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Trevor Noah: Where Was I (2023) | Transcript

Trevor Noah recounts his amusing travels around the world, from foreign national anthems to different cultural norms
Trevor Noah: Where Was I (2023)

[lively music playing]

[announcer]

Detroit, give it up… for Trevor Noah!

[audience cheering]

What’s going on, Detroit? Oh! How you doing tonight, everybody? How you doing? Welcome to the show. Thank you so much for coming out. Look at this. What a night. What a feeling. Here we are. Detroit, Michigan. We made it.

[audience cheering and applauding]

I’ve really been enjoying it. I’m enjoying everywhere, honestly. I’m having more fun in my life now than I think I’ve ever had. I’m enjoying America more now than I’ve ever, ever enjoyed it. Every day. I don’t even know what it is. I think it’s… You enjoy a place differently when it might be ending, you know? It just has a… It has a different feeling to it, like… “Mmm, what is that taste?” “The final season? Mmm-mmm-mmm” ‘Cause you never know with America. You really never know. Every day is the best day, and possibly the last day. I’m having an amazing time, I truly am. This year was such a blessing, because… I got to travel around the world, doing shows in places I had never performed before. Places I’ve always wanted to do comedy, I’ve always wanted to try it out. I did shows in Berlin, Germany, for the first time ever. That was really amazing. I won’t lie, people freaked me out before I went there. Similar to Detroit, where people are like, “Oh, watch out, Detroit.” People were like that with Germany as well. Like, when I was going to Berlin, people were like, “Dude, Germany?” “Do they even laugh?” I’m like, “What do you mean? They’re human beings.” “I don’t know, man. Do they laugh?” People got to me. At a point when I was heading to Germany, I was like, maybe Germans just sit in the audience, like, [in German accent] “Uh-huh. Ja, ja, uh-huh.” “That was a comedy show.”

[normally] But they don’t. They laugh. They’re actually great audiences. I had an amazing time in Berlin. It’s a city that sneaks up on you, because it’s… It’s so culturally diverse. You know? It has a burgeoning art scene. Fantastic music. The history… The history in Berlin is truly deep and rich. I love traveling and seeing places whenever I’m in certain cities and in Berlin, I went out with a tour group and I had a great time. But I wish someone had warned me how painful a lot of Berlin’s history is. ‘Cause that was basically the headquarters of the Nazi Party. So everything ties back to Hitler. I didn’t know this. I thought we’re going on a cute little tour. I ask a lot of questions. I’m curious. This brought the mood down. We’re out and about. The tour guide was doing his schtick. He was happy as well.

[in German accent] “Here, behind me, you can see, this is one of the largest airports that was ever built in the world.” “Ja, it is a world famous airport here in Berlin, and it is so large that we were able…” “They filmed the Hollywood movie The Hunger Games inside this airport.” “Ja, any questions?”

[normally] I said, “Yeah. Wow. How old is this thing?”

[in German accent] “This is almost 100 years old.”

[normally] And I’m like, “Damn! Who built it?”

[in German accent] “Yeah. That is the unfortunate part of the… of the story here.” “This airport was built by, uh, Hitler.”

[in normal voice] I could see I’d messed things up. I tried to bring the mood up. I was like, “Which Hitler?”

He says, [in German accent] “Which Hitler?” “Which other Hitler is there?” I was like, “Could be Henry Hitler.” “Henry Hitler?” “Who the hell is Henry Hitler?” I was like, “You don’t know Henry Hitler?” It didn’t work. Like, “Yo, man.” It was tense, but it was good. And what I mean by good… It was nice to be in a place where people don’t bury their history. What I mean by that…

[audience applauding]

What I mean by that is that when you travel through Germany, even if you don’t go to museums, you cannot escape the past of both Berlin and what Germany did. There are monuments scattered throughout the city. Prominent monuments. They are memorializing what Germany did to millions of Jewish people and other people around the world. You see it, you understand it, they talk about it. They teach their kids about it. They teach children in school. They’re like, “Hey, this is what Germany did.” They make sure they know. But they don’t make them feel guilty about it. Which is an amazing balance for them to strike. They’ll say to the kids, they’re like, “Hey, kids. I hope you understand.” “Germany did this.” “You’re not responsible because you weren’t there.” “However, because you’re the future of Germany, it’s your responsibility to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

[audience cheering and applauding]

You know, what I loved about being in Germany when they were talking about their history is how forthright they are about it. They know it’s painful. They know that it’s a terrible blight on who they are, but they don’t hide from it. When I saw them doing this, I went, “Man, I wish America did this with history.” You know? ‘Cause you… You ever see how awkward it is, speaking about history in America? It gets tense. Doesn’t matter what history it is. It gets tense. Columbus Day is one of those days. Every year in New York, there’s a fight. Here in Detroit, there was a fight. There was a bust of Christopher Columbus, was around for 110 years. At a point, half of Detroit was like, “We need to get rid of it.” The other half said, “Don’t get rid of it.” It was a huge fight. New York, same thing, every year. Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day. There was an interview on the news I saw once. [chuckles] It wasn’t supposed to be funny, but I found it funny. The reporter went to a guy and asked, “What will you be doing for Indigenous Peoples’ Day?”

He was like, [Italian-American accent] “It’s Columbus Day, I’m sick and tired of people coming in and changing the name.” “We’re proud of that day.” “It’s Christopher Columbus. Columbus Day. It’s not gonna change.” “In fact, how would you feel if somebody came along, took something that’s been around for a long time, and just decided to switch it and call it something else?” “Huh? How would you feel?”

