Wow. Wow. Oh, wow. What’s happening, New York? Yeah! Oh, this is amazing. Thank you for coming out. We’re gonna have fun tonight. Welcome to it, people. This is us. Can I tell you for a second? This has been my dream since I started stand-up comedy, doing a special in New York City. This is it! This is it. New York, New York!
[New York accent] Yeah! New York! I’m walking over here!
That was all I thought New York was before I came here. I just thought it was a city of people almost getting run over. Just everyone walking into the street, a taxi rolling up, slamming the hood,
[New York accent] “I’m walking over here! What’s wrong with you? You want some coffee?”
I don’t even know what that meant. All I knew was one day, I was gonna go to New York City. And I, too, was going to almost get run over by a car. I had a dream and I set out. And it’s a lot harder than it seems. In the movies, they make it look simple. They make it look like you run out, the car almost hits you, you do that thing– “Hey!” Slam the hood and then move on. But it’s not that easy. It’s all about timing. It’s all about timing. It’s all about being precise. You have to get out at the exact same time that the taxi is there, so it stops, so you can hit the hood. If you don’t have the guts and you come out too late, the car’s gone. It’s a waste of everyone’s time. You just look like a mad person now. You’re just like…
[imitates engine revving]
“Hey! I’m walking over here!” If you come out at the exact time as the car, then you just get run over. That’s just pointless. You know, it’s like, “Hey–” [thumping noises] “Hey, he was walking over here. What’s wrong with you?” The worst one is when you come out too early. Because that’s just awkward for everyone involved. Because you come out and then the car stops, but you can’t reach the hood. So it’s like, “Hey!”
[imitates tires screeching]
“Come here. No. Come closer, please. I want to tell you a secret. Come here. No, I’m from Africa. I have a dream. Please come closer. I just– I just want you– I’m walking over here.” I love the city. Are you kidding me? New York! My dream was to come out here. Soon as I got here, I was like, “This is it!” There’s an energy in the city that exists nowhere in the world. New York, New York! Love it, everything about it.
You know what fascinates me about New York… is how much people trust the traffic lights. I have never seen anything like it. You must remember, I come from an African country. And all over Africa, we have traffic lights. But we don’t use them. All right? It’s less of a command and more of a suggestion. It’s not “Stop!” It’s “Stop?” It’s almost like an African traveled the world, saw that other people have traffic lights and then just brought them back, but didn’t know what they were for. The guy was like, “Guys, guys, guys. We need to get traffic lights. Ah?” People were like, “What for?” “It’s for the intersection. It adds atmosphere.” No one actually knew what it was about. We don’t care about the lights, and we don’t trust the lights. But in New York– I’ve never seen it– people trust that light with their lives. I was walking in the streets one day. I was walking next to this man. I’ll never forget this. We’re standing there on the sidewalk, and the light changes in our favor. And I looked to the side, and there was this truck that is barreling down the road. And I’m looking at the truck. And as soon as the light changes, the guy next to me, he steps out into the road. Instinctively, I stuck my hand out to protect him. I was like, “Yo, dude, there’s a truck.” And he was like, “It’s okay. We’ve got the light.” I said, “Yeah, and he has a truck. In a game of rock-paper-scissors, you lose.” But he was so confident. He was like, “We’ve got the light. Let’s go.” And he walked out. He didn’t just walk out. He stared that truck driver down as he was crossing. Just looking at him. Like, “I’ve got the light. You know I’ve got the light. You know I’ve got that light.” I was running behind him, all apologetic. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know. He– I’m sorry. I would have stopped– I’ve never done this before.” I walked with that man for 12 blocks. And let me tell you, I have never been imbued with the confidence of another human being the way I was with him. I started that day… thinking and pondering before stepping out. And after a few blocks with him, I started believing. And after eight blocks, it was the only way I knew how to live. I had my phone out. I was tweeting and texting. I didn’t play games. I’d be looking down, look up. The light would change, and I was out. I didn’t care if a truck or a train was coming towards me. I was out! Because I’ve come to realize, in America, if you got the white man on your side, you can do whatever you like. You just roll.
What an exciting time it’s been. I couldn’t have chosen a better time to come and live in the United States. Huh? What an exciting time. I’m surprised that, with everything that’s happened, it hasn’t all burned down. I’ve been coming to the United States, on and off, visiting for almost ten years. And… what was great about visiting on and off was I got to experience America in snapshots. You know, I would feel what the people were feeling. I would get an idea of what the populace was going through. And… I’ll never forget how every time I came to America… one of the biggest things I noticed was how black Americans were having a tough time. I remember the first time I came out. I was staying on the West Coast, and I met a young African American man in Compton. And we were hanging out at a comedy club. This guy, he looked over at me and he’s like, “Hey, yo, Trevor. You the dude from Africa, man?” I said, “Yeah, yeah. I’m one of them, yeah.” He’s like, “Yo, man. I can’t front, B. It’s an honor to meet you, man. Yo, I always wanted to meet a dude from Africa. You’re an OG, man. You’re an OG.” I was like, “Thank you.” He was like, “Yeah, man. You know how hard it is out here for a black man? Dude, I can’t front, man. You can’t get no jobs, man. The cops be on your ass all the time, man. I’m fittin’ to go to Africa myself, man. Yo, I’m gonna go to Africa with you, man. I’m going with you, B.” And I was like, “Yeah, you should buy the ticket, we can roll. Let’s go.” I connected with him that day. I felt something. Fast-forward, a few years later. I remember I met… a beautiful black woman. Down South, I was doing shows in Birmingham, Alabama. This woman came up to me after the show. She connected with me instantly. She was like, “Trevor, baby. Can I just tell you right now? I ain’t never met a stranger I felt so connected to. When you talk about Africa, when you say those things, I’m like, ‘Oh, man, oh, Lord, I wish I could go with you.’ Tell me all about the motherland, baby. I want to go to a place I can call my own. I want to go to a place where people don’t look at me like I don’t belong. Tell me all about Africa, baby. Tell me all about it.” And I could feel what she was saying. And I knew that people weren’t having a good time. And then you fast-forward… to 2016. I’ll never forget that moment when Donald Trump… closed the lead, had a one-in-two chance of being President of the United States. And for the first time in my life, I had white Americans coming up to me, going, “So, Trevor, tell me about Africa. What’s going on out there? It’s, uh– [laughs] Sounds like a plan, am I right? What is it, motherland? Motherland, yeah. Yeah. I should come with you. Ali boma ye. Count me in, buddy.” And it’s not just America as well. It’s not just America. You know, a lot of Americans were shocked by that rhetoric, but if you expanded your view, you realized that the rise of nationalism is taking place all over the world. In Austria, in Australia. In England. That was what Brexit was all about. Right? They made it seem like it was about the economy, but it wasn’t. The truth was it was fundamentally people who wanted their country back. It never went anywhere. But they still wanted it back. I saw people on the news, talking to the BBC.
