Comedy review: Trevor Noah: The Racist, Glasgow

Though a comedian for just six years, Trevor Noah looks set to accomplish great things in stand-up.

Trevor Noah. Picture: Contributed
Trevor Noah. Picture: Contributed

Trevor Noah: The Racist - The Stand, Glasgow

* * *

With an extension of the show he brought to the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe, the South African continues to make the most of his unenviable back-story, born in the Apartheid-era to a black mother and a white Swiss-German father. Never quite fitting in, he’s emerged as a gifted mimic and acute social observer, with one of his most perceptive reflections on race being the unspoken euphemisms employed in the UK to transfer the burden of abuse to the victim.

Giving over much of the first half to comparing the South African and British mentalities on the weather and crime, he’s warm, witty and assured but there’s a notable injection of delight in the room when he addresses the Africans in the crowd about why he hasn’t played their country.

After the interval, he got a lot more personal, revealing how he travelled to the US to feel more black, extrapolating his experience into musing upon American status blindness to miscegenation. Based on an individual’s perceived success, with a convincing take on Barack Obama’s elevation from political no-hoper to the president in black America’s eyes, he playfully assumes the brash holler of the Def Jam school of shallow African-American stand-up.

Such finely sketched characterisations are a strong suit and he brings the house down with an affectionate tribute to Nelson Mandela.