[in normal voice] I was like, “But, sir, isn’t that the spirit of Columbus Day?” I’ll be honest. I’m not a big fan of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The title, I don’t like… I think it’s a cop-out. I don’t think it’s specific enough. It’s lazy. “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” Which Indigenous people? Where? How? Give me something. You know what I liked about Columbus Day? It’s that it was specific. Yeah. It was a specific, inspiring story of a man by the name Christopher Columbus who believed, against all odds, that he could sail the wrong way around the world and get to India from the other side. Nobody believed in him. Yeah. He said, “I’m gonna do this.” They said, “You can’t do it, Chris.” He was like, “I will.” They’re like, “You can’t do it!” He said, “I will!” They said, “You can’t!” And he raised money, he fought for years, he finally got the ships. And he sailed the wrong way around the world and he didn’t do it. Not only did he not land on the other side of India, he found himself in a place called the Caribbean. And he was like, “This is India.”

And the people went, [in Caribbean accent] “I don’t know if you’ve been eating some of the herb we’ve been leaving about, but this is totally not India.” He was like, “This is India and you guys are Indians.” They’re like, “Brother, we are not Indians.” He’s like, “I know Indians when I don’t see them.” “You’re Indians, just on the far side.” “So you’re West Indians.” And he stuck with it. Christopher Columbus stuck with it his entire life. Other explorers would come to him like, “Yo, Chris.” “I don’t think you made it to India.” He’s like, “It’s India.” They’re like, “I don’t think it’s India.” He’s like, “It’s India.” He died refusing to acknowledge the possibility that he never made it to India. Not only that, my friends, he never set foot in America, ever. Ever. And yet, he had a public holiday named after him in America. That, my friends, is the inspiring story of how white men can fail up. Do you know how much confidence you have to have to pull that off? Nobody else. That is white man confidence. Nobody else possesses that level of confidence. Go the wrong way. End up in the wrong place. Call the wrong people the wrong name and be like, “I’m right.” “Give me a holiday.” No one else can do that. That is the level of confidence we should all aspire to, is white man levels of confidence. Women couldn’t pull that off. If a woman said, “I’ll sail the wrong way around the Earth.” They’ll be like, “Burn her. She’s a witch!” You think people of color could pull that off? You think Black people could? Wow, really? Like he was gonna sail around the world the wrong way around. Get to the place they’re not supposed to be. Probably get arrested for trespassing. Like, “What are you doing here?”

[in African-American accent] “My bad, I thought I was getting to India.” “Man, I don’t know what I was thinking.” “We should’ve never messed with ships. It never turns out good.” “I apologize. I apologize, man.” “This won’t happen again.” Why would you wanna bury your history? There’s so much joy and so much to learn. You know? It feels like America is moving in that direction. It wants less and less of its history, less and less context. You look what’s happening with textbooks. Places like Florida, they wanna ban textbooks or cut out the parts of the textbooks that have slavery in the books. And now parents are fighting. They’re like, “No, no, take the slavery out. It’s making the kids feel bad.” Other parents are like, “Keep the slavery in.” “It teaches children.” And they’re fighting back and forth. I’m like, “Why?” You don’t need to be fighting about… No one should be fighting about this. Kids don’t read textbooks. They watch TikTok. If you wanna get to the kids, that’s where you gotta be.

♪ There was slavery ♪
♪ Ships came ♪
♪ Yeah… ♪

I’ll be honest. I don’t think that textbook thing is like a real issue. I feel like it’s one of those manufactured issues that often happens in America that gets people riled up and gets them fired up, fighting about something that was never an issue to begin with. I say this because that’s honestly what I believe. I feel like in America, politicians have done a really good job of tricking Americans into fighting about issues that were never an issue to begin with, so that you don’t pay attention to the issues that actually are. You know? If you’re fighting about what’s in a textbook, you don’t pay attention to the fact that inflation is out of control. You don’t pay attention that rents are out of control. People cannot afford to live anywhere. Salaries have never kept up with inflation. Corporations steal billions and billions of dollars from their employees with no ramifications. You don’t pay attention to any of that. You pay attention to what’s catchy, what’s easy to keep up with. It keeps you going, you know? “Ooh, can trans people use public bathrooms?” “Ooh!” It’s manufactured. Who was dealing with this issue? Honestly. Who was actually dealing with this issue? You know what they did? Some politician figured out, they go, “Here’s a small story affecting a few people in a random place.” “I’ll make it seem like a nationwide issue, then everyone starts fighting.” But who was dealing with it? Who has ever been in a situation where you were in a bathroom, and all of a sudden a skirmish broke out and people go, “Excuse me, is this the gender that you were born with?” “Does it coincide with the sign on the door?” “Is your genitalia matching this?” “Can I see it?” Who’s ever seen that? Nobody. Nobody. But they make us fight about it because it’s catchy. “Who can use which bathroom.” Who cares? Who cares? I mean it, who cares? I know some would be like, “Trans people care.” They wanna know if they can use a public bathroom. Yeah, use whichever bathroom you want. Who’s gonna stop you? No, seriously, it’s a public toilet. Who is going to stop you? You tell me who’s gonna enforce that law? We can’t even enforce the idea that people should shit into the toilet. But you think magically they’re gonna figure out if you were born this way. Use whichever one you want. Why are we wasting our time? Other people are like, “We’ll fight because you gotta know who’s…” Let me tell you something. If you are spending enough time to know the genitalia of the other people in a public bathroom, you’re the creep. I’m worried about you. There is a simple rule to every public toilet around the world. And that rule is, you get in, pay no attention to anyone else, hold your breath and you get out. Quit standing around staring at other people. Every man in this room knows when we use the toilet, we get in, public toilet, you stare dead ahead, you pee, do your thing. Do not look to either side. If you’re fidgety, look up, look down. You do not look at anyone else. The guy next to you can start choking. You don’t turn your head. You don’t shake, you don’t move. You hear him, like…

[mimics choking]

You be like, “Hey, man, hey. Hey.” “Hey, you all right? Yo, yo.” “Hey, man, you okay?” “Yo, yo. You want me to call… Hey, man, are you okay?”