[British accent] “That’s why I’m voting for Brexit, right? Because this bloody country is going to the dogs. Right? This bloody country. And I want Britain back. That’s why we voted for Brexit, because we want Britain back!” From who? From who? Britain is, like, 95% white. Who do you want it back from? People say the weirdest things, the craziest things. “These bloody immigrants come over here. They’re up to no good, right? I hate these bloody immigrants. They need to go back to where they came from.” -But why do you hate them so much? -“I’ll tell you why I hate them. Because they’re not even trying to be British. That’s why. They don’t even try to be British. They come here. They bring their own bloody culture. They bring their own food, spit their own bloody languages, try to take over the whole bloody place.” That sounds British to me.
If there’s one country… if there’s one nation in the world, that has no right to complain about immigration, it’s Great Britain. If there’s one nation in particular. You do understand, they created the problem that they are now dealing with. They went out and colonized the world. At one point, half of the globe was controlled by the British Empire. Do you understand how insane that is? They went around colonizing from pillar to post. People didn’t care about them. No one was trying to find the British. The British were the ones traveling the world, telling everyone of their existence, knocking on doors. “Hey, we’re the British. Follow us.” It’s basically ancient Twitter, that’s what that was. I’m not saying the British are bad people, by the way. I understand that colonization was something that was popular at one time. Many European countries participated in it. But the British were the best. They were the best. It’s not because they were bad. I think– I blame it on the weather. That’s what I think happened. I think they have bad weather, and bad weather makes you a bad person. Yeah, because if you think about it, there was no one from a tropical climate who was trying to take over the world. You don’t ever hear stories of Caribbean conquerors. Yeah, there’s no stories of, like, Troy The Terrible from Trinidad. You don’t hear these stories. There’s no need for that. When the weather is horrible, you want to go somewhere else and take it from somebody. If you’re living in a beautiful paradise, you have no need to leave. Could you imagine that scene? Just some random handsome guys hanging out on a beach in the Caribbean, one looking at the other out of nowhere.
[Caribbean accent] “Darius. Darius!” “What, Troy?” “I was thinking, bro. Stay with me here. I was thinking, right? We should build boats, sail around the world and force everyone to dance Calypso.” It wouldn’t happen. It just wouldn’t happen. The British colonized with class. They went all over the globe. And colonization– we read it about it now, and it seems normal ’cause it’s in the history book. They colonize. When you think about colonization, it’s the strangest thing you can think about. ‘Cause conquering is one thing. You go to another country, you take what’s theirs. You want more– you take the land. You take the resources. You kill the people. That I understand. But colonization– I don’t condone. I understand. But colonization is strange, because you go there, and you don’t just take over. You then force the people to become you. That is such a strange concept when you think about where the British did it. I mean, they did it in Africa. You know, they did it in Asia. And think about in India. Those cultures could not be more diametrically opposed. And out of nowhere, the British just decided to roll up. Imagine what the Indians must have felt like on that day. Minding your own business. Walking through a field. Next thing you know, the British showed up on horseback.
[imitates clopping hooves]
[imitates bugle call] “Hear ye, hear ye! By order of Her Majesty the Queen, we have arrived! “You over there! What is the name of this land?”
[Indian accent] “This land over here? This is called India.” “Well, my good man, I am here to tell you that India is now under the British Empire.” “And I’m glad that I can tell you that India is exactly where it was yesterday.” “No, no. I feel you’re not understanding what I’m saying. I’m letting you know that we are here to colonize you by order of the Queen.” “Who is the Queen?” “The Queen. The Queen of England, the Ruler of Great Britain. She who was ordained by God.” “Which god?” “God. The one true God.” “There are many gods, my friend. What is the name of your god?” “There is only one God. And his name is God, and you, too, shall worship him.” “You want me to worship a god, but you don’t want to tell me his name? What are you talking about? There are many gods. There is Shiva. There’s Lakshmi. There’s Hari Krishna. There are many gods! What is the name of your god?” “His name is God!” “You don’t know the name of your god?” “It’s just God!” “Is it like Mommy or Daddy? You want me to worship your god, but you don’t want to tell me his name? How am I going to pray to him? What do I do? Every morning, I wake up and I pray: ‘Oh, dear God, I was hoping that maybe, God, you could help me– No. Sorry, not you. Other god. No, no, other god. No, no. Wrong god. No, God. I was trying to talk– No, no. You’re right. I should have asked for your first name. No, God. No, other god, please. No, behind that god. No, not you today, God. Other god. Right. He told me you would know who I was talking to. No, other god, please. That god on the– No, no. That god, you–‘ Then I wonder why my prayers are not getting answered.” “How dare you speak to me like that? Do you know who I am?” “No, because you never introduced yourself.” “I have come here representing Great Britain.” “And I have never heard of Great Britain. Who gave you that name?” “Well– well, we did.” “You called yourselves ‘great’? Isn’t that a little presumptuous? Shouldn’t you wait for other people to tell you how great you are? Shouldn’t you just go around the world and just do good things, good things? Then people go, ‘Oh, my God, Britain, look how great you are!'” “Well, I beg to differ. I believe we could do it because we knew instinctively, we are Great Britain!” “Well, in that case, welcome to Great India.” “No, it doesn’t work like that! How dare you speak to me like this!” “You’re the one who dares to speak to me, okay? I was here, minding my own business in my land. You came over here, riding on your skinny cow, telling me that things are going to change. I don’t know who you are. All I know is you are clearly crazy.
