Home COMEDY TREVOR NOAH: LOST IN TRANSLATION (2015) – Full Transcript

TREVOR NOAH: LOST IN TRANSLATION (2015) – Full Transcript

"Trevor Noah: Lost in Translation" brings Noah's unique world-view and global analysis of American culture to the forefront. In the special, Noah addresses major domestic and international events of the past year, sharing his outlook on the world today, including terrorism, racial tensions in America and what it was like being African and traveling into the United States during the Ebola crisis.

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Trevor Noah - Lost in Translation (2015)

Filmed at The Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C.

[upbeat music] [cheers and applause] – Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Hello. Yeah! This is us. Hello. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Nice to see you. Thank you. Thank you. Welcome. Welcome. This is us. Washington, D.C. [cheers and applause] Yeah! Okay, you guys feeling good? Yeah? [cheers and applause] That’s good. That’s good, yeah. Whoo-hoo, whoo-hoo to you too. – Whoo! – And that as well, ma’am. And that as well. I love that. I love the sounds people make. It’s so much fun, yeah. We’re just–we’re just throwing language out of the window. I like that. I feel like we’re devolving as human beings now. No, ’cause that was the thing that separated us from the apes, wasn’t it? The fact that we chose speech. Yeah. The monkeys used to run around and screech. [screeching] And we were like, “No.” English. [laughter] But now, we’ve started to go back to that, started to embrace our roots. People get excited, “Are you happy?” “I’m real happy.” “How happy?” “Whoo-hoo, whoo-hoo! “Whoo-hoo! “Whoo! Whoo! Whoo! Ow!” That’s one of my favorite sounds. It sounds like someone’s having so much fun they hurt themselves. Like you didn’t plan ahead of time. [screeches] Ow! Too much fun. Such a weird sound. I love it. And you know what’s crazy is that we all know what that sound means. We don’t agree on anything in this world– race, religion, politics– but that sound, that “whoo-hoo,” has united us all. You can make that sound anywhere and people accept it. As long as there’s alcohol present, you can make that sound. Whoo-hoo! But there has to be alcohol. You can’t make that sound anywhere else. You can’t make that sound in the office. It’s unacceptable. Your boss won’t allow it. You can’t be like, “Final email. Sent. Whoo-hoo!” “Johnson!” “Sorry, sir. Sorry, sorry.” Can’t make that sound in church. “And that is why Jesus died for our sins.” “Whoo-hoo!” “Sorry, pastor.” “Go to hell.” You just can’t do it, but everyone knows it. Everyone knows what “whoo-hoo” means. It means happiness, yeah. The happiness of the people. Strange, because no one asked me to vote on it. I didn’t get to choose. If I was to choose, I don’t know that I would pick “whoo-hoo” as the sound of happiness. Strangely enough, I think it may be more apt as the sound of sadness. I could see it, at a funeral. Family gathered around the caskets. Tears streaming down their face. Pastor reading the eulogy. “We’ll always remember Mary “as a loving mother, “a caring friend, “foodie, blogger, “and wonderful sister. “Before we lay her to rest, “would you please join me now as we observe a moment of whoo-hoo.” Everyone’s standing there in tears. [imitates sobbing] “Whoo-hoo! “Whoo-hoo! Ow!” There’ll always be one big lady in the corner, [Amazing Grace melody] ♪ Whoo ♪ Whoo-hoo ♪ Whoo-hoo, hoo-hoo “Thank you very much, sister.” Such a fun sound. The sound of happiness. The sound of white happiness, in particular. Yeah. I’ve tracked it. I’ve searched for the source of whoo-hoo and I found it originated with white people. White–white woman in particular. Yeah, that’s where it comes from. That is the sound of a white woman’s turnup. That is the sound of her getting into the game. It’s like, “Tammy! Whoo-hoo!” And that’s where you know it’s on. Yeah, ’cause everyone else learned it from a white woman. That’s where it came from, you know? It spread through society like a virus. It’s not the natural sound anybody else makes. White women make that sound instinctively, but everyone else has learned it. Like, white men were the first ones to learn it, because for them, it’s sort of like a mating call. They know what it means. They have to reciprocate, like, “Whoo-hoo!” “Whoo-hoo!” But everyone else had to learn it. It’s a natural sound for them but for nobody else.

Like, black people whoo-hoo but it’s not the natural sound black people make for fun, you know? Black people can whoo-hoo. Black people often do whoo-hoo, but it’s not instinctively a black sound of happiness. And I think it’s because black people aren’t comfortable with the whoo-hoo. Deep down inside there’s a certain moment in whoo-hoo when every black person stops enjoying it. There’s just– there’s just a moment when–and maybe this is just my personal experiences, but I fear it sounds eerily similar to a police siren. There’s just a moment where it stops being fun. [cheers and applause] There’s just that split second where it’s like, “Whoo-hoo, whoo! “Whoo, whoo, whoop-whoop, whoo. Whoop. Whoop. Boop.” [laughter] Put your hands in the air… and keep them there. It’s not the sound of happiness in my life, that’s not– Although, I guess that’s why white people do it. ‘Cause white people love calling the police, so they’re probably like, “Whoo-hoo! “Oh, my God, the cops are here! “Party time! Come on in. I thought you’d never make it.” ‘Cause white people do, white people have a very different relationship with the police. I was trying to explain this to my friend, Dave. You know, when we’re hanging out he’s like, “Dude, what is it with black people and police?” I’m like, “It’s not that black people don’t like the police or hate the police, it’s just that–it’s just that we have a tumultuous history with the police.”

