Trevor Noah strikes comedy gold in ‘Where Was I’ comedy special

Trevor Noah on stage during a comedy show. Picture: Instagram

Trevor Noah on stage during a comedy show. Picture: Instagram

Published Jan 4, 2024


Internationally acclaimed South African-born comedian Trevor Noah had the globe laughing out loud this festive season with his latest Netflix special, “Where Was I”.

The comedy showcase, which was released on the streaming platform in December, trended among the most watched shows during the holiday season on Netflix, including in South Africa, the US and the UK.

And with his humorous intellect, tales from his international escapades, attention to detail and his perspective on cultural norms, it comes as no surprise as to why, weeks later, Noah’s comedy show remains among the most watched content on Netflix.

After leaving the helm of “The Daily Show”, a hugely popular American late-night talk and satirical news television programme, Noah refused to slow down.

He embarked on his global and still ongoing “Off the Record Tour” stand-up tour, and that set was released for his Netflix special.

Filmed at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, “Where Was I” marks Noah’s fourth comedy special for the streaming special, following widespread successes with his other Netflix comedic offerings which included “Son of Patricia” and “Afraid of the Dark”.

Trevor Noah on stage during a comedy show. Picture: Instagram.

But what sets this stand-up comedy show apart from his others was that Noah has far more accolades, life experiences and travel encounters than ever before.

This was dished out to his audience in a typical Noah fashion – with thought and perspective.

A fine example of this was his humorous monologue on national anthems, some like the German one, he delivered in its native language and left the audience pondering about his unique points of view.

In a recent interview with the “Condé Nast Traveller”, Noah explained his fascination with national anthems, which was widely portrayed in “Where Was I”.

“I find a lot of the ideas that we carry around nationalism to be quite hilarious. It’s understandable, but at the same time pretty ludicrous that everyone has such a strong affinity to a place that they're told that they're from just because somebody else drew lines on a map,” he was quoted in the publication as saying.

He added: “The more I travel, the more I realise how ridiculous the concept is. So when it comes to national anthems or national identity, I’m forever intrigued by how powerfully some of those ideas connect with us and how others fall flat.”

He also told “Condé Nast Traveller” that “National anthems are one of the best examples of that: depending on the day, depending on the event, people have an affinity for national anthems that they might not otherwise have.”

“In a world where we have passports I don’t know if national anthems are necessary any more, yet people still do it.”

And that’s the thing about Noah’s comedy. It might make you laugh until you cry, but it also leaves you questioning societal and cultural norms in a way you might have never previously considered.

And while the South African funny man might be an international superstar, he – just like all of us – experiences inconveniences, which he portrays in the most relatable ways during his show.

An example is losing his luggage in Paris, a travel mishap that happens all the time.

Meanwhile, one of the highlights of Noah’s comedy special was his delivery of his personal list of the five things white people love most.

He ranked museums as number five, followed by swimming, being flabbergasted and “just being white”.

And for the top honour, Noah awarded it to Neil Diamond’s 1969 hit “Sweet Caroline.”

During his comedy special, Noah even sings the generationally popular hit, which he joked was “pure, uncut Caucasian joy”.

He was proven to be correct to some degree as large sections of the audience began to join in, which prompted Noah to remark: “You were like, ‘This is it! This is our moment!’”

Apart from the success of “Where Was I”, as well as his comedy tour, Noah has also been enjoying his time as the host of the Spotify podcast “What Now? With Trevor Noah”.

He has already interviewed the likes of Bill Gates as well as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

This year, the funnyman can also look forward to hosting the Grammys for the fourth time. Noah is also nominated for best comedy album along with Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman and Wanda Sykes.

“Where Was I” is currently streaming on Netflix.