Comedy Central Responds Cryptically to Chris Brown’s Absence

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On Tuesday night, Chris Brown did not appear on The Daily Show. Though the same can be said of most nights on The Daily Show, this was news because that night, he was meant to. It had been reported that staff members on the show had taken issue with Brown’s imminent appearance (given that Brown was infamously convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Rihanna, in 2009), but when it was actually announced that Noah wouldn’t be interviewing him that night, it was done without explanation. However, Entertainment Weekly now reports that Comedy Central followed it up with a vague statement, suggesting that his appearance wasn’t cancelled due to staff protestation:

Guest bookings are always subject to change. The show hopes to reschedule Chris for a future appearance.

As Salon writer Sonia Saraiya explains, Brown had been replaced — initially “without any explanation from the show” — by Nick Cannon of Chi-Raq. She goes so far as to infer that “it appears that, just two months into his run as Daily Show host, Noah may have inspired a minor staff mutiny,” and that this could mark a first fracturing of support for Noah among the staff.

Speculation that the cancellation may have had something to do with staff disapproval was sparked when The Daily Beast wrote that “many staffers disapprove of the booking decision,” but that Trevor Noah had allegedly told them he’d be using the interview to “to bring light to domestic abuse issues.” Since this was published in advance of the interview, though, could it not be just as likely that it was Brown and his press reps, based on the topics The Daily Beast piece expressed would be covered, who decided not to go on the show? Especially given the fact that the Comedy Central statement claims that the “show hopes to reschedule Chris,” this doesn’t seem at all farfetched. Deadline notes that in the past, Brown has gotten upset and discussed pulling out of appearances when asked about the assault charges in 2009.

He’d said, on BET’s 106 & Park, following a seeming tantrum (in which he may have smashed a window) in the dressing room of Good Morning America:

When I do shows or when I do interviews, we always send out … a talking points sheet. And if the network, or whoever, isn’t complying with what we want to do — so we can equally accomplish a goal — we usually kind of back out and wait until it’s a better situation.