One day we were driving– we’re driving on the highway and the police car pulled up behind us and I got tense. I just got really tense. And he’s like, “Dude, what’s going on?” I said, “The police. The police are behind us.” He was like, “Yeah, and? Did you do anything wrong?” I said, “That’s not the point.” Because it really isn’t. For white people, that is the point. The police will send you to jail if you do something wrong. As a black person, you have a different relationship. The police may send you to jail just because. I know this because I was– I was driving– I got pulled over by the police for the first time in my life in America. And already, I’m not very comfortable when driving in the United States, you know. Not because it’s the other side of the road, but because it’s the other side of the car. I’m not used to that, you know. Like–like, I always get into the car on the wrong side. I’ll be shopping and I’ll come back to my car confidently, and I’ll jump inside and put the things down, and then I’m like, “Ah.” [laughter] And then instead of getting out, I sit there. I always just sit there, because I always think somebody’s watching me. So I just sit there and I act like I planned it all, like… “Where is my driver?” [laughter] “Where is my– He should have been here by now. Where is my–Oh, well, I guess I’ll drive myself.” [laughter] I don’t know why I do that. I’m not comfortable. But you have to drive in Los Angeles. So I had a little rental car and I’m driving on the freeway and this police car pulls up behind me. And he drives behind me for a little bit and then he flashes his lights. And I was like, “Oh, he probably wants to go past.” And so I moved over to the middle lane and then he came with me and he flashed his lights again. And I was like, “Oh, come on, just go past me, man. Just go past me, man.” And I went back to the fast lane, he came back with me. And he hit–flash the lights, and this time it was like, whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop. And I was like, “Yeah, go past. You keep coming with me. Go past.” ‘Cause I didn’t think he was stopping me. I thought it was basically the vehicular equivalent of that moment on the sidewalk when you both don’t know which way to go. I thought we were doing that with our cars, like, “Oh, oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, all right. Ahh.” I thought that was happening. I thought that was happening. And clearly he thought that I was evading him in the most polite manner ever, because he gets irritated, and he’s like, “Pull over to the side of the road, sir.” Whoop, whoop. “Pull over to the side of the road now.” Now, I couldn’t hear what the hell he was saying. I’m not gonna–Which I think is part of the problem. I don’t think it’s fair that police have speakers on their cars and we don’t. I think this is a recipe for disaster. That’s the first step in mending relationships is communication, people. I don’t know what the hell that guy was saying, but I couldn’t tell him. He was like, “Pull over to the side of the road [indistinct mumbling].” If I had a speaker, I would have had the ability to be like, “Sir, I cannot hear what you’re saying. “Enunciate your words, please. Enunciate your words. Speak clearly.” “I said, pull over [mumbles].” Whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop. “No, no, use your words, buddy, use your words. Talk to me. Talk to me. What do you need?” “Pull over, pull over.” I’d be like, “Okay, I will be pulling over right now. Thank you very much.” Like, it would be more effective, but I didn’t know. So I’m–and he’s like, “Pull over [mumbles].” I’m like, “I don’t know what the hell you want.” “Pull over to the side of the road [mumbles].” I’m like, “What are you talking about?” He’s like, “Pull over! Pull over!” And I panicked, and so I stopped. I pulled over. Right there where I was on the freeway, which apparently you’re not supposed to do. I didn’t know this, ’cause I just know that police tell me to do something, I do it. So he said, “Pull over,” and then I stopped. and then he was like, “Don’t pull over there.” Then I was like, “Well, you should have been more specific. You can’t tell me to pull over and then tell me not pull over. You should’ve said pull over at a time that is more appropriate. You can’t just tell– Now I’m panicking. He’s like, “Get back onto the road.” I’m like, “This guy does not know what he wants. I’m–” Now, I’m back on the road. He’s like, “Take the next exit.” And now, we’re driving and now he’s guiding me along. It’s like I had a really angry GPS. It was the weirdest thing ever. And, so he’s driving me like, Make a right at the light. Make a right.” It’s like I chose angry cop on my Waze. That’s what it felt like. He was like, “Turn left. No, I said left. Turn left.” No, recalculating. When it is safe, Mickey.” [laughter] And so finally– finally we stopped. We stop, I pull over on the side of the road. He pulls over behind me and he gets out of the car, and I’m shitting myself. As he gets out, he goes, “Keep your hands where I can see them!” I’m like, “I don’t know what you can see or not see. “I don’t know. “These are very vague instructions. I don’t know what you can’t”– So now, I’m doing this. ‘Cause I don’t know what you can see or not. I was– Like, don’t get me wrong.

