News

"There wasn't a big freedom scene": Trevor Noah Talks Comedy In Pre-Democracy South Africa On The Tonight Show

'The Tonight Show' guest Trevor Noah speaks to Jimmy Fallon about the state of South Africa's stand-up comedy scene when he was growing up.


Trevor Noah appeared on The Tonight Show Friday night, where the South African comedian spoke to Jimmy Fallon about a range of topics, including Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, New York City's sirens, U.S. politics, the state of comedy in pre-democracy South Africa and Noah's start in stand-up.

Was there a big stand-up scene in South Africa when Noah was growing up, Fallon asked. "No, because there wasn't a big 'freedom scene.' It sort of limits you," the 31-year-old comedian said. "There was no stand-up scene. There were a few guys here and there who would speak up. But if you were gathered in a group, especially if it was black people, you go to jail because obviously you were planning something. They didn't think black people just hang out; they [think they're] here for a reason. There was no stand-up scene, there was no one speaking out. You couldn't say anything about the government. You'd go to jail. It sort of limits your need or want to be a comedian when you're gonna go to jail. If you told me I was going to go to jail I'd stop doing comedy."

Fallon then wondered how Noah got into stand-up, which the comedian explained involved a night out with his drunk cousin and friends.

The pair also spoke about the upcoming presidential election in the U.S. "This is insane. I've never seen anything like it," Noah said. "Sometimes it looks like a fighting game and it's all the characters you can choose. It's like who do you select?... I feel like it's Game of Thrones. We need a map to show you who goes where and how." He added, "We just got democracy, so this is like I've gone into the future. I want to go home and tell people, 'you don't know what's coming! It gets crazy!'"

Trevor Noah's "new and sexy Daily Show" is slated to premiere on Comedy Central on September 28th in the U.S. and September 29th in Africa.

Audio
(Youtube)

7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Former President of Botswana Ian Khama Condemns Zimbabwean Government

Former Botswana President Ian Khama has condemned Zimbabwe's government and joined solidarity with #ZimbabweanLivesMatter.