A NETFLIX ORIGINAL COMEDY SPECIAL
LIVE NATION PRESENTS TREVOR NOAH
[presenter] Beautiful people, put your hands together for Trevor Noah.
[shouting and whooping]
[hip hop intro music]
What’s going on, Los Angeles?
Welcome to the show. Thank you for coming out. Thank you for being here. This is so much fun. Welcome out. Oh, look at all of you. This is so dope. I love LA. I love everything about LA. Even the things people hate about LA, I love. I love the traffic in LA. It’s like one of my favorite experiences. Yeah, when you don’t live here, it’s great. It’s wonderful. Because you get to be a part of it, but it’s not yours forever. It’s like another person’s child, you know what I’m saying? Yeah, you get to be like, “This is crazy. Have it back.” -That’s what it feels like.
I love it, man.
I love the vibe. You know? I love driving out here. You know. And while I’m out here, I get to listen to the radio, you guys have great radio stations because you’re always in your cars. In New York– Radio’s not a big thing for me living in New York. I ride my bicycle, walk the streets. I can’t listen to music because I’ll die. -Um…
But in LA, that’s all I do. I just listen to music. Now, these days when you’re driving, all you hear is trap music. That’s the big thing you hear, is trap. That’s the new music on the radio. It’s really fun. Trap. I don’t understand what they’re saying, but I enjoy it.
Every single song is the same. Every trap song to me sounds like a toddler complaining about life. That’s all I hear when I listen to trap songs. Every time a trap song plays on the radio, I think of my little brother, he’ll go outside and hurt himself. He’ll come back crying, it sounds like every single trap song ever. He’ll walk in like… [imitates child sobbing] I’ll be like, “Yo, Isaac, what happened?” [imitates sobbing] [sobbing nonsense in a trap style] [whoops] [sobbing nonsense in a trap style] [continued nonsense] And I’ll be like, “Yo, yo ,yo, dude, slow down.”
[laughter and applause]
I thought you were playing with your friends. What happened?”
♪ All my friends are dead ♪
♪ Push me to the edge ♪
♪ All my friends are dead now ♪
♪ Push me to the edge now ♪
[sings nonsense] “Go talk to your mom. I don’t know what you’re saying. Talk to your mom.”
Ah… The City of Angels, I love every moment, man. I’m enjoying myself. I just got back from vacation. So I’m having a great time. You got that vacation swag, you’ve still got that thing. You know, you still feel loose. You feel relaxed. I went to Bali on vacation.
Out in Indonesia. Yeah, if you’ve never been, make a plan and get out there. It’s an amazing place. Uh, I went out with some of my friends, learned a few things about myself as a person. The most important thing I learned is somebody needs to invent a TripAdvisor specifically for black people. Right? No, because just generally, I find that what white people want to do on vacation, is what black people are trying to escape. [laughter] And not in a bad way. We just want different things out of life. Like my white friends are always inviting me camping, for instance. Always. With enthusiasm. Like, “Trevor wanna go camping, dude?” I’m like, “Why?” [rising laughter] I was like, “Dude. What do you mean, ‘Why?’ It’s amazing. Are you kidding me? No water, no electricity, you know? It’s just us and the great outdoors, you’ve got to take a dump in the hole in the floor or something, dude.” I’m like, “Yeah, that was my life. [laughter] That was me growing up. You know how hard I worked to never go camping again?”
Every day. Every day I wake up in my bed, and I’m like, “Thank God I’m not camping.” [laughter] If my family saw pictures of me camping, they would be devastated. If my grandmother saw me out in the woods, [crying] she’d be like, “What happened to Trevor? I thought he was successful. Oh! [imitates sobbing] It must be the crack.” Ah. [sobs] I won’t go camping.
So, I went with my friends to Bali. They planned the trip. And uh, before we went, I asked my friend I was like, “Yo, Mitch, what are we going to be doing? He was like, “Don’t ask questions, Trevor. It’s just gonna be a great time.” I was like, “I want to know what the great time is going to be about.” He was like, “Dude, don’t ask questions.” -I should have asked questions. -[laughter] Because we had fun.
But there were a few things that were weird that I wouldn’t necessarily do on my own. For instance, on the third day of the trip, we had what was planned, what was billed in our itinerary as an authentic Balinese experience. That’s what they called it, “an authentic Balinese experience.” What they did was, they woke us up at 5 a.m., put us in a little bus, and we drove for three hours. And when we got there, we get out of the bus, in the middle of what looks like a remote village, and a little tour guide, really happy, way too happy for that time, and he’s like “Welcome, everybody. Are you ready for a good time?” And I’m like, “Yeah.” And so he’s like, “My name is Dang Basaan and I’m going to be your guide. Today, you will have an authentic Balinese experience. So exciting! Follow me.” And so we follow him, and he walks up to a little door. and I’m like, “This is going to be like a temple or cave…” And he’s like, “Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the real Bali.” and he opens the door, into somebody’s house. This is not a museum house, this is just a house. Someone lives there every single day. He opens the door and he’s like, “This is the home of someone in Bali. [rising laughter] He eats here. He sleeps here.” -I’m like, “Does he know we’re here?”
We didn’t knock. Nobody answered the door. For all I know, we’re breaking and entering right now. We’re in some weird Balinese gang. I don’t know how this works. And as I’m about to ask the question, he turned and he’s like, “Over here you can see the owner of the house. He’s in the corner.” We turn, and there’s a man. The whole time, just sitting there. Frozen stiff. And I’m like, “Is this guy part of this?” I don’t know if we should be doing this or should not be doing this?” And Dang Basaan turns to him, starts speaking in Balinese. He’s like… [pretends to speak Balinese] -“Okay, you can touch anything.” -[laughter] And so I’m like, “I don’t think we should–” Before I can even finish, the people in our tour group were like, “Yeah! Touch it all. [exaggerated voice] Oh my God. Touch it all. Oh my God, does he sleep here? Oh, wow. Is this where he eats? Oh, my God, I could never do this. Oh, my God. Excuse me. Thank you so much for having us. Oh, my God, I appreciate my life so much more right now. Thank you so much. This is horrible. Can we take a selfie?
