Reading Rainbow presenter LeVar Burton appeared on The Daily Show to back up host Trevor Noah’s monologue about banned books, pointing out the ridiculousness of many of these bans. With calls for book bans sharply spiking this school year, Noah noted the motive behind these challenges may not entirely be concern for fragile young minds.
“[The request to ban a Michelle Obama biography] totally gives away the game that this is more about ginning up a culture war than protecting kids,” said Noah. “Because once you’re banning a book about any First Lady, that’s political. I don’t care what anybody says.”
In a short skit, Burton attempts to read to his viewers but is repeatedly thwarted as each picture book he chooses is banned. Going through Rosa (“reading about segregation is divisive”), And Tango Makes Three (“sexual perversion”), and Hop on Pop (“disrespectful to parents”), Burton grows visibly frustrated at being unable to find a children’s book people won’t complain about.
“Yo, they adopted the baby!” Burton exclaims, reacting to objections about And Tango Makes Three‘s male penguin couple. “What do you guys want? A mommy and a daddy penguin so the kids can make sure the that the penguins are knocking boots?”
“Read the books they don’t want you to — that’s where the good stuff is,” Burton continues. “Read banned books!”