Trevor Noah Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver BC, February 23
Published Feb 24, 2017Trevor Noah performed two back-to-back sets as a part of JFL NorthWest, eliciting hysterics from the crowd as he delivered a marathon performance without breaking a sweat. Noah is a master storyteller, constantly mixing personal narratives with political ones. He began his set by focusing on Donald Trump, unsurprisingly, depicting a hilarious training exercise that he hypothesized Justin Trudeau had undergone to "beat" Trump's infamous handshake. Painting Canadians as "smug assholes," he shied away from focusing on racism and other issues within Canada, deciding to focus on the countries he knew best: South Africa and the United States.
From trying tacos for the first time in southern California to confusing a Scottish Sikh employee of an Indian restaurant with his put-on Indian accent, Noah focused heavily on his intercultural experience. His comments on racism and colonialism were poignant and funny, as he informed the crowd that if not for immigrants, they would all be eating unseasoned potatoes.
Noah broke down the racism of rationalizing people of colour's humanity for what they can provide white people — namely diverse cuisine. His reclamation of the n word made for a deeply funny scene, which became more humorous as he revealed the word's meaning in his mother's language, Xhosa. Noah interweaves his stories to keep the audience hanging on his every word, despite the fact that his set doesn't hinge on directly interacting with them.
Noah's various accents were delivered expertly and are a backbone of his comedy. One of the last tales of set involved his stodgy, white American accent, as he spoke of what to do with old racists. Suggesting that they go on week-long exchanges to different African countries and take out their hatred by using the n word (it's use as a slur originated in the West) had the crowd roaring due to his absurdly brilliant delivery. As global politics become more divisive and the absurd seeps into reality, Trevor Noah is a much needed voice in comedy. His standing ovation at the end of the night confirmed that Vancouver certainly agrees.