Slice of Life: The Thoughtful Comedy of Trevor Noah

I remember the exact moment I knew I was going to love Trevor Noah. There’s a moment in “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” when Seinfeld asks Noah how he could laugh coming from the background he did (“born a crime” as he was during the apartheid in South Africa to a black mother and a Swiss father). And Noah goes, well it was either that or be angry all the time. (I wish I could transcribe the exact conversation but the episode can’t seem to load on my browser)

I’m not a devotee of “The Daily Show” but I’ve seen quite a few of the episodes with Noah, attended one of his tapings, and also his stand-ups which I think are just brilliant. For the longest time the best way I’ve been able to put into words about what I like the best about Noah is that his comedy is inclusive, rather than being divisive.

Imagine my delight then, when serendipitously enough, he expands on this very point in his conversation with Chris Johnson in yesterday’s Live From NYPL session. Johnson isn’t sure how to put it into words either—he asks Noah about this sense he has of Noah’s comedy being “kind,” and the response that Noah gives to that gave me all the delights.

His answer to the identity question is another that made sense to me, and also kind of made me realize why I’ve always felt a little ho-hum about stories that seem to be motivated primarily by this question. (I’m not sure why it’s never been a question that’s bothered me much. Maybe that’s partly ‘cus of my spiritual background and roots. For me the answer to who I am has always been more inward-focused than stemming from the labels that grease our interactions in society.)

The whole session was awesome but Noah’s answers to the last few audience questions is exactly the reason why I love, love, love his stuff!

All of which is my way of saying, please go and see the session. It’s just really, really good: https://livestream.com/nypl/events/7081860

And now, I cannot wait to read his book!

(Oh and if you haven’t already, check out his new Netflix release. It’s worth watching.)

Note: This was inspired by The Annual Slice of Life Challenge, and by the thoughtful comedy of Trevor Noah

Update: A commenter pointed out that the link only has about 12 seconds of music right now. Since other live sessions from recent past are fully available on the livestream website, I’m guessing it’s just a matter of time before this one is available too. I’ll update this update once it is fully available.

14 thoughts on “Slice of Life: The Thoughtful Comedy of Trevor Noah

  1. I have yet to see Trevor Noah, and yet, I want to. Our problem is that we don’t get Comedy Central, and I keep forgetting to dig up his work on YouTube. Your post reminds me to do that, and see if his humor resonates with me. (I see his standup show is on Netflix, too)
    Kevin

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    • Maybe it’s just a coming across it when the time is right for you thing rather than you living in a hole thing? :p

      And ooh yay! I am so glad you’re interested enough in checking it out! He’s also recently released a book called, “Born A Crime.”

      Like

    • Ack! You’re right! You’re right! My apologies!

      I checked the other past live broadcasts, and the one from even four days ago seems to be working, so I’m guessing this must be a proximity to the event thing. Hopefully, the whole session will be available, if not in a few hours, then within a day or so. I’ll add an update to my post about this.

      Thanks for pointing it out!

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  2. Really beautiful post: never thought about inclusive comedy versus divisive comedy. You’re right: now that i think about it, it does make a huge difference. Would love to hear more of your thoughts on identity!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, right? There’s a maturity to what Noah says that I just love!

      And wow, thanks for asking me more about the identity bit! I’ll have to think some about it! 😛 Would love to know what YOU think, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the recommendations. I’ve always like Trevor Noah too. I think Jimmy Fallon has the same sort of kindness in his comedy. I like them both. I’ll look forward to watching that session when it becomes available.

    Warmly,
    Denise

    Liked by 1 person

    • thanks for your comment Denise! I haven’t seen much of Jimmy Fallon so far! I hope you do check out the session at a later date! It’s worth watching!

      Like

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