With the rumours and jump-the-gun headlines swirling around Nelson Mandela – that our beloved former leader is on life support, that he’s unable to breathe on his own – I wasn’t feeling much like laughing. But we had tickets to see Trevor Noah, arguably South Africa’s most exciting comedian right now, perform one of his last shows before he ends his NYC residency. And I’d been wanting to see him ever since he kicked off this set of performances while I was still in Cannes. I’ve been reporting on him for a while now, and it’s a warm-your-heart kind of moment to see him getting well-deserved buzz.
Noah’s NYC show at the Culture Project, Born a Crime, has been so popular it was extended for month longer than it was meant to run. And so, with his astute observations on race relations across countries and his on-point accents and Mandela impersonation, Noah made me, and the rest of the audience, laugh. Much needed laughter. He also granted me this brief interview on a very sticky-hot NYC night, in between shows – in which we talk about performing for Americans and “our guy” Madiba.