Canadian comedian Russell Peters says his accusation that incoming Daily Show host Trevor Noah is a "thief" who steals jokes from other comedians was a prank.
Peters made the accusation during an interview with Channel NewsAsia's Lin Xueling on Conversation With.
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"He's also a thief," Peters said during a short clip posted to the news organization's YouTube account. Peters started out talking about why he didn't want the hosting gig for himself before he made the accusation.
"He's stolen material from David Kau. He's stolen material from myself," he said. Both Noah and Kau are South African comics.
He said comedians don't borrow material.
"That's like stealing somebody's underwear and putting them on," Peters said. "That doesn't make any sense. Why would you do that?"
Peters said his accusation doesn't come from a place of jealousy because he would not have been the right choice to host a political show.
Noah refuted similar allegations from Kau several years ago. In a 2013 interview with Mahala magazine, he said, "Nobody owns comedy, nobody owns a premise, nobody owns an idea."
By midday Thursday, Peters was claiming the allegations were a prank in a tweet to Noah.
"OMG I can't believe how gullible the media are! Next time I'll choose a less awkward time to prank [you]," he wrote.
Noah, who had until now stayed silent about the new allegations, wrote back: "You just cost me the presidency of South Africa. Lol. See you in Vegas. Revenge is sweet."
Some Twitter users found the joke to be hilarious, but not everyone is convinced Peters is being honest.
"Sounds more like [Peters] didn't think it would go mainstream. Why mention Kau?" a Twitter user responded to Peters and Trevor's exchange.
Since being named as Daily Show host Jon Stewart's successor, after Stewart announced earlier this year he would be leaving the show, Noah has also come under fire for racist tweets.
That controversy prompted Stewart to come to his defence on a recent episode, urging viewers to give Noah a chance: "It's going to be well worth it."
Noah was announced as the show's next host in late March. A date for his hosting premiere has not been announced.