I just– You know what the thing is. I just don’t want to die. That’s all, I don’t– I just don’t want to die. And I know I don’t look like– but I’m not the dying type. I really–I’m not. Like, I’m a chill-out guy who likes living. I don’t want to die, and the worst thing is I don’t know how not to die. That’s the thing. I don’t know how not to die. ‘Cause every day, I turn on the TV it seems like another black person is being shot. So I just want to know how not to get shot, you know? I try and learn, I really do. I try and learn, you know? It all started in the lower– in the lower echelons of enforcement, community watch, George Zimmerman, shot Trayvon, the young boy. And the story started off with “Man shoots boy.” Everyone was like, “Yeah, this is horrible. This is disgusting.” But then the news, for some strange reason, the next day they just forget and then they start asking other questions. “Well, why was he wearing a hoodie? What was he doing, and why was he wearing a hoodie?” I was like, “Oh, is that–so that’s–so don’t wear a hoodie.” That’s what it is, the hoodie. It’s very frightening. You don’t know what’s going on under there. Yeah, we’ve all seen Star Wars. It’s the creepiest thing ever. Yeah, yeah. It’s the dark side. And so I was like, oh, if I don’t wear a hoodie then I’m safe. No one’s gonna shoot me if I don’t wear a hoodie. you cut forward, and then the next thing you know it’s Mike Brown in Ferguson, and he gets shot by the police. Unarmed, gets shot. You know, like a man was unarmed and he got shot, and I was like, “Oh, this is disgusting.” And they said, “But also, he approached the police officer “apparently, and he may or may not have scuffled with him. We don’t know, but he approached him.” And I was like, okay, okay, don’t wear a hoodie and don’t approach the police. Don’t go towards the police. You see police, you go the other way. You got the other way from– Okay, cool. I got it. So no hoodies, no approaching the police. This is it, I’m learning. I’m learning. This is– But then–but then the next guy comes on the news, Eric Garner in New York City. And there he is, he’s standing and the police, they apprehend him and they start choking him. He doesn’t go towards them. He doesn’t– He’s standing there with his arms up, and he gets choked to death by six policemen. And then they come on the news and they say–and they go, “Well, you gotta understand, for these police, I mean, “this was a– this was a pretty big guy. “He was a pretty big guy. He was scary. He was a really scary, big black guy.” And I’m like, “Okay, cool. So don’t be a big black guy and then you should be fine. Don’t be a big black guy and then I should”– And every day I look in the mirror and I’m like, “Good job.” And I’m like, “Okay, fine, fine.” Okay, so don’t wear a hoodie. Don’t wear your hoodie and don’t approach the policemen and don’t be a big black man. I think–I think I’ve got it all down. I think– And then I turn on the TV and then I see Walter Scott. A 50-something-year-old man running away from a policeman getting shot in the back. Running away from the policeman. And again, the media, for some strange reason, just seems to forget what the main purpose of–of the discussion is. ‘Cause on day one they go, “Unarmed man shot in the back.” Day two they’re like, “Who was Walter Scott? “Let’s find out about it. Apparently he had a charge of assault against him in 1987.” So he gets shot for it? How hard did he punch the guy that he gets shot for it in 2015? What, did he punch the guy into the future and then he came back to get him? Is that what happened? I mean, it was the ’80s. Everyone punched somebody in the ’80s. I don’t understand why this is a big deal. They were saying the craziest things. They were like, “Walter Scott, I mean, this is– “Everybody’s talking about the police officer. Let’s talk about him. Why did he run? Why did he run?” ‘Cause he didn’t want to go to jail. Are we really gonna live in a world where police no longer want to chase criminals? Is that what we’re saying? Is that what we’re saying? Police no longer want to chase criminals. That’s the whole point of the game, isn’t it? We played it as kids, cops and robbers, yeah? You’ve seen the movies. That’s what makes it fun. “Freeze!” “You can’t catch me, copper.” And then you run. That’s what makes it fun. Now, police no longer want to chase criminals. We’re gonna live in a world where police– Can you imagine what that’s gonna do to the movie industry? It’s gonna be horrible. We’re gonna be watching “Bad Boys Five,” Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, “Freeze!” “Okay.” End of movie. Done. It would be the worst movie ever. This is the strangest thing. They ask all the weird questions, questions that have nothing to do with a man being shot who is unarmed. They come on and they go, “Also–also noted is that Walter Scott owed $16,000 in child support.” To the cop? [laughter] No, no, I mean, like– [cheers and applause] To the– ‘Cause–’cause that would be a different story. That would be like if that was the mother of his children that shot him, then you know what? I may–I may actually be on her side. You never know, yeah. I might have been there like, “You know what, sister, “you shoot him in the back, girl. “That’s right, you shoot him “thinking he ain’t gonna pay after he play. “You shoot him in the back thinking he gonna run away “from his responsibilities. Shoot him dead.” But this has nothing to do with it. A policeman shoots an unarmed man. He’s running away, and they have the nerve– They have the nerve, the crazy nerve to say, “This officer feared for his life. He was afraid.” Afraid of what? The man’s running away. There’s nothing less frightening than somebody running away from you. That is the definition of fear. He’s running away. The only thing he could have done to be less threatening is to cluck like a chicken as he–[clucking]. There’s nothing less frightening than a man running away from you. Like, what are you afraid of? You can’t say he was running– “I was afraid.” Afraid of what? He’s running away from you. That makes no sense. You’re seeing him from behind. No one’s threatening from behind. They’re running away. There’s no one who’s– Like, maybe Kim Kardashian, but nobody else is– He’s running away from you. You shoot him in the back. Like, yeah, “I was afraid.” Afraid of what? What, do you have abandonment issues? Why would you shoot a man– “My dad left when I was five.” Makes no sense.

So I don’t know how not to die. And here I am in my car on the side of the road in a random street in Los Angeles, and the whole time it was like, “I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die.” And the policeman gets out of his car and he starts walking towards me and his hand is by his side. And it’s doing this. And I’ve watched westerns. [laughter] I know what this means. This is never good. This never turns into friendship. [laughter] So now, I’m starting to stress and I’m looking at him in the side mirror of my car and I’m panicking, because objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. So he’s gonna get there at any moment. And I don’t know why, I don’t know why I did this. Like as soon as he–I panicked. I completely panicked, and I launched myself out the window. I took my body and I threw it out the window, and I fell under the side of the car just like… [imitated explosion] and onto the side of the car. I basically went back to nature. I thought of a predator. You don’t make eye contact and you play dead. That’s all I did, I just played dead on the side of the car. Which freaked him out. He was completely– He was just like, “What? Hey, hey! Hey, what’s going on?” I said, “I’m sorry, officer. I’m sorry.” He’s like, “Sir, what are you sorry for?” I said, “Whatever it is that’s gonna make you shoot me, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, officer.” He said, “Sir, get back in the car. Get back in the car.” I said, “No! I don’t wanna die. “Please, I’m not falling for that trick. Please, officer, I’m sorry.” He’s like, “Sir, I’m not– I’m not gonna kill you. Just get back in the car.” And I mean, this guy was just as freaked out as I was. I’m not gonna lie. ‘Cause I mean, when I put myself in his shoes, what does he do? Imagine that, you’re standing on the side of the road, a guy jumps out of his own car. What doe he– He can’t even call for backup. What does he say? “10-4, I need backup.” “What do you need?” “I got a black guy, killed himself?” “10-4, you gotta make something up better than that. We’ll back you up, don’t worry.” Like, you can’t– Like, what do you say? It’s just like a weird– The guy’s freaking out. I’m freaking out, and I’m lying there. And this guy, he–he approaches slowly. He approaches, he finally gets to me and lifts my arms, and he’s like, “Get back in the car, sir, get back. Get back in.” And he stuffs–he stuffs me back into my window. “Get back there.” I’m like, “No, no, I’m not– Please, I don’t want to die.” He’s like, “Sir, sir, calm down. Calm down.” I go, “Okay. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” He’s like, “Sir, have you been drinking?” I said, “No, sir, I haven’t been drinking.” He said, “Okay, calm down. Do you know why I pulled you over, sir?” I said, “Is it because I’m black?” And now, I wasn’t being an ass, nor was I joking. I’d just been informed that as a black person in America, if you drive a really nice car, there’s a good chance you’re gonna get pulled over by the police. Yeah, so in my world, he was doing his job as I had been told. Yeah, I wasn’t judging him. In fact, I was– I was a little flattered. I was like, “Well, thank you very much, Mr. Officer, “for noticing this bad boy right here. That’s right, 2015, baby.” I was really excited. He was more freaked out, though, ’cause I–’cause I said to him, I said, “Is it because I’m black?” And then he did this thing that I’ve come to learn is the reaction of white people in America who, when they hear information they can’t process fast enough, have this–this thing where they smile on the outside, but on the inside, it’s almost as if they’re short-circuiting. [laughter] Like, he looks at me and he goes, “I’m–I’m sorry, what?” I said, “Because I’m black, that’s why you pulled me over.” And he goes, “Uh, no. Hey, no, no. Hey, we– “No, that–that is not–that– No. No. Hey, um, who– I don’t–I don’t–No. No, that is not why–” [stutters] [imitates explosion] I felt so bad for him. Yeah, I think we both learned a lot that day. The two of us grew from that experience. Yeah. I was speeding, that’s why he pulled me over. [laughter] Yeah. But he let me go. Fear.