You’re not feeling too right. I didn’t want to say anything, but you look like you’re going to faint. In fact, it looks like you have died last week. Okay? Something is very wrong with your skin. You’re not looking good. Maybe you should come down. We have a curry, talk about this.” “What are you talking about? I look quite normal!” “You do not look normal. I have never seen anybody with that complexion in my life, okay? You look like you’re playing hide-and-seek with the sun your entire life. I don’t know what is happening, but that is not how a person should look. I can see your veins pumping through your skin right now. You know how creepy that is? Pumping, pumping, pumping. If I was your doctor, I don’t need X-ray machine. I go, ‘What is problem? It is your kidney. How do I know? Because you’re translucent. That is how I know.'” “Damn you! We are going to run this country whether you like it or not!” “We are not going to do anything you tell us. You’re a madman.” “We are going to take it!” “You’re not taking–” “We’re going–” [imitates gunshot] “She’s all yours. Take, take. You don’t play nice. Take.”
And that’s how the British took over.
[cheers and applause]
That’s how they took over India. And then, many, many years later, the British, after they were done pillaging, left and went back home. And so, it only stands to reason that those Indians, who they had now made British, would seek out… the land from whence they came. I don’t understand why British people are complaining, going, “Why are they coming here? Why the hell are you coming here?!” “Because you told us how great it was, so we came to see for ourselves.” “No. Go back to where you came from! Go back! You’re not welcome here. This is not your home.” “But you said we are all part of the British Empire.” “When I said ‘part,’ I meant you are under us. We are the British. You are the empire.” “What do you mean?” “We are the British, and you are the empire.” “Okay, well, in that case, the empire strikes back. Now make some curry and tell me where we’re sitting. Let’s go, let go, let’s go.” They can’t complain. They cannot complain. If there’s one nation in the world that can’t complain– The truth is none of us should be complaining. When you think about it, what people term “immigration” just depends on your timeline. Right? You’re an immigrant. When do you measure from? Everyone is an immigrant from somewhere. Whenever I see people have those conversations in America: “These damn immigrants coming over here. These damn immigrants. Get out of here!” I always wonder what Native Americans must be thinking when they are listening to the words that are being said. You know? People confidently saying, “This is not where they came from! This is not their land!” They’re like, “Oh, tell me more.” “They need to go back ’cause this is not their home!” “Oh, really?”
Everyone is an immigrant in some way, you know. When you travel, you see this. I say that to people. I’ll go, “Travel the world.” If there’s one thing you will never waste your money on, it’s traveling. Travel the world. See another place. Discover a different point of view. Traveling is the antidote to ignorance, and that’s so true. It changes your mind, your perspective, how you believe, what you believe. And one of the greatest things you can do when you travel is traveling to a country where they don’t speak your language. That’s my favorite thing, going to a place where they don’t speak English, just to make you realize how insignificant you really are. You’re not the center of the universe. There’s another world that exists beyond you. I try and do that all the time. I try my utmost.
I go to English-speaking countries, but I try every now and again to go to a country where they speak no English. Like, recently, I went to Scotland. Right? And– And again… I had an amazing time. The place was beautiful. It was a different culture. Rich in history. They have the rolling highlands of Scotland. They’ve got these castles, beautiful, perfectly preserved, hundreds of years old. In the streets, there’s the men playing the bagpipes, wearing the kilts. No black people. But not in a bad way. Not in a bad way. Just in a matter-of-fact way, you know? When I say there’s no black people in Scotland, I just mean there’s no black people. There’s a good way and a bad– The good way is when you get there, you’re like, “There’s no black people.” But some places you go, like, “There’s no black people.” And that’s– You know what I mean? That means some shit went down. You can feel it when you get there. Like Australia, there’s no aborigines. When you get there, you’re like, “Hey, Australia! Wait, where’s all the black people?” They’re like, [Australian accent] “Oh, I don’t know. They left.” You can feel something went wrong. Scotland doesn’t have that, you know? Scotland doesn’t have black people because they are further north. Further north, there were no black people. Not many black things further north. The further north you go, the whiter things become. There’s the people, Christmas, the bears. Everything changes. If you went to a Scottish person and said, “Excuse me, sir. Are you racist?” He’d be like,
[Scottish accent] “I don’t know. I never tried.”
I had so much fun in Scotland. I was in Glasgow for a week. I was driving around in the back of a car. Every single day, I would try and spot black people. It was a little game I played by myself. Every day, I would just be there, like, “Black person, black person… Ah! No. Statue. Black person, black person… Ah! No. Reflection. Black person, black person…” No black people anywhere. None. That’s why I say traveling is important. I’d never been to a place where there were no black people before. It actually made me realize that there had been an issue that I’d been grappling with for so long. And now, finally, I had another answer. And that issue… was that of James Bond. I’m a big fan of 007. License to kill. I loved it my whole life. Started with Pierce Brosnan. Then went back and watch Connery’s and Lazenby’s and everyone, all the way to Daniel Craig. And I love James Bond. And when I found out that Daniel Craig no longer wanted to be James Bond, I was heartbroken. Until I heard… that, at the top of the list, the potential replacement was a man by the name Idris Elba. [cheers and applause] And I lost my mind. I lost my– You can hear the ladies. They’re, like, “Yeah,” you know? And that’s what James Bond needs: a lady’s man and a man’s man, and Idris has that. He’s strong. He’s charming. He’s got that quiet thing. “Yeah, you know, Idris Elba. Oh, yeah. Idris Elba, you know?” You could just see him playing the dapper spy. And as soon as it was announced, everyone was excited, until the comments section of the Internet came in. “Idris Elba, James Bond.” And the comments section was like, “Uh, actually… Idris Elba could not play James Bond.” And we’re like, “Why?” They’re like, “Because… Hmm?” “‘Cause of the shape of his head? What are you saying?” “No, because…” -“Because what?” -“Because he’s black! James Bond cannot be played by a black man!” As soon as they said that, the Internet exploded.