[mimics choking]

“You wanna call… “”Don’t look at me!” What are we doing? What are we fighting about? Public bathrooms. If you know your history, you know this happens all the time in America. It happens over and over and over again. There was a time when women had to fight to use public bathrooms in America. Imagine that. There was literally a time when women weren’t allowed to use public bathrooms all across America and they had to fight. And there were men who were angry. They were like, “This is crazy.” “You’re gonna have women in public bathrooms? That’s insane!” “How does it work, huh?” “What, they’re gonna come in there while we’re peeing?” “And then what? They’re gonna look at our wieners?” “And they’re gonna laugh, huh?” Think about this, ladies. There was a time when women were first allowed to step into the workplace, where there were no public bathrooms they could use. So, ladies, if you were out and about back then, you needed to pee, you needed to poo, you had to go home. Yeah. And I say poo theoretically, I don’t know if you actually do. No, I don’t think any guy does. Let’s be honest. We don’t. We assume this on a biological level, but I don’t know for certain that any woman actually… In fact, any man in here, think of any woman in your life. Do you know the last time she pooed? I don’t think you know. I don’t think you know. There is no forensic evidence to back up that claim. There is no smell. There is no stain. There is no nothing. Ladies, I don’t know who does your bathroom PR, but they are doing a stellar job. Stellar job. Women go to the bathroom, smells better when they come out of it. How? You never know when a lady is pooing. Never. Because also, women keep the same amount of time. That’s the most impressive thing. You give nothing away. Yeah, a woman’s gonna go pee, it takes ten minutes. She goes to the bathroom. All right. Gets there, tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, comes out, washes her hand, powders her face, texts on the phone, comes back to the table. You have no clue. Yeah. She’s gonna go poo, same thing, ten minutes. Goes to the bathroom, pellets, pellets, pellets, comes back out. Wash her hands, powder the nose, text her friends. Get back out there. You have no clue. With men, you know exactly what we’re doing. Discretion is not our forte. You know when every single man is gonna go pee. Why? Two minutes. Off to the bathroom, we’re in there. Quickest thing ever. It’s like a NASCAR pit stop. Yeah, we get in, we pee, we come back out, act like we’re washing our hands and we’re back. How do you know when we take a dump? ‘Cause it’s obvious. We go to the bathroom, never come back. That’s the last time you’ll ever see us. Your family’s putting up wanted posters in the restaurant. “Have you seen this man?” Imagine, people were fighting about bathrooms every time in America. Every time. There was a time when Black people had to fight to use public bathrooms. Huh. Same thing. Black people were like, “Why can we not use public bathrooms?” And again, people were angry. “This is crazy.” “You’re gonna have Black people in this in a public bathroom?” “How does that even work, huh?” “So what? They’re gonna be standing there while I pee, huh?” “They’re gonna be looking at my wiener? Huh?” “And they’re gonna laugh? Huh?” I’m old enough to remember when there was a discussion in America about whether gay people could use public bathrooms. This was an actual topic of discussion. I remember people on the news being interviewed. “Do you think gay men should be allowed into the same bathrooms as straight men?” They’ll be like, “I don’t mind what they do, if they keep it to themselves, that’s fine.” “But just answer me this. Answer me this. How is it gonna work?” “So what? You’re in the bathroom with them and then what?” “He’s gay and I’m just standing there and I’m peeing, huh?” “And he’s looking at my wiener? Huh?” “And then he grabs it, huh?” “And he starts yanking on it, huh?” “He just starts tugging away and I get hard and I’m enjoying it, huh?” “And then this is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, huh?” “And then I start coming back weekly hoping I’ll bump into him and I do, huh?” “And then at some point we agree to meet outside, a nice little restaurant that’s cozy and get to know each other, huh?” “And then a few years later, we get married and our families are joined and we live happily ever after?” “Is that what you want?” Wow. Public bathrooms. It’s why you shouldn’t bury your history. If you know what’s happened, you know what to predict. You understand why it happened in the first place. Germany does that in a truly astounding way. It will never be perfect. But Germany is one of the only countries in the world that has actively paid reparations for what they did. One of the only countries in the world that has actively apologized and one of the only countries in the world that’s set about changing how they see themselves and how the world sees them. After World War II, Germany changed a bunch of laws. They changed the iconography of the country. What you could hang, where you could hang it. They changed their national anthem. Yeah, imagine that, they changed the national anthem. They felt that the national anthem was a nationalist song that the Nazis used to inspire people to think the wrong things. They changed it. The original song was called “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles.” You’ve probably heard it in old movies or whatever. The song went like…

[singing in German] And translated into English, it means…

♪ Germany, Germany over everything ♪
♪ Over everything in the world ♪

And clearly they meant it. Yeah, where most anthems are theoretical, the Germans are precise. But after World War II, they were like, “We can’t have that same attitude.” And so they changed the anthem. And new lyrics. The new lyrics are…

[singing in German] Which translated into English is…

♪ Unity and rights and freedom ♪
♪ For all the people who live in Germany ♪

Which… Which is adorable. It’s adorable. They may as well have made the song…

♪ Sorry, sorry We’re so, so sorry ♪
♪ Sorry, sorry, sorry for what we did ♪

I appreciate that they did it, but I wouldn’t have gone that far. I won’t lie. I wouldn’t have gone that far. I think über alles is terrible. That’s not a good way to think. But you still gotta have a bit of kick in your anthem. You still gotta have a… I would’ve found a middle ground. Mine would have been…

[in German] ♪ Germany Germany, somewhere… ♪

[in English]…in the top five.

[in German] ♪ Not over everything in the world ♪

[in English] ♪ Because we are definitely In the top five ♪ ♪ When you think about it ♪ ♪ America’s number one ♪ ♪ And then you have Great Britain And then you have France and Spain ♪ ♪ And then we are at number five… ♪ Actually, Spain is not better than us. ♪ So we are number four ♪ ♪ Number four in the… ♪ Yeah, but France, their economy is not that strong. ♪ So, maybe we are number three In the world ♪ ♪ Then you have England above… ♪ Oh, wait, oh, Brexit was not a smart idea. ♪ So maybe if we are number two And America is number… ♪ Oh, the elections are not that stable. So… Then maybe we are über alles of the world!