I’m having a great time, I really am. I’m not getting speeding fines, enjoying my time out here. Some of you may or may not know, I got a job. This is fantastic for me. [cheers and applause] Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much, yeah. [cheers and applause] That’s–and that’s– That’s how my grandmother put it, funny enough. I phoned my grandmother to tell her that I’d be working on “The Daily Show,” and she was really excited. She was like, “Whoo, Trevor! “I’m so happy for you! Well done. You got a job.” I said, “No, no, Granny, I already had a job.” And she’s like, “No, you didn’t. Did you have an office?” I said, “No.” She’s like, “Then it wasn’t a job.” That’s all she cares about. My mom was a bit better. I called her to tell her the news, and to give you a bit of a backstory, I’ve got two younger brothers. Right, so one brother is nine years younger than me, and then the youngest is 20 years younger than me, right. And so the youngest just became one of the student council members in his school, right. So he got onto the student council. So I phoned my mom to tell her my good news. I’m on the phone with her and I’m like, “Oh, Mom, I don’t know if you heard, I’m gonna be on ‘The Daily Show.'” And she’s like, “Oh, my baby, I’m so excited. “Oh, praise Jesus, this is wonderful. “Well done, baby. I’m so happy for you. And did you hear what happened to your brother?” I’m like, “No, what happened?” “Oh, he’s on the student council at his school. “Oh, I’m so excited. “Both my boys are doing big things in the world. I’m so happy. Oh!” [cheers and applause] And I was like, “Yeah, some things are bigger than others.” [laughter] She’s like, “No, it’s all the same.” I was like, “You say that, but I mean, you know. Come on, you know.” [laughs] She’s like, “Okay, fine, fine. You were never student council. So let’s cheer for him.” I’m like, “What?”