[imitates explosion] “Racism!” Immediately, that happened, I jumped in. I don’t even know what it’s about half of the time, I jump in. You say “racism,” and I wreck my site. I’m just like, “Racism! Aah! You guys will explain it later. Racism!” I was in there, like, “What the hell is going on?” They’re like, “James Bond cannot be played by Idris Elba because Idris Elba is black, and James Bond is white!” I was like, “Well, actually, James Bond is a fictional character, so he can be played by anyone, because it is fiction!” They were like, “When you think about it, James Bond was based on a real man, who was white, and so, he should be played by a real white man.” I said, “That doesn’t make sense. If you think about it, Jesus was technically a black man, but he gets played by a white man. So I don’t know what your point is, ’cause that never stopped me from receiving my blessings. I don’t know what you’re going on about.” They’re like, “You can’t have it!” I was like, “Racism!” “You can’t have it!” “Racism!” And then I went to Scotland. I realized that maybe, just maybe… I hadn’t given the argument enough thought. Because I love Idris Elba. I want him to play Bond. But if you think about it, James Bond often operates in places like Scotland and the UK and Europe. Because that’s where most supervillains choose to reside. I’m assuming it’s for tax purposes. No matter how you feel about the issue, you have to admit… it would be particularly difficult… to be a spy… when you are the only… black person in town. Your very existence defies your purpose. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’m just saying that would be the toughest James Bond movie that was ever made. Can you imagine that scene? Idris Elba, James Bond, planting the C-4, blowing up the bad guy’s lair, jumping on a bike, riding into the town square in Edinburgh. [imitates motorcycle engine] The bad guys right behind him. They pull out their guns, start shooting. [imitates machine gun fire] The chase is on.
[humming James Bond theme music]
Idris Elba, James Bond, jumps off the bike, runs into a crowded town square, the bad guys right behind him. He manages to shake them off, pops into a little alley, gets out on the other side, finds a crowded little marketplace, puts a scarf around his head, a fake beard, blends in with a group of monks walking by. The bad guys turn the corner. “There he is!”
[humming James Bond theme music]
James Bond manages to shake them off, gets into another group of areas, pops out on the other side, finds a transportation hub, gets into a bus, the bus goes one way, gets into a tram, the tram goes the other way. The bad guys turn the corner. “There he is!” [humming James Bond theme music] The movie would be ten minutes long. It would end with James Bond panting in an alley. [panting] “How did you find me?” We would lose so many epic scenes… like that moment where James reveals his name. Do you know that scene in the casino we always wait for? Him dressed in a tux, playing a high-stakes game of baccarat. You see Idris Elba walking over to the bartender now to place that iconic order. “Bartender, I’ll take my martini shaken, not stirred. The name’s…” [Scottish accent] “James Bond. I know.” “I’m sorry, mate, have we met?” “No. I just heard there was a spy in town. Figured it was you.” “What gave me away? Is it the way I dress?” “Oh, there’s just something about you.” “Something like what?” “You know… Hmm.” It’ll be hard.
Scotland was so much fun. Every day I was there, I felt like I was learning something new. I did learn something that I wish to share with you, and I hope you’ll not suffer the same ills I did. If you do go to Scotland, and you are ever offered a drink… don’t. Because, you see, the Scottish, unlike us– We drink to enjoy. The Scottish drink to die. I used to think the Scottish had an accent. I’ve now learned that’s just centuries of people trying not to throw up. That’s all that is. [Scottish accent] “All right. What you do… [groaning] You laddies never had that drink– [groaning] [speaking gibberish in Scottish accent] I made that mistake myself. I was doing shows in Edinburgh. And after one of the shows, I left the venue and my friend Mick was waiting for me backstage. He was like, “How was your show?” “It was good, Mick. How was yours?” He’s like, “Not too bad. Me and the lads are going to the pub, grab a drink. You wanna join us?” I said, “No, I don’t really drink, Mick. I’m just gonna go home.” He’s like, “It’s not about drinking. We’re just gonna hang out, right? Just grab a wee, little drink.” And that’s where he got me. Scottish people do that so well. Just like, “A wee, little drink?” Makes it sound harmless, doesn’t it? “Oh, just a wee, little drink?” Sounds tiny. “Wee, little, drink. Yeah, wee, little.” Nothing sounds dangerous like that. Yeah, what happened in Nagasaki? “Oh, they dropped a wee nuclear bomb.” Doesn’t sound that bad. He was like, “A wee, little drink.” I was like, “Let’s have a wee, little drink.” So I joined him. We went drinking. I don’t remember. I do remember waking up the next day in my bed, partially dressed, shirt on the floor. Pants still on. Left shoe on. Right shoe on the pillow beside me. And my head pounding, pounding. You know when you can hear you heart beating inside your head? I get up and I’m like, “Oh, I feel horrible.” And as I stand up– As I stand up, I could feel– I could feel… the vomit coming. I could feel it. I could feel it, like… [whooshing sound] It did that thing. But I held it. I controlled that. If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s I don’t throw up. Let’s just get that straight. I don’t throw up. I control myself. When I see people throwing up, I’m like, “You’re weak. Control yourself. You’re weak.” This is my body, my temple. I control it. The body tried. I was like, “No! No!” My body was like, “Come on, man. I gotta–” I was like, “No! No! Breathe!” [breathing deeply] Had it in check. Went to the kitchen, started to make some breakfast. And as I poured the milk into the cereal bowl, my body was like, “Hey, Trevor?” I was like, “What’s going on, buddy?” “Hey, do you mind if I burp?” “Of course I don’t mind if you burp. You burp all the time.” “Yeah, ’cause I’m gonna burp right now. Just a standard, everyday burp.” “I don’t know why you’re warning me. You never warn me usually when you burp. You just burp.” “I wanted to let you know it’s just a burp. Don’t worry.” I was like, “Okay, go ahead and burp.” “Okay, here it comes.” And my body was like… [imitates vomiting] But then, I caught it in my mouth. I caught it all in my mouth, though.
