Trevor Noah: African American

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Trevor Noah: African American

(silence)
>> NARRATOR: Africa– where
it all began: the first fire,
the first man to stand up
and the first stand-up man.
The stand-up man flourished,
bringing joy and a good date
night to millions of villagers
before he eventually migrated,
bringing stand-up comedy here,
here and here.
But oddly, never here.
As comedy flourished abroad,
the African stand-up man
disappeared… until now.
♪ ♪
(audience cheering)
>> ANNOUNCER: Ladies and
gentlemen, please welcome
Trevor Noah.
>> TREVOR NOAH: Thank you.
Thumbs up.
Thank you, thank you!
Thank you, thank you.
Good evening.
How you guys doing?
(cheering, applause)
I guess that means “good.”
That’s what the sound means,
right? Whoo!
There’s no sound for sad.
Does anyone make that sound?
“How you feeling?”
“Oh…”
No, it’s really just that.
Thank you very much
for having me.
Thanks for coming out.
You guys are looking great
and, uh, relaxed.
Nice weather, isn’t it?
Yeah, it’s very chilled out.
I just got back from Atlanta.
It was 107 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yeah. Hottest weather.
The worst thing is, everyone
comes up to me and they go,
“Well, you must be used to this
being from Africa.”
No, I’m not.
I’m from Africa, but that shit
is hot.
That was just… No.
I was scared to go jogging
’cause I thought if I ran out
in the street and fainted,
wouldn’t the local news
love that?
I’d be running and I’d fall
down in the heat, they would
have their vans reporting live.
They’d be standing, going,
“So hot in Atlanta, even
Africans are fainting.”
So I’m enjoying this.
Really happy to be here,
you know?
This is, uh… this is gonna be
good for us, I hope.
I say, “I hope,” because I never
know with stand-up comedy.
It’s just, you know, it’s an
awkward experience, I find.
I’m always nervous.
I find comedy is very similar
to sex for me.
Um, it’s exactly like sex when
you think about it.
With me, the comedian, playing
the role of the man and you,
the audience, the role
of the woman.
Because it’s my job
to satisfy you.
And you just have to sit there.
And then just like sex, my
success or failure will somehow
be determined by how much noise
you make during my performance.
Which makes it a one-sided
affair, I feel, you know?
Yeah, maybe you’re the
quiet type. (giggles softly)
I hope we have magic tonight.
I hope we create something
wonderful.
I mean, for many of us, it’s
our first time together, and
that means it might be awkward.
I understand this.
If that’s the case, I want you
to know that I’ll look into
your eyes, I’ll see that I’m
freaking you out, and I’ll stop.
I’ll stop, and I’ll flip you
back over and we’ll go back
to the simple stuff.
Okay?
I’ve, uh… I’ve been in America
for a few months now, and I’m
really just thrown by the place.
It’s, uh, not what I expected
at all.
Different from the brochures
and the pamphlets.
Uh, there’s many assumptions
I had about America before
I came here.
And I’ve come to learn that
those were wrong.
For one, I just assumed people
spoke English here.
Um, it’s far from it.
You know, it’s not so much the
language so much as the
pronunciation of words that
throws me off.
It’s just what Americans have
done with the language.
You guys have just, wow, you’ve
just… you’ve done something.
You’ve put 22’s on the English
language.
You just got rims of this
“pimp my language,” that’s
what you’ve gone with, you know?
Yeah, I don’t understand.
I was chatting to this woman
downtown the other day.
She came up to me, and she
wanted me to see something.
I don’t know what, though.
She was like, “Oh, my God, look
over ‘thur.'”
(laughter)
I said, “Look over what?”
She’s like, “Over ‘thur.’
Look at that ‘hur.'”
And I said, “Her?”
And she’s like, “No, ‘hur hur.'”
Wait, there’s two of them?
(laughter)
I understand nothing.
Even the small words, just the
pronunciation.
You know, small things that get
you by.
Uh, for instance, I pronounce
the opposite of “uncle” as
“aunt.”
I say, “my aunt.”
Out here, you say, “my ant.”
Which to me is an insect.
(laughter)
Which made me look like an ass
when my friend told me his aunt
died.
(laughter)
And I was like, “So what?
There’s tons of those out
there.”
(applause)
What a great way to end a
friendship.
I couldn’t get help the other
day when searching for a battery
for my remote control.
‘Cause that’s what I say:
“batt’ry.”
A small form of power.
Yes, In America, you say,
“bad-ery.”
Which to me is a different form
of power.
Sponsored by Chris Brown, yeah.
(laughter, applause)
(cheering)
And you know what, I understand.
We live on different sides of
the globe, so it’s fine.
The language will evolve.
This is something I’ve-I’ve come
to… but I-I hope change one
thing in your hearts forever.
Just one thing.
And that is, that animal in the
wild that looks like a horse?
It has black and white stripes?
Yeah, do me a favor.
From now on, please, it’s not
“zee-bra,” okay?
It’s “zeb-ra.”
Yeah?
(cheering)
Just like it’s not “Dee-bra”;
it’s “Debra.”
Same structure of word.
Plus, you cannot name them
’cause you do not have them.
(laughter)
“Zeb-ra.”
This is madness.
Everything out here is
different.
Do you know how hard it is to
learn when you come out here?
You have to change everything.
There’s the measurement system,
which is just– I mean, America,
you guys have your own thing.
The imperial system, you know?
On my side of the world, we use
the metric system, and by “my
side,” I mean the rest of the
world, you know?
We have the metric system, which
is, amongst other things, very
efficient.
It’s a very simple process, you
know.
Everything goes into each other.
And out here, you have imperial.
Which is fine.
I mean, I won’t judge you.
If you want to be imaginary,
that’s up to you.
But…
I just feel like there’s some
consistency that’s needed.
Small things.
Like for instance, uh, when we
abbreviate our small
measurement, milligrams, we use
“mg.”
Milligrams. Mg. Milligrams.
Yeah? Yeah?
And you guys have, uh, have
ounces.
Ounces.
Which you then abbreviate “oz.”
There’s no “Z” in the word
“ounces.”
I don’t know…
That-that’s pale in comparison
to what you’ve done with
pounds.
That, for me…
Please explain to me how the
abbreviation for pounds became
“lbs.”
Lb– pounds.
I look like the idiot, walking
into the store going, “Could I
please have the two labs bag of
sugar?”
Guy was like, “You mean
‘pounds?'”
I said, “I don’t see the ‘P,’
no. I don’t.”
Said, “Well, it means ‘pounds.'”
Lbs. Lot of bullshit, that’s
what it stands for.
This is horrible.
(cheering, applause)
In fact, the… it’s-it’s crazy.
You do realize the imperial
system is so inefficient that
even American drug dealers have
switched over to metric?
Even drug dealers got to the
point where they said, “We need
some order.
We’re going with metric.”
And I-I thought… I honestly
thought this was an anomaly.
I thought, “You know what?
This is just one of those
things that’s a coincidence.”
But it’s not.
Americans do not care about
abbreviation, nor the English
language.
They-they just… they don’t
give a damn.
I learned this in the small
things, like, uh… like, for
instance, when I was in
Tennessee, I stumbled on an
organization know as the Ku Klux
Klan.
You heard of them?
Worst magic show ever.
(laughter)
Guy gave me a pamphlet, he was
like, “Come and see the Grand
Wizard.”
Grand Wizard! The Grand Wi…
Didn’t do one trick!
Not even one trick.
I mean, I noticed a few black
people disappear, but, I mean,
that’s not magic.
You know, that’s just
Reaganomics.
I wasn’t impressed by that.
Like, where’s the magic?
I sat there forever, these guys
running around in their sheets.
“Yee-haw!”
The KKK, as they’re
affectionately known.
Has nobody bothered to tell them
ever that you do not spell
“clan” with a “K”?
Nobody… nobody stopped– even
in America, “clan” is spelled
with a “C.”
The Ku Klux Clan.
They’re the KKC, not the KKK.
You realize that?
Ku Klux Clan. A “C.”
In fact, the name is wrong.
The whole thing.
The “Ku Klux” parts of it.
That’s-that’s just horrible,
’cause they… they got that, as
you know, from ancient Greece.
It was “Kuklos Adelphon,”
meaning “a circle of brothers.”
And that’s how they got their
name.
They called themselves a Greek
circle of brothers.
Which is… which is wrong, for
two reasons.