It was a wonderful experience. Changed my life completely. Come into the U.S., feel like people are smiling at me more. Might just be my imagination. ‘Cause I noticed at the airports when I’ve been flying in, probably a combination of–of my job and the fact that the Ebola crisis is now past. That was probably the worst– the worst time ever is flying into America as an African during the Ebola crisis. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in an airport. You’d walk in, there’d be tension. They’d usher everybody into a special quarantine area. Ask you questions, questions that they don’t normally ask. The number one question they always asked was, “Sir, have you been in contact with Ebola?” They’d always ask, “Sir, have you been in contact with Ebola?” I love–I love the sincerity of the question. Like there was a chance my answer could be, “Yes. And next stop, Disney World.” [laughter] [laughs] Like, what kind of person do you think I am that I’d still be embarking on a journey having knowingly been in contact with the most deadly disease on the planet? Like, who do you think I am that I’d be there like, “[coughs] “I don’t care! “Booking.com has a zero refund policy. “I’m going to Disney World even if it kills me, “Mickey Mouse, and everybody else. I’m going!” “Have you been in contact with Ebola?” And they always say that like Ebola was like a distant relative. I love the phrasing. “Have you been in contact with Ebola?” “Yeah, I spoke to him last week. He’s doing well, eh. Thank you very much for asking.”
Ebola made flying a nightmare. One of the worst flights, I was coming from Johannesburg, South Africa, going to San Francisco. Flew and then because the distance of the flight, you have to stop over in Washington, and they change over your flight, so you go on to another plane, and then that plane takes you to San Francisco. And when we were changing planes, when we were switching over, the air hostess on the second plane tells the passengers that Africans are coming on board. Right, and so because of this, they’re gonna be spraying the cabin with a light pesticide. Right. No, I understand. Like, when people are afraid, they do stupid things. I get it. But what I didn’t understand was why she told them this as we were boarding the plane. [laughter] Have the decency to speak behind our backs. ‘Cause we’re walking onto the aircraft and she takes her little microphone, she goes, “Ladies and gentlemen, “please note we have some passengers joining us “from the South African flight. They’re coming from Africa. “If everybody could please stay in their seats “as these passengers find their place. “We’re gonna be spraying the cabin with a light pesticide “due to the Ebola crisis. “And feel free to cover your nose, eyes, ears, and mouth. “The pesticide shouldn’t be harmful, but it may be. “So if everybody would just cover up, and we’ll be “coming down shortly as everybody takes their place. Thank you very much.” She says this as we board the plane. This is our introduction, “Ebola crisis.” And we’re there like, “Hello, hello, hello, hello. Hello, hello, hi.” Do you know how hard it is to find a seat in a plane with people that think you’re bringing them death? Do you know how hard it– Like, you’re sitting there and everyone, you go– It almost felt like that scene from Forrest Gump. Like, as I’m walking down the plane, people were like, “Mnh-mnh. You can’t sit here, no space.” You’re just walking down trying to find your Jenny. [laughter] Finally, everyone’s seated. We take off, plane heads out to San Francisco. And it was by far the most tense flight I have ever been on. I coughed once. [laughter] The plane shook. It wasn’t even a bad cough. It was just like a little tickle. I was just like, [coughs] The guy opposite me was like, “Ebola! Ebola!” I was like, “Yo, dude, calm down, man. “Calm down. It’s just AIDS. You’re safe, buddy. “Calm down. It’s okay.” Everyone was so stressed. The plane was tense. No one wanted food nor snacks. We finally land at the airport. The plane is taxiing to the gate, and everyone, everyone was waiting for that seat belt sign to go off. Everyone was just– Like, it was more than normal, ’cause already– I never understand why people are in a hurry on a plane to get out of their seat, like, ’cause you can’t go anywhere. Whenever a plane lands, everyone’s just in a– “Come on. Come on. Come on.” You can’t go–You’re gonna go there. That’s where you– You literally go there. “Come on, come on.” Boop! Yeah. You can’t–I don’t understand why people are in a hurry to go. You know who’s even worse? The people at the window. You have no right to be in a hurry. You’re sitting there like, “Come on, come on. Come on!” Boop! Yeah. Oh, that’s good. Yeah. Yeah, pass me my luggage, pass it to me now. Right now. Yeah. I’m glad I didn’t sit down for two more minutes. This is much more comfortable. Just stay in your seat. Just wait. Ebola made it worse, a hundred times worse, you know, ’cause now everyone wants to get out of the plane. Coughing, sneezing, you can feel the tension. And as we’re about to leave, the air hostess comes back on the P.A., and she goes, “Ladies and gentlemen, back in your seats, please. “Everybody back in your seats. Unfortunately, right now, “we have a health and safety official “that needs to come on board just to make sure “that everything is A-OK, due to Ebola. “We’re just gonna make sure that everything is fine. “So please stay in your seats, ladies and gentlemen. Again, apologies for the delay.” She says this and then this man comes on, the health and safety official, right. And he has with him a list of all the African passengers and a thermometer, right, a digital laser thermometer. And he comes on and his job is to scan all the African passengers and get their temperature. And I think the way it works is, like, if you’re very hot, then you’ve got Ebola, right. So he’s got the list and he walks around, scans the passengers and gets the thing, walks down, takes their names off the list, gets the temperature, gets the names, temperature, names. Finally gets to where I’m seated and does the weirdest thing. He scans the passenger opposite me, moves to my aisle, looks at me, looks at my name, looks back at me. And then he just shrugs and walks away. [laughter] Nah. [laughter] Almost as if I wasn’t African enough. [laughter] I’ve never felt so conflicted in my life. You know, because don’t get me wrong, right. I never want anyone to think I have Ebola. [laughter] But I also don’t want anyone to assume that I can’t have Ebola. [laughter] You don’t know me. You don’t know what I’m capable of. I could have all the Ebola in the world. – I’m there trying to cheer myself up. Like, “Chin up, Trevor. You could have Ebola. “Chin up, kid, come on, come on. Come on, you could have Ebola.” And he walks to the back of the plane, scans the rest of the passengers, gets to the tail, and he realizes he’s now missing a name. So he looks back through the plane, can’t figure out what’s going on. I know it’s me. I know it’s me, but I’m not gonna help him. No. He had his chance. He had a good Ebola man and he let him go. And so I watch him panic, and as he panics, the air hostess comes back down the plane. She goes, “Hey, what’s going on? I need to get the people out.” He goes, “Yeah, I know. I got a problem with the Ebola list. I can’t figure out where the– where the passenger is.” And she’s like, “Yeah, I gotta get the people out.” He’s like, “Look, I know. This is killing me as well, but I just gotta figure out.” She’s like, “Yeah, yeah, “if I don’t get them out, I’m dead. I’m dead. I gotta get the people going.” He’s like, “Yeah, I know. Just calm down. Just give me a second,” and now– now you can feel the tension building on the plane. People start whispering, there’s murmurs going around, ’cause some people are hearing pieces of the conversations. Like broken telephone as it goes down the plane, all they’re hearing is, “Yeah, yeah, Ebola. Ebola. Killing the people. Dead, dead, everybody out of here. Dead.” You can feel the tension. People start looking at each other. The guy opposite me didn’t even hide it. He was like, “It’s you. It’s you! Ebola, it’s you!” I was like, “Dude, I do not have Ebola. Stop saying that. Stop saying that.” He’s like, “It’s you, damn it. It’s you with your coughing.” I was like, “If you don’t shut up, I’ll cough on you. I’ll cough on you now.” He was like, “What?” I was like, “I’ll cough… [coughs]” He was like, “What, I’ll kill you.” I was like, “I’ll kill you first. [coughs]” Aah! Everyone on the plane starts losing it. The people are going crazy. Everyone is stressed. People want to leave, and in the middle of the chaos, in the midst of all of this, I’ll never forget. A Middle Eastern man maybe four rows behind me dressed in very traditional garb, he stands up and he sticks his head into the conversation being had between the air hostess and the safety official, and he goes, “Excuse me. Pardon me. Sorry to interrupt. “I couldn’t help noticing what you are talking. “I just want to say maybe you want to check. “I noticed that gentleman over there was coughing little bit, “and then he never liked anything [indistinct]. “Yeah, I thought he was wearing a hood. “Something about him, I don’t know. “Something just made me a little bit uncomfortable. “I thought maybe you want to check. There, I said. “You know–you know what they say, see something, “say something, yeah. Just maybe you check there.” [laughter] I’m like, “Really? Et tu Ahmed.” [laughter] [cheers and applause] How the wheel has turned, my friend. You quickly forget there was a time when Muslims were the black people of the sky. [laughter] And yet, now you have deserted me. ‘Cause I thought he’d be on my side. I thought if anyone understood what it would be like to be stigmatized, it would be that man. You know, I thought we shared something. I thought he’d look over and be like, “Don’t worry, brother. I got your back.” Instead, he sold me down the river, threw me under the bus, like, “Hey, it’s your turn now. I’m free, bitches.” [laughter] And he was. I don’t blame him. He was.