Thank you. Are you on Instagram? I’ll just put hashtag “the man.” Thank you. Oh my God.” So I’m really awkward right now, Right, um… because this is like something culturally I’m not supposed to be doing. As an African person, I should not be in somebody’s house rummaging through their life. So I’m standing in the corner really uncomfortable. And the owner of the house is really accommodating, he’s friendly. You know. He’s like, “Yes, thank you. Enjoy. Enjoy. Thank you.” And then he turns and looks at me. And this was one of the most magical moments, right, because he was smiling at everyone else and his face completely changed when he turned. He was all hospitable, like, “Yes, thank you. Thank you.”
And with his eyes, he proceeded to have the most in-depth conversation with me that I’ve ever had. It’s not like the eyes conversation was new to me. You can have an eyes conversation with anyone you have a connection with. It could be somebody of the same race when you’re in public. Er, it could be like a husband and wife. Wives are good at having eyes conversations. They’ll like shit on you hard. You’ll be in public together, and you’ll say something off– You’ll be like, “If only she did that.” She’ll be like, “Hell no. I cannot believe you said–” But it’s just eyes. “I cannot believe you said all that. Wait until the next– You want to air our dirty laundry in public? You’ll see how this is going to end. You say this and enjoy this moment right now, because it’s over.” And you’re like, “I shouldn’t have done that.” All with eyes. Right? That’s what he did to me. Because one minute he’s smiling at everybody, and then he turns and looks at me. And with his eyes, he was like, “What are you doing here?” So with my eyes, I was like, “Hey man, I’m sorry, I didn’t know this was your house. They said it was an authentic experience. That’s why I came.” He was like, “Yeah, authentic for white people. You’ve got your own poor. Go back to where you came from.”
I was like, “Yeah, I shouldn’t be here, man. I’m sorry.” [low laughter] So I left. I go outside. About 15 minutes later, everyone’s done with their poverty porn, so they come and join me.
Um… Dang Basaan follows the crowd. And he’s having a blast. You can tell. He walks out and says, “Everyone have a great time? I know you enjoyed that. Now, it’s time for a special surprise. Follow me, everybody, to the back.” And he takes us to the back of the house, right. Where there’s this area they’ve laid out, where clearly they have some sort of performance. There’s a stage, there’s raked seating. He tells us to find our seats, so we all sit down. There’s people from all over the world in our tour group. Myself, my American friends, some British people. There’s a French family. A dad and his son. They sit next to me. So I sit in the front row. And Dang Basaan comes back out. And all of a sudden, he’s wearing a giant Balinese headdress. Looking really beautiful, you know. He looks at us and he’s like, “Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready for an authentic Balinese experience? Please welcome the snakes of Bali.” -I’m like, “The what?” -[laughter] I’m like, “Oh, he said snakes.” The snakes of Bali– And I look, and there’s snakes. There’s a group of men gathering snakes to bring out to us. And so I’m like, “Yeah, no. No, I don’t.” No, because you see as a black person, culturally, I’m trying to not die. So… I take all my stuff and start packing it. And the French guy turns to me and he’s like, [French accent] “My friend, where are you going? The show.” I said, “Yeah. No, the guy said there’s snakes coming, so I’m going to move. I’m gonna go to the back.” He said, “You are moving because of the snake?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Why are you moving for the snake, my friend? Are you afraid of a snake?” -I said, “Yeah.
That’s exactly what I am, afraid of the snakes.” He said, “Such a big man, but you are afraid of a snake?” I said, “Yeah with a big brain, that’s why I’m afraid.” It’s a snake. You’re not going to trick me into not being afraid of a snake. My toxic masculinity is not so high that I’ll be like, ” Yeah, you know what man, come on, Snakey. Come on.” [shouts] It’s a snake! Instead of just letting it go, this guy turns. He’s like, “I cannot believe it, a big man like this. Jean-Pierre–” He talks to his son. [makes up French words] And this kid’s like “ha, ha, ha!” [exaggerated] “Snake. Snake!” And he’s like, “Oui, oui, snake. Are you afraid? Snake. What is this? It’s a snake. Snake.” And these two carry on for like 15 seconds non-stop. Right. Just back and forth. “Snake, snake, snake,” the whole time. He’s like, “Snake. Are you scared? Snake.” I’m like, “Whatever man, you guys lost all your wars.” So I go to the back. -[Loud laughter] -Right. -I don’t have time for this.
I don’t have time for this, because there’s snakes. So, I go to the back, take all my stuff. I climb up and I’m sitting at the top, because I want to see the show, I just don’t want to be a part of it. So I’ve got my stuff. I move all the way up to the top. I sit there. As I get there, the show starts. And Dang Basaan’s really excited and he’s like, “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your first performer, the powerful Python.” And a dude comes out with a giant python wrapped around him. Alright. And this guy had this cool trick where the python would squeeze him really tight. Super tight. So tight, you could almost hear his bones cracking. Alright. And then he’d make a sound. He’d be like… -Eeh.
And the snake would let go. Then it’d start squeezing him again, and he’d be like… eeh. And the snake would let go. It would squeeze him again and he’d make the same sound, like… eeh And the snake would let go. I was like, “This is dope. This is cool. Yeah, we’re in a consensual relationship. I like this. This is uh…” So he leaves with the snake.
The next performer comes out, and this guy had a green mamba with him, right? And so Dang Basaan is like, “Ladies and gentlemen, the green mamba.” This guy comes out and he had a cool trick where he took the lid off the basket the green mamba would come out and it would start doing a little move. And then someone would play music and then the snake charmer would dance with the snake. They’d do the same moves, like a Justin Timberlake video, just the two of them back and forth. I was like, “That was dope.” The snake goes back in.