One, if your sole purpose as an
organization is to hate black
people, don’t you find it
strange that you’ve now named
yourself “the circle of
brothers”?
(laughter)
(cheering)
And secondly, do they realize
that in ancient Greece, circles
of brothers were doing very
different things…
with one another?
Very loving, very– you know?
Yeah.
If they were really a Greek
circle, the sheets would be a
bit higher up, you know?
Just more of a…
Yeah.
There’d be one more hole, and
not a…
I love it.
I have, uh… I have no problem
with these things.
I will… I will learn them.
I’m willing to take this in my
stride.
‘Cause that’s not why I came to
America.
Not to analyze the English
language.
No, I… I came to America
because I always wanted one
thing, and that is, I always
wanted to be black.
(laughter)
I was a…
You laugh, but it’s true. Yeah.
That’s all I ever wanted.
I grew up in South Africa,
during a time known as
apartheid.
And, for those who don’t know,
apartheid was a law in South
Africa that made it illegal for
black and white people to
interact with each other, you
know?
If you did that, then you would
get into trouble.
So, for instance, this, uh,
black young lady here sitting
with the white guy– if you did
this in South Africa, then
they’d arrest you guys.
You couldn’t– during apartheid,
you couldn’t– well, they’d
arrest the black girl.
They’d just ask you not to do it
again.
‘Cause…
(laughter)
And so… and so this was
awkward for me, because I grew
up in a mixed family, you know?
Uh, well, with me being the
mixed one in the family.
Uh… uh, my mother’s a black
woman, South African, and my
father’s Swiss, from
Switzerland.
So he was a white man, and
basic… w-well, he still is a
white man.
It’s not like he… it’s not
like he changed.
Sorry, I said “was,” like
through hard work and
determination, he became black,
which is not– didn’t– that
guy’s looking at me like, “Is
that possible?”
It’s– n-no, sir.
You’re fine. You’re 100% fine.
Your position of privilege is
just the way it was.
Although it would be something,
though, if you could work so
hard you became black.
That would just be…
wouldn’t it?
That would change the workplace
forever.
See guys walking into their
office talking to the boss:
“Jim, I, uh… I think I want to
take a few days off.
I, uh… I don’t know.
I feel it coming on.
I, uh…
Yeah, I’ve been putting in some
overtime, and I don’t know, man.
I just, uh… yeah.
Yeah, look, I mean, the wife’s
loving it, but I can’t take
a chance.
I, uh…
I just…
I just filled out a new loan
application, and my credit’s
looking real good, so, uh, I’m
going to take a few days off.
Yeah, yeah.”
(laughs)
No, you’re fine, sir.
He’s still… my father is alive
and still very, very white.
Uh, from Switzerland.
My mother, Xhosa woman,
from South Africa.
Yeah, and… and they got
together during this time, which
was against the law, but they
didn’t care, you know?
They were mavericks.
They were just… you know, they
fought the man.
My mom was like, “Whoo!
I don’t care!
I want a white man!
Whoo!”
You know?
And my dad was also like…
well, you know how the Swiss
love chocolate, so he was
just…
He was in there.
Uh, and so they got together,
and… and they had me.
Which was illegal.
So I was born a crime.
Which… which is something they
never thought through, ’cause as
a family, we couldn’t live
normally together, you know?
Like, in the streets, my father
had to walk on the other side of
the road.
He could just wave at me from
afar, like a creepy pedophile.
Just…
And then my mom could walk with
me, but if the police showed up,
then she’d have to let go of my
hand, drop me and act like I
wasn’t hers.
Every time, just so we wouldn’t
get caught.
Be like… (imitates siren)
She’ll be like, “I-I…
I don’t know.”
It was horrible.
I felt like a bag of weed.
And… and one of the
punishments for this crime was I
was never afforded a race.
I was never called black.
I was never called white.
I got horrible names like
mixed-breed and… and mutt and
half-caste and… you know?
It was a horrible time for me.
And one fateful day– I’ll never
forget– I met an American in
South Africa.
And, uh, he said to me, “Well,
you know, Trevor, it’s funny you
say that ’cause… ’cause if you
come out to America, they’ll…
they’ll label you as black.”
I said, “Really?”
And he was like, “Hell, yeah.
Oh, yeah, everybody’s black
out there.”
I was like, “Wow.
Well, I want to be black.”
And I found out it’s true.
Mixed-race people are
categorized as black in America.
Yeah.
The only catch is– and nobody
tells you this– you have to be
liked and successful first.
Before then, they say
you’re mixed.
You achieve success, and you get
upgraded to black.
All the famous mixed people
do it.
Singers like Alicia Keys and
Mariah Carey, yeah?
Mixed, but then they say
“black singers.”
Uh, sportsmen like Tiger Woods.
Mixed, but then they say
“black golfer.”
Most famous mixed person on the
planet by far, Barack Obama.
Mixed, half and half, straight
down the middle.
But then they say “America’s
first black president.”
Which is interesting, ’cause
when he was running, they called
him the “mixed candidate.”
I see how it works.
Everyone makes it obvious now.
They’re like, “Yeah, yeah,
Barack, of course he won.
Of course.”
It wasn’t that obvious when he
started– it wasn’t.
I remember comedians coming out.
They used to dis him.
Guys would come out onstage and
be like, “Man, how many y’all
seen that crazy-ass mixed fool
running for president?
Y’all see that mixed fool
running for president?
What you gonna see?
Ain’t no mixed fool gonna be
president of the United States
of America.
Ain’t no mixed…
Man, which white people gonna be
voting for a mixed fool?
Even a black man can’t win shit.
Even a black man can’t…
How some mixed fool think he
gonna do that?
Man, that mixed fool, that
crazy-ass mixed fool.
How some mixed fool…?
That mixed fool!”
And then he won, and all of a
sudden, they were like,
“My nigga!”
So…
(cheering and applause)
So I see how it works, you know?
I understand.
In order for me to become black,
I have to work hard at it.
And I’m willing to do the time.
Yeah.
(laughter)
I, uh… I took the first
opportunity I could.
Bought myself a plane ticket
from South Africa, and I said,
“I’m going out to America.
I’m going there, and I’m going
to be black.”
And I got on that plane.
It was an 18-hour flight.
18 hours of nonstop flying, and
I sat there in my chair, and I
spent every moment practicing
being black, just practicing.
I was like, “I’m not going to
mess up this black-atunity.”
I just sat there, just working
through everything.
I was watching every black movie
and TV show, just going
through it.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
You know what I mean?
You know what I mean?
Yeah!
Yeah, King Kong ain’t got shit
on me.
Yeah.
What you talking about, Willis?”
I was just… I was grinding it.
You laugh, but 18 hours of
flying, and I landed in JFK, and
I was fluent in my Black
American.
For shizzle, my nizzle, I was
just…
I was walking around.
I was so black, I was even
laughing black.
I was like, “Ha ha ha…!
Ha ha!
Yeah!
My man!
Ha ha!”
Should’ve seen me.
It was like, “Oh, this you?
This you?”
That has to be the
personification of cool,
in my opinion.
There’s nothing cooler.
Black Americans are so cool.
They can make you feel good
about yourself just by asking
if you are you.
You don’t believe me, get a
black American man to come up to
you and just be like, “Hey, yo,
hey, yo, this you?
Nah, nah, this you?
This you?
This you?”
And you’ll be like, “I think
it is!”
(cheering and applause)
It’s magic.
I was that black.
Not just any black, but the
coolest black in the world, and
that’s American black.
I can say this with confidence,
being from Africa.
I know black.
I’m well-versed in the arts
of black.
I’m from the black factory.
I mean it.
I’ve seen every kind of black,
from light black all the way to,
like, navy blue black.
I know… I know black.
And there’s no cooler black than
American black.
Nothing cooler, you know?
‘Cause American black people, I
mean, you just look at how much
they’ve done to influence
modern-day pop culture,
you know?
Uh, small things and the
big alike.
You’ve got the music.
You’ve got, you know, jazz,
hip-hop, R and B– all black
Americans.
Style of clothing, you know?
Just this general swag that
they’ve brought to everything.
Even small things like walking.
I mean, walking is such a
mundane activity, isn’t it?
It’s just a very… it’s just
very…
There’s nothing cool about
this thing.
You just… you just move from
one place to the next, and…
and pretty much everybody can
do it.
This is… this is it.
There’s nothing…
And then black Americans came
along, and then they just added
in that bounce, and then…
and all of a sudden, you look
really cool.
