Trevor Noah didn't fall from the sky.
April 6, 2016 9:15 AM   Subscribe

The Funny Thing About Race in South Africa
It's 1948 and it's the first day of apartheid in South Africa. A jazzy tune is playing, the sun is shining and some white people are lying on blankets on a grassy embankment. A familiar sign pops up: "Whites Only." The camera pans onto a young black man who is taking his place on the lawn as a security officer approaches. "Apartheid? Ahhh, it's today?" he says, as he's being led off the screen. "Man, I thought it was next week."
posted by infini (7 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I can't really comment on race issues in South Africa, but I have been truly loving Trevor Noah's outsider position on The Daily Show, and while he currently lacks the teeth that Jon Stewart had in the second half of his tenure, he's obviously learning and growing and the writers are also developing exactly what Noah is capable of doing. I look forward to TDS 2 years from now, because I think by then everyone will have found their voice.
posted by hippybear at 10:16 AM on April 6, 2016 [14 favorites]

Trevor Noah didn't fall from the sky.

I see what you did there.
posted by gusandrews at 11:55 AM on April 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Would love to see some YouTube videos of some performances of the mentioned comedians. I probably wouldn't get many of the jokes, not knowing the references, but still interesting to see.

(Also cool to learn that Hugh Masakela is still alive and doing creative stuff.)
posted by benito.strauss at 12:07 PM on April 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

I actually went and watched some of Trevor's South African standup specials, and it was really interesting-- the jokes I had context for were really funny, but about half of them were totally lost on me, even though the audience was clearly rolling in the aisles. That doesn't usually happen with British or Aussie standup. I ended up enjoying it, even the bits I didn't have enough context for, because watching English-language comedy that wasn't even slightly aimed at an American audience was so novel.
posted by nonasuch at 9:07 PM on April 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

I really like Trevor Noah, he is funny, sympathetic, obviously smart etc. He makes me laugh. But when he started the Daily Show, I couldn't help wondering. Why is it, in the U.S., did our first black president seemingly need to come from a very non-standard 'other' kind of cultural background in order to be electable, and then the guy who ends up getting chosen for the Daily Show is again black but so clearly not American, i.e. 'other' (and therefore somehow safe)? It might make me feel better if it turned out that somebody like Chris Rock turned down the job first, heh.
posted by anguspodgorny at 4:52 PM on April 7, 2016

nonasuch, do you remember where you found them?
posted by benito.strauss at 6:56 PM on April 7, 2016

Trevor Noah has a YouTube channel that shows a lot of clips from his old stand-up special. There's a clip that I absolutely love, but I don't understand most of the jokes in the second half of it - It's My Culture - Springbok Bafana.

There's also a documentary (You Laugh But It's True) about his stand-up special "Daywalker," and there's a lot about his life as a comedian, a thread through it about how he and other young black comedians in South Africa came up too quickly and need to pay their dues. Of course, that's mostly voiced by established white comedians.

This piece gives a lot more context to the scene, and although I did find some clips of Celeste Ntuli, I think I'm only getting about half of what she's saying.
posted by gladly at 7:30 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

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