Stories from a South African comedian

Over the weekend I had the honor of seeing The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah participate in the Signature Lecture series at Michigan State University.

This lecture was such a great experience. Noah was interviewed by a professor at MSU and was asked questions about his experience as a black comedian, growing up during apartheid, and advice for students.

One of the questions he was asked was what differences he noticed between racism in South Africa and racism in America. He talked about how complex and structured racism in South Africa had to be because the minority was oppressing the majority there. However, the funniest and most serious thing he mentioned was comparing racism to McDonald’s. It’s mass-produced, everywhere, and they have the same “menu” with only some differences between regions.

In addition to the topics I mentioned above, Noah talked about how comedy is his tool and the world’s tool to process reality and tragedy. He talked about how comedians are the ones who question the government and society and how in oppressed societies, comedy is the first thing to be outlawed.

Not only did Noah have some really important things to say, but he was incredibly well-spoken. Listening to Trevor Noah made me really think about the topics he broached which led me to a lot of questioning.

I am so grateful I got this experience because Trevor Noah is incredibly funny and witty. He is smart, well-spoken, and seems like a truly good person.

Earlier this year I listened to his book in audio format and it was great. I highly suggest listening to his book, Born a Crime, because his narration adds a personal touch that you might not get with reading it. However, whatever format you consumer his book in, it is such a great read and you should definitely read/listen to what he has to say.

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