You just… you know?
You look like you have
a purpose.
You’ve just got that…
Yeah, look at…
It’s super cool.
And it must be hard for an
assassin to kill you, just
like…
That’s why, if you look in
American history, no black man
was ever assassinated whilst
walking ever.
It’s always when they stopped
and said something.
Bang!
That’s when they would.
‘Cause they got the walk.
That’s why, if you look, Obama,
every time he comes out of the
jet or makes a speech, he’s
always just got that little
bounce just before, ’cause in
his head, he’s like, “You never
know, you never know.
You never know, you never know.
You never know.”
He’s got the walk.
(cheering and applause)
It’s a cool walk.
And by far the coolest thing of
all, the coolest thing of all
is the talk.
I’ve listened to black
Americans, and it’s the most
amazing use of the English
language I’ve ever come across
in my life.
‘Cause they pay no regard to
punctuation whatsoever.
They just cruise through
sentences.
It’s fantastic.
First time I had a conversation
with a black American man was in
Baltimore, Maryland.
This guy walked up to me after
the show.
He didn’t even walk; he just
floated in.
He just…
He just came up to me, was like,
“Hey, yo, B.
Hey, yo, hey, yo.
Yo, let me holler at you for a
minute, man.
Let me holler at you.”
I said, “Okay.”
He’s like, “Man, I ain’t even
gonna front, man.
I ain’t gonna front.
I came out here, dude, I didn’t
even know who you was, man.
I didn’t even know.
I was out here at the show, I
brought my girl, we was out
there, you came out there, and
you were doing your thing.
I was like, ‘Yo, man.’
I didn’t even know they got them
yellow bones out there in the
motherland, man.
I was like, ‘Yo, this kid better
be funny, man.’
But I ain’t gonna lie– you came
out there, you was keeping it
coming, keeping it moving.
You was just beastin’.
I was like, ‘All right, man,
maybe this kid is the truth,
yeah?’
This kid was doing his thing.
He was keeping it out there.
I started laughing.
My girl was killing herself.
I was like, ‘All right, this
mofo got flow, for sure!’
You know what I mean?”
(cheering and applause)
And I was like, “No, I don’t.”
But I love it.
It’s the most amazing use of
English I’ve ever come across in
my life.
Just that one word alone, just
the strength of that:
“Naw’mean.”
“Do you know what I mean?”
“You naw’mean?”
It just… it sums it all up,
doesn’t it?
It’s just, you know, neither
question nor statement.
It just… like, why have we
been wasting our time with
syllables for so long?
I don’t understand.
“It was a crazy day today.
You know what I mean?”
“Yo, that shit was cray.
You naw’mean?”
It just… it just flows.
It’s magical.
It says it all.
I feel like I’ve wasted years of
my life without “naw’mean.”
I wish I could go back in time
and relive my favorite moments,
watch my favorite movies again,
see them bring to life.
“This is Sparta!
Naw’mean!”
Power.
Just give it something,
you know?
I want to take that word home
with me, home to Africa.
I hope… I hope and I pray that
someday I have a daughter, just
so I may name her “Naw’mean.”
You know?
No, because it sounds… it
sounds exotic and foreign.
It has that… it has that thing
to it.
You’ll be like, “Trevor,
who’s that?”
“Oh, this?
That’s my baby girl, Naw’mean.”
It just has it, you know?
It’s wonderful.
Just go back…
I bet even greats like
Shakespeare would have loved to
use that word.
They say he invented more words
than anyone, but “naw’mean,” oh,
I bet he’s in his grave going,
“I wish I had.”
You can see it in one of those
great plays, on the stages of
Manchester and London.
Theater actors just walking out
there with their big collars.
“Ah, yes, Prometheus.
And hither doth he come, fie, I
am the son of a humble thespian.
Naw’mean?”
It has the magic.
That’s what I was, man.
I was that black.
You should have seen me.
Just walking around the airport
shouting random things.
“Brooklyn!”
(laughter)
I didn’t even know where
that was.
I was super black.
Oh!
Till some guy came up to me and
he was like, “¡Oye, papi!”
(speaking Spanish)
“Say what?”
He was like, “Yo, man, we made
it, man.
We made it.
And now that we’re here,
our kind, we got to stick
together, man.”
“Our kind?”
18 hours of flying, and I still
wasn’t black.
I was Puerto Rican.
(cheering and applause)
My dreams were dashed.
And I thought it was a once-off,
but it’s not, you know?
I go around on the East Coast,
to places like Miami.
Oh, that’s… that’s the worst
for me.
Walk around the streets of Miami
and I see people who look
exactly like me and, you know,
they see me, I see them, we give
each other that look of home,
like…
Guys come up to me, they’re
like… (speaking Spanish)
I’m like, “No, whoa, whoa,
whoa, whoa!
Whoa.
Yo, I don’t… I don’t speak
Spanish, man.”
Guy was like, “What, you don’t
speak Spanish?”
I said, “No, no, I don’t.”
He’s like, “You should be
ashamed of yourself.”
I said, “No, no, I-I’m… I
shouldn’t be ashamed.
It’s not my culture.
I’m, uh… I’m actually South
African.”
He’s like, “South African?
Like, you were born there?”
Said, “Yeah, yeah, my whole
life.”
He’s like, “Africa?”
Said, “Yeah.”
He’s like, “Africa, Africa?”
I said, “No, the one next to
it– yes, Africa.”
He’s like, “Oh, man, you don’t
look like you’re from Africa,
man.”
I said, “What the hell is that
supposed to mean?”
He’s like, “I don’t know– you
look like you grew up in the
shade, man.”
Asshole.
‘Cause that’s what people
expect, isn’t it?
Yeah, that’s what everyone
expects when they hear “Africa.”
It’s all they think.
Those are the images they see.
They say, “This next comedian is
from Africa.”
And people think a guy in
leopard skin will come running
on the stage.
You know…
(tribal chanting)
Let me tell you monkey jokes!
And it’s not like that, you
know?
It’s not.
I mean, I do have good monkey
jokes, but that’s not what I’m
saying.
That’s not the point.
‘Cause everyone has these images
of Africa, and-and it’s not…
it’s not your fault as
Americans.
I… You know, I understand that
as Americans, Americans, like,
you don’t know much about South
Africa– I’ve realized this in
my time here.
You don’t know… uh, you don’t
know much about Africa as a
whole, which is, um…
Well, you guys don’t know much
about anything, but that’s
not… that’s not your fault.
Just… You guys are so big and
America-centric, you know?
And you don’t get outside
images.
You don’t… you don’t see
anything.
In fact, in my time in America,
the only thing I’ve seen of
Africa is always those-those
ads, those…
Have you seen those commercials?
Those UNICEF ads in the…
Have you seen those?
They’re asking you for the
money.
I hate those ads.
They don’t even warn you that
those things are coming on TV.
I’m sitting there enjoying
myself, watching comedy shows,
and the next thing you know, you
just see this horrible village
and it’s dirty and there’s old
rusting buildings and these sad
black people, and I’m-I’m
looking.
I’m like, “Ooh, where’s that?
Cleveland?”
And then a thing comes up, and
it’s like, “Africa.”
I’m like, “Really?
Where?”
And then they show you the
starving people, and it’s always
the same.
They’ve always got the starving
look.
They always do the pose.
They’ve always got that, like,
why-haven’t-you-called look.
One by one. (chuckles)
And they show you these people,
and there’s a starving mother
and a starving child and it’s
horrible, and then there’s a
celebrity.
There’s always… The most
important thing is a celebrity
who comes out and they speak for
them.
You know, that way, we’ll
understand.
And the one I saw… the one I
saw was Penelope Cruz.
She was the celebrity.
She’s beautiful.
Oh, and she came out and-and the
starving mother and child were
there and Penelope came out and
she was next…
Well, she wasn’t next to them.
It was blue screen, but she
was…
She wanted to be there.
And she walked out, she pointed
and she was like… (Spanish
accent): “This is Africa.
Did you know, every year, more
than five million children in
Africa die of waterborne
illnesses and diseases that
could have been prevented?
You can make a difference in
this child’s life.
I know you’re sitting at home,
and like me, you’re saying,
‘But, Penelope, I’m so far.
What can I do to help?’
Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s
easier than you think.”
And it’s a wonderful message and
she’s beautiful.