‘Cause Ebola was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen in terms of the human condition, how quickly we’re taught to panic. You know, one minute I’ll be flying and I’ll see people of Middle Eastern descent getting pulled, you know, random selections beeping through the machine. And then Ebola happened, and all of a sudden the focus shift– The focus shifted, and now it was Africans being pulled aside, Africans waiting. Middle Easterners were cruising through security. And then almost as quickly as it started, it flipped back overnight. And I’ll never forget when it happened. Right after the “Charlie Hebdo” attack in Paris. That attack happened, and almost the next day Ebola wasn’t a thing anymore. Middle Easterners were back in the spotlight. Normal service had been resumed. ‘Cause after “Charlie Hebdo,” I would walk through airports and no one gave a damn. They didn’t care about me, where I was from, nor the bananas in my bag. [laughter] [applause] I just–I just cruised through security. “Charlie Hebdo.” “Terrorist attack in France.” Everyone led with it. CNN, “Breaking news. Terrorists have attacked ‘Charlie Hebdo’ headquarters.” BBC, “And in breaking news, unconfirmed report says–saying 12 people have been killed by terrorists who’ve attacked”– Everyone said they were terrorists. It was weird to me ’cause we didn’t know that they were terrorists. We just knew that they were Middle Eastern. But immediately we went to terrorist, because if you’re Middle Eastern that’s a terrorist. That’s the world we live in now. Yeah, if you’re Middle Eastern, terrorism is your trademark. It’s so crazy how easy it is to get people to hate a group of people, ’cause that’s what happened. “Charlie Hebdo,” and then everyone started saying things about Muslims. “These damn Muslims. These damn–We gotta stop Islam. “That’s what we gotta do. We gotta stop these Islamists. “These Muslims. “Now, I’m not saying all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.” It sounds really smart, doesn’t it? Sounds really smart, but it’s not. It’s stupid and it’s hate speech. That’s what it is. It really is. [cheers and applause] Terrorism is not a race, it’s an act. It evolved over time. Yes, right now we’re dealing with extremism, Islamic terror in some parts of the world. But if you go to other parts of the world and ask them what a terrorist is, they’ll show you a different face. You go to England 20 years ago and you said, “What’s a terrorist?” They’d show you a drunk Irishman, right. I didn’t need to say drunk. I could have just said Irishman. [laughter and applause] There was a time when– when Nelson Mandela was labeled a terrorist. Like, terrorism is an act, it’s not a face. People say these things, “Well, these Muslims, “you gotta admit, there’s an awful lot of them. Awful lot of them doing the same thing.” I’m like, “Yeah, but you know who’s not terrorists? Most Muslims.” Yeah, most Muslims are not terrorists. I’m not even Muslim, but it gets to me, because I’m like most Muslim people are not terrorists. You know how you know this? Because we’re still alive, yeah. They’ve had ample opportunity to take us out, people. There’s a billion Muslim people on the planet. They’ve had every chance. They could have killed us using those falafels they sell us after midnight when we come out of the club. They could have wiped us all out with their killer kebabs. They’ve had the means.

It’s so weird to see our prejudices, you know, the way people are labeled in the media, in society. It’s not just Muslim people. You see it with black people as well, you know. People saying these things like, you know, I remember when the–when the riots were happening in Baltimore. People quickly jumped, “These thugs. “These are a bunch of thugs running around. These thugs. “You know, I’m starting to think that black people like crime. “That’s what I’m starting to think. “Is that the only way they can deal with it? Black people like crime.” No, no, black people don’t like crime, because you know who’s not a criminal? Most black people. Yeah, most black people are not criminals. [cheers and applause] Black people hate crime just like everybody else. It’s not like black people are cheering crime on. It’s not like they’re watching a black guy do some shit. Like, “Yeah, Darnell, you steal that shit, man. You steal that shit. Yeah!” No. When black people see a black person doing a crime, they’re also looking at the person like, “That nigger crazy!” You gotta fight the act, not the face, not a face that you put the– It’s not the– It’s not the same thing, and everybody has it, you know. If you’re Middle Eastern and you do something, if you’re a black person– black person gets shot in a bad neighborhood, the first story they always lead with– Always lead with the same thing.
“And today in Compton, a man was shot in what is suspected to be gang-related violence.” It’s always gang-related violence. It never says anything else. They were just two guys. Gang-related, probably gang-related. “Why do you say that?” “Well, because, you know, in this area there’s… hip-hop.” Why is it gang-related? It’s always gang– It doesn’t matter who it is. Could be two kids, someone got shot, “A three-year-old was shot today by a four-year-old in what is suspected to be gang-related violence.” “But they’re kids.” “Yeah, they recruit very young.” “It wasn’t a mistake?” “No, it’s not a mistake. It’s never a mistake.”
But if it’s in a rich neighborhood, the story changes, ’cause you’ll never hear them reporting the same thing about the Hamptons. “And today in the Hamptons, a man was shot “in what is suspected to be gang-related violence. “The Burberry gang have been known to operate around these parts and recently”– They never say those things. In fact, you’re more likely to see the police commissioner going, “A lot–We’ve just conducted an investigation. “We found out that a firearm was discharged earlier today “and the bullet left the–the weapon… “penetrating a victim, and we’re gonna investigate whether–whether it was misfired or”– “I’m sorry, did you say– Did someone shoot the gun?” “Well, we’re not–we’re not ruling anything out right now, “but–but we’re checking to see if there was a mechanism failure or”– “What about the person?” “Well, we–we don’t think that this was intentional. We don’t”– “So wait, we live in a world “where you investigate a gun before you investigate a rich white man, is that what you’re saying?” “No, no, no. No, that– That’s not what we’re saying. “But I mean, you must remember, the gun is black, “but that’s not the point. The point is”– [cheers and applause] It’s so weird how our prejudices have given everyone their lane. Middle Easterner does something, they’re a terrorist. Black person does something, they’re gang-related, they’re a thug. But if a white guy walks into a church killing nine people dead, what do they lead with on the news? “And today in an isolated incident “a lone gunman walked into a church, opening fire and killing nine people.” It’s always a lone gunman, yeah. “A lone gunman with no ties to society whatsoever.” They always separate him as quickly as possible. I love how they do that. “He kept to himself and was notoriously unfriendly. He had no friends whatsoever.” No, no friends, really? No, no friends? Not even one? Not even one? [cheers and applause] No friends? I– Not even on Facebook? No, everyone has friends on Facebook, come on. You’re telling me the guy had no friends. It’s almost like as the shooting happens, everyone’s like, “What? Dillon? Unfriend, unfriend, unfriend, unfriend, unfriend, unfriend, unfriend, unfriend, unfriend.” It’s the weirdest thing ever.
And the first thing they always go to is mental instability. That’s what they go to, the first thing. They never go with terrorism. “What happened? Are we–are we saying this was terrorism?” “Whoa, wait. We’re not gonna jump to that conclusion. “This was a young man who was really mentally– He was unstable. He was a troubled young man.” But he was a terrorist ’cause he committed a terrorist act. He walked into a building, shot a bunch of people to try to spread a message of hatred, right. He was trying to pass something. He was trying to do something. That’s an act of terror. “Now, well–well, look. No, not necessarily. He was a troubled young man.” “Yes, and a terrorist.” “Yeah, but he was mentally unstable.” “Just like terrorists.” That’s exactly what a terrorist is. There’s no normal reason to blow yourself up. That is ridiculous as shit. You’re crazy. [cheers and applause] You’re crazy, but you’re still a terrorist. It’s weird. It’s almost like without realizing it, what they’re saying on the news is, “You know, this young white man “is clearly struggling with something. “I mean, because why would you forgo all that privilege? Why would you”– [laughter] “I mean, he was a young white man. “Why would you throw that all away by– “I mean, if he was a minority, I get it, ’cause that shit sucks. But I mean, why would you throw it–He must be crazy.” [laughter] This is madness. I refuse to be part of this. I refuse to live in a world who will deny white people, the moniker of terrorist. That’s racism, people, that’s what that is. If a white man, through hard work and determination, commits an act of terror, he deserves to be called a terrorist. He worked for it, damn it. You don’t deprive him of that because of the color of his skin. You give it to him and you put him up there. Bin Waleed and Charlie. It’s terrorism.

