When Trevor Noah replaced Jon Stewart as the host of The Daily Show in 2015, most people had no idea who he was. He may have seemed an unusual choice at the time, but Stewart knew what he was doing — Noah is astute, insightful, and wryly funny and has been winning over fans ever since he was anointed. Last Friday, January 19, Noah stepped out from behind his television desk and onto The Arlington Theatre stage for an evening of stand-up comedy in which he regaled a capacity audience for just over an hour with stories of his childhood, moving to the United States, and the current presidential debacle.
Noah, who was born and raised in South Africa, opened the show recounting a recent holiday he took in Bali. He went on the advice of friends who exclaimed that the island nation was a “unique” place to visit. “White people mean poor when they say ‘unique,’” he said, sharing how one tourist offering was a visit to a man’s tiny bedroom/kitchen to marvel at how the Balinese live.
Noah also spoke of the differences in culture and language between his country and the United States, highlighting the sketch with a story about tacos, a food he’d never heard of or tried in his native land, as Mexican food isn’t represented there. Particularly funny was his retelling of an exchange with a taco-truck man who offered Noah a napkin, which in South Africa means “diaper.”
The comedian touched on the presidency, saying how complicated things have become for the Republicans since Trump took office. They must miss Obama, he observed, because at least things were clear then. “It was easy — go to work, hate the president, go home,” Noah said. Charming and hilarious, Noah offered a delightful evening of laughter, a much-needed respite during our town’s time of sorrow.