Oh, yeah. Judge me! Judge me. The only reason you know the taste is because you’re alcoholics. You’re gonna judge me. We’ve all done that before. That’s the classy thing to do. Catch it in your mouth, so you can handle your business in the toilet. Caught it all in my mouth. I ran to the toilet. I threw up, and it was the worst feeling in the world. I don’t even drink. Throwing up is now an added reason to not– And, you know, when you’re throwing up… the worst part for me is the dry heaving. You know, when you’re done, everything is finished, but still– That’s when I know that humans aren’t as evolved as we think we are. Because your body and your brain, at that point, there’s nothing left. There’s nothing there, and still you– There’s nothing there. [imitates heaving] There’s nothing. And we’re all in that position– It’s not gracious. No one’s looking cool. Everyone is there. You’re just like… Everyone is in that same position. No one throws up in a cool fashion. No one’s there, like… [imitates heaving] No one. Every single one of us, we’re reduced… to a pile of pain. [groaning and coughing] It’s finished. It’s finished. It’s fini– [heaving and sobbing] Oh, it’s so sore. It’s so sore. There’s nothing there. Why don’t you realize that– [groaning] Oh, please. Oh, please. I’m dying. I’m dying. I’m dying. I don’t even know what– [groaning] And then blood came out. Yeah, not good. So, I panicked. I was like, “I’m bleeding internally. I need to get to the hospital.” Called my friend Mick. I was like, “Mick, where are you?” He’s like, “I’m home. What’s going on?” I said, “I need your help. I drank too much last night.” He’s like, “Yeah. And?” I said, “This morning, I threw up a lot.” He’s like, “Yeah, right. And?” I said, “And then, while I was throwing up, blood came out.” He’s like, “Yeah, right. And?” I said, “And that’s it, Mick. Blood came out of my mouth.” He said, “Oh, that’s too bad, Trevor. So, what are you gonna do now?” I said, “I’m gonna go to the hospital, Mick.” He’s like, “I don’t know if that’s necessary. Like, was it a lot of blood?” “Any blood is a lot of blood. What do you mean?” He’s like, “I know what you’re saying, but was it a lot, or was it a wee bit of blood?” Mick didn’t take me to the hospital. Instead, he decided to come over with some bananas and white bread. He forced me to eat that. And that night, I had another show. I was horrible. It was a bad show. And afterwards, I leave the venue. And who’s standing outside waiting for me? My good friend Mick. And he’s like, “Trevor, how was your show?” I said, “It was horrible, Mick, horrible. I thought I was gonna die.” He’s like, “Oh, that’s too bad. You wanna go talk about it over a pint?” I said, “What?” He’s like, “Let’s go grab a wee drink.” I said, “There’s no wee nothing here. There is no “wee” ever again.” He’s like, “What are you talking about?” I said, “Mick, I thought I was gonna die. I’m not gonna drink.” He’s like, “Don’t be like that. It’s just one bad day.” I was like, “Yeah, and I’d like to live to see another, Mick. I’m not going with you.” He’s, like, “Trevor, don’t be–” I’m like, “Don’t be like what?” He’s like, “Don’t be a pussy.” And that’s where he lost me. That is where he lost me. I understand what he was trying to do.
Guys do it all the time. Hit you with the phrase, “Don’t be a pussy.” Yes. Because it implies weakness. Yeah. Do not be like the vagina. The vagina that is weak. Yes. Yes. Don’t be a pussy. Guys say that, and then you do what they want. “Don’t be a pussy.” Yeah, don’t be a pussy, ’cause the pussy is weak. And yet, in my personal experience… I have found the pussy to be one of the strongest things I have ever come across in my life. Don’t be a pussy? Have you ever come across a pussy? The vagina is one of the most powerful– You realize vaginas can start revolutions and end wars. You realize, even on a physical level, the vagina is one of the strongest things that have ever existed. Virtually indestructible. Many men in this room– Many, many men in this room have tales of how they once defeated the pussy. Let me tell you now, they have not. The owner of the pussy may have given you the impression that you defeated the pussy, but it is alive and well, my friends. Whenever people say that, I go, “Do you understand how impressive the vagina is? Do you understand how strong it is?” There’s a reason men have sought to oppress it for so long. The vagina is frighteningly powerful. You realize human beings come out of a vagina. Human beings come out, and still it continues to work as intended. Do you understand how impressive that is? I don’t know if I’m the only one. New York, do you understand? A human being comes out… of the vagina. And still, it continues to operate, and it continues to work after a human has just come out. You’re saying it’s weak? A human came out of the vagina. You just sit on a penis wrong, and it breaks. You just– “Don’t be a penis,” that should be the phrase. “Don’t be a pussy.” I wish I was a pussy. Are you serious right now? “Don’t be a penis,” that should be the saying.