I’m trying to… I’m really
trying to pay attention to this,
but-but for the life of me, I
can’t concentrate because I’m
watching, and out of the corner
of my eye, there’s this fly
that’s just buzzing around.
It’s buzzing and she’s just
ignoring it.
(buzzing)
And the fly is there on the eye.
How does a fly sit on your eye?!
You see with the thing.
(buzzing)
In the mouth and I’m… I can’t
concentrate while…
How do they get the fly there
every single time?
Can somebody tell me this?
In every ad, in every single ad,
the fly is there, and it’s
always in exactly the same
place for the entire ad.
For the entire ad.
I can’t get a fly to sit still
in my kitchen for four seconds–
and I sneak up really slowly–
but they can get the fly to sit
there every single time they
film?
I’m starting to think it’s,
like, a trick fly.
It’s a Hollywood fly, isn’t it?
One of those trained creatures
from Disney.
I know what those guys are
capable of.
I’ve seen Lassie.
A trained fly.
They probably got the fly on
lockdown.
They’re ready, they get
everybody together, they got the
starving people.
They’re like, “Okay, we’re ready
to shoot.
Where’s the fly?”
“Here, sir. Here, sir.
Come on, boy. Come on, boy.
Get it.”
(buzzing)
“And stay! Action!”
(Spanish accent): “Did you know,
every year, more than five
million children are
starving…”
(buzzing)
It’s horrible.
I hate those ads.
I hate the people who make those
ads.
I mean, there’s people starving
everywhere in the world.
But, you know, you can give them
a bit of dignity, you know?
And I hate the people in those
ads as well ’cause they make
Africans look bad.
Yeah. And I can say that.
You go, “Oh, but don’t hate
them; they’re starving.”
No, you know what, I don’t care.
I don’t care. I really don’t.
‘Cause people are starving
everywhere, and I grew up in a
black family in Africa, and no
matter how poor or hungry we
were, we could still do this.
Just make us look bad.
Flies.
Gangster flies.
Look like they’re doing
shout-outs.
Have you seen them?
He’s having a good time in front
of the camera.
(buzzing)
That’s the worst thing in the
world.
But that’s all you see out here.
That’s all you see.
Those images of…
Whereas-whereas the world, we
see America, you know?
We-we watch your TV, we see your
sitcoms and your… and your
news alike.
We get everything from Idol all
the way… all the way to Oprah.
We-we love Oprah.
We just… You know?
Yeah, of course, I mean,
especially in South Africa, we
love Oprah.
We love… No, no, no, because
she gives us a lot of money, so
I mean… we just… we just
love Oprah.
She came out to South Africa,
and she built a school there.
She built a school in South
Africa called the Oprah Winfrey
Leadership Academy.
Spent $50 million building the
school.
Yeah. The most expensive school
ever built.
Most expensive anything just
ever, you know?
And those children love her.
Like, when Oprah comes, they run
out screaming, “Yeah!
Oprah! Oprah! Oprah! O…
Yeah!”
They just love it, you know?
That is a big place for her.
And then… Do you know?
It’s a wonderful school–
state-of-the-art technology,
brand-new computer labs,
state-of-the-art facilities
and… and then she made the
mistake of hiring African
teachers.
Um… which is not the worst
thing.
It’s just… she’s had a few
issues with discipline at the
school.
The way the teachers choose to
administer the discipline is
very different to what Oprah and
America believes in, you know?
And I blame Oprah.
She interviewed them, and she
said to them… she said, “You
guys aren’t gonna spank them,
are you?”
And they were like, “No, no.
Never, Oprah. Never.
No, we will not spank them.”
And she left and they were like,
“Yes, yes, we don’t spank.
Here, we beat.
We beat.
You don’t spank a child.
You spank a monkey.
Here, we beat.”
And that’s what they did– they
beat the children.
They just beat them. (chuckles)
Which is horrible.
I know I smile.
I mean, it’s horrible.
It’s just… I’m thinking
Oprah’s school.
‘Cause Oprah’s world is so
different.
Getting a beating in her school
must be something… something
different, you know?
See the teacher walk into the
classroom with a cane, angry,
just walking around.
“Cynthia, were you talking at
the back?”
“No, miss.”
“You were talking!
That means you are going to get
a beating!
But because it’s Oprah’s school,
(à la Oprah): everybody’s
getting one!
You’re getting a beating!
You’re getting a beating!
You’re getting a beating!
Everybody’s getting a beating!
Look under your seat– it’s a
beating!”
(shouts) “Oprah! Oprah!”
Oh.
Oh, I’m going to hell for that
joke.
Oh, but that’s… You know?
That’s… We-we see you guys.
We see you guys.
A lot of people out here
have that impression.
I’ve learned that.
I’ve learned everyone has
that… has that idea.
I learned that in small things,
you know?
Like, I do shows.
I’ve been doing shows around the
country, around the world,
really.
I’ve been blessed.
And… I remember one day, I’m
in… I’m in L.A. and I’m doing
a show and we’re sitting
backstage and this comedian
comes in to the backstage area
and he’s got a list of all the
guys that are performing.
And so he looks around and looks
at the darkest guy in the
corner– just the blackest guy
he could find– and he goes,
“Hey, yo.
You the dude from Africa?”
And the guy looks up and he’s
like, “Nah, man, I’m from
Detroit.”
He’s like, “A’ight, my bad, my
bad, my bad.
Uh, a’ight. Uh, yo, okay,
Detroit.
Yeah, yeah, you, uh, Comp…
Oh, a’ight, a’ight, okay, cool.
L.A., okay, cool, cool, cool.”
And then he looks at me for a
second, does a quick calculation
and he’s like, “Uh, a’ight,
a’ight, um…
Yeah, um…”
And then he looks and he goes,
“Yo, where you from, man?”
I said, “I’m-I’m from South
Africa.”
He’s like, “Oh, oh.
Oh, you the dude?
Oh, damn, man. Damn, a’ight.
Yo, I’m… I didn’t even know
they got…
Yo, you the dude from Africa?
Man, I didn’t even know they got
light-skinned niggas out there,
man.
Damn, a’ight.
Yo, yo, that’s the
motherland, man.
That’s… that’s the
motherland.”
And all of sudden, he just
started giving me this speech.
He was like, “Man, you know, yo,
man, that’s… yo, man, that’s
where we gotta be, man.
That’s, you know…
(audience laughs)
…that’s the motherland out
there, man.
Yeah, I gots to get out there,
man.
I gots to.
Yo, I gots to go home, man.
(audience laughing)
You heard?
I gots to go home.
Man, you tell them, a’ight?
You tell them.
You tell them I’m coming home,
a’ight?”
(audience laughs)
And I was like, “You know, we’re
not waiting.”
(laughs)
(audience laughs, applauds)
‘Cause I’m just, I’m
fascinated…
I think that’s come, that whole
identity has come from the term
African-American.
This is something that’s
fascinated me.
You know, it’s a very loose
term, “African-American.”
‘Cause half of the time, you use
it for people that aren’t even
African, you know?
Just use it… as long as you’re
black, they go,
“African-American.”
But it’s… what if people
aren’t from Africa?
Are they still African-American?
You know, there’s people from
the Caribbean, from Haiti, from
Jamaica.
You know?
We call them, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.
African-American.”
Guy’s like, “No, mon.
I come from Jamaica.
I not from Africa.
I ain’t never been there
before, mon.”
It’s like, “You want to stay?”
“African-American, mon.
Hey!”
(audience laughs)
(applause)
The prefix… the prefix to
“American” has become as
important as “American” itself.
I thought it was just
“American,” but it’s not.
No, no, no, it’s very important.
You have the prefix.
You know, you have African-
American. African-American.
You have others, like Latin- or
Mexican-American.
You have, uh… you have, uh,
Asian-American.
You have… the most interesting
for me was Indian-American,
which I learned about during
Thanksgiving.
Indian-American.
And then I was told I’m no
longer allowed to say this.
Said, uh, I now have to say
Native American.
Which is redundant, is it not?
(laughter)
Because if somebody’s a native
of the land they’re still in…
should you not then just call
them “American”?
(laughter)
How does that work?
(applause, cheering)
It was… it was the strangest
conversation to have, sitting
around carving the turkey and
just going, you know, going,
“I don’t understand.
I can’t say… I can’t say
‘Indian-American’?”
He’s, like, “No, Trevor, you…
look, you don’t want to say
that; you want to say
‘Native American.’
Yeah, it’s a better term.”