And then Dang Basaan came out one final time. He was like, “Now, ladies and gentlemen, are you ready for the final part of the show? Please welcome The King Cobra.” The final performer comes out with a cobra. Puts the snake down. Lifts the lid, snake comes out. And I don’t know what it was about the snake. But you could feel the energy change, like. They were all snakes, but this snake looked mean. You know? Like it looked like it hated life. There was something about it. This snake looked like it had a mortgage. [laughter] Because it looked at us, and then fixed its eyes on the charmer. He was really cool and calm. He didn’t even look at the snake. He addressed us. He was like “Ladies and gentlemen. They say the cobra can strike faster than the man can blink. But can a man move faster than the snake can think?” And I’m like oooh… -“I don’t know what that means, [laughter] but I’m in.” Because it sounds like a dumb Instagram quote, but I’m in. And this guy had the most amazing trick. What he did was he got right up close to the snake, and he put his hands behind his back. And then, he would make it seem like he was going to kiss the snake. And the snake will be no further than like a foot from his face. And then he would make this sound like a kissing sound. As he made the sound, the snake would try to bite him, and he moved away. I’ve never seen anything like it. But he leaned in, and he’s like, “Come on, snake.” [puckering sound] [kissing sound] [hisses] “Too slow, snakey. Try again. [puckering sound] [hisses] No love for you, my friend. Come on, snakey.” And all of us are enthralled. Every single one of us. No one’s making a sound, no one’s moving. And he does it over and over again. And then, to take it to the next level, he closes his eyes, pouts his lips, and I guess, at this point, the snake was probably like, “I think I figured this out. This dude’s going to make the sound and then he’s going to move. But if I bite before the sound, I can change everyone’s lives.” Because that’s exactly what the snake does. [surprised laughter] The guy closes his eyes, pouts his lips. Before he can make the sound, the snake strikes him. -Pa! Bam!
Hits him on the mouth. Right? Cuts his lip open, blood goes spraying everywhere. Now, that should be the end of the story, the craziest part of the story. No, this is the middle.
The snake hits him on the mouth. The blood goes spraying. This guy jumps back, and then acts like he didn’t just get bitten by a snake. Which makes us think we’re crazy, because we all saw it. Everyone in the audience was like [gasps] And then he jumps back, and he just shakes it off. You know what he did? He did that thing that people do when they get their hand jammed into a car door or something? Like it slammed, and there’s a [slam sound] And people will just be like mmm… He did that, but with a snake. So the snake hits him, the blood sprays, and he jumps back and he’s like mmm…
“Don’t worry. We’re fine. Don’t worry. Don’t worry. Everybody, we’re fine. Relax, relax, we are fine.” But we weren’t fine. You know, how we know this? Because his face started melting on the one side. Right? So his face starts melting, his lips start turning blue and he goes back to do his kiss trick again, but he can’t even stand and he looks at the snake. The snake looks at him, and he’s like “Okay, show is done. Goodnight everybody. Goodbye. “Goodbye.” He runs off. And all of us now are like, “What the hell just happened?” He runs off, I have questions in my head. Like is he going to be okay? Do we get our money back? How does this work? And then we turn back and we realize. He’s forgotten his snake. [surprised laughter] And you know what the worst thing was? It seemed like the snake realized the same thing at the same time. Because the snake also watched him leave and then as we turned back, the snake was also like, “Oh shit.”
And so now, it’s just us, and the snake. And mind you, there’s no barrier, right. There’s no concrete. There’s no glass. There’s nothing. It’s an authentic Balinese experience. So we’re all staring at the snake. The snake is staring at us. And then, one genius decided now would be the perfect time to get an Instagram picture. And I don’t know if it was the camera, the sound, or the flash. All I heard was “click,” and the snake jumped up and was like… [hisses] And we were all like… arghhhh. And then it was chaos. Pandemonium ensued. Don’t forget, I was at the back. So I just jumped. I was like, “Being black saved me!”I [applause] I was out. [whooping] Panic ensued. Everyone jumps up, people are trying to scramble trampling over each other. The French guy was my favorite, he jumps up, and he was like, “Sacre bleu!” [speaking French] Le serpent, le serpent! [shouting] “Allez, Jean-Pierre, allez.” And he’s pushing the people and running. “Allez! Jean-Pierre. Jean-Pierre.” And when he turns, his son hasn’t moved, right? So, little Jean-Pierre is planted to the spot, terrified. And you see his face like, “Papa! Papa!” He was like, “Allez, Jean-Pierre. Mon ami.” Papa! Papa! And so the dad realizes he’s got to go back in and save his kid. But this is one of those moments where you can see the fundamental difference between mothers and fathers. Right? Because a mother would run in without thinking, and she would be like, “I will die for my child. Strike me now, snake.” Right, that’s moms. Dads will save their kid, but in the back of their head, they’re thinking, “I’m going to save my kid. But I don’t want to die. I mean– I don’t want to die because this dumbass didn’t know to run when his dad was running. I mean, there’s a snake and I start running, why wouldn’t you run at the same time? Now I’ve got to die for your dumb ass, which makes no sense, because I can make another one of you, you can’t make another one of me. I should just make you a brother and we can mourn your dumbass death together. I don’t know why we’re doing this right now.” I think that’s what the dad was thinking. Because he didn’t fully commit. Instead, he tried to sneak in behind his kid. Then he grabs the back of his hoodie and yanks him to safety. So now, little Jean-Pierre’s choking on the ground. [choking sounds] Papa! And he finally gets him to the side. Another snake charmer comes running out, grabs the snake, puts it in the sack, and finally danger is averted. Everybody’s safe. Everyone is safe but terrified. Some people are crying, others are in shock. I’m standing on the side, watching all of this. Little Jean-Pierre is with his dad, both in tears. “Desolé mon ami. Desolé Jean-Pierre” Papa! [makes up French sounds] And I don’t speak French, but I know this kid was like, “You asshole, you left me. I’m going to tell Mom.”
And so, I’m staring at them, and I guess they could feel that I was staring. So they both stopped at the same time. And they turned and looked at me and I looked at them. And in that moment, in that moment I realized we’re all human beings. We all experienced the same thing, we went through the same trauma. No matter what happened to us before, we are all human beings. They looked at me, I could see in their eyes what they’d just experienced, what I experienced. And in that pause, I bent down, and I got real close to them and I was like, “Snake.” [whooping] [content sigh] [prolonged applause] That’s how racism starts. But you know what? It was worth it. Yeah, it was worth it.
