Comedian and former host of The Daily Show Trevor Noah is in India this week as part of his Off The Record tour. Noah performed at the Weightlifting Auditorium in the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in New Delhi and will be performing twice in Bengaluru at the Manpho Convention Centre, followed by two dates at the NSCI Dome in Mumbai. In early August, Noah tweeted that “after a lifetime of loving India’s culture, I’m so excited to finally have the privilege of bringing my current stand-up comedy tour to one of the most exciting countries in the world!”
The comedian really does love India, and has had a long relationship—tracing all the way back to childhood—with its food. Indian food is his absolute favourite and he defends it with a fanatic’s zeal. Don’t believe us? Check out his latest Netflix special where his closing joke, at least a good 10 minutes long, is dedicated to his love for Indian food.
In case you don’t know what the fuss is all about, or if you just want to brush up on your Noah-isms, we’ve put together a list of seven things you must know about Trevor before you catch his act in person.
HE’S A BIT OF A PRANKSTER
Noah is well known for his wide repertoire of accents and impersonations. It turns out this is a skill he learned quite early on. Growing up in South Africa, the comedian loved to make prank calls where he pretended to be Nelson Mandela. He even makes the claim that 100 percent of the people he would call believed they were actually speaking to the former South African President and activist. Talk about the Mandela effect!
HE’S GOT A SOFT SPOT FOR THE NIGERIAN ACCENT
Noah loves languages and he’s learned that to pick up a new one, he needs to first lock down the accent. Learning new accents also helps him bring variety to his intonations in English, making him immediately more interesting and entertaining to listen to. But don’t take our word for it, listen in as he shows us how having a Nigerian accent makes his English infinitely more fun.
HE GREW UP IN TREMENDOUS HARDSHIP, AND WAS “BORN A CRIME”
Noah was born in Johannesburg, South Africa during the Apartheid. Being born to a black Xhosa mother and a white Swiss father, he always considered himself a bit of an outsider. In fact, even being in the presence of his father was considered a crime, since the Apartheid regime mandated the separation of black and white people. Noah’s family always lived in the fear that he would be taken away by the police and put up for adoption because he was part-white.
HE WAS CHOSEN TO PERFORM AT THE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS DINNER
Despite a rough start to his tenure as The Daily Show host—Jon Stewart is a tough act to follow—today, Noah has become an extremely popular political satirist. He was even named one of Time magazine’s hundred most influential people in the world in 2022. This year he won the Erazmus Prize for his incisive political satire on The Daily Show during the Black Lives Matter movement, the Donald Trump presidential tenure and the COVID-19 pandemic. Noah became the first humourist to win the award since Charlie Chaplin in 1965. The comedian also spoke at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, becoming one of the few comedians to be privileged with the opportunity.
HIS MOM GOT SHOT
In the head. Yeah… and it’s hilarious (the set, we mean.) This Trevor Noah bit is from his standup comedy special It’s My Culture and it’s quite a roller-coaster. The comedian tells the story of receiving a call from his younger brother, just nine at the time, and being told that his mother has been shot in the head. Noah grew up with an abusive stepfather who shot his mother twice when he found out that she was marrying another man. Miraculously, his mother survived, the bullet having missed vital points inside her head. Noah’s breezy storytelling shines through, making the harrowing anecdote sound like any other story you would share at a party.
HE’S PROUD OF HIS SOUTH AFRICAN ROOTS
He knows South Africa may have its own problems but Noah is proud of his country. In this bit, Noah calls on his countrymen to clap back at the world for making fun of vuvuzelas, and take pride in the trumpets that became synonymous with the 2010 FIFA World Cup. “Vuvuzelas don’t make noise. People with vuvuzelas make noise,” jokes Noah in this Nation Wild Comedy clip.