Scotland taught me so many things. Beautiful place, beautiful people, rich in culture. My favorite thing to do while I was there was trying to learn the Scottish accents. I butcher it, but I don’t care. I have fun. What I do when I travel is try to speak to people in their accents and see if they can catch me out. That’s one of my favorite games. I’d walk into a store in Edinburgh, and I’d just be like…
[Scottish accent] “Good afternoon. I would like to buy a pair of shoes.” He’d be like, “Where are you from?” “I’m from Scotland.” “Aye, what part?” “Johannesburg.” I love it, though. I love the accents not just because they sound fun and it’s an interesting thing to do. I love accents because I’m always impressed by how much power they have over us, over our minds. When someone speaks a certain way, it changes how we feel about that person, for good and for bad. We do it all the time. You see people on the streets, they speak to you, you think of them a different way. You see world leaders. They speak a certain way, you think of them a different way. You know? Barack Obama, one of the greatest examples of that. Everything about Barack. Barack Obama was, by far, the coolest president that has ever existed. Just everything about the man, you know? That confidence, the smile, the swag. When you notice Barack– I would notice it in the small things, like when he’d step out of Air Force One. He did it like no other president in the world. Normally, presidents step out of their airplane in a frumpy manner. There’s no class or skill. They just, like, come out. But Barack… he wouldn’t step out. He’d emerge. He’d emerge like he was stepping out of the plane and into a music video. He’d do that thing where he’d come out…
[cheers and applause]
And then he’d go down the stairs, doing it the only way he could, you know? The way he descended, it looked like every time he hit the ground, he was just gonna go into verse one. Just straight into it, like…
♪ Girl ♪
♪ I wanna take you there ♪
♪ Give you my Obamacare ♪
Oh, man. Barack Obama’s just too cool. He had the walk. He had the talk. That was the big thing people never realized about Barack Obama, was the talk. That’s what really gave him the edge. He has a certain way of speaking, a certain voice that commands your attention, makes you feel about him a certain way. It’s the accent, the way he speaks. And I don’t know how many people realized this, but Nelson Mandela had the same thing. Yeah. See, the thing Barack Obama has in his voice, that is the voice of a first black president. A lot of people didn’t notice that because he was the first and last first black president of the United States. You wouldn’t know to compare. I’m lucky in that I’ve gotten to be– I’ve gotten to live in the country of two first black presidents, namely, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. So, I know what I’m talking about. They both have that thing. It’s just difficult to hear because Mandela’s obviously South African, and he was older. They both had that thing in the voice. When Nelson Mandela would speak, a room would silence. You could feel the energy.
[imitating Nelson Mandela] “I believe… that every person, regardless of the color of their skin, should have equal rights, and they may never be taken again. To those who would seek to oppress, I say to you, never, and never again.”
And the people would lose their minds. People would feel the chills, because he had that thing. Nelson Mandela was destined for greatness because of that voice. He could not be a normal man with a voice like that. You can’t do normal things with that voice. You are destined for greatness. You can’t be running in the streets: “And a Kit Kat, please.” No. No. It’s so unique. You can’t be silly. What are you making, prank phone calls? “Who the hell is this?!” “I’m not telling you.” [laughs] It just doesn’t work. I remember when Nelson Mandela was still alive, and he would tell jokes at press conferences and events, and no one would laugh. Because everyone thought a man who had been in jail for 27 years couldn’t make a joke. And yet, he still did. He still kept what was him. It was partly because of that voice. He would tell the joke, and it would just sound too epic for people to laugh. Everything he did, he’d just be like, “Ah, knock, knock.” People would be like, “Let him in. Let him in!” “No. No, no. You must say, ‘Who’s there?'” “He is so right. We’ve always got to ask, ‘Who’s there?’ Who’s here? Who are we?’ Oh, my God!” It was because of that voice, the first black president voice.
And I’ll never forget the day I saw a picture… of Barack Obama meeting Nelson Mandela for the very first time. It’s a beautiful image, and it’s of the two men in silhouette. In Chicago, Nelson Mandela sitting in a chair. Barack Obama leaning over him. And this was way back in the day. This was before Barack Obama was a blip on the presidential radar. He was a junior senator. Not many people knew his name. Back then, he was driving around in his own car. No motorcade. Had his aide with him. And that day, they heard Nelson Mandela was going to be in Chicago meeting people. Barack Obama wanted to meet him his whole life. He rushed over there. He was the last person Nelson Mandela saw. The last person he saw that day. And I always imagine Nelson Mandela was sitting in the room, and his assistant came over. She was like, “Mr. Mandela, I know we said we’re done. But unfortunately, there’s this one person who would like to meet you, sir.” He’s like, “Oh, Zelda. I’m so tired. Can we leave?” “No, I know you want to leave, Mr. Mandela. But there’s a young man there you really need to meet. His name is Barack Hussein Obama.” “Barack Hussein Obama? He’s American?” “Yes, that’s correct.” “He’s going to have a tough time. Where is he?” “He’s right outside the door.” “Okay. Show him in. Show Barack in.” “Okay, I’ll be right back.” And she went over to the door. She’s like, “Mr. Obama, Mr. Mandela will see you now.” And Barack walked in. He was super excited to meet his idol. Nelson Mandela was sitting on the chair. He looked over. “Ah. Young Barack. How are you?” And Barack was like, “Oh, man, Nelson Mandela, this is the craziest day of my life! I can’t believe this shit! I can’t believe I’m meeting Nelson Mandela for the first time. I waited my whole life for this moment. I want to be just like you. I read your books. I saw what you were doing in prison. I was like, ‘I’ll be the first black president of America.’ I’m gonna do the same things you did. I’m gonna win those votes. I’m gonna be the first black President of America!” And Nelson Mandela was like, “Not with that voice. You will scare the white people.” “Oh, man, Nelson Mandela, this is the greatest day of my life. I don’t even understand how– I want to know from you, how do I do it? How do I do what you did? How do I become the first black president?” “Well, first things first. We need to change that voice. You don’t sound like you are going to lead anything.” “I don’t know what you mean.” “You are speaking so fast. Slow it down. You’re not being chased anymore.” “Wow, I never thought of it like that.” “Slow down. Slow down.” “Okay. I guess I do speak fast sometimes. -Like, I could–” -“Slower than that.” “I could slow it down. I could slow it way down. Is this good?” “That’s better. Now, you need to make sure… you add some bass to your voice.” “I don’t know why that’s an issue.”