[exhales] I love traveling, man. I love traveling, learning about places. Reading things and meeting new people. I er… When I think about the history of racism– I’m fascinated by racism as a concept, you know, as an action, a policy… All of it fascinates me. I read these stories in history. And one of the most fascinating things I read about recently, one of the most fascinating places, was a place called, Rochester, New York. Where– Genuinely, this blew my mind, they had a city which was basically dedicated to rehabilitating people who had escaped slavery. So, black people who escaped the South, gone into the North, were rehabilitated at this place. Frederick Douglass wrote many of his works there. the suffragette movement kicked off there. It’s a powerful little place. I was reading these stories, and what they would do is, slaves would escape from the South, they’d make their way to the North. Get to Rochester, the Underground Railroad got them there. And then they would rehabilitate them, put them on boats, and send them to Canada so that they could live free. And I was like, “That’s a fascinating story,” for two reasons: one, it reminds you there were a lot of good people, white people, out there. I often get angry at white people then I’m like, “No, there’s good ones. Calm down.” Um… And the second part of it that was amazing was that they convinced black people to get back on boats. I think [applause] that’s one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever read. Because, do you know how convincing you’d have to be to convince someone who’s just escaped slavery? Think about that for a second. Somebody’s just escaped slavery. They’ve made their way there finally, they wake up after one night of free sleep, and they walk out and it’s just like, “Hey, man. I just want to say thank you so much for everything you did for me, man.” “You know what, my friend? Nobody deserves to live how you lived, and I’m glad we got you out.” “Thank you so much. I appreciate you, brother.” “Thank you, my friend. Okay, all we’ve got to do now is get you some paperwork, get you cleaned up, put you on a boat, get you to Canada, and you can live a free life. Everything will be better.” “I’m sorry. Hold up. Er… Yeah, could you– Come again? You? What did you say?” “I know the paperwork thing is weird, but we’ve got to get you some identification.” “No, you said something about a boat?” “We’ll put you on a boat to get you to Canada.” “Yeah. No, I don’t– Yeah, we don’t do boats no more. I don’t know if you know our history but me and my people, we took a cruise one time. That shit didn’t go so well. So yeah, we’ve got to find another way to get to Canada if you don’t mind.” “But the boat is the best way for us to get there from Rochester.” “Yeah, that might be the best way for y’all. But we gon’ walk. Hell we can run, we can run real good. We can run, but we ain’t getting on no boat.” “My friend, you’ve got to get on the boat.” “Man, I ain’t got to do shit. I just got free. Imagine if I get on that boat, and on the other side it’s the same? What will they say to me? -‘Why’d you get on the boat?’ -‘He was real nice.’ Hell no! I ain’t getting on no boat.” “You’ve got to get on the boat, though. You’re free now. You’ve got to get over this.” “Maybe one day, in a few hundred years, one of my descendants named Kanye West will be over this shit, but I ain’t over it now. [loud laughter and applause] So, I ain’t getting on no boat.” [shouting] “We got to get you on the boat, dammit.” “I’m not getting on no boat.” And that was the day the phrase, “N i g g a, please” was invented. [loud laughter] [whooping laughter] The white man turned and went, “N i g g a, please, I need you on that boat.” And that story was passed down generation to generation, black person to black person, free man to free man. “And that white man got down on his knees, and he said, ‘N i g g a, please.'” -“N i g g a please?” -“N i g g a, please. I ain’t never heard that phrase before in my life. -N i g g a, please… N i g g a please. -N i g g a, please?” I know that’s probably a phrase Barack Obama used at least once in the White House. At least once. Like, “Mr. President, do you think Trump is because of you? -Do you think you caused this?” -“N i g g a, please.” Just one time, one time. I know he used it.
Actually, I had the pleasure of meeting President Obama while he was in office. Probably one of the craziest experiences I’ve ever had in my life. Yeah, I was… [cheering] It came out of nowhere. It came out of nowhere. I was at The Daily Show, I was in my office and I got a phone call from the administration. And someone on the other end was like, “Hi, Trevor. Would you like to interview the President of the U.S. in the White House?” And I was like, “Do you ask stupid questions?” I was like, “Of course I want to meet the President of the United States. Are you serious?” And the day finally came. I went to DC with my TV crew. And they set us up in a room, which was literally opposite the Oval Office. We put all our cameras in place. All we’re doing now is waiting for the President to arrive. So we’re staring at the door with baited breath. And the reason we’re staring is they don’t give you an exact time of the President’s arrival, for his safety. So they just give you a window, like the cable guy. [laughter] So we’re all waiting there, listening to every footstep, every moment, and then he just popped in behind us, scared the shit out of everybody. Yeah. There’s a secret door, but they don’t tell you. Again for safety. Right. We’re staring at the door and suddenly he’s like, “Hello.” I was like… arghhh! But I had a great time in the interview with him. He was really kind to everyone in the room, and then we turned off the cameras, and I promise you, he became even nicer, we just had a conversation. I thought he’d leave. He’s President of the U.S., he’s got to go do something. And he just chilled for a bit, you know? And we spoke as human beings, and it went really well until he turned to me and he said, “Trevor, I’ve got a show that I’m doing in a few weeks, a little thing, I thought maybe you’d want to pop by and perform, if you don’t mind.” I said, “Mr. President, I would be honored. Just let me know when and where. What’s the show going to be for, sir?” He said, “Trevor, I’m doing a little thing for my aides, and I thought maybe you’d want to be there.” I said, “I would love to, thank you. I’m sorry, a show for what?” He said, “For my aides, Trevor.” I said, “You have AIDS?” [laughter] And then– And then he explained what he meant. And I wanted the earth to swallow me whole. [loud laughter] Because I had just looked at the President of the United States, and asked him if he had AIDS. And the worst thing is that he was nice to me as well. ‘Cause I said that and then he explained and I was like, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it. I don’t even know why– You said “aides”, and then AIDS…” Because, here’s the thing. In my defense, I get it now. He means aides, as in the White House aides the people who help the President. I get it now. But in my defense, where I’m from AIDS is some other shit that doesn’t help anybody. No one in Africa is walking around saying, “Let me introduce you to my AIDS.” So now I’m here. I’m frazzled. I’m like, “Mr. President, I’m so sorry. [speaking fast] I didn’t mean that. You don’t have AIDS, even if you did there’s nothing wrong with having AIDS. There’s no stigma. Actually, I don’t know what I’m saying. I’m so sorry.” He was like, “Trevor, Trevor, calm down, Trevor. Trevor, Trevor calm down.” “I’m so sorry, Mr. President, I shouldn’t have said that. I’m the dumbest person you ever met. He was like, “Trevor, Trevor,” “I’m the dumbest person you’ve ever met.” He was like, “No, Trevor that’s not true. I’ve met Trump.” [loud laughter] Get out of here! [cheering] So smooth.