I go, “Oh, well, who called
them… who called them
Indian-American?”
“Well… well, we did.”
“Oh. Oh, I see.
And then who… who changed it?”
“Well, we did.”
“I see.
And you guys feel better?”
“Yeah, yeah, much better, much
better.
Much better.”
This is the craziest thing in
the world, changing it, you
know, the prefix.
And, I mean, I… I don’t mean
to offend anyone.
As Americans, I hope you… you
know, I see some guys looking at
me, like, “Okay, okay, move on,
guy, move on, yeah, yeah.”
‘Cause that’s the one thing is
that… ’cause the one thing I
notice is, white people in
America, you never got the
prefix– what happened there?
(laughter)
Just no? You guys… you guys
got left out?
Oh, that’s horrible.
(laughter)
And it’s a first.
There’s nothing?
You guys don’t get a prefix?
No… Sir, you don’t want one?
No? No?
Just American?
No Euro… Euro-American? No?
No? Although, I mean, to be
honest, Europeans would be,
like, “No, no, they are not from
us.
Please, no, no, no. No, no.
No culture, no culture.
They are not European.”
So then I get “Anglo,” “Anglo”
from the British.
Anglo-American?
Is that more… No?
No, you don’t want Anglo?
Um, I don’t know, Anglo…
Colonial-American? Is that…?
Imperial-American? Imperial.
Death Star Am…
No, I’m kidding.
(laughter)
‘Cause I-I don’t know.
I’m still searching for the
answer.
My two favorites so far have
been– I was traveling in the
South, and a gentlemen shouted
out, he said, “You can call us
Super-American!”
(laughter)
So… very well.
And my favorite was a man in
Atlanta who looked at me and he
said, “Why don’t you call us
Honky-American?”
(laughter)
And I’d never heard of that
term.
I’d never heard of the word
“honky” before.
‘Cause isn’t honky the same
thing you use for, like, your
car?
That’s, like, you know?
And the thing that clowns use?
Honk-honk. That’s-that’s…
that’s honky.
That’s the most horr…
Honky-American– that sounds
like a… like a bad children’s
character for… for white
imperialists, you know?
There’s, like, there’s Barney,
there’s Ronald McDonald and
there’s Honky.
This is, like, you know?
He’s coming out, singing to all
the white kids…
♪ It’s Honky, it’s Honky
He’s gonna teach you
How to be white honky
It’s Honky… ♪
Remember, kids, white is right.
♪ It’s Honky, it’s Honky… ♪
It’s the craziest thing ever.
Honky.
And I really don’t… please
don’t get offended.
If you’re American and you’re
offended, I really hope that I’m
not offending you.
Um, I mean this, because I am
scared of you. Um…
(laughter)
No, no, really, really.
The world– you don’t
understand– the world is
shit-scared of America, like…
like America…
‘Cause you guys, what, you’ve
been fighting wars since World
War II?
You guys haven’t stopped.
Like, America– no, it’s true.
America’s just, like, the most
bad-ass… America’s like that
really buff guy on the beach,
just, like, not messing around,
just walking around.
Just, like, you do not mess with
America.
It’s, like, you know, if America
catches you building a sand
castle, like, “What are you
doing?!”
“No! No, America, it’s not what
it looks like!”
(roaring)
“The only time people build sand
castles is when they’re gonna
attack! Stop that!
Is that a bucket?! No…!”
(laughter)
You know? America’s, like, yeah,
America’s that super… ’cause
you guys have the best army in
the world and you’re… (roars)
America’s that big guy that
walks down the hallway and the
rest of the countries just stand
on the side.
Just, like, “Don’t make eye
contact, don’t make eye contact,
don’t make eye contact, don’t
make eye…”
As America walks past, like…
(imitates farting)
America’s, like, “What was that?
What was that?
Iran! Did you fart?”
“No, America, I’m sorry, I’m
sorry, I, uh…
Yes, I fart… I fart just a
little bit, I fart…
I’m sorry, America.”
“Iran, were you farting at me?”
“No, no, America, no, I don’t
fart at you, I don’t fart at
you, I just fart just by myself,
just fart… fart on the back,
not to the front.
To the front, I say sorry.
Please, America.”
“Iran, was that a nuclear fart?”
“No, no, no, no, no!
No, no, no! Not nuclear fart.
Just beans, lots of beans fart.
Beans. No nuclear, America.
Please, please…”
“I’m gonna come in there…”
“No, no, don’t come in, America,
please!
Just fart, just fart.
I’m sorry.”
You know, it’s just, we’re
afraid of… you don’t
understand, the whole world is
afraid of– the whole world is
afraid of you guys, you know?
‘Cause you guys have been
fighting– and for a lot of good
in the world as well, don’t get
me wrong, you know?
That’s why… that’s why
you guys are so proud of
your troops.
Yeah, like the troops, right?
You guys love the troops.
Give it up for the troops.
(cheering and applause)
Yeah.
‘Cause I’ve learned, in the
world… in the world, in the
biggest democracy, you need your
troops.
That’s why the troops are so
high up in America, so
respected.
The troops, you know?
They’re not number one, though,
in-in the rankings.
I’d say, uh, number one is more
sports.
Sports is the highest thing.
No, sports is the biggest thing
in America.
Like, that’s just number one.
It, uh… it will be…
Troops is up there, though.
It would be… I would say the
rankings would be… would be
sports, the Kardashians, the
president, then the troops.
(laughter)
That would be…
Yeah, ’cause you guys love the
Kardashians.
Like, let’s be hon…
Like, Americans are just, I’ve
never seen anything like it.
Guys are, like, “Did, uh, did
Kim get home okay? Did she?
Yeah? Okay, go, yeah, check on
Obama.
Okay, cool, all right.”
Just… you know?
That’s the ranking.
But sports is just not…
Wow, you guys… you guys love
your sports out here.
I’ve never seen more focus put
on sports anywhere else in the
world.
Americans love their sports back
to front.
You analyze them, you-you
worship them, you watch the game
before the game, you watch the
game after the game.
You talk about what might happen
in the game, you talk about
what’s happening in the game,
and then you talk about what
happened in the game and what
could have and might have but
didn’t happen in the game.
It’s just the craziest thing
I’ve seen in my life.
It’s all about statistics.
Have you seen sports in America?
Nonstop, guys just come out
there, there’s no time for
smiles or anything, they just
come out and, “Ladies and
gentlemen, welcome to it.
It’s the 2012 Miami Heat up
against OKC.
This is the greatest final we’ve
been waiting for in the NBA
Finals.
LeBron James leading his team
out here, averaging 30 points, a
double-double every single game,
uh, ten points per game.
Just in assists alone, this man
is just something else.
90% from the free throw line.
He’s just gone in, he’s
statistically gotten better.
His team coming in with more…
Chris Bosh coming in with more
assists, really doing well in
the last game.”
Just, like, wah, wah!
(whooping, whistling, applause)
Numbers, numbers, numbers,
numbers, stats, stats, stats.
You guys know everything, every
stat.
“Well, I mean, he’s got four out
of five, and, I mean, if you
look at that statistic alone, it
looks like he should be… he
should be getting…”
And then… and then it’s just
crazy, you know everything, you
know everything.
And then you switch over to,
like, your business channels and
your economy, and you’re, like,
“What’s happening in the economy
this year, Bob?”
“Well, nobody knows. I mean…
(laughter, applause)
Nobody knows. Yeah.
(chuckling)
Uh, we thought the housing
market was coming up, but it
wasn’t. (chuckles)
But, hey, I mean, that’s-that’s
the economy– you never know,
right?
You never know.”
“What about stocks?”
“Well, I guess, uh, stocks,
they’re up and down.
I don’t really know.
They’re up and down.
They could go anywhere.
It’s, um… those are stocks.
We don’t know.”
But the sports, you know?
You need to flip that around,
get the statistics in the
economy.
Just relax in your sports, have
fun.
The-the sports I watch is
relaxed.
Like soccer, I’m a huge fan of
soccer, you know?
(audience whooping)
Yeah. Yeah.
Oh, there’s some fans here?
(cheering, whistling)
I love soccer.
It’s chill.
You hear it in the commentators
when a game is being played.
There’s no statistics at all.
Game starts off and the whistle
blows.
(imitates whistle blowing)
“And welcome, ladies and
gentlemen, to this majestic
match.
It’s Spain playing against
Germany.
Oh, and what a wonderful day it
is.
