Trevor Noah in Conversation : Reviewed

Picture courtesy of The Daily Northwestern

Picture courtesy of The Daily Northwestern

By Zoë Huettl

I’m definitely a Trevor Noah fan. I’ve watched his standup on Netflix, I tune into the Daily Show every once in awhile (I’m sorry, The Daily Show = John Stewart for me, but I still love some of Noah’s segments) and I read his book Born A Crime on a whim. The book was well written, funny, and heart-wrenching.  His stories of his childhood in the racially segregated neighborhoods of South Africa develop into taking about identity, class, and power.  At Cahn on Sunday night, Noah really drew from those experiences in his conversation with New York Times reporter John Eligon.

When questions about race relations and America under Donald Trump came up, Noah spoke with welcome positivity about the importance of dialogue. He didn’t hide from the issues but instead confronted them with a wonderful, optimistic outlook that many left feeling lighter.

Noah brought up solid points about the universality safe spaces (to paraphrase: chess club - that’s a safe space), safe spaces are places where people have common ground and context, not where people hide. He talked about the importance of empathy in discussions between polar opposites and about the real goal of debates, not to sway the opposition but to convince the people watching. Many looked at the presidential debates last year and believed they seemed to lack all the most important parts of discourse. Not everything was political either, Noah’s identity as an African immigrant was an important part of the discussions of colorism and his ethos to discuss America.

To be honest, I would have loved the show if Trevor Noah just sat there and read from his book, as long as he looked up and offered a comment every once and awhile. After being to the show, I have to say I’m more than satisfied.

The conversation displayed more about his perspective than his autobiography or his work on The Daily show could do and his ideas seemed to strike a chord with the audience, and with me. I know for a long time I’m going to be telling people, “Well Trevor Noah said…..”   

(See conversation below) 

Steven Norwalk