, on the other hand... well, any time is a good time to take a break from Trump material.

The irony of Trudeau — a poster boy for democratic values who's literally been spouting the catchphrase "diversity is our strength" around the world for years — getting caught up in a racism scandal has not been lost on anyone.

Our American friends, in particular, are almost gleeful to see a political leader outside of their own country embroiled in controversy for a change.

As Stephen Colbert put it during his monologue on CBS' The Late Show Thursday night: "This is pretty bad and I just want to say... It's not us this time! Suck it, Canada!"

On NBC's Late Night With Seth Meyers, the show's eponymous host said the following of Trudeau's brownface costume from an "Arabian Nights"-themed party in 2001:

"I'm not going to show you the picture because it's really bad. It's so bad that Canadians traveling in Europe are going to start telling people they're American."


Conan O'Brien referenced a recent scandal involving comedian Shane Gillis, who was hired and then promptly fired by Saturday Night Live after racist remarks from an old podcast surfaced on social media, in his Trudeau bit.

"New photos have surfaced of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in blackface," quipped O'Brien of the leak on Thursday night's episode of Conan on TBS.

"As a result, Trudeau has been dropped from the cast of 'Saturday Night Live.'"

The Daily Show's Trevor Noah went in hardest, by far, with a full six-and-a-half minute segment dedicated to the scandal, along with a fake anti-blackface makeup commercial.

"First of all, it's obviously never okay to do blackface, and secondly, if you are going to darken your skin, at least get the colour right," said Noah, referencing the infamous "Arabian Nights" photo published by Time Magazine on Wednesday.

"Trudeau isn't dressed as Aladdin, he's dressed as Aladdin doing blackface! That's not the colour of Aladdin, what are you doing?"

Canada's own Lilly Singh, whose own NBC talk show "A Little Late With Lilly Singh" premiered just this week, doesn't seem to take any pleasure in what's gone down with Trudeau.

The Prime Minister had been scheduled to appear on an hour-long prime time special edition of Singh's new show Wednesday evening, but was conspicuously absent from the program.

Singh did not address Trudeau's absence, and all prior references to his appearance were scrubbed from the show's social media feeds.

Trudeau, for his part, apologized publicly on Wednesday night and then again during a press conference on Thursday.

"Darkening your face, regardless of the context of the circumstances, is always unacceptable because of the racist history of blackface," he said to reporters in Winnipeg. "I should have understood that then, and I never should have done it."

"I have always acknowledged that I come from a place of privilege, but I now need to acknowledge that that comes from a massive blind spot," continued the PM, calling his actions a "terrible mistake."

Lead photo by

The Daily Show

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