[chuckles]

[in normal accent] It’s one of the biggest things they did, and nobody knows that they did it. I was chatting to a German guy. And he was perplexed by this. Absolutely perplexed.

He said… [in German accent] “In Germany we’ve done so many things.” “The national anthem was a big change for us.” “I’m sure the whole world talks about this.”

[in normal accent] I said, “Nope.” [sighs] He was like, “What do you mean?” “What do you mean? Who doesn’t talk about it?” I was like, “Nobody. Nobody talks about it.” “Who’s nobody?” I was like, “Nobody. No one.” “No one outside of Germany even knows this.” “How can they not know?” I was like, “What do you mean?” “It’s German. No one speaks German outside Germany.” “How would anyone know?” “Also, you guys did something weird.” “You changed the lyrics, but you kept the beat.” It’s a strange move.

[in German accent] You’re like, “This song is terrible, and we’re changing it.” “Ja. What about the beat?” “No, we are keeping that ’cause I’ve learned all the moves. Ja.”

[normally] That’s probably why most people don’t know it changed. You’ve kept the beat. Most people don’t know the lyrics. We just know the beat. No one knew Michael Jackson was saying, “You’re a vegetable.” None of us knew that. Some of you are like, “When did he say ‘vegetable’?” Been singing it your whole life… ♪ You’re a vegetable ♪ No one knows lyrics. We just know the beat. That’s what Germany did. It’s weird. It’s weird to not change the music. ‘Cause the music comes with emotion. I was trying to explain this to him. He didn’t get it. And I realized, you know what it’s like. What Germany did, it would be like if in Star Wars, right? You know Star Wars. All right, let’s say, Darth Vader. Whenever Darth Vader came into a scene, whenever he landed on one of those planets, you always knew something was about to go down, something bad, because he had his music. All right? The music told you what was gonna happen. The ship would land… [imitates whooshing] Door would open… [imitates electric hum] And he’d be standing there. [imitates strained breathing] But he would never… He would never come into the game without his song playing. Never. He’ll be there, DJ on the side, like, [mimics Darth Vader] “DJ, play my jam.”

[imitates record scratching]

[mimics “The Imperial March”] “That’s right.” “Uh-huh.” And then you knew it was about to go down. Get down there… [mimics Darth Vader] “Kneel before me, Jedi.”

[in high-pitched voice] “We’ll never kneel before you.”

[mimics lightsabers whooshing]

“You cannot defeat me.” “He’s so strong. I don’t know if we’re gonna win.” [mimics Yoda] “Defeat him, we shall.” [continues mimicking lightsabers] “Use the Force, we will.” [mimicking Darth Vader] “Ahh, you have defeated me!” “We did it, Master Yoda! We did it! “We defeated Darth Vader!” [mimics Yoda] “Indeed, we have.” “What do we do now?” “Free the Empire, we shall.” “Travel around, the good news we shall spread.” “Let’s do it.” “Yes, a new song we shall play.”

[mimics “The Imperial March”] “You’re free.”

[mimics “The Imperial March”]

[in normal voice] It’s weird. It’s still impressive, though. Still impressive. Changing your national anthem is no small thing. It truly isn’t. Changing anything. We were having this conversation. And afterwards, he said something interesting, he’s like, [in German accent] “Because we saw how Germany had to change how it saw itself in order to change what it did, it’s why we changed the anthem.” I was like, “That’s powerful.” He’s like, “Do you think America would ever change…” I was like, “Don’t even finish that sentence.” “You don’t even finish that sentence.” If there’s one thing I’ve learned, America hates change. Whoo! America does not like change. You wanna change the things Germany changed? The money, the flags, the anthem. Are you kidding me? Remember when they tried to change the $20 bill? Remember that? They said they’d put Harriet Tubman on the bill. People got so angry, they postponed it indefinitely. People were furious. “What are you doing?” “We’re putting Harriet…” “How dare you?” “How dare you take an American president off the $20?” “How dare you take…” “Who’s on the $20?” “How dare you take Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill?” “They’re just putting Harriet Tubman on the front, and Andrew Jackson will be on the back.” “You’re putting an American president on the back? On the back?” “That’s disrespectful!” It’s not, really. If you know your history, you would know, Andrew Jackson would love to be on the back side of a Black woman, so I don’t know why you’re so stressed. I feel like everybody wins. People were furious, though. And now you’re gonna suggest changing the flag? Suggest changing the anthem? Whoo! There’s two things I’ve learned, living in America. It’s you respect the flag and you respect the anthem. I don’t know what it means. But I follow the rules. I say I don’t know what it means is because it’s confusing. You’ll meet people like, “You respect the flag!” and I get it. But then I’ll see those same people on July 4th, and they’ll be wearing the flag as underwear. Does that count? And you looked up and you were like, “That flag, these balls.” I would never suggest changing any of it. The anthem? Oh, no, never the anthem. Even though it could. Maybe it could do with a little change. It is a very violent anthem. And America struggles with violence, Maybe like a softer… It’s a violent anthem. It’s the only anthem I’ve ever heard that has bombs blowing up in it. Yeah. There are bombs and rockets in your national anthem. It’s like a Michael Bay movie in a song. Everything blowing up in slow motion.

[imitates explosions]

It’s almost like you’re threatening other countries as well. It’s like, “Yeah, bombs bursting and rockets were flaring.” “Try us.” It’s like a gangster rap, to be honest. It really is. The American anthem is like a gangster rap. It has all the same elements. It has the violence, it has the threats. You know how it’s similar to a gangster rap? The American anthem is the only anthem where you can put the word “bitch” at the end of any line and the song still makes sense.