(laughter)
Look at the crowd–
really excited.
Oh, and the atmosphere’s
amazing.
Wonderful weather.”
And the guy will just say,
(Scottish accent): “Oh,
yeah, John, you can feel it.
And the players look great.
It’s wonderful.”
“What do you think’s gonna
happen today, Martin?”
“Oh, nobody knows.
(laughter)
I can’t even remember the last
time I saw a game this good.”
Americans will remember.
Americans will go back to the
finest statistic.
“The last time a black man
scored using his left hand
jumping over a mixed-race
half-Indian was in 1967 when
the…”
Okay, like, “What?!”
(applause)
It’s just madness.
It’s all about action in the
sports as well, you know?
As much action as possible.
It’s all about action in
America.
You guys are so action-focused,
you will take the ball away from
the other team if they do not
give you enough action.
I’ve never seen that in my life.
That’s a horrible way to bring
people up.
Go to the other team, you go,
“Hey, you guys, you take the
ball, and you’ve got 24 seconds
to get the ball in that net–
24 seconds– and if you don’t do
it, we’re gonna give the ball to
the other team, you hear me?
We’re gonna give the ball to the
other team.
Yeah, we know there’s a lot of
black guys– you try to get past
them.
That’s up to you. Go!”
24 seconds later.
(imitates buzzer)
You guys, you try, you try.
It’s all about action, you know?
Because America’s different.
You know, it’s different from
the rest of the world.
And, uh, you-you don’t really
know how different America is,
though, until you get here.
That’s the one thing I will say.
You know, you think you know,
but then, when you… when you
land in America in your
airports, that’s when you know
this place is… yeah, this
place is different.
‘Cause American airports,
unlike airports everywhere in
the world, which have a certain
level of joy and just all-around
happiness…
(laughter)
American airports– they’re
like… they’re like
concentration camps, you know?
(laughter)
Just people walking barefoot in
single file…
(laughter)
(applause and cheering)
Oh, it’s-it’s no joke.
There’s even signs that say, “No
jokes.”
(laughter)
Really?
It’s just insane.
You-you walk through those
airports, and-and you have to do
things in American airports you
don’t do anywhere else in the
world, you know?
Like, you-you have to take your
shoes off.
Your shoes come off, and you
don’t know this as a foreigner,
but they don’t care.
They’re just, like, “You, take
your shoes off!”
Like, “My what?”
“Your shoes– take them off!”
“But why?”
“For safety, sir.”
“I’m keeping them on for your
safety, my friend.”
You don’t do this anywhere.
I remember flying into Dubai one
year, and as we get into the
airport, this woman– an
American woman– started taking
off her shoes and her…
And those guys…
I mean, you must understand,
when you’re in the Middle East,
as a woman, you’re already a
sin.
And now, to be taking your
clothes off in public– these
guys lost their minds.
They were just, like…
“Hey, what are you doing?!
What are you doing?
You, what are you doing?!”
She’s like, “I’m taking my
clothes off, I’m taking…”
They’re like, “No, no, no!
No, what are you doing?!”
She’s like, “I’m taking them…”
“But why are you taking your
clothes off?!”
She’s like, “So the machine
works.”
He’s like, “No, no.
This is your machine, not your
husband.
You don’t need to get naked.
Put your clothes on and walk
through, you whore!”
They were just… they were…
You don’t do it anywhere else.
And then you come out here, you
have to take off your shoes, and
you have to take your jacket off
to walk through the metal
detector.
You-you…
And they are mean about it.
They will shout at you.
They’re like, “You, take it
off! Take it off!”
And you don’t know what to take
off.
You don’t take it off anywhere
else, so you don’t know what to
take off.
He’s like, “You, take it off.”
“Take what off?”
“Take it off, sir.”
“Take what off?!”
“Take it off now!”
“What?”
“Your clothes– take them…”
“My clothes?!”
And, like, you’re standing
there, this man shouting at you,
telling you to take your clothes
off.
You feel like a child in a
Catholic church.
It’s horrible, it’s just…
You’re just standing there…
I mean, I understand the need
for security, but they don’t
need to shout at you.
At least, if they… you know,
if they tried to be nice, if
they were… maybe if they
chanted instead of shouting.
You know, instead of, “Take it
off!” if they were, like…
(chanting): “Take it off!
Take it off! Take…”
(laughter)
You’d be like, “Yeah!”
(whooping)
“Security– safe and sexy.”
(laughter)
They don’t.
This is a harrowing experience
as you come in.
And the worst is when you have
to go through passport control.
Oh!
As Americans, you don’t feel the
pain, but as a foreigner, it’s a
whole different game.
As Americans, you walk through
to the U.S. citizens line, and
they welcome you back, like you
were on some secret mission.
You’re just, like…
(laughter)
“Welcome home, sir.”
(laughter)
(applause)
You know?
When you’re a foreigner, you
have to wait in a super long
line.
You know, and then they tease
you.
The line goes right to the
front, and then it comes back
and again, comes back and…
(laughter)
When you finally get there, you
have to wait for that, you know?
And you’re standing there, and
the guys are like, “Sir, sir,
come on, come on.
Sir, step forward.
Forward… step forward, sir.
Step forward.
For-Forward. Forward.
Back. Back.
Behind the line, sir. Back.”
(laughter)
“Get back, sir. Get back.”
You know, it’s the stress.
You’re standing there, and…
and now you have to answer
questions.
Horrible.
It’s, like, you-you don’t
understand.
It’s-it’s the stress, you know?
Standing there, and you… you
don’t want to get any of the
questions wrong.
‘Cause it’s just like school.
They’ll send you back.
(laughter)
So you stand there, and you have
to answer them into a microphone
that’s placed strategically low,
almost so that you have to bow
to the American as you answer…
(laughter)
…every question of his.
They ask you these questions.
Questions you feel like you know
the answers to, but when you’re
there…
I mean, I just handed the man my
passport, to which he replied,
“Is this you?”
(laughter)
Never before have I felt so much
pressure to look like myself.
(laughter)
I was like…
(laughter)
“I was younger then.”
(laughter)
It was horrible.
And then he starts rattling them
off.
“Is it your first time in the
United States of America, sir?”
“Uh… yes.”
(laughter)
“Your first time, sir– is that
correct?”
“Uh, yes?”
(laughter)
“Sir, what is the duration of
your visit out here?”
“I’m going to be here for six
months.”
“Six months, sir?
Is that correct?”
(laughter)
“Yes.”
(laughter)
“Sir, what is the purpose of
your visit in the United States
of America?”
“I’m here for… holiday.”
“Holiday, sir?”
“Yes.”
“Which one?”
(laughter)
“My one.”
(laughter)
“Could you elaborate, sir?”
“Holiday.”
“Yeah, what do you mean,
‘holiday,’ sir?”
“You know, like, holiday.
Like… (whooping)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, holiday.”
(grunting)
(whooping)
(imitates gulping)
(imitates vomiting)
“Yeah.
Holiday.”
“You mean vacation, sir?”
(laughter)
“Ah… batt’ry.
Yes, of course.”
(laughter)
It’s just horrible.
You finally get in, you know?
You’re relaxed, get in, trying
to learn.
That’s…
I’m trying to learn America, day
to day.
Got myself a place out in L.A.
That’s where I’ve been staying
for a few months.
Live out in California in a
wonderful area called Pasadena.
It’s very…
Oh, it’s wonderful.
It’s just quaint, and the
neighborhood vibe.
There’s hummingbirds and
butterflies just… you know.
It’s a really, really nice
place, and I-I enjoy it, you
know?
The only thing is, it’s hard
to-to start life in America.
That’s one of the hardest things
I’ve found.
I, um… I have to get
everything together.
You know, like, open a bank
account, which was interesting.
I was, uh, sitting there in
the… in the bank, filling out
forms.
Because when I got to a
section…
I got to a section, when filling
out the forms, that you don’t
have back in South Africa
anymore, and that is, you have
to fill out your race.
You know, there’s a box that
says, “Tick your race.”
And there’s… and there’s
white, black, Hispanic, Asian
and other.
And I was looking at the woman.
And-and she was really helpful.
She was, like…
She was this blonde woman, and
she was, like, “Um, uh, yeah,
you can… you can go ahead and
fill out everything you need to,
and, uh, yeah, we’ll just go
ahead and, uh, open that bank
account.”
“So, okay, I-I don’t know what
to do here.”