I’m used to it in life, though. This is something that commonly happens to me, living in the US. You know. I understand it as an idea. If you move to another country, you’re probably gonna have to learn another language. I didn’t realize that would happen in America, because I speak English. But here, people speak American. Similar, but not the same. Alright? Like small things change, small things. I accept that, small things like pronunciation. For instance the thing you drink, I call that “water”. Yes, water, in American you say “wadder”. Right? “Wadder”. Yeah. I say “water” because there’s a T in the word. Right? Erm… The glass you see yourself in every morning, I refer to that as “a mirror”. Yeah? Alright? In American you say “Ameer”, right? “Ameer”, which is not the same thing to me. A mirror is the glass, Ameer is a Middle Eastern man, very different experience. It’s not the same thing. That’s just pronunciation, right. You also have to learn the meanings of words that you already knew when you move to America. For instance, where I’m from there’s a garment that men commonly wear under their shirts. It’s white and it’s sleeveless. Where I’m from, we refer to this as a “vest”. Okay? I’ve now learned, in American, it is known as a “wife beater”. -Yeah, I have so many questions. -[laughter]
And so the best and worst experience I had learning American happened to me when I actually first moved to the US. I lived in California, in Pasadena when I first came to the United States, right. and the reason I lived in Pasadena is because that’s where I knew my first American friend, a guy by the name of David Meyer. He came to South Africa to film a documentary. We became the best of friends and one day we were hanging out in Dave’s apartment. Dave’s chilling on his bean bag, and he looks over at me and he’s like, [puts on Californian accent] “Trevor, dude, [sounding stoned] I don’t know about you right now, but I’m starving.” I said, “I think you mean you’re hungry, Dave.” He said, “What?” I said, “It doesn’t matter, what you want to eat?” [laughter] He said, “You know what I’m craving right now, man? I’m craving tacos.” I said, “That sounds like fun. Let’s do it, man. Let’s go to Tacos.” “What?” “Isn’t that the restaurant you’re craving? Tacos?” “Are you being serious right now? You’ve never had tacos?” “No, I don’t know what tacos is.” [raising voice] “You’ve never had tacos?” “My answer hasn’t changed from now, Dave. No.” -“I’ve never had tacos.” -“You’ve never had tacos?” And by the way, I hate it when people do that. You know when people ask you the same question over and over again, they can’t believe you haven’t had the same life experience? You know that thing they do? With everything, “Oh my God, have you heard the new Beyoncé?” -No. -You haven’t heard the new Beyoncé? -No, I haven’t– -You haven’t heard the– ? Oh no, now I have. No, I’d never had tacos, right. I’d never had tacos, because in South Africa, we don’t really have Mexican food. We don’t have Mexican food, because we don’t have Mexicans. They never came over. It’s not my fault. Dave was personally offended. I’ll never forget, he jumped up and he was like, “Dude. I cannot believe you’ve been in America all this time and you’ve never had tacos.” I said, “Dave why is it such a big deal?” He’s like, “Because, Trevor, nothing says America like tacos.” [whooping and applause] I said, “Really? Nothing says America like Mexican food?” And, you know, what’s funny is I feel like in that moment, Dave was being profound. He didn’t even realize it, but that was a profound little nugget that he had just espoused. Nothing says America like tacos. I’ve had the privilege of traveling everywhere in this beautiful country. I’ve been to places like Erie, Pennsylvania; El Paso, Texas; Honolulu, Hawaii, you know. I’ve been everywhere, and one thing I’ve learned across the board in America, is that Americans love tacos. applause] Everywhere you go, Americans love tacos. Love tacos. Even people you wouldn’t expect. I was watching the news one day, and there was a guy at a rally, and they were asking him about immigration and families being separated, etc. And this guy, regardless of his politics, he was being really mean and xenophobic, and racist. You know, just acting real presidential. And the journalist asked him, the journalist asked him about children and he just went straight in, he was like, “Boy, I tell you what, I don’t give a damn about any of these goddamn Mexicans. They came over here. They ain’t supposed to be here, boy. Wooo! It’s our country now, you hear? That’s right, boy. Go back to where you came from. Wooo! These Mexicans ain’t done nothing good. Ain’t brought nothing good to America. We don’t need y’all. Come on, Bubba. It’s Taco Tuesday.” Get out of here, but leave the recipes. [laughter]
I feel like there should be a rule in America, they should say, you can hate immigrants all you want, but if you do, you don’t get to eat their food. -[cheering] -Yeah? [whooping] That’s a fair exchange to me. You hate immigrants, -no immigrant food.
And when I say no immigrant food, I mean no immigrant food. Nothing. No Mexican food. No Caribbean food. No Dominican food. No Asian food. Nothing. Only potatoes. [laughter] And I’m not even saying flavored potatoes. I’m saying plain potatoes. No spice. Because no immigrants, no spice. Don’t ever forget that. Both figuratively and literally, no spice. And I know some people would take that. I know. I know people now who’d be like, You know what? Take your immigrants, take your spice and get the hell out of here. You say that now, because you’ve never lived a life without spice. But don’t ever forget. A life without spice was so hard, so hard, that it made white people sail around the world to find it. [whooping] And like… [whistling and applause] This wasn’t regular sailing, this wasn’t like a Disney cruise. These people sailed at a time when they believed if you went that way, you would fall off the edge of the Earth and die. And still, some man out there was eating some white ladies cooking and he was like, [English accent] “I can’t do this shit anymore. I’m sailing that way.” “But what if you die?” “At least it’s exciting.” No immigrants, no spice. And definitely no tacos.
I know my friend Dave would never allow that. I’ve never seen him so passionate. He gave me a speech about tacos like he was the heir to a taco dynasty. Finally, he turned to me and said, “As your friend and as an American, I’m going to make sure that you get tacos if it’s the last thing I ever do!” I was like, “Why don’t we just go now?” He was like, “That’ll work.” You know what my favorite part of any conversation is? When people think you’re gonna argue with them, but you agree and they’ve already chosen anger. Because nobody just changes their tone. Everyone has to stick in the anger for a while because they think it makes them seem less crazy. It happens in relationships all the time. You’ll have a fight that’s not a fight. You know? You’ll be like, “Goddamnit Karen, every time I ask for support, you’re not there for me, and it hurts me sometimes.” “You know what, Bob, I’m sorry.” “No, don’t try and– Thank you very much. I didn’t think you would apologize and so I chose this tone. And now I feel like an idiot. I’m going to leave the room and reset.” I wasn’t going to fight, I want to have tacos. Let’s go get tacos, Dave.