♪ Gave proof through the night ♪
♪ That our flag was still there ♪
♪ Bitch ♪

I love the American national anthem, I won’t lie. It’s exciting, and I know all the words. I didn’t try, but I know them. It’s one of those songs that you hear so much that you know it. Sort of like

♪ Nationwide is on your side ♪

Same… Same thing. Don’t wanna know that. Don’t need to know that. Wish I could reclaim the space in my brain, but it’s there. America’s national anthem is like that, ’cause you hear it so much in America. Now, this is the only country I’ve ever ever lived in where you play the national anthem when there is no other country in attendance. It would be like basketball games, football games, beer pong games, national anthem. Which I know is normal if you’ve lived in America all your life. “What other way is there, Trevor?” I’ll tell you… I’ll tell you as somebody who comes from the rest of the world, that’s not a thing. It’s not. Most places in the world, you play the national anthem maybe once a year, on a national event, or when you’re competing against another country. Then you play it. ‘Cause the other country is there and you have to prove to your country that you’re loyal. That’s why you sing the song. ‘Cause countries are very insecure. You have to reassure them. Constantly reassuring. They should go to therapy, deal with their attachment issues, but they don’t. You only realize how insecure countries are when you leave your country. Have you ever left and come back? Have you seen the questions your country asks you? So insecure, so jealous. Just like, “Where have you been, huh?” “Where have you been? Which countries?” “So what? You have another country now?” “Is that what you’re doing, huh? Huh?” “Which stamps are these? Let’s see who’s been stamping your passport.” You’re like, “Damn, country. Let me get my privacy.” That’s why you only sing the anthem when there’s another country attending. The only time you do it. That’s what it’s for, to make your country feel good. All right? You know what national anthems are? National anthems are the geopolitical equivalent of that thing women do to us men. Like, ladies, you know that trick you have for that man in your life? Like, whenever his ego is bruised, and you have to you try and heal it. Every woman in this room has a trick that works on every man. And right now, I know a lot of the women are like, “Shut up, Trevor!” “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” It’s a beautiful, subtle technique. Yeah, you’ll be out having lunch or something, and some guy will come up to the table. He’s buff, works out, you know, looks really good. He’s like, “Oh, my God, Michelle? Michelle?” Like, “Oh, Justin? Oh, my God.” “Wow. How are you?” And you’re like, “Who the hell is Justin? What’s going on?” He’s like, “This is crazy. Twice in two weeks?” And you go like, “Twice? When was once? Who is this?” “I know. Oh, my God. How are you?” “I’m doing good. We gotta catch up. We gotta talk about college.” “I was thinking about it. We were so crazy in college.” “You remember that night?” “You went to college? What’s going on?” She can feel your ego slowly withering like a raisin in the sun. And she won’t look at you. She won’t make it a big thing. She’ll continue the conversation. But they’ll gently just put their hand on your thigh. And then just start rubbing it. She’ll carry on like nothing’s happening. “I know, those were crazy. I was a cheerleader. What are you gonna do?” “It’s just one of those.” And the hand is going, “Shh. Shh, shh, shh.” “Shh. It’s okay. It’s okay.” “It’s okay, you’re a big man. Big man.” “Strong man. That’s right.” “There’s no other man in the world. Just you. Look at you. Wow.” “What a big man. Yeah.” “Who, this guy? I don’t even know who he is.” “Yeah, no, with his muscles.” “Oh, I don’t like muscles, no.” “I hate muscles. They’re disgusting.” “Look at him, all working out and everything’s in shape and bulging.” “No, it’s disgusting.” “What, six-packs? No, I don’t want a six-pack.” “I don’t like six-packs. That’s why I like you.” Boop! That’s what a national anthem is. You reassuring your country. The American anthem is such an interesting one. You know? Everything that represents America is the anthem. America has the most fun anthem rules in the world. Only country in the world where you’re allowed to sing the anthem however you want. However you want. You can’t do that anywhere else. Everywhere else, the anthem is the way it is written. It’s boring, and that’s the point. You can’t just change it. In America, you can do whatever you please. I noticed it the first time. The first time I noticed it was at a basketball game. It was the New York Knicks against the Toronto Raptors, right? And because the Raptors are from Canada, they had to play two national anthems before the game, which is rare. And so we’re in the arena and then the voice comes on. “Ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the Canadian national anthem.” And everybody stood, and then they just played, like, a tape somewhere. [chuckles] You could tell they didn’t care. And it was the song, the Canadian song. It’s always the same.

♪ O Canada… ♪

[humming gibberish]

♪ And something, something Brings us back to… ♪

[singing “Do-Re-Mi”]

♪ Do-do-do-do… ♪

[chuckles]

You know the song, man. I don’t have time for that. Whatever. They sang the Canadian anthem. They were done. The announcer came back, “And now, ladies and gentlemen, please stay standing for the American national anthem.” And that’s my favorite part. Yeah, the lights will go dark. Someone walks to the middle of the arena. It’s always so intense, complete silence.

[slowly] ♪ O say ♪
♪ Can you ♪
♪ See ♪
♪ By the dawn’s early light ♪

[vocalizing off-tune]

[vocalizing droning]

♪ What so proudly we hail’d… ♪

Why are you trying to make the anthem sexy? What are you doing? I never understand that. Why are you trying to make it a sexy song? You’ll never be in England and see someone like, “Remix!”

♪ God save God save the Queen ♪
♪ God save the Queen I save the Queen with sexy sex ♪
♪ Save the Queen Let’s save the Queen ♪
♪ With sexy sex Come on, save that Queen ♪

Oh, man. So, Germany was fun. And then we headed to Paris, France, to do shows for the first time in my life, I was very excited. I always wanted to perform in Paris. Didn’t know what it would be. But can I tell you? Paris is everything they tell you it is. It is easily one of the most romantic cities I have ever been to in my life. I fell in love 1,000 times. I was by myself. It didn’t matter. Yeah. Every night, it was just me and those bedbugs, baby. I really enjoyed Paris because I got to meet Parisians. In person. Not stereotypes, not things you’re told about. No, actually meet French people, learn about them from them. And I learned some truly amazing things. For instance, the French have a very different relationship with work than the rest of us, all right? In that they don’t give a shit about it. Which, honestly, I found inspiring. Yeah. I feel like a lot of us have become a little too attached to our work, you know? We identify with our work. Ever asked somebody like, “Tell me about yourself”? “I’m an architect…” “Tell me about yourself.” “I own a hair salon and…” “Tell me about yourself.” “I’m a teacher…” “Tell me about yourself,” and people will tell you about what they do. You know, it’s become the thing that people focus on. The French don’t do that. No. You’ll never meet a French person who does that. You go up to a French person and be like, “Excuse me. What do you do?”

