New Enemies, Web Headlines and Ebola Jokes? 9 Things to Expect on Trevor Noah …

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Nkoana-Mashabane to visit Trevor Noah.

Just days before he takes over the “The Daily Show” anchor chair from Jon Stewart, TV’s toughest act to follow, Noah is willing to acknowledge “it isn’t easy to reboot and recreate a new show from an old show in just five weeks.” Which he has been obliged to do, stepping in as host on Monday at 11 p.m.San Francisco 2.0: Nancy Pelosi’s documentary-making daughter explores the effect the technology boom has had on San Francisco, its culture and its long-time residents. 8 p.m., HBO Criminal Minds: In the season premiere, a serial killer is leaving distinctive marks on victim’s faces.Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said‚ “We want Mr Noah to know that the people of South Africa and indeed the entire African continent are proud of his achievement and that they support him fully as he takes the first steps of what we believe will be a rewarding journey. “We are hopeful that many people will look at Mr Noah’s success and take greater interest in the abundance of talent that we have in South Africa in a variety of fields‚ including entertainment‚ sports‚ arts and culture‚ science and technology‚ for example‚” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

Variables ranging from the writers to global news itself will affect whether Trevor Noah’s reign as host of The Daily Show, which starts Monday, is embraced by its audience. The 3,100 people at the sold-out Sony Centre were here to see Noah and Noah alone (a fact observed with even-tempered chagrin by opener Pat Thornton) and they were ready to endorse him — maybe even collectively fall into his arms sometimes.

Noah, of course, is the 31-year-old South African comedian who until his ascension few had heard of, apart from a worldwide fan base including 2.6 million Twitter followers who flocked to his shows from Sydney to Dubai … and also, notably, Jon Stewart, who admired his work and reached out several years ago for a meet-and-greet. A social media firestorm erupted with the press fanning the flames. “To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn’t land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian,” Noah tweeted in response. “It’s not like it didn’t affect me, or hurt me,” he says now, a lean, baby-faced presence clad in jeans, T-shirt and running shoes. “But I understood it, which helped me get over it.” Defying social-media admonishments, Noah argues that a smattering of dumb tweeted jokes, like anything unearthed from a person’s digital past, serves usefully as evidence of what that person may have been and, more importantly, has moved beyond. “Should we erase our history because someone will judge us by that now, in the present?” poses Noah, and says no. “I think history is a reminder of what not to repeat.” The uproar (including speculation that Noah might be pitched overboard) quickly subsided, but not before the story had been covered to death and, says Noah, too often driven by hearsay. “It was a beautiful baptism of fire,” he says. “What better way to learn the purpose of my new job than to be at the epicenter of many of the problems of how the media covers news?” Certainly, Noah’s new job is to quarterback the “Daily Show” truth squad as it lampoons news makers and the media that cover them in the context of the serious business of the comically fake newscast. The JFL42 headliner sent them home excited about Jon Stewart’s successor, especially if they want the show to focus on racial matters, as his 80-minute set consistently did. He jests from the standpoint of someone born to a black mother and a white father 10 years before apartheid ended (“I was born a crime,” he sums up) whose mother had to walk ahead of him as a toddler, pretending not to know him if she saw the police. “I come from a crazy place,” he says. “When I was 25, my mother was shot in the head by my stepfather, an abusive alcoholic. That material started sharply, with a fresh perspective on the recent Ebola scare and the grilling he faced as an African at American Customs, being asked if he’d been “in contact” with the disease, “like Ebola was a distant cousin.” This although his homeland and point of origin, South Africa, had fewer cases than the U.S., so he was “technically increasing my chances” of contracting it by coming.

Fans who’ve seen the handsome Noah, 31, as a Daily Show correspondent know he’s a gifted vocal mimic whose accent vanished Saturday as he leapt nimbly into middle-American CNN-anchor intonation or the hooting of excited U.S. women (“woo-hoo,” he observed, is “the sound of happiness — white happiness, specifically”). Those fans might not know what a physical standup he is, whose portrayal of the horror of a man who dropped his cellphone was drenched with energy, and whose performance of white people’s pantomimed exasperation when a plane’s delayed drew blood with this Caucasian.

Then you’ll be setting yourself free.’” He found a certain freedom in comedy, which he pursued, he says, not to vent his spleen, as with many comedians, “but because I made people laugh.” A man of mixed race and a stormy childhood, he saw himself as a perpetual outsider. But he made himself at home globally, including the United States, where he toured comedy clubs and landed TV appearances (including “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Show with David Letterman”).

From the beginning, he joked about things that were on his mind, but even when they touched on painful social issues he was never fueled by anger, he insists. But mostly it was about what it was like being black in Scotland; being black in Kentucky; being black and dealing with American police; how the news media treat black people; you get the idea. Humanistic treatment of most every character in his dramas — sympathizing with beleaguered Arab air travellers as “black people of the sky” — was a winning trait, though there were several moments that seemed engineered to earn applause breaks, not laughter. (Creating and then mocking a straw man who declared “all terrorists are Muslims” seemed like a waste of time.) There was one genuinely risky moment — Noah put himself in the shoes of the third or fourth Charlie Hebdo cartoonist facing death, and wondered if he shouldn’t have lied his way out of his fate — but nothing that kept him from getting a standing ovation from a theatre stuffed with Daily Show fans. I see a lot of hope. “It’s often difficult to see progress when you look at it one day at a time,” he muses. “Like with a workout regime: Take a picture today, then take another picture not tomorrow or the next day, but after six or eight weeks.

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