And she was, like, “Um, let me
have a look.
Well, you can just…
Yeah, you can just go ahead and
tick, um… tick whatever race
you want to go with.”
I said, “What do you mean,
‘whatever race?'”
(laughter)
She was like, “Well, look, it’s
just for statistical purposes,
so, like, you can choose
whatever you want, and then you
can… you can do it.”
I was like, “Choose? Whatever?”
I was like, “I’ve never been
given that option before.”
(laughter)
And I looked at the boxes, and I
mean, there was “black.”
That’s the reason I came.
The black box was there.
I was, like, “Well, that’s it.
I’ll choose it.”
But then… but then I looked
to the left, and there was the
white box, and, oh, it looked
good.
It just…
(laughter)
I mean, don’t get me wrong.
It was the same as the other
boxes, but, oh, there must have
been a reason it was first in
line.
It was just, like, you know,
that was prime box right there.
That was just…
I looked at that white box, and
I was, like, “Mmm, yeah, yeah.”
And so I looked at her, and I
said, “Any box?”
And she was, like, “Yeah, yeah,
any box.”
And I played it safe.
I said, “So I can go with
black?”
She was like, “You know what?
A lot of them choose black.
Yeah, yeah.”
(laughter)
And so, just because she said
that, just because she said
that, I looked at her, and I
said, “No, you know what?
I’m… I’m white.
I’m going with white.”
And then she did this thing that
I’ve come to learn is the
reaction of white liberal women
in America.
Whenever they hear something or
see something that they can’t
truly comprehend, they don’t
agree with it, but for fear of
being judged, they internalize
their emotions, and then…
They almost have, like, this
malfunction, like a robot.
I don’t know if you…
(laughter)
It’s amazing to see.
‘Cause as soon as I said white–
I said, “I’m going with white,”
she went, “Um….”
(laughter)
“I’m-I’m-I’m… I’m sorry.
Did you say… did you say
white?”
I said, “Yes, yes, white.
I’m white.”
She was, like, “Oh, um, oh,
okay.
Um, o-o-okay.
Um, o… um, o…
Like, white?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Oh, it-it…”
(muttering)
(laughter)
(applause)
(buzzing)
(laughter)
And I’ve learned. I’ve learned.
That’s the funny thing about
being mixed race, you know, is
that people are always happy to
say you’re mixed.
And you can say you’re black.
They’ll… they’ll be fine
with that.
They’ll be fine.
But you can never go white,
ever.
Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever,
ever.
No. Race is a one-way street,
and black is that way.
There’s a cop directing you.
(laughter)
“No, no, you, that way, that
way, that way.
No, no, that way, that way.”
It’s just, like, race is just…
Black is like a buffet.
You can have as much as you
want.
No one will judge you.
(grunting)
Eat all you can.
“Black– $12.99.”
(grunting)
You can go wild and black, but
you can never, ever, ever go
white, ever, ever.
No matter…
Even if you’re half and half,
you can never go white.
Even Yoda, like, the great…
You could be a Jedi.
He’d come up to me, and he’d be
like, “Mmm, too dark you are.”
Just…
(laughter)
You cannot…
It’s just crazy to me.
You’re half and half.
In fact, everyone, everyone that
has a piece of anything other
than white is reminded of that
piece other than the white.
You can have anyone.
They’ll be like, “Oh, uh, is
she… is she white?”
“Well, actually, she’s, uh, one
quarter Cherokee.
Yeah, she’s a Cherokee– one
quarter, yeah.”
“And the other three quarters?”
“Oh, yeah, white, white, but we
don’t focus on that.
We, um…
We look at the mistake.
Yeah, yeah.”
(laughter)
“In a few generations, she might
be able to work that out, but,
uh, not right now.
She’s Cherokee for now.”
She’s just…
It’s interesting, you know?
Starting my life…
And by the way, just by the way,
it turned out it wasn’t for
statistical purposes.
A few months later, they found
Bank of America was giving
higher rates to Hispanic and
black people.
Yeah, higher interest rates.
So, it turns out, white was
right.
(laughter)
Yeah.
(applause)
So you keep that color, buddy.
Don’t get rid of that.
(laughter)
You hold onto that.
It’s crazy.
I’m-I’m loving it.
Living the American life.
Trying to do it.
It’s just crazy, you know.
I had to learn how to drive out
here, which was fun.
And to get a car, obviously,
which I just almost couldn’t
get.
You have to fill out forms, and
then they want your credit.
In America, credit is very
important.
I don’t understand the concept.
I’m in the car dealership, and
there’s this Asian gentleman
helping me, and we’re going
through the forms.
And he says, (Asian accent):
“So, how long… how long have
you live in America for?”
I said, “I haven’t… I haven’t
lived here for long.”
He said, “Oh, this no good for
you.
This no… this no good for
you.”
I said, “What do you mean?”
He said, “No, you can’t… you
cannot lease car in America
unless you been here long time.
Because then… then you don’t
have credit, okay?
You don’t…”
I said, “Well, I’ve got the
money to pay for it.”
He said, “Yeah, that’s not the
point, okay?
That’s not the point.
In America, okay, in-in this
country, we-we want credit,
okay?
Our country focus on credit.
If you got good credit, you can
buy anything.
We don’t care about money.
We want credit.”
I said, “Well, credit is the
assumption that you can pay back
the money.”
He’s like, “No, no, that don’t
count here, okay?
In our country, you have good
credit, you can buy anything,
okay?
You got good credit.”
He’s like, “Our country, our
country…”
And I was like, “Look, I-I hate
to be rude, but when you say
‘our country,’ do you mean ‘our’
because you live here now, or
‘our’ because the Chinese own
it?”
(laughter)
And he was like, “Ah, it’s-it’s
a bit of both, okay?
Yeah.
But no credit… no credit for
you, no car.
Okay, good-bye.”
I had to just buy myself a car,
you know.
This horrible thing.
Drive around…
That’s the worst thing: driving
in America.
Wow.
On the other side of the road.
You feel like a rebel, you know?
Until you see the other cars
coming, and then it’s not so
much fun.
Every– do you know how many
times I did that, just going
into the wrong side?
“Aah!”
And don’t-don’t trust movies.
It’s not easy to do that whole
thing.
No.
No, people don’t just drive,
and– no, they stop.
They just look at you and go,
“What are you doing?!”
“In the movies, you drive past.”
“What are you doing?!”
“In the– aren’t you supposed
to…?”
No, they don’t drive; they just
wait for you to turn around.
And then the streets are so
small, you’re doing one of those
turns.
Just watching them in your
shame.
Just like, it’s horrible.
I had to practice for months.
It was the worst.
I remember I drove… I drove
into a street once.
I thought I’d learned, it had
been months, I’d been doing it
well, and then I turned into the
wrong way and I saw this little
old Asian lady driving towards
me, and I was like, “No!”
And there was nobody else, so I
swerved the car around her.
I was like…
(mimics tires screeching)
I was like, “Yeah!
Hero!”
And then I drove, and there were
50 cars coming this way.
(laughter)
And I was like, “Aah!
You bitch!
Aah!”
(laughter)
And I told– funny, I told my
friend the story.
I told him this.
I was like, “Oh, this is what
happened.”
And he was like, “Oh, that’s so
funny, man.
That’s so funny.”
And he’s like, “Who was driving
the car?”
I said, “A little old Asian
lady.”
And he’s like, “Oh, yeah,
you-you can’t say that, man.
You can’t.
You can’t say that.”
I said, “What do you mean?”
He’s like, “Yeah, you can’t…
you can’t say she’s Asian.”
I said, “Why not?”
He’s like, “Yeah, ’cause
that’s-that’s racist.”
I said, “What, that she’s
Asian?”
He’s like, “Nah, nah, if she’s
a bad driver and you say she’s
Asian, that’s racist.”
I said, “So let me get this
straight: Asians are not allowed
to be called bad drivers?”
Is this not racism in itself?
Everyone else is allowed the
world of bad drivers, but if I’m
driving on the freeway behind
an Asian person and they’re
swerving around, and I go, “This
bad driver!
You drive like crap!”
And I pull up next to them,
like, “Oh, no, sorry!
(laughs)
You’re not a bad driver.
You’re just Asian.
I’m sorry.”
Racism in itself?
Just madness.
So, now, what I had to do was
get around using a… a GPS,
you know?
Decided to get one of those.
First, I-I tried to be a
cheapskate, I thought, “Oh, I’ll
get a phone with a GPS.”
