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The Advocate

The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

Off the Record: Trevor Noah Comes to ABQ

Get the scoop on Trevor Noah’s most recent show

When former “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah announced he’d be leaving his gig over a year ago to get back to his comedic roots – trading the anchor desk in for tours around the world – I, like many, was surprised. But, like when Hasan Minhaj announced the cancellation of his Netflix show, “Patriot Act,” I resigned myself to the fact that another one of my favorite comedians’ standup would slowly be limited to years-old YouTube videos that I’d already watched one too many times.

So, when Noah announced plans to come to Albuquerque as part of his “OFF THE RECORD” special, I jumped at the chance to attend. The show at the Sandia Amphitheater on May 3 attracted around 4,000 people – including some of our very own, like head of school Julianne Puente, history department chair Karen Glenn, and Lucca Kerkmans ‘29.

After waiting about 30 minutes, lights flashed on stage. I readied myself for the main event. “Put your hands together for…Wil Sylvince!” Anticipation quickly turned to annoyance. However, Noah’s warm-up act, a New York-born comedian of Haitian descent, was funny and engaging in his own right. Comparing himself to the pickle one sometimes gets when ordering a sandwich – “You don’t complain about the pickle. You eat the damn pickle!” – his musings about Haitian culture and Albuquerque’s cleanliness were like enjoyable appetizers before the main course. When Noah eventually came out, I was sad to see that Sylvince had been relegated to the back of the stage.

Noah’s set was noteworthy in its relevance and efforts to connect more than a few jokes to the city in which he found himself. Talking about the all-too-familiar turbulence one feels when coming into the Sunport and blaming his bumpy ride on the “Albuquerque box” and Boeing is just one such example. As the show progressed, more familiar topics were broached. Jabs at Trump and Biden – “one candidate that should be dead, and one candidate that you want dead” – took up a substantial amount of time, as did a lengthy anecdote about Noah and Sylvince’s travels abroad.

However, my favorite part of the show was a question-and-answer session Noah held after his set. Although I was initially skeptical when I learned that Q&A is a typical part of “OFF THE RECORD,” this is where Noah shined as a comedian. His ability to weave multiple storylines together and think on his feet was impressive.

Taking questions from the audience, he lamented the lack of people with common names in attendance. A man named Naat’áanii asked Noah who his favorite comedian was, to which he responded that “there are too many.” Asking Naat’áanii if he was with anyone, Naat’áanii replied, “I’m single now.” Interestingly, this led to a barrage of questions from Noah about Naat’áanii’s romantic life – “Did you just break up? What was the problem?”– which were a little too personal to be asking in front of a crowd of strangers. To his credit, Naat’áanii kept his cool; his answers were funnier than much of the cross-examining Noah did.

Noah also engaged with Lucca, who asked why Sylvince wasn’t featured on Noah’s podcast. Sylvince then happily accepted an offer from Noah to collaborate with him in the future. Noticing Lucca was a bit younger than the rest of the audience, she responded that she had been gifted tickets to the show by her parents for her 13th birthday. Noah then asked her how she got her name, leading to an extended discussion about her family’s Italian heritage. Lucca proudly exclaimed, “I’m the one who pronounces [names of dishes] when we go to Olive Garden,” although her mother seemed to think her Italian needed some work.

The best part of the night was when Noah took a final question from a woman who confidently asked, “Red or green?” Even though many in the audience were from out of town, the crowd’s reaction was priceless. A confused Noah looked on, and spent the next 10 to 15 minutes trying to understand what was going on. Eventually, cries of “Christmas!” abounded the amphitheater, which only served to perplex Noah further. Soon, though, Noah caught on, before proclaiming that the people of Albuquerque “have the strongest stomachs in America.” Taken aback by the whole spectacle, he concluded, “I don’t know what this was, Albuquerque, but we’ll be coming back for sure.”

I, for one, can’t wait.

CORRECTION: This article was updated on 5/14 to correct the location where the show took place. H/t to Herb Wilkins.

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About the Contributor
Uzair Hammad '24
Uzair Hammad '24, Editor in Chief
Uzair Hammad '24 has been a writer and editor for The Advocate for four years, finally ascending to the fabled position of editor-in-chief. In his free time, Uzair can be found on a chair outside, working on web design, binge-watching Jeopardy, or shining his old spelling bee trophies. He is also involved in Student Senate. Uzair dreams of switching lives with Kate Sullivan and interviewing Sal Khan over chicken biryani.

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