Be like, [in French accent] “Oh, me? I go for walks with my friends and, uh… I like to eat good food and…”

[in normal voice] You’re like, “No, what do you do for a living?” “For a living? Pardon.” “Okay, for a living.” “Okay, no, I, uh, breathe and, uh…” “You know, I drink water and, uh, you know…” “Of course, I have to make love, you know.”

[in normal voice] It’s just a different way to be, man. You know, not being so attached to your work. It was lovely. I learned this because when I flew to Paris, my luggage was lost. All right? Yeah. Landed in the airport, and bags were gone, didn’t arrive. I discovered this at the carousel, which is a shitty thing that airlines do to you. They know your bags are not coming. Yeah, they know where your bag is every single moment. But they don’t tell you. They’ll let you stand there like an idiot with hope in your heart. They could come to your seat before take-off and be like, “It’s not coming.” “Spoiler alert.” But they don’t.

[chuckles]

They let you take off with all that joy like an idiot. Whee! I landed in Paris. Thought it was the beginning of a great trip. I was skipping around. I had my full-luggage swag, “I’m going get my bags, go into Paris, start exploring.” Got to the carousel. I was like, “Mmm-mmm, full luggage swag.” “That’s right. Let me get my luggage, everybody.” I was like, “Excuse me.” “Make space, please.” “I would like to lean over the carousel.” “Makes the bags come quicker.” “Come on, lucky bag.” I had full luggage swag. Bags started coming out and I was standing there, judging them. “Ha-ha! Who still uses Samsonite?” [laughs] “Ah! Where’s my bag?” Bags going around, going around, and then new bags stopped coming out. I started worrying. Then there were fewer and fewer bags. And I was like, “Oh, my bag…” “My bag’s not coming.” And I realized my bag hadn’t arrived. It was terrible. I had the same feeling, the same feeling I had as a child when my mom would forget me at school. Exactly the same. Standing at the carousel, felt like I was ten years old again, like…

[exaggeratedly imitates a child crying]

[sobbing] “No, Mr. Wilkinson, it’s fine, you can go.” “My mom’s going to come. Don’t worry, you can go home.” “She’s coming. She wouldn’t forget me.” “No… She’s…” “She’s probably dead somewhere right now.” “She’s probably in a ditch lying dead.”

[in normal voice] She forgot me. She’d forget me occasionally. And then I’d have to walk home. It was like an hour walk.

[laughs]

And I’d get home, and she’d always have the same reaction when I walked in, ’cause she worked from home. She’d have a little computer where she’d be typing away, and I’d walk into the house and I’ll close the door like… Always the same reaction, she’ll be like… [gasps] “No, no, no, no, no, baby, no! No, no, no, no! Oh!” “What time is it?” And I’ll be like, “It’s too late.” I’m not going to lie. I hated being forgotten at school, but I savored those moments. ‘Cause it wasn’t any sweat, to be honest. I liked walking. It’s not like I was stressed on the walk. I’d be kicking stones, singing on the way back. I’d get to the house and be like, “No, wait a minute. Hmm.” I loved it ’cause that was the one moment when I was allowed to give my mom unlimited attitude with no repercussions. None. ‘Cause when I was a kid, you couldn’t give attitude to your parents. I wasn’t a white child. You know what I mean? You couldn’t… I had to watch myself. But when she messed up, ooh, I loved it. She’d be like, “Can you forgive me, baby?” I’ll be like, “I’ll think about it.” Now I had to find somebody to help me. I look around, there’s an older French gentleman standing on the side, gray hair, rosy cheeks, short little guy with glasses. So I walked over to him. And he was wearing a red vest. And in French, it read “Information,” and then underneath in English said, “Information.” I was like, “Phew!” “Ah. Bonjour. Hello. Hi.” He’s like, “Hello. Bonjour.” I said, “English, French?” Said, “English, yeah, oui.” I said, “Could you help me, please?” “Um… My, um… My luggage didn’t arrive.” “Um, I would like to know, what do I need to do?” He’s like, “There’s your luggage… It didn’t come…”

[incoherent English in French accent]

[in normal voice]

I was like, “Okay.” Um… “All right.” “Let’s try French.” “Let’s, uh, see what happens.” Finally, we figured it out. He sent me off to a special area where you go and make a report. There’s another French guy behind the counter, much younger. He was maybe Algerian or Moroccan of descent. Very French, very French. Cool guy. He’s helping somebody. “Okay, thank you very much. Next, please.” I walk up, “Hey, man.” He’s like, “What’s going on, my brother?” “How are you? What’s up with you?” I was like, “I need your help, please.” “My luggage, um, it didn’t come. It’s, uh, lost.” He’s like, “Oh, no, dude, your luggage didn’t come.” “Oh, man.” “Did you look for it?” I said, “What? Yeah, that’s the first thing I did.” “You think I’m here for company?” “Of course, that’s…” He’s like, “No. Just checking.” “So, the bag is gone? It’s totally…” I’m like, “Yeah.” He’s like, “Oh, man, that sucks, man, I’m so sorry for you, man.” “That’s terrible.” “Yeah. So, what do you want to do now?” “What do I want to do?” I said, “I would like you to do something.” “Can we make a report or something?” “You want to make some paperwork or something?” “It’s for your for your insurance so they can pay you for it?” I said, “No, it’s so that you can find it and bring it to me.” He’s like, “Oh, don’t worry, man.” “We are not going to find it.” “No, man.” “Don’t worry about that.” “No. You know, it’s Paris, man.” “When the bags are gone, they’re probably gone.” “They don’t ever pop up. Sometimes, if you’re lucky.” “But if it is not here by now, it’s probably gone.” “It’s Friday. There are some strikes. Just…” “You can leave. Don’t stress yourself. You can go.” It’s like, “Don’t even stress…” “Yo, It’s my luggage.” “That’s all my clothes.” He’s like, “But you are in Paris.” “You need clothes? This is Paris, man.” “Come on, Paris, go and buy some clothes.” “What’s wrong with you, man? Chill.” He was so confident, he made me feel like I was wrong. Like, I doubted myself. I walked away and I was like, “Am I wrong?” “Am I too attached to my luggage?” He wasn’t lying. Paris has a great selection of clothing. I had to go and buy clothes because I had nothing for my shows, for anything. And if you ever do go to Paris, take some extra money for the clothes shopping. It’s amazing. And try and also pack an extra pair of self-esteem. Yeah, you’ll need it when you shop with the French. ‘Cause they’re not your friends. Yeah. I’ve never been to a country where you are truly on your own when you’re shopping. You walk into a store, nobody helps you. Nothing. You don’t know who works there, who’s doing anything. Literally, it’s like Undercover Employee. Just walking around.

