Trevor Noah: The Racist

Review by Chris Tapley | 13 Aug 2012
  • Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah’s Fringe debut is far more playful than the provocative title might suggest. The South African comic riffs on established cultural stereotypes from around the globe, but he does so with such keen observational skills that his material is never contentious.

The most interesting routines cover his childhood in Apartheid era South Africa, where he was born to an African mother and German father (at a time when mixed race relationships were illegal). His pragmatic attitude allows him to tackle these issues of race with some degree of thoughtfulness. He is funniest, though, with his impressions; whether it’s the inane Def-Jam style comedian or the sultry Spanish sat-nav voice, he nails them every time.

For someone so well travelled, some of his observations feel a bit hackneyed (drunk Irish, stupid Americans etc.) but for the most part he deconstructs cultural differences with skill and toys with interesting ideas of racial identity, often using his own heritage as a jumping off point.

He starts slowly but by the end of the show it’s clear everyone is completely on side, and his closer brings down the house. This is a strong introduction, and if Noah has as much material as he does stage presence then he could become a household name very soon.

Trevor Noah: The Racist, Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug (not 13), 19:15, £9/£8