[high-pitched voice] “Imagine if I spoke like this. Do you think people would have voted for me?
[normal voice] No. I would still be in jail. Bring some bass.” “Okay, I could try to– [clears throat] I could try to bring some bass. Is that–” “Lower than that.”
[deeper voice] “I can go lower than that. Is that good?” “Lower than that.”
[deeper voice] “Lower, lower. Way down. I could keep it here. I could keep it here.” “That’s better. Now, very important: to be a first black president, your pacing must… be… powerful. Every word… must seem… like the last… you will ever speak.” “Wow, that’s powerful, Mr. Mandela. Let me try… to speak like that. Does that work?” “That’s good. Very good. I can feel it. Yes. Now, for the magic touch. To be first black president, you need to have the husk.”
[raspy vocalizing] [deep, raspy vocalizing] “No. More husky.” [raspy vocalizing] “That’s it. You are getting it now.”
[raspy vocalizing continues] “That’s it. I think you’ve got it. Now, repeat after me. America.” “America.” “No. The husk. Bring the husk back. America.” -“America.” -“America.”
[imitating Barack Obama] “America.” “America.” -“America.” -“Yes! I can feel it. Say, ‘This is my country.'” -“This is my country.” -“Yes! -This is my dream!” -“This is my dream.” “Yes, I can feel it.” You are going to be the first black president.” “I don’t know. Do you think we can do it?” -“Yes, we can.” -“Yes, we can.” -“Yes, we can.” -“Yes, we can.” -“Yes, we can.” -“Yes, we can.” “Ha ha! You’ve got it right. Now, go get them, my n i g g a.”
[cheers and applause]
I’d like to think that’s how it went down.
It’s crazy and frightening when you think about how just the way you speak can determine and change your path in life. We still do it today. It’s the reason half of the world has immigrant problems. It’s not really immigrant problems. It’s the fear of something different. When people say they don’t like immigrants, most of the time, they’re not referring to immigrants who look and sound like them. They’re talking about immigrants who speak differently, who look different. You know, ’cause an accent comes with a connotation. You think you know if someone is smart or stupid because of their accent. And yet, an accent is not a measure of intelligence. It’s just someone speaking your language with the rules of theirs. Accents have connotations. We cannot deny it. Look at the French. We all believe that the French are romantic. Why? Because of their accent. They’ve got that thing.
[vocalizing with French inflection]
[French accent] “I was thinking that maybe we could– how you say– afterwards, maybe we could try to…”
[female voice] “Oh, my God, he’s so sexy. Oh, my God.” Accents determine how we see people.
Same thing happens with the Russians. The Russians, the most feared people on the planet. Why? Because of how they speak. I don’t care who you are, you cannot deny that when a Russian speaks, you are not comfortable. As soon as they open their mouths:
[Russian accent] “Yeah. Going to kill you, break you. I’ll destroy your family.” Even if they say nice things, it still sounds menacing and dangerous. “Yeah, fluffy rabbits and teddy bears. Happy Valentine’s Day.” Sounds like a threat. You don’t mess with Russians. I don’t care who you are, where you are, you do not mess with the Russians because of that accent. All of us in the world are afraid of the Russians. They do that thing when they speak. Strikes fear into the hearts of men. And you see it every single day. Look what happened at the Olympics. We found out the Russians have been doping for the last four or five Olympics. Olympic Committee banned them, confidently as well. While they were in Zurich.
[German accent] “We here at the Olympic Committee feel that the Russians may no longer participate in the Olympic Games to their doping practices. And they are now hereby uninvited from the Games in Rio and banned hitherto into the future. Thank you very much.” And the Russians were like, “What did you say?” “The truth is, you know, the Olympics is for everybody. You can come when you want to. I mean, who am I to ban you, ja? This is for all of us. Okay. I see you in Rio. Okay. Auf wiedersehen. Bye-bye.” Everyone’s afraid of the Russians. You see it when it comes to geopolitics. Look at what happened in the Ukraine. Russia took a piece of another country. Annexed Crimea. No provocation, no reason. Out of nowhere, the Russians were just like, “Yeah. I like.” And the whole world, what did we do?
You don’t mess with the Russians. Most frightening people in the world. You know how I know this? You know how I’ve learned? Because I’ve learned how to use the Russian accent for myself. I’ve learned how to harness that energy and use it for good. I’ll share this with you, I don’t mind. I, uh– I’m not particularly comfortable in the house at night by myself. What I’m trying to say is I’m afraid of the dark. And I know it’s stupid to be afraid of the dark, right? Because there’s nothing there, nine times out of ten. But what happens is, I’ll be sleeping. And in the middle of the night, I’ll be woken up by the need to pee. And whenever that happens, I’m always faced with the eternal dilemma. When I go to the bathroom, do I turn the lights on and lose my sleep? Or do I leave the lights off and shit myself? I never know which one to go with. But what I started doing now is I leave the lights off. And when I go the bathroom, I just speak to myself in a Russian accent. It sounds crazy, but I feel safe. I feel like I’m the most dangerous thing in the night. You’ll find me at three a.m., barefoot, walking to the toilet, like, “Yes. Big boy got to make a pee-pee. No trouble over here. It’s potty time.”