[chuckles]

It was 20 minutes, nobody helped me. Finally I started picking my own clothes, and I heard an annoyed voice behind me. “Can I help you?” I was like, “Hi. Yes. I need to get clothes, please.” “My luggage was lost.” And then, Detroit, I got roasted more than I’ve ever been roasted in my life. Ever. Ever. Everything I chose came with a scathing review. I was like, “Yeah, could I please, um, get this in a medium?” He was like, “Medium? No, you mean large or extra-large, no?” “Yeah, no, this one is medium for your body?” “I don’t think so, no?” I was like, “I’m sorry, what?” He’s like, “I think you’re a large. I can bring that one for you.” “Medium is too much for the shirt, okay?” [chuckling] I’m like, “What?” Yo, everything, everything. There was a jacket I wanted to buy. “Could I get this?” He’s like, “No, this one for your skin tone is not great.” “No, You have to think about what is complementary for the colors inside the fabric and also inside your face, okay?” “This one is not the best.” I was like, “Yo, I already own something like this.” He’s like, “Ah, and you’re wearing it?” “Well, not anymore.” “No, you can wear it if you want.” “C’est tranquille. Go ahead.” “No, you threatened me now.” You know what? It’s just different. A friend said to me, “Dude, the French are assholes, right?” I was like, “I don’t think that they’re assholes.” “I think they’re just very honest.” All right? It’s hard to tell the difference between the two. ‘Cause one day I was speaking to a French woman and I worked up the courage to ask her, I said, “Hey, um…” “Why are the French… like this?” And she said, “What do you mean?” I said, “When you’re in a store, they seem very mean.” “No, they’re not being mean. They’re just being themselves, no?” “Maybe because you are used to coming in a country where people, they are so afraid that you’re not going to tip them, that they are all on top of you.” “‘Can I help you? Can I help you?'” “But in France, we make sure that everybody is getting a good salary.” “A good wage.” “So we are not, you know, so stressed about that.” “In America, it’s like, ‘The customer is king.'” “But in France, you know what we do to kings.” “So, you know…” “It’s not the same here.” The French don’t play that game. You’ve been so much fun tonight, Detroit. Thank you.

[audience cheering]

Thank you so much. Proved me right. This is why you go to Detroit. For real. It’s an amazing audience. Beautiful, diverse. And the city’s been cool, too. We’ve been seeing a few things here and there. I had a fight with my friend Dave. He directs these specials and he said to me one day, “Yo, what are you doing during the day?” And I was, “Might go eat, do something.” He’s like, “Dude, why don’t we go check out all the museums in Detroit?” I was like, “Maybe like one.” He said, “What do you mean, one?” I was like, “Yeah, not all. What do you mean, all?” He’s like, “Dude, have you been here before?” “You know how many amazing museums they got?” “Yes, but it’s still a museum.” “I’ll do like one, and that’s it.” “I don’t have that much stamina. I can’t do as many as you.” “What do you mean you can’t do as many as me?” “Dude, because you’re white, like, you enjoy doing that.” And I was just joking. I was just teasing him. Just teasing him. He got so offended so quickly, right?

[laughs]

He’s like, “What did you say?” “Because you’re…” He’s like, “Dude, white people don’t love museums.” “What are you even talking about?” “Like, museums aren’t even in the top five things white people love, okay?” He said it with such confidence. and with such conviction, I was like, “What is the top five?” ‘Cause what a strange… “That’s not even in the top five.” Like, in his bedroom, he has a list on the wall of the top ten things.

[laughing]

It was amazing. I thought about it. I was like, “No, it is.” “I stick with my decision.” Museums would be. ‘Cause, no, it’s not even a bad thing. White people love museums. A lot of people enjoy museums, but white people love museums. Love museums. There’s not a single place on Earth where white people have settled and not built a museum. It doesn’t matter. White people love museums. You ever seen white people in a museum? Walking around smiling with their hands behind their back? “Yep, that was us.” “That was us, too.” “It’s been a good run.” White people love museums. I wouldn’t put it at number one, but it’d be in the top five. I thought about it. If there were top five things white people love, I’d put museums at number five. At number four, I’d put swimming. All right? ‘Cause white people love swimming. Nothing wrong with that. Have you seen white people swim? You look stunning. Stunning. When white people swim, you do that thing with your hair. You come out of the water, like…

[imitates whooshing]

Just go perfectly back like a duck. I would love swimming, too. White people love swimming. White people love swimming so much, that they made it that you can win more medals at the Olympics, swimming, than any other discipline. Yeah, that’s how much white people love swimming. I realized this one day. There was an argument going on about who the greatest Olympian of all time is. And the final two was Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. And then one of the arguments was, “Well, Michael Phelps is better because he has more medals.” And I was like, “Yeah, because he cheated.” “He won them swimming.” I’m not saying Michael Phelps is not great. I’m saying you can’t count the medals in the argument. Because in swimming it’s the only discipline where you win more medals for doing the same thing in a slightly less efficient manner. It makes no sense. Think about it. It’s like, “100-meter freestyle.”

