Curated by Hellura Lyle
Monday, June 3rd, 7:00pm
You Laugh But Its True
David Paul Meyer, 2011, 84 min, US/South Africa
In South Africa’s emerging world of stand-up comedy, comedians of color have only recently started performing on stage. With the opportunity to finally command the attention of a large audience, they go beyond just settling for easy laughs and confront the legacy of apartheid head on in their material. Against the backdrop of this volatile environment, 25-year-old Trevor Noah ambitiously pursues his passion to entertain. Yet his fledgling career as a comedian is largely relegated to headlining at corporate events due to the country’s comedy scene being so small. Determined to pursue his dream of performing all over the world, Trevor decides to produce his first one-man show, despite his lack of experience performing on stage. Based on the size of the proposed venue alone, it will be the most ambitious debut ever attempted by a comedian in South Africa. To prepare for the show, Trevor revisits his past, creating material from memories of growing up in the township under apartheid. As the child of an interracial couple, a union that was illegal in South Africa at the time of his birth, Trevor’s life reveals the story of an outsider who has somehow figured out a way to relate to everyone through his comedy. Despite this progress, the preparation for the show becomes increasingly difficult as Trevor faces a multitude of challenges: an underdeveloped comedy scene, criticism from other comics, strained personal relationships, lingering racial tension, and a shocking family tragedy. They combine to form a crisis that threatens not just the success of the show, but Trevor’s dreams of lifting himself and the South African comedy scene to the global stage.