We all–we all have our prejudices, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I– You know, I try to be better. I really do. I realize every now and again I do things that I’m not particularly proud of, you know. Like, for instance, whenever I fly into America, if I’ve been out of the country and flying back into America, I always try to fly on Middle Eastern airlines specifically. So I’ll fly on Emirates or Qatar or Etihad or one of those. And the reason I do this is because I feel there’s less chance… [laughter] That somebody– [laughter] [applause] That some–And this may sound a little bit racist, You have every right to be offended, you really– But I feel like there’s less chance that somebody will attack one of those planes, for–for a few reasons. Number one, because they’re not proving a point. The plane’s already Muslim owned, Muslim run. They’re not converting anybody. And secondly, and more importantly on my side, I think there’s a small chance somebody could defuse the situation. Someone could talk them down just because they speak the same language, yeah. That’s–that’s half of terror for me is the fact that you don’t understand what the person says. The guy’s speaking Arabic. Arabic, it puts fear in the hearts of all men. [imitating Arabic] You never think good things when you hear Arabic. Yeah, we watch–we watch too many movies and TV shows. Like, you–whenever you hear Arabic, then some bad shit happens immediately. That’s always what happens. [imitating Arabic] [imitates explosion] It’s never something cool or sexy. It’s never like, [imitating Arabic] [whooshes] It’s never that. And so it makes you think, it makes you think a certain way. I know–I know I’m not any different.
I was on a flight, my first Middle Eastern flight, flying on an Emirates plane, and this man emerged from the galley. He had a long beard and he was carrying a box, and he just went off, he was like, [imitating Arabic] And I was like, “Aah!” [screaming] [scream fades] Chicken, please. Chicken. Sorry, I– I get really excited with chicken. I’m–I’m sorry for that. Sorry. “That, my friend, excited? You looked petrified.” I said, “I am, of the flavor. “Chicken, wah! I love chicken. I love chicken so much.” He’s like, “Oh, is that the– is that the black thing?” I said, “That’s racist.” [laughter] It’s just– it’s just a little thing that makes me think there’s a chance that if someone understands the language they may be able to talk the guy down. You–there could be. There could be a terrorist on the plane. Guy with a suicide vest. We’ll be flying 40,000 feet in the sky. Man jumps off, losing his head. There he is, [imitating Arabic] And just maybe, maybe some guy will be opposite him like, “Hey! What are you doing?” “I’m going to blow up this plane to show everybody that Allah is great!” “Yeah, but… we know this.” [laughter] “Everybody here knows this. So what are you doing?” “I wanted to show all of you the power of–” “What are you showing us if we already know, huh? “What are you showing us? Are you saying “we are not good Muslims, is that what you are saying, huh? “Are you saying we do not know the power of Allah? “Is that what you are saying? You are saying we are bad Muslims. What are you saying?” “No, my friend, please, I was not trying to offend you. “I was just trying to kill you. Listen to what I wanted to show you.” “What are you showing me, huh? “Are you saying I do not pray, is that what you are saying? “You’re a better Muslim than me? “You think I’m not good Muslim just because “I’m watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, is that what you think, huh? What are you saying?” “No, I’m not saying that. I wanted to–” “What are you show–You show nothing. You make us look bad. “Why don’t you preach? Why don’t you talk to people, huh? “This is not Islam. What are you doing with your stupid dress? Blah blah blah, blah blah blah. You make us all look bad.” “No, no, I was not–” “No, you’re not trying nothing. “No, you even got your vest backward. You don’t even know what you are doing here.” “Sorry, it’s my first time. I never done this before.” “Yeah, yes, story, story. Sit down, shut up, eat something.” “I don’t know if I can–” “No, it’s all challah. “You can eat it. Don’t worry, you can eat it. “You can eat it. [indistinct] Stupid.” There’s a small chance that could happen. And that’s why I do it. [cheers and applause] I’ll do anything that makes my flying experience a little bit more comfortable.

