Trevor Noah packed the Bell Centre Friday night. He is photographed here in 2017.
Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
It’s a good bet very few in the packed Bell Centre house Friday night would have expected what Trevor Noah delivered. Many might have assumed the Daily Show host, one of the sharpest pundits on the late-night TV front, would be mercilessly skewering U.S. President Donald Trump.Not exactly, although he did take a few well-placed shots. But few would have believed that much of Noah’s focus on his Loud & Clear Tour was his strong feminist stance, complemented by some scathingly witty observations about the too-often insensitive and/or indifferent male species. That message more than lived up to his tour title. The show was presented in conjunction with Just for Laughs.Also credit Noah for tailoring much of his material to a Montreal and Canadian audience – unlike most touring comics who do the same shtick throughout the continent and pay scant attention to local matters. On that note, Noah deftly delved into language and political issues, which also left the crowd howling.Montrealers are clearly aware of Noah, whose previous JFL visits took place in far smaller venues. It speaks both to Noah’s standup skills and the good taste of locals that he filled the Bell Centre – quite unlike the situation when a mediocre Adam Sandler left it far from capacity.Noah, the product of a mixed marriage between a black South African woman and a white Swiss-German father, was primarily raised by his mom, and he attributes his empathy for women to her.He was concerned about recent decisions regarding women’s rights in the U.S.: “Men shouldn’t decide what happens inside women’s bodies.” He also found a recent survey involving thousands of women most revealing. The women were asked what they would do in a world without men. Their fantasy: simply go for a walk outside without worry.But what drew the biggest response from many was Noah’s graphically biting account in his dealing with a urinary tract infection (UTI), a painful condition women have long had to deal with but one which rarely afflicts men. And when it does hit men, watch out. The whine factor is high.Noah pointed out that men have precious little awareness of women’s menstrual cycles, and noted that if men were to undergo same, they would be absent from work one week every month.“I grew up with a single mom who told me everything about the woman’s body,” Noah said. “First, I wanted to kill myself …” But now he’s most appreciative for those insights.Noah conceded he had little contact with his Swiss-German dad while growing up, but later tried to make amends by learning to speak German. To decidedly mixed results.His father preferred to speak English with him, while his friends told him his German was scaring people, particularly in Germany. Noah had figured he should sound confident by speaking loudly and emphatically. Alas, he came across too confident and ended up sounding like “a black Hitler.”But Noah did find it intriguing that one particular German word didn’t appear to need translating in other languages: “schadenfreude,” wherein one takes great joy in the pain and suffering of others. Coincidence?Noah is, however, envious of Canada, and Canadians are inadvertently rubbing it in the faces of Americans that we have free health care and a political leader “who can read a book.” He scoffed at Trump’s wall dream – “Bring me the finest bricklayers!” – and figured if any country needed a wall, it was Canada.Noah is particularly fascinated by Canadian news, non-news to most Americans. While American media is filled with stories about Trump scandals, he finds it amusing what passes for political scandals in our news. Like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau photo-bombing shots of regular Canadians or showing up like a “Bollywood extra” on a state visit to India – whose leaders are sporting Western business suits:“I’d rather have a leader who panders to other cultures as opposed to one who doesn’t want other cultures to exist.”Check. And firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter.com/billbrownsteinRelated