South African comedian Trevor Noah performed to a sold out and enthusiastic crowd at Komedia on Tuesday the 3rd, following an extended European tour and a fair amount of acclaim in the US. The mixed-race comedian (he prefers the term ‘remixed’ to describe his skin persuasion) boldly calls his tour ‘The Racist’, letting the audience know they’re in for a night of fun with all political correctness thrown out the window.
However, his story also has a touching element involving his struggle to find a racial identity in a society where his didn’t fit into the race binary.
The first half of his show was based on the differences between South Africa and the UK, gently ripping the British for living in a country with no sun and only very ‘cute crime’ whilst bantering with the fairly large and raucous African audience that they can get better mobile signal back home.
The three African ladies on my table certainly enjoyed themselves, repeating to each other every one of his punch lines with more vigor as the wine in their glasses went down. I daresay their enjoyment was not hampered by the fact they so obviously found him aesthetically pleasing.
The second half of the show was where Noah really came into his own, talking about his upbringing as a child of a black mother and a white father in apartheid South Africa and his life-long quest to find a race to which he belonged.
Considered neither black nor white in his native Johannesburg, and apparently ‘not mixed enough’ by other mixed race people; Noah travelled to America in hopes of being classified as black (just like the world’s most famous mixed race person, Barack Obama) only to be mistaken for a Mexican.
Trevor Noah certainly knew how to tickle a British audience. Supplying decent dollops of self-deprecation, he knew the appropriate amount to make fun of the British and to hold nothing back when it comes to making fun of our American cousins across the pond.
Noah proved to be highly proficient in accents and languages, revealing he speaks six of South Africa’s 11 official languages and is now learning his Dad’s native tongue, German, and his Mum’s, Xhosa.
His audience interaction highlighted the ability to go ‘off-piste’ without being flustered – a mark of a true comedian. In my opinion, proving that Noah will go far, and I would highly recommend catching him while he’s still on the rise.