Trevor Noah, host of the late-night television program The Daily Show, stopped into Windsor on the weekend to perform a rare stand-up routine at a sold-out Caesars Windsor for about 90 minutes of belly laughs about his experiences coming to America, a world of racism and an expected dose of political comedy. The South African comic almost seemed like the ultimate voice of reason as he charmed his way into the hearts of both hometown Canadians and many Americans, who crossed the border to see the late-night star.
Noah, dressed in a relaxed casual outfit, wasted no time diving in to politics by giving a play-by-play analysis of the now-famous Trump/Trudeau handshake. “Do you know how bad Justin Trudeau makes Donald Trump look? It’s like you’re living next door to someone who’s dating the hottest person in the world.”
And he didn’t stop there with the next-door jokes as he giggled about the close proximity of Windsor and Detroit, saying if he lived in Detroit he’d have to draw a curtain so he didn’t have to look at the awesomeness of Windsor every day.
Noah devoted most of his opening bits to Trump politics and the “crackdown” on illegal immigrants, rolling out an awesome impression of the President. Then he plowed through a funny program with bits about coming to America from South Africa, ordering Indian food in Edinburgh, the first taco he ever ate, the first napkin he was ever offered and his thoughts on the almighty N-word – which he used so non-offensively that it seemed like he actually retained ownership of the word and removed any stigma attached to it.
He used that approach a few times in the night when speaking about colour and immigrants. He tried to explain the difference between the fear of seeming racist and actually being racist, by using the example of people who claim they don’t see colour.
“Could you imagine if someone like Louis Armstrong didn’t see colour,” he laughed, before giving a great impression of the song ‘What A Wonderful World’ with no references to colour: “I see trees… Roses too…”
There is something special and unique about Noah. Maybe it’s because he can still look at the US, Canada and Mexico from the eyes of an outsider – and from that perspective we look like one big giant mess of people that just can’t get along. It also became evident during the political conversation that Canada, even though it has its own array of racist issues, is nowhere near as complicated and extreme as the United States.
Noah’s success comes from the manner and delivery of his comedy. It’s intelligent, current and not overplayed. His bits are not only personal, but they come directly from the heart as well. There probably isn’t much of a difference between the on-stage Noah and the off-stage man ordering a taco from a food truck.
This may very well have been one of the best comedy shows to ever visit Windsor. Noah has a certain style about himself that could make even the toughest turd in the crowd crack a smile and break out laughing – but on this night, there wasn’t a turd in the house.