What a journey Trevor Noah has had. The comic’s first a gig in Dubai was 2014, then he played at DUCTAC, and mainly to a hard core fan base of South Africans, and he has since to Dubai earlier this year and with his new job as host of The Daily Show Noah has been catapulted in to the starlight. Headlining as the finale of the Dubai Comedy Festival, he delivered another sold out show on Saturday October 24.
There was hardly an empty seat in the house, as the crowd filled the purpose built auditorium next to Skydive Dubai. Host for the night Nitin Mirani, did a great job of warming up the crowd with his impersonations and jokes about expat cultures in Dubai, but when Noah stepped onto the stage in laid-back black bomber jacket, dark jeans and t-shirt, the place lit up with excitement and whoops from the audience.
Noah has grown in confidence and daring in his delivery, perhaps owing to his time in the states, and he gets right into the swing of things, literally pushing up his jacket sleeves and opening with an off the cuff joke about the plush white sofas in the platinum seating at the front of stage saying “what’s wrong with the normal seats? Are you going to have a little bit to eat during the show – do you need room to grow?” Garnering cheers from everyone seated at the back of the auditorium, the crowd were now well and truly onside.
Much of Noah’s set was based on his observations of life in Dubai, and his travel and experiences. Having played to Dubai audiences previouslyhe knows that jokes about taxi drivers and Brits at brunch are a guaranteed giggle. Noah reused some of the jokes from his first gig at Ductac, cherry-picking some winners, but added a punchier finish to them.
We don’t know if it’s the laid back style, the dimpled smile or the pin-point observations, but Noah seems to hit the right notes all night and has the audience eating out hands on every joke. Noah has always had a political edge to his satire, and in the way of many talented stand-up comics has a clever way of interpreting social issues, and his material touched on some of the big news stories of the year such asEbola and the Ukraine crisis, and he didn’t shy away from criticising America despite that being his current base.Performing in the UAE, may have restrictions in terms of cultural sensitivities, and when Noah started a segment on terrorism, there was a momentary cautious intake of breath of the audience, but the way he cleverly dramatized how Arab passengers would respond to a potential suicide bomber was adept and positive, allowing the crowd to exhale and give the comic one of the biggest applauses of the night.
Noah’s hour on stage flew by, and his final set-piece on fellow countryman Oscar Pistorius, and his court trial was filled with wittydramatized interjections, cutting comments on his home country’s reputation, and a performance style reminiscent ofhis comic idol Eddie Murphy in 1987’sRaw.
Noah closed out the last day of the festival, with a show that exemplifies the best of comedy, quality performance talent, insightful and daring material that credits the audience with intelligence and doesn’t have to be crass to get laughs.