Trevor Noah takes center stage at the Hippodrome

By ANNE HOLMULLER | November 9, 2017


1000HEADS/CC BY 2.0 Comedian and late night host Trevor Noah is currently on a stand-up tour.

Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, performed two sets of stand-up comedy at The Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center on the night of Saturday, Nov. 4.

Noah spoke to a packed house with jokes about current events, racism and the language differences between South Africa — his home — and the United States.

The current president of the United States, and the central target of much of Noah’s comedy on The Daily Show, was the subject of a number of jokes on Saturday night.

Noah mentioned how everyone, even those who had fought with and despised the former president, now desperately miss the intelligence and wisdom of President Barack Obama.

He discussed how Donald Trump prefers the act of being president to the actual duties that come with it, giving the example of our president gleefully pretending to drive a semi-truck as one illustration of what Noah finds to be a childlike mentality.

He also admitted that Trump’s presidency, at times, gives him a mixture of feelings: hilarity at some of the things that the president tweets and petrifying fear at the possibility of incoming nuclear annihilation by North Korea.

Noah also discussed racism and the differences between the forms that exist in the U.S. and in South Africa, where he was born to a black Xhosa mother and a Swiss German father. Noah remarked that the South African system under apartheid was more sophisticated, due to its specific gradations of difference between whites and blacks.

Noah reflected on how he handled his first racist interaction in the U.S. and offered his perspective on the enduring power of the n-word in the United States.

He reiterated the idea that America is a great country, but it needs to overcome the racism which has persisted since the nation was founded.

Other portions of Noah’s set included a number of thoughtful and intelligent jokes about the current political situation, about linguistic and cultural differences between the U.S. and South Africa, as well as some Baltimore related material.

Noah relativized the persistent crime in Baltimore by acknowledging the crime rates in his own home country.

He then launched into a hilarious riff about drive-by shootings and the reasons why he felt that such a murder would be an insulting way to die. The audience was active in responding to his jokes, and an extended story later in the set about his first experience purchasing tacos in California received rapturous guffaws.

In the Trump era, politics has become personal to every American, as the changing policies of the Trump administration touch the lives of everyone. Whether a woman, or a person of color, or a member of the LGBTQ community or a person who requires access to affordable healthcare, Trump’s politics affect all of our lives.

Noah touched on this phenomenon of personal politics, pointing out that most people had never known as much about the functions and restrictions of the presidency until they had watched Donald Trump come into office and began to attack existing norms one by one.

Trevor Noah’s opening act was Angelo Lozada, a Puerto Rican comedian. He spoke with members of the audience about Donald Trump, the joys of colonoscopies and the robust Baltimore downtown area, as he and Noah had last been in Columbus, Ohio.

Lozada engaged with the audience and had them prepared for Noah’s arrival, as the late night host came out onto the stage to a glow of flashing rainbow lights.

The Hippodrome Theatre was filled to near capacity as Baltimore came out to see the current host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. The elevation of this unknown South African comedian, from the role of correspondent to the role of host, came as a surprise to many; however, he has since settled successfully into the crowded late-night landscape.

Though the legacy left behind by former Daily Show host Jon Stewart was immense and can still sometimes be felt, Noah has made his mark. In September 2017, his contract with The Daily Show was renewed through 2022.

It is also important to mention that, since the cancellation of Larry Wilmore’s The Nightly Show in August of 2016, Noah is currently the only person of color to be hosting a major late-night show.

Late-night show hosts such as Noah, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, John Oliver and Seth Meyers have been long known for their attention to current events, and their politically focused jokes about Trump and his compatriots have raised ratings and earned accolades.

Host Jimmy Kimmel, who had previously not discussed politics on his show, has also engaged in political battles against Trump and the Republican party. Recently, after enduring his young son’s battles with congenital conditions, Kimmel has become a prominent proponent of “healthcare-for-all.”

He has also called for more effective gun control measures following the worst mass shooting in American history in his hometown of Las Vegas.

Jimmy Fallon, meanwhile, has been made infamous for his hair-patting and interview with candidate Trump and his general preference to focus on anodyne comedy and celebrity games.

Fallon has been declining in the ratings over the past few months, a shocking fall from a steady lead over all the other hosts.

Comedian and television host Trevor Noah continues to tour the country and perform stand up shows to audiences nationwide.

For those who would like to learn more about his early life, he has also written a bestselling memoir called Born A Crime, about his experiences growing up with apartheid in South Africa as the child of a black mother and a white father.

Noah can be seen on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah every weekday night at 11 p.m., and his new stand-up special, Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark, is available on Netflix.

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