We have just about a month left in this presidential election – thankfully. Last Friday was the perfect time for Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, to descend upon our nation’s capital to sum up all the shenanigans involved. However, his one night stand-up special at the Kennedy Center, which sold out fast enough to demand a second show, was at its strongest when he left American politics to the side and instead shared his unique worldviews.
That is not to say that Noah does not capture the ridiculousness of this election in humorous styles – his comparison of Trump to a toddler, and the fact that he hates toddlers more than anything, was accurate and insightful. But ever since Trump descended from that escalator almost a year and a half ago declaring his entry into the presidential race, every facet of his campaign has been cake for comedians, including Noah and his The Daily Show predecessor Jon Stewart. People laugh, but few of the jokes being offered are anything new, by Noah or any other comedian.
The big laughs for Noah came after he got in the obligatory jokes on the Republican nominee, when, like with some of his most memorable stuff from his year on The Daily Show, he is able to bring his outsider view to us inside the Beltway.
Noah has had the great experience of performing his comedy all over the world, and it is what he takes from not only these cultures, but their history, that made this set truly work. Despite having a regular spot on late night television here in the U.S., it is clear that he is at his best when he is talking about the world at large, not just America.
This is evident in his funniest bit of the night, when he did a version of how British colonialism might have first played out. It is a four or five-minute bit where he goes back and forth between a British soldier claiming India for his Queen, and a native Indian who he portrays as indifferent to England’s claim. In it, he covers a country’s self image, religion and the general absurdity that is history in itself.
Not only has his perspective benefited from his travels around the world, but he has also proved himself quite the adept impersonator, nailing accents from Scottish to Russian. Not to mention, he does a killer Nelson Mandela impression.
His role as host of The Daily Show may pay the bills Monday through Thursday, but it is clear that he is completely at home on the stage in front of a crowd of hundreds. And while politics might be the bread and butter of what he does on TV, Noah’s true voice comes from being our medium to the rest of the world.
Learn more about the comedian at www.trevornoah.com.
Photo: Courtesy of the Kennedy Center