So we rolled together, jumped into the car. And so we drove for about 20 minutes. To what I thought was going to be a restaurant. [nervous laughter] Instead, Dave pulls over into an abandoned parking lot. [whooping] He kills the engine, looks over at me and goes, “Alright, dude. We’re here.” I was like, “Where, at my murder scene?” He was like, “No dude, we’re getting tacos. Over there.” He points, in the corner of the parking lot was a truck. A food truck, which I’ve learned is common in America. Some of the best food you find is on a food truck. But at that point in time, you’ll have to forgive me, I was little bit apprehensive. Okay? I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of getting food from an establishment -that wouldn’t be there the next day. -[laughter] I feel like there’s a certain level of accountability that comes with permanence. Dave was adamant, though. He’s like, “You gotta get it from a truck. That’s how you know it’s real.” I was like, “Let’s just get this over with, let’s do it.” So I hop out of the car, walk up to the truck, and it was definitely a taco truck, because there was a sign above it flashing that read “Tacos”. Tacos. [neon lightbulb sound] Tacos. [neon lightbulb sound] By the way, weird piece of trivia about me as a person, I hate signs that flash but don’t change. Yeah, I always feel like a sign shouldn’t be allowed to flash unless it intermittently changes to some other information. Otherwise, I think that’s wasted suspense. It should be illegal. It always catches my eye and then I wait for something else, Like, “Tacos” and “Tacos”. And what else? “Tacos.” Anything else? “Tacos.” [shouting] Just stay on Tacos. Anyway, now I’m irritated. I walk up to the truck. I get there, this little dude pops out. He was a completely different mood to me. You could tell. He popped his head out, “Hey, how you doing, man? [Mexican accent] You want some tacos?” I said, “It would be awkward if we didn’t.” He says, “What? Oh, yeah. Of course man, of course, but you never know. Maybe you want something else. Yeah?” I said, “What else do you have, my friend?” He said, “Nothing man, it’s a taco truck.” I said, “Oh, thank you. That’s a moment of my life I’ll never get back. Thank you very much.” He said, “No, no, no. [speaking Spanish] Calma-te, man. I just don’t want to waste your time. You want tacos, let’s do tacos. How many tacos you want, my friend?” I said, “I don’t know how many tacos to get. I’ve never had tacos before.” “You’ve never had tacos?” -I said, “No, I haven’t.” -“You’ve never… had tacos?” I was like, “You should meet my friend Dave.” Because I’m not going to order food when I don’t know what it is. Okay, I don’t know what the quantities are. I don’t know what tacos are, what a taco is. I don’t know what a taco be. What do you say? How many do you get? Because if I go, “Give me five.” What if tacos are like little pigs or something? And I’m like, “Give me five!” Next thing I know, I’m walking home… [pig squeals] “And that’s how I started my farm.” I have no clue what these things are. So, I’m like, “Yo man, I just want to try the food. Just give me enough to try.” He said “Okay. You just trying it out, two tacos is enough.” I said, “Okay, give me 2 tacos.” “Two tacos coming up!”
The guy goes to the back, starts preparing the food. I have no clue what’s coming out. Comes back a few minutes later, “Hey, my friend.” Your tacos are ready. I was like, “Thank you very much.” “Yeah, you want you want a napkin?” -“I’m sorry, what?” -“Do want a napkin?” And now, LA, this is where it gets weird for me. [muted laughter] Because, you see, where I’m from, napkins are the things babies wear [laughter] to hold their shit. [loud laughter] The thing for your mouth, we call a serviette. But I didn’t know that, so at this point this man turned to me, offered me food and then said, “You want a napkin?” I said, “I’m sorry, I’m confused. Wh– Why would I want a napkin?” “You know, man. For the mess afterwards?”
He said for the mess. “How instant is it that I’d need a napkin?” “Hey man, you never know with tacos, man. One minute you think you got it, the next thing, it’s coming out.” It sounds like the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard in my life. He said, “No it’s part of the experience. Everybody does it, man. You make a mess, you clean up, you come back and try again. You know?” I said, “That’s an experience I don’t want to have, not gonna lie.” -I’m going to skip it. -You’re not going to try my food? I said, “I’ll try the food. But I’m not gonna take the napkin, man.” He says, “What are you going to do?” I say, “If it’s as crazy as you say, I’ll just eat the taco in the car on the way home.” “Oh… You think you’re safe. You’re going to be driving? Somebody swerves, you hit the brakes. Splat! It’s coming out. Don’t be a hero, man. Just take the napkin.” I said, “Alright, I’m not being a hero right now. I’m just being a grown-ass man. Okay? If it gets really bad, I’ll just squeeze super tight until I get to where I’m going.” He’s like, “That’s the problem. Some people don’t know, they squeeze too tight, then the juice comes spraying out even more. It can spray on your pants and on your shirt…” I’m like, “On my shirt?” “How did this shit get onto my shirt?” Is it just bouncing on the ground and ricocheting up? -What the hell is in this?” -“Hey man. You want the napkin or not?” “I don’t even want your tacos right now, dude.” So much stress. Now I love tacos.
Yeah. I love tacos. I love Mexican food. I love Mexican people. [whooping] I don’t even know what it is. I think it’s just people. We have a connection, you know. South Africans and Mexicans. People from shithole countries. We have this thing. I still can’t believe the things Donald Trump says. He’s such a– For me, Donald Trump is an emotional paradox. I’m not going to lie. You know. Logically, I can process him, emotionally I struggle. On the one hand, I will admit, I wake up many days terrified at the notion that he’s president of the most powerful nation in the world. But I also must admit I wake up many days knowing he’s going to make me laugh. There’s terror and there’s joy, and I don’t know how to feel. You know what it feels like sometimes? It feels like there’s a giant asteroid headed towards the Earth. But it’s shaped like a penis. [laughter] Like, I think I’m going to die. But I know I’m going to laugh. Just look at everything that he does. The world we now live in because of him. You realize we’re living through history. You know. This will never happen in our lifetimes again. We’re living through a time when we are all learning about the presidency at the same time as the president. That’s never happened. [whooping] How wild is that concept? You wake up everyday reading the news, and you’re like, “Wow, I didn’t know that.” And somewhere, at that exact same moment, he’s reading the same news going, “Wow, me too.” And nobody knows where it’s gonna lead. Nobody knows what he’s gonna do. All we know is that he wants his wall. He wants his wall. Donald Trump wants his wall. He needs 25 billion dollars the last time he asked. He needs it from American taxpayers because Mexico is smart. [man whoops] That fell apart real quick. Remember how confident he was at the rallies? People cheering for him. He was like, [imitates Trump] “Folks, we’re gonna build [softly] a wall. [laughter] We’re going to build a wall, folks. Who’s going to pay? Mexico.” Mexico was like, “We ain’t paying for shit, man.
