Published Sep 24, 2016When Trevor Noah took over The Daily Show, a lot of people were surprised, and some were even disappointed. Why not choose Samantha Bee? Jason Jones? Lewis Black? Dozens of names were thrown into the debate. At the time of the announcement, questioning the worthiness of Noah seemed completely justified, but in retrospect, it's clear that the whole discussion was a waste of energy. During his performance at JFL42, Noah proved he's just as brilliant at breaking down political concepts to palatable nuggets, just as intelligent, and just as funny as any of the other fantastic comedians that Comedy Central considered.
Though Noah is over a decade younger than the candidates he was once compared to, he's far more worldly. As a result of his experience as a world traveller who originally hails from South Africa, Noah learned to imitate nearly a dozen accents, plus he garnered many unique childhood memories and experiences with people of different nationalities.
The antithesis of the average privileged white comic, Noah was consistently hilarious as he recounted the explanation of a blowjob he gave to his uncle who had only had vaginal sex, told the crowd why he's terrified of Russian accents but not of people who speak Russian, and talked about being beaten as a child by his neighbours on behalf of his parents.
Though his stories were great, it was in his political material that Noah knocked it out of the park. His dissection of the Syrian conflict was mesmerizingly elegant, while his comparison of arguing with Trump to arguing with a toddler was scathing, yet it didn't default into the normal generic joke of "Look at Trump! What an idiot!"
Astoundingly, that material wasn't even the best of the night. The Daily Show host's deconstruction of colonialism was the most masterful segment of the show, and could quite possibly be one of the most genius jokes of the festival. In a way that was reminiscent of Eddie Izzard's "Do You Have A Flag?" joke from his Dress to Kill special, Noah acted out Great Britain colonizing India with spot on accents and heaps of absurdism, then incisively related anti-immigration policies to racism and colonialism in a way that was intricate yet amazingly easy to follow.
Opener Angelo Lozada was also enjoyable, but not as intellectual. After some friendly crowd work with the first few rows, he induced a huge laugh by thinking aloud about how if he was the father in the movie Taken, the "particular set of skills" he would have had to use to get his daughter back would have been his joke-telling abilities. He also told a comical anecdote about seeing a homeless man lugging a harp around the subway that was amusingly distinctive.