Ah, you guys are fun, man. You really are. Thank you very much for coming out. Thank you. I appreciate it. [cheers and applause] I really appreciate it. It means the world to me. And I mean that, literally, it means the world to me. Stand-up comedy changed my life forever. I don’t think I would have ever had the opportunity to travel. Grew up in Soweto in South Africa. [cheers and applause] Oh, thank you. Thank you. I didn’t choose it, but thank you. [laughter] I don’t say it in like a– like a sob story way, you know. ‘Cause everyone was poor in Soweto, which was cool, you know. Like, when everyone’s poor together, it’s cool. It’s fine, yeah. ‘Cause you don’t feel it as much. It’s not like anyone can tease you and be like, “Ha ha, you are poor.” “Yeah, so are you.” “Ah, this sucks.” But I would–I probably never would have traveled the world were it not for stand-up comedy, you know. I’m the first person in my family to ever board an airplane. First person in my family to ever get kicked off an airplane. I would have never–I would have never learned about America. I would have never come out to places like Washington, D.C. I would have never learned to travel on the other side of the road. I would have never learned about charming racism had I not come to this beautiful country, yeah. Probably something that changed my life forever, charming racism. Classic American charming racism. [laughter] I never knew there was such a thing, growing up. And I thought I knew all about racism. I was, you know, coming from the home of some of the best racism in the world. No, and I don’t mean to brag, but South Africa is, by far– Like–like we’ve got–we’ve got top quality racism out there. Like, it’s handcrafted. You don’t get racism like that anymore. Like, I’ve seen racism all over the world. To be honest, the standards have dropped. It’s not what it used to be. Like, I’m–I’m talking about quality racism, you know. Now, it’s cheap and mass-produced, probably made in China now. I’m talking about real racism. And America showed me, showed me a wonderful, new type. You know, I’ve always considered myself a racism connoisseur. I appreciate the finer racisms in life. Not all racisms, don’t get me wrong. I have my favorites. I have my not-so-favorites. You know, like, blatant racism, I love. I love blatant racism. You know exactly where you stand with the person. It’s often old people that exhibit blatant racism. Yeah, they tell you exactly how they feel. “This is what I think about you.” And you’re like, “Yeah, and you’re gonna die soon.” I love this. We shared. There’s racisms I don’t particularly care for, like subtle racism I don’t like. Really don’t like subtle– You know where people don’t tell you they’re racists. They just leave a series of clues, hope you’ll figure it out for yourself. I hate that, who’ll say things like, “We don’t need your people around here.” “Who?” “Your people.” “Tall people?” “No, damn it, your people.” “Friendly people?” “No, I’m talking about your–” “Well, I’m not gonna help you. Say it. “If you believe it so much, say it. “Have the balls, stand behind your convictions. Say it. “Don’t leave a series of clues, and now I’m working this out. “What is this, racism sudoku? Are you serious? Just–just say it. Be proud.” But don’t justify it. Rather embrace it, be blatant. Or be American and be charming.

I discovered charming racism in a place called Lexington, Kentucky. [laughter] I don’t know if you’ve ever been, but you really need to go. It’s a beautiful place. Old-school charming racism with a smile and the tip of a hat. Everyone in Lexington had this vibe, this smile, the charm, the drawl– Oh, the Southern drawl, I love it so much, the way they would speak out there. The grammar’s horrible, but it’s still beautiful. Well, ’cause the sentences don’t really make sense. They’d be like, “Y’all ain’t never done gone see none of them out”–and it’s like, that’s–that’s– That’s not English. Your autocorrect is broken. I don’t know what that is, but it’s–but it’s beautiful. You know, in fact, when they speak really fast, sometimes it sounds like somebody’s playing a banjo inside their mouths, that’s– That’s what it sounds like to me. I asked two men for directions, and this–They started arguing. It was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard in my life. The guy was like, “Where you goin’, boy?” I said, “I’m going to the–to the theater. Can you direct me?” He said, “Y’all get on the [indecipherable accent] road. [indecipherable accent] that way.” The friend was like, “No, [indecipherable accent].” “[indecipherable accent].” “[indecipherable accent].” It was almost– [laughter] [cheers and applause] It sounded like someone started a Mumford & Sons concert in their mouth, ’cause one minute they were talking and then they got into it and the guy was like, “[indecipherable accent].” “[indecipherable accent].” “♪ [indecipherable]” “♪ [indecipherable]” “♪ [indecipherable]” [continues singsong indecipherable speech] ♪ [indecipherable] that way [cheers and applause] Nigger. [laughter] [sighs] The reason I’ll never forget Lexington, though, is because I met a woman out there. A gorgeous, gorgeous woman. I’ll never forget her till the day I die. She walks into the lobby of the theater where I was standing with some friends, and she was absolutely stunning. A classic Southern belle. She had long, big blond hair, giant boobs. [laughter] She strutted her stuff into the lobby, pushing people out of the way. She made her way straight for me, straight for me. Came to me, pointed me in the face, and she was like, “Excuse me, baby. Excuse me, honey. May I chat to you for a moment, please?” I said, “Yes, of course. Hi, hi. How are you? How are you, ma’am?” She said, “Honey, I just want to let you know “that you are by far the funniest and handsomest nigger I done ever seen!” [laughter] And I was like, “What?” I was so shocked. ‘Cause isn’t it “most handsome,” not “handsomest”? [laughter] Their grammar is just crazy, man.

No, you guys have been too much fun. Thank you so much for coming out tonight. I had a great time with you. Thank you very much. [cheers and applause] [jazz music] ♪ [cheers and applause]

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