I feel safe, like even if there’s a monster under the bed, he’d be like, “Is that a Russian?” There’s just something about that Russian accent. Ladies, every single one of you needs to learn the Russian accent. You read stories all the time. I talk to my female friends all the time, my family members, and women are constantly under assault. Women are living a life of being vulnerable. Walking through the streets, men catcalling. In the office place, people groping. Feeling like they have ownership of the female form. I know we can’t solve this tomorrow, but if you learn the Russian accent, half of those problems would disappear. The next time you’re in a compromising position, you’re at a bar, waiting for your drink. That creepy guy comes up and starts grinding on you from behind. “Hey, how are you? Hey, you want to dance?” “No, I’m fine, thank you. I’m just getting a drink. I don’t–” “Come on, dance with me, girl.” “I’m fine. I don’t wanna dance. Thank you. I’m waiting for my friends. I’m good.” “Come on.
♪ I know you want me ♪
♪ You know I want you ♪
♪ I know you want me ♪”
“I don’t want dance with you. Please!” “Hey, you don’t gotta be such a bitch!” Whenever that happens, ladies, don’t be afraid, don’t stress. Just whip out your Russian and kill it dead. As soon as he says, “Don’t be such a bitch!” Just be like… [Russian accent] “You want to see bitch?” Done. Sober up and walk away. Use it for anything, ladies. Anything. At work, in the streets. Use it at home. Doesn’t have to be life-or-death, could be a mild annoyance. Yeah. Next time you’re in bed. You’re trying to sleep, but you can’t because there’s this horny little rabbit behind you… dry-humping your back. You know the nights I’m talking about. Everyone in this room knows the nights I’m talking about. Ladies, you’re dog-tired, you just want to fall asleep. And he’s there behind you. “Baby. Baby. Baby. Baby.” [tiredly] “What?” “Are you sleeping?” “Yeah, I’m trying. What do you want?” “I want you, baby. I’ve wanted you all night. Oh, I want you so bad. You look so good right now. In that nightgown and your curlers, girl. I just want you so bad right now.” “Oh, baby. Thank you for thinking I’m beautiful even though I’m in my curlers, but, please, can we talk about this tomorrow? I’m so tired. Baby, aren’t you tired?” “I’m never tired for you, girl. I want you right now.” “Oh, baby, please. Let’s do this tomorrow. Please, I’m so tired. I just want to sleep.” “It’s fine. You can sleep. I don’t mind.” “No, I’m not gonna–” Yo, for real, ladies, can I just say, men are creeps. On behalf of all men, I apologize, because we are disgusting creeps. Every single one of us. “No, I’m not gonna sleep. What’s wrong with you? What are you talking about?” “What do you mean? I want you, is that so bad?” “I’m just tired.” “You said when we left the show, ‘That was fun, we had a good time.’ Then we’re driving home. You were like, ‘I can’t wait to get you back.'” “I know I said that, and I did, I wanted to. But then I got into bed. I didn’t even realize how tired I was. Baby, please. I promise you I’m not–” “You do this to me all the time. What am I supposed to do now? Look at me. Do you know how hard it is to have blue balls, how painful this is? What am I supposed to do now with this?” I love how guys talk about an erection like it’s something bought at the store and we can’t return. Then he says, “What am I supposed to do with this? I’ve opened it. I can’t take it back. Huh? What am I supposed to do with this?” Whenever that happens, you aren’t fighting the man, you’re fighting his horniness. It’s gonna turn into a fight that’s gonna spoil your week, maybe your month. Don’t let it happen. Just get your Russian out and kill it dead. As soon as he starts losing it– “You’re doing this all the time. You reject me. I just want you.” And just be like, “Okay, okay. Show me what penis can do. Let’s go. Make action, lover boy.” Done. Problem solved. Even the penis will be like, “You know what, you’re right. I told him, but he wouldn’t listen to me. I don’t know how we got to this point. Because what happened was he called me. ‘Come out, there’s a party.’ I came out. I was like, ‘You’re sleeping?’ He’s like, ‘I’ll wake her up.’ I was like, ‘Don’t wake her up.’ You know me. I don’t wake you. I’m here five times a night. I’ve never woken you. I don’t know why he woke you up. I’m gonna be chilling. I had some stuff to do. Go back to bed. Because I respect you. I have paperwork that I’m handling in my office. If you need me, you know where to find me. He shouldn’t have done that. I want to apologize, ’cause I don’t think you should be in a situation where a man is pressuring you.” [mumbling] Done. Kill it dead, ladies. All you need is that Russian accent. The most dangerous accent in the world. And yet… yet… strangely enough… I found the Russian language does not make me fear at all. Strangest discovery I made. The Russian accent… makes me fear. The Russian language does not. Because a language is something someone else speaks. An accent is me interpreting how they’re using mine. It’s a completely different thing. I was walking through the streets. There was a man on the phone, Russian guy, speaking to someone in English. Sounded like he was setting up a drug deal. Then he switched into Russian. The strangest thing happened in my brain. And he was like, “Vlad. The guys got to be there at three o’clock. Tell me when you get the package. Afterwards, I got to let you know– No, Vlad. No, listen. Vlad, Vlad. Vlad, nyet, nyet, Vlad.” [speaking mock Russian] That was the weirdest thing in my head. In my head, he instantly went from international criminal to immigrant instantly. I wasn’t afraid anymore. It was the strangest thing. He was just a normal person in my mind, because Russian doesn’t frighten me. If anything, Russian just sounds like a DJ is scratching on a turntable. That’s all I hear when I hear Russian, like a DJ took a turntable. They’re scratching English like, “Vlad, the guys got to be there at three o’clock. You got to let me know when you get the package. Afterwards, the guy’s got to call me. Don’t worry about that. I’ll let you know. No, Vlad. Listen, Vlad.
[imitating record playing backwards as mock Russian]
[imitates record scratching]
Russian. That’s all I’m hearing.
New York, you guys have been amazing. Thank you so much for coming out. I had a great time with all of you. You just made one of my dreams come true. Thank you to every single one of you that came tonight. Thank you. Good night.