Johannesburg - It’s on every local rapper’s bucket list, but comedy star Trevor Noah had no problem filling up the Ticketpro Dome in Northgate, Joburg, this week – even with tickets costing up to R1 400 and a pretty regular routine.
His show, There’s a Gupta On My Stoep, taps the 1993 classic, There’s a Zulu On My Stoep by Leon Schuster, whose tropey, slapstick movies made him South Africa’s most famous funnyman – until The Daily Show host dethroned him.
It was a veritable rainbow display of South Africans who made the pilgrimage to the Dome, trudging past the boerewors braai stations and beer outlets in their quilted jackets, with white the slightly dominant colour.
Noah’s ability to appeal to all South Africans was apparent throughout the show.
We love race jokes and he served up a buffet of them with his tried-and-tested South African stereotypes – petulant Indians, lippy black cops and whining whites – delivered with his usual excellent, animated accents and high energy.
Noah’s approach is to offend everyone so that no one can complain and, by the end, the audience was lapping it up and cheering.
True to the title, Indians came in for the night’s biggest drubbing (along with Bonang Matheba’s typo-riddled book, From A to B).
Cunningly disclaiming that local Indian audiences complain he never jokes about them, Noah went in for the kill, leading to a meltdown scenario at Nando’s, featuring a cunning Indian man and a hapless black cashier (along with a Bonang joke).
But whites came in for their share of heat, especially the #ZuptaMustFall protest variety, who “when they’re protesting, look like they’re marching for Vitality points”.
Bringing a slice of The Daily Show to the Dome, Noah has his Trump impersonation down pat, if not his Zuma – “Don’t compare him to Zuma. Trump is stupid.” Zuma’s resilience was a common target of Noah’s wit – “He’s like Stefano DiMera on Days of Our Lives. He never dies.” But bigger laughs went to the poor kid who reads from Bonang’s book in class.
Bonang’s bae, rapper AKA, was Noah’s surprise opener. But the pick of the male-dominant opening acts was brilliant Noah stalwart Robby Collins, whose polony jokes had people screaming – “You know how poor you are by the colour of your polony ... That bright pink polony, the Vengaboys of polony.”
But Noah was the man of the moment, enjoying his return home and responding playfully to the limelight, at ease, rich and famous as he switched relentlessly between characters.