We might build it, but we’re not going to pay for it, man.” And if you’ve been following the journey of the wall, but it’s probably the best comedy on TV. Right? Because now they’ve started building prototypes of the wall at the border, because Donald Trump said he wants them to test the wall first. I don’t know how you do that. They’re like, “Try again.” [laughter] And because of the prototypes, Donald Trump now has specifications for the wall. He now says he wants the wall to be made out of concrete, but he also needs the wall to be see-through. Alright. And the reason the president wants the wall to be see-through is because he said he’s afraid that drug dealers from Mexico are going to shoot bags of drugs over the wall. And they’re going to hit Americans on the head as they walk by. So he needs the wall to be see-through, so that Americans can see the drugs coming and catch it.
I’m not going to lie. I don’t know what a see-through wall is. But at this point, I’m just worried that a contractor will come along and trick the president. He’ll take him to the border and be like, “There it is, Mr.Trump. Your invisible wall.” [applause and whooping] And then just to make sure he buys it, he’s going to hire a troupe of Mexican mimes to be like, “Oh my God, you can’t get through it.” [impersonating Trump] It works. The mind of Donald Trump. The other idea he had for the wall, was he said America should build the wall out of solar panels. That’s what he said. He said America should build the wall out of solar panels because that way the wall would generate electricity and pay for itself. Yeah. Now, I’m not going to lie. That’s a good idea, right. It’s a good idea, unless you know anything about solar panels, or the Sun or walls. The problem with that idea is that the Sun is up. Yeah? Do we all agree on that? We still on the same page? The Sun is up, right? Er, a solar panel wall won’t work, because a wall is like this. So, technically it’s facing down. So, unless you have a really swaggy sun. That’s like, “Yeah, I shine real low, B.” It’s not going to work for you. The only way it works is if you take your board or solar panel and lean it at an angle to get the sun rays, but if you do that, you’ve created a giant ramp for Mexicans to shoot into America. -Just like, “Ora le…” -[laughter] The mind of Donald J. Trump. The J stands for Jesús. A lot of people don’t know that. -[laughter] -A lot of self-loathing going on there.
And he’s always going after someone, right? He’s always going after someone. If it’s not Mexicans, it’s Muslims. If it’s not Muslims, it’s Africans from shithole countries. That one was my favorite, personally, because I am an African. I have shat in a hole. Um… I also liked it because people came up to me and asked me questions. There’s one man who came up to me after a show, really concerned. He was like, “Trevor… Hey, can I ask you a question?” I said, “Yeah, go ahead, my friend.” He said, “Trevor, I just want to know, when Donald Trump says all these horribly racist things, do you sometimes just want to pack it up, leave America, go back to South Africa and escape all this racism?” [laughter] I said, “My friend, you don’t go to South Africa to escape racism. That’s where you go to stock up.” Are you kidding me? That’s the one thing that reminds me of home. The racism out here. Cause we’ve got tons of racism in South Africa and don’t get me wrong, it’s gotten a lot better. When I was growing up, we had Apartheid. Erm and, you know, Apartheid was basically the best racism in the world. Um. Sorry, I didn’t mean to say that. Now you’ll feel bad and be like, “Our racism was the best.” No, it wasn’t. -It was good, but not the best. -[laughter] And I experienced a bunch of racism and everyone did. I never felt like it was a bad thing, mostly because of my family. You know, my, my mother is a black woman, a Xhosa woman. My father is Swiss from Switzerland, and them being a couple was against the law, and that was a problem for us living together. And so we experienced a ton of racism. In case you’re wondering, yes. Xhosa is one of the languages with the clicks in it. [speaking Xhosa] But not like in American movies, just so you know. I’ve seen those movies where they have Africans, and they’re like… [exaggerated clicking] [exaggerated gibberish] That’s not a language. Even we watch those movies, and we’re like… “I wonder what they are saying, yeah?” “Where are they from?” “I think they from Cleveland?” [laughter] It’s not just clicks, the clicks are consonants. We still have vowels.
I grew up in this family and we couldn’t live together. I could live with my mom, but my dad couldn’t live with us, it was illegal. And, and… people would be racist to us all the time. But I was really lucky growing up, because my mom is probably the most gangster human being you’ll ever meet in your life. Nothing got to her. -Nothing fazed her.
I remember one day in particular, walking through the streets together. And some guy across the road shouted something really mean at us. And I was about four or five years old and I turned and looked at my mom and I said, “Mommy, what do we do if people do the racism to us?” My mom said, “Baby, you know what we do if somebody’s racist? We take that racism of theirs and we shake it up with the love of Jesus. And then we send it back.” And I was like, “What?” [laughter] I was like, “This lady’s crazy.” She was crazy, but she was also right. I didn’t realize how right my mother was until decades later, which I feel is what always happens with your parents, right. They’re crazy, and then you get to their age and you’re like “Oh, that’s what it means.” I only learned the lesson my mother was trying to teach me when I was a grown man. I was walking through the streets of Chicago, minding my own business. Some guy drove by in a pickup truck and called me the n-word. And I’m not going to lie. I was disappointed. Mostly because he was driving a pickup truck. Yeah, I just feel like that was an unnecessary stereotype that he didn’t need to perpetuate. You know… I feel like if you’re going to be racist, do something different. Think outside the box. Drive a Prius. -[laughter] -Yeah. It’s better for the environment and it’s quiet. You can sneak up on me. We both win. But no, the guy was, he was driving a pickup truck. Called me the n-word. Oh! To give you the full story, I was jaywalking. I was jaywalking. And I won’t tell you this to justify what he did, I just want you to know that I’m no angel. Okay? Yeah. I was crossing the road and then the light turned red for me, but I decided to walk anyways, because I don’t see color. [audience member] Oh my God! And this man… This man was so offended by what I had done that he drove his truck around me rolled the window down, looked me dead in the eye, and he was like, “Get out of the road, n i g g e r.” Oh, you could see he wanted to hurt me. We locked eyes and I could see in that moment, he was waiting for me to be like… [slow motion “No”] [mock gunshot sound] What that man didn’t know was where I was from. More importantly, who he didn’t know was my mother.