That was a horrible mistake.
Bought myself one of those…
one of those iPhones with Siri.
You know, your assistant, she
talks to you.
She listens to you.
If you’re American.
(laughter)
She doesn’t understand one word
I say.
I don’t understand why.
I speak English.
I’m there talking to her.
(imitates electronic tones)
She’s like, “What do you need?”
I’m like, “Siri, uh, please call
Peter.”
“You want pizza?”
“No. No, no, no.
No, cancel. Cancel.
Siri, I need Peter.”
“You want pizza?”
“No, Siri.
Siri, I want… I want Peter,
not pizza.”
“You want pizza?”
“No, no, I– no, Siri, what’s
going on here?”
“You want to…”
“Peter… Siri, Siri…
P-Peter… Siri-Siri…”
“Mmm, you’re not making sense.”
“Siri, are you… are you
having an attitude with me?”
“Mmm, you tell me.”
“I don’t know what the hell is
going on here.
Siri, just listen to me.”
“Mmm, I don’t know…”
“What do you mean, you don’t
know?
Siri, just… aah, bitch!
Aah!”
“Dialing Mom.”
“What the hell?”
Just…
(laughter)
This is horrible.
I had to buckle down and buy
myself a real GPS to get me
around.
Which has been working like a
charm.
If you don’t have a GPS, you get
yourself one.
It’s the best thing you’ll
ever do.
Just don’t make the mistake I
made and buy it from Craigslist.
Um…
(chuckles)
I bought one off Craigslist, and
the guy who sold it to me didn’t
tell me that it was a
Spanish-language GPS.
Which is not so good.
Um…
I didn’t understand anything she
says.
Look, I still get around, ’cause
the arrows are in English, thank
God.
But… but otherwise, it was
just horrible to– and I hated
it the first few days, and
then… and then I-I fell in
love with her.
She’s just… you know?
I don’t… I don’t understand
why more Americans don’t speak
Spanish.
It’s such a sexy language.
I’m sitting there, and, like–
all the men in here, you want to
feel like a man, you get
yourself a Spanish GPS.
(laughter)
Oh, no, you don’t understand.
Traffic never sounded sexier.
It’s just like…
I just punch in random
destinations and she guides
me around.
She’s like…
(imitates electronic tones)
(speaking Spanish)
And I’m just like…
(laughs)
(continues laughing)
“Oh, shucks, Tom-Tom.”
(laughs)
“You say that all the time.”
(chuckles)
It’s just sexy, you know?
She just guides me around.
It’s beautiful, I-I love that.
I’m going to learn Spanish
because of that.
I’m definitely– Spanish has
gone up my list.
I had a few languages, and
Spanish… Spanish was, like,
sixth language.
I spoke four languages in South
Africa, and then, uh, the fifth
language was gonna be Japanese,
and then Spanish was…
But now Spanish has gone up.
Japanese I’ve had to pause.
Um, ’cause of the earthquake,
there’s not that many of them
traveling now, so…
It’s sad, there’s just– there’s
no one now.
Just, like, walk around the
streets, just, you know?
But-but Spanish has gone up.
‘Cause I was getting good at
Japanese, don’t get me wrong.
I was getting really good.
You know?
And it’s a great language.
It’s powerful.
‘Cause you speak Japanese from
your chest.
It makes you feel strong.
(grunts)
Yeah.
Very strong.
Whereas English… English you
speak from the… from the head
and-and the chest.
You know?
D-Do you know what I mean?
You speak it head and chest.
You wouldn’t know this…
you wouldn’t know this, uh, if
you listened to many coastal
girls in America.
Like, uh, I’ve been in… in
places like California, where
women insist on speaking English
from their nose, which is not
the correct…
(nasally): “Yeah, like, oh,
my God, are you guys gonna,
like, do this?
And I was, like, there with
Tiffany, and we were talking,
and I was there…”
That’s-that’s not the right way.
You’re not using your lungs.
I know this because when I
choked her, she sounded exactly
the same.
(laughter)
She just…
was there, and she was like,
“Oh, my God, you’re, like,
totally choking me right now,
and I can’t breathe, and this is
so not on.
I am so gonna tweet about this.
This is, like, the worst thing
ever.
Oh, I am so dying.
OMG.”
This is– you know, this is
horrible.
Whereas Japanese is strong.
Japanese you speak from the
chest, you know?
A lot of, uh, the Americans are
learning Chinese, I’ve-I’ve
seen, you know?
Chinese, I see people…
(Southern accent): “You got to
learn Chinese.
They’re takin’ over!
Chinese!
Ni hao ma.
Xie xie ni.
Chinese.”
It’s too late.
It’s too late to learn Chinese.
It’s over.
No, it’s true, it’s true.
‘Cause it’s also one of the
hardest languages in the world.
I mean, how do you… how do you
learn Chinese now?
Just, you know, they’ve got over
10,000 characters in the
alphabet.
Do you know this?
10,000 characters.
That’s– we’ve got 26 in
English.
And there’s still people going,
“What comes after ‘Q’?”
(laughter)
Twenty-six.
This is… you know?
10,000, they’ve got.
That’s super smart.
Although they must have the
worst Sesame Street in the
world.
Just…
It must suck being a Muppet in
that country.
I can just… see them on a
Monday morning, singing to the
kids.
(sings, imitating Chinese)
Five years later…
(sings, imitating Chinese)
It’s just horrible.
Horrible.
Japanese is easier.
3,000 characters and a stronger
language.
(grunts)
I mean, everything in Japanese
is strong, even the greeting.
Konnichiwa.
Power!
Thank you: domo arigato.
Power!
Yes, it’s a great language.
You can say other things as
well, like…
(speaks Japanese)
Which means, “Good luck,
dolphin.”
(laughter)
Granted, not very usable in
everyday language, but, uh…
yeah, it works, I guess.
You know, it works.
I could also say other things,
like…
(speaks Japanese)
Which means, “Look, the chickens
are running around.”
(laughter)
You laugh, but I’ve used this
successfully on many occasions.
By “many occasions,” I mean
“once.”
(chuckles)
I was in an airport standing at
the baggage carousel, and this,
uh… this Japanese guy came and
he stood next to me, and we’re
standing there and I’m… I look
at him, and…
I’ve been waiting for years to
speak Japanese.
I was super excited, I was like,
“What?
This guy’s Japanese.”
And he’s like, (Japanese
accent): “I can hear you.”
Said I was sorry, I thought I
was thinking, um…
(chuckles)
“Uh, are you Japanese?”
He’s like, “Yes, I am a
Japanese.”
I was like, “Oh, oh.
Konnichi wa.”
He’s like, “Oh.
Konnichi wa.
Pleasure to meet you.”
I said, “Oh.
Domo arigato.”
He said, “Oh.
(speaks Japanese)
You speak very good Japanese.”
I was like, “Oh, yeah.”
So, I looked over and I went…
(speaks Japanese)
“I not a dolphin.”
(laughter)
“But thank you for the good
luck.”
I was like, “I can’t believe
this works.”
He looked over, I was like…
(speaks Japanese)
He was like…
(grunting)
“I don’t see the chicken
anywhere!
You speak very strange Japanese.
Where did you learn?”
I said, (Japanese accent): “I
learned in all different places.
All over my life.”
“Why do you speak English with a
Japanese accent now?”
“I don’t know.
I get carried away.”
“You freaking me out.”
“I’m freaking out, too!”
You guys have been so much fun,
man.
Thanks for hanging out.
(cheering)
Thanks for coming to the show.
Good night.
♪ ♪
Thank you.
♪ ♪
(cheering grows louder)

I be wild about components, because they are hot!! Trevor Noah (the new host of Comedy Central’s, The Daily Show) takes the stage in “African American” to explore his often-bewildering journey of arriving in America and simply wanting to be “black.” Noah shares his perspective of growing up a mixed-race child under Apartheid, and fearlessly breaks down racial stereotypes on all sides by becoming what Newsweek calls a “cultural chameleon.” After his US television appearances on The Tonight Show and Late Show with David Letterman, Noah has had a meteoric rise across the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand and is the most popular comedian in his native South Africa. Sharp wit, eloquent storytelling and the seamless ability to change dialects and characters are Noah’s trade, sending waves of laughter through his audience with his inventive perspective on arriving -and making it -in America. “African American” promises to be an historic event from a comedian destined to be the next breakout global stand-up star.

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