[imitates beep]

[panting] Done. Gold medal. Yeah. And now this. Another medal. Yeah. And this one? Another medal. But what about this one? Another medal. That’s some bullshit. I don’t care what anyone says. You can’t win more medals. Usain Bolt doesn’t have that luxury. When Usain Bolt runs, it’s the 100-meter and it’s done. “On your marks, set…” Run, run, run, run. Get to the end, win, gold medal. That’s it. He can’t turn around like, “Amazing race. And now I’m going to do it butterfly style.” It’s not a thing. I mean, it should be, but it’s not. White people love swimming, so they made up the rule. I get it. It would have to be, yeah. Of my top five things, I’d go museums at number five, swimming at number four. Number three, being flabbergasted. White people love being flabbergasted. Come on. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Have you ever seen when a white person’s having a bad day, something’s gone wrong, they do that thing with their face, get flabbergasted like… White people love being flabbergasted. You’ll see it in supermarkets all the time. There’s like a long line. All right? But only one cashier is open.

[chuckles]

Everyone’s standing patiently. There’s always one white person who pops out like… “Why don’t they open the other…” “Are you serious?” “What are they… Are you…” The only thing white people love more is finding another white person to flabbergast with. Have you seen that? Yo, whenever that happens, magic. It is absolute magic. A white person will be flabbergasting. They’ll make eye contact with another white person, and then they’ll flabbergast together. It’s like they Voltron their flabbergasting into a super flabbergast. You see them look over. “You see this?” “I know.” [sighing] That’s one of the keys to flabbergasting. You have to exhale. Let it all out. Life is so hard that the air has to leave your body. You can no longer even breathe. [sighing heavily] That’s why there’s so many tornadoes in the Midwest. It’s just white people flabbergasting… [sighing vigorously]

White people love being flabbergasted. Has to be. Has to be top five. That would be my list. Top five things white people love. I’ve got museums at number five. All right, swimming at number four. Being flabbergasted, number three. Number two, being white. It’s a sweet gig. I don’t blame you. And then there’s number one. And look, this is my personal list. I’m not dictating anything. If you don’t agree, make your own, right? It’s a personal preference. But there is one thing, and one thing alone, that white people love more than anything on this planet. “Sweet Caroline.” Let me tell you something, Detroit. There is nothing that brings more joy to the soul of a white person than the sounds of that Neil Diamond song. I don’t care where it is. I’ve been on every continent, in many countries. When that song plays, you see white people’s eyes light up… like sleeper agents who’ve just been activated. It happens every time, without fail. Every single time. It’s not about music, other songs will be playing. They’ll be at a cookout or a baseball game, a company event. All the other songs are in the background. They pay them no heed. But when that song kicks in, it taps into the very DNA of whiteness. I don’t know what it is. But it interrupts everything else. You’ll see white people hanging out. They’ll be like, “Yeah, business, mergers and acquisitions.” “It’s one of those things.” “I know, we should circle back.” “Let’s put a pin in it.” [blabbering] And that song comes in, and every single time… You think it won’t happen. It always creeps in. It always seems like it won’t happen. But it’s always the same, just like…

♪ Hands, touchin’ hands ♪
♪ Reachin’ out, touchin’ me ♪
♪ Touchin’ you Pum, pum, pum ♪
♪ Sweet Caroline ♪

[audience humming the tune]

See, I didn’t tell you to join in. I didn’t say, “All together now.” Or, “On the count of three.” That was just your whiteness coming out. Did you feel that? Huh? That was just you. You were like, “This is it!” “This is our moment!” ♪ Oh, oh, oh ♪ ♪ I’m white, white, white, white ♪ ♪ White, white ♪ Look at you right now. You’re beaming! Look at your face. Look at you. Look at that joy. Ten minutes ago, “I don’t know about this guy.” Now you’re like, “Best comedian ever!” Don’t ever lose that joy. None of you white people. You hold on to it. It is a treasure. It is the most adorable thing in the world. Nothing makes white people happier than that song. Nothing. That song is pure, uncut Caucasian joy. That’s what that song is. White people cannot resist it. Yeah, forget 23andMe. If you want to know how much white you have in you, play that song. The louder you respond, the whiter you are. I just saved you some money. There’s no white person I’ve seen… It is the Marco to your Polo. That’s what that song is. I’ll tell you, if there was ever, like, a giant earthquake, God forbid, and people were trapped beneath the rubble, I’d volunteer to find all the white people. I’ll be like, “You guys find everybody else.” “I got this. I got this!” ♪ “Sweet Caroline” ♪ “I found another one!” “You okay, man?”

[coughs to the beat of “Sweet Caroline”]

Right now some of you are like, “Trevor, we like that song, but it’s not the most important to us.” Yeah? Then how come you didn’t help me sing the anthem?

Detroit, you have been amazing. Thank you so much. I had such a great time with all of you. I appreciate you. Good night.

[“Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond playing]

♪ Where it began ♪
♪ I can’t begin to know when ♪
♪ But then I know it’s growing strong ♪
Was in the spring… ♪

[music stops]

[sighs in relief]

[man] How’d we do? It works every time, Neil Diamond. [chuckling] All right. It works every time. [chuckles]

♪ Sweet Caroline Pum, pum, pum ♪
♪ Good times never seemed so good ♪
I’ve been inclined ♪
♪ To believe they never would ♪
♪ But now I look at the night ♪
♪ And it don’t seem so lonely ♪
♪ We fill it up with only two ♪
And when I hurt ♪
♪ Hurtin’ runs off my shoulders… ♪

Thank you so much. That was fantastic. Thank you so much.

♪ Sweet Caroline… ♪

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