Because he thought it was just going to be a regular racist day. [laughter] He thought he was gonna drive by, throw the n-word out, carry on with his life. He didn’t realize that that was the son of Patricia stepping into the road. And it happened in a moment, but it lasted a lifetime. Because I didn’t even think. He shouted that word and out of nowhere, my body was like… [laughter] I was like, “Oh shit, this is it!” [loud laughter] And let me tell you something, LA, it was so beautiful, because I didn’t plan it. I didn’t think about it. All I know is I stepped into the road, he drove his truck around, rolled the window, looked me dead in the eye, said, “Get out of the road, n i g g e r.” And I turned and and I was like, “Yo, my n i g g a.”
[laughter and applause]
And he almost crashed and died. -[laughter] Yeah, I’ve never seen a human being question themselves so many times in a split-second in my life. Because I was smiling and I could see in his face he was like, “Wait, do I know you? Do I look like someone you know?” And I don’t know why he did this, but I’ll never forget it. He looked at his hands. He looked at his hands like they’d somehow magically turned black. Like I had cursed him with a n i g g e r bomb. I don’t know what he was thinking. Oh… I actually felt bad for him, man. Because I’ve been called that word before, but that was his first time. You never forget your first time, you know? I’m sorry. I’m not going to– Is that what he wants? He wants to throw that word and my day’s spoiled? That’s how it is? He says, “N i g g e r!” [childish tone] “He called me a n i g g e r.” I don’t have time for that. My mom always used to say. She said you can’t control what people do to you, but you can control how you react. So I promised myself. I said, “I’ll never give a racist person the pleasure of seeing my pain.” It may be painful, may be hurtful, but I won’t give them the pleasure of seeing my pain. [applause and whistling] Someone says something racist, I take that racism, shake it up with the love of Jesus, send it right back. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not always easy. Not everyone can do the same thing. Not everyone should. I also understand that for me it is a little bit different. You don’t I have a privilege in that I come from a country where the word “n i g g e r” was never used to oppress anybody. I mean we had another word, we had the best racism. Come on now. But not that word. That word we had was a word “kaffir”. So we have another word, same thing. It’s crazy to me sometimes. Same racism, different word. And here it means nothing, right? “Kaffir. Kaffir”? Nothing. Some people are like, “Is that like a probiotic? Is that what that is?” Yeah, the probiotic of my pain. We don’t have that in our supermarkets. For obvious reasons. No one warned me in America. I walk down the dairy aisle, I was like, “Yogurt, ice cream… [screams] This lactose is intolerant.” So it’s different around the world. I get that. You know. It’s a privilege I have in dealing with the n-word. You know, in South Africa, no one was called a n i g g e r. All over Africa no one was oppressed using that word. So that word has no power. Anywhere you go. “N i g g e r, n i g g e r, n i g g e r…” Nothing. Whereas right now I can feel the tension in this room. I can feel it. Some people are like, “Goddamn it, was that like 7 times? I get it, Trevor. That’s my quota for the year. Come on.” I get it. It got me thinking that maybe we could use that. We could use that discrepancy to help each other out, and create a program where you guys send all of your racist people to Africa just once a year. Because Africans will roast the shit out of them. The best part about Africa is you don’t even have to wait. Get off the plane and there’s black people everywhere. Just jump straight in, and be like, “N i g g e r, n i g g e r, n i g g e r” Yeah, and because Africa’s run and owned by black people, they’re not afraid of white people. They’ll just be like, “Jimbo, he’s back. The n i g g a man. -How are you, n i g g a?”
“God dammit. I keep telling you you’re the n i g g e r.” “But you are the one who always says it, n i g g a man. Yeah, you n i g g a. Put on some sunscreen before you die, n i g g a. Let’s go party.”
It would be different. That’s all I’m saying. It’s always weird for me, I won’t lie, because although no one used that word in a derogatory way, the word “n i g g e r” in South Africa does exist. Technically, right? But in my mom’s language, Xhosa, the word “n i g g a” means “to give”. That’s what “n i g g a” means in Xhosa. That’s how you use it. [speaking Xhosa] [speaking Xhosa] So, not only does that word not hurt me, when racist people use it on me, all they end up doing is bringing back fond memories of my childhood. [laughter] I get flashbacks to when I was a little kid. I’d be playing with my cousin and his toy cars I always stole his cars, I didn’t have my own. He’d start screaming, like… [crying] Mama! Mama! My mom would run into the room. She’d be like [speaking Xhosa] “What’s happening here?” And my cousin would be like, “Auntie…” [sobbing nonsense in a trap style] [audience whooping] She’d be like “Hey, hey, hey. Talk properly, I can’t hear you. What happened?” He’d be like, “Trevor stole my toys.” And my mom would be like, “Trevor, did you steal your cousin’s toys?” I’d say, “No, Mom, I didn’t steal, Mom. -I promise I didn’t steal.” -“Trevor…
[speaks Xhosa] Don’t lie to me. Did you steal those toys?” I said, “No, mom. I didn’t steal anything. What happened was his cars were parked illegally, Mom.
And so I had to tow them, because you can’t live in this society without laws. I mean, even me, I’m just a humble civil servant at the end of the day, Mom. Without laws, we descend into chaos, Mom. If you think about it, that’s all that’s holding us up. As a civilization it’s the only thing that keeps us–” She’d be like, “Hey, don’t come here with that smart mouth of yours. Give those toys back.” I said, “Mom, please. I just want to play–“
[speaks Xhosa] “Give those toys back. Give those toys back.” And I’d be like “Mom” and she’d be like “Hey, n i g g e r”.
[speaks Xhosa repeatedly saying ‘n i g g e r’]
And my cousin would be there like, “N i g g a, please.” [laughter] Yo LA, you guys have been so much fun tonight. [loud whooping]
Thank you so much for coming out and joining me. I appreciate you all so much. Have a good night, everybody.
[hip hop outro begins]
[applause and whooping]