Trevor Noah: Lost in Translation

  • Season 1, Ep 1
  • 11/22/2015

In this hour special, Trevor Noah talks about everything from terrorism to police brutality to Ebola to his grandmother and the origin of the cheer "woo-hoo."

Such a fun sound.

The sound of happiness.

The sound of white happiness,in particular.

Yeah.I've tracked it.

I've searched for the sourceof whoo-hoo

and I found it originatedwith white people.

White--white womanin particular.

Yeah, that's whereit comes from.

That is the soundof a white woman's turnup.

That is the soundof her getting into the game.

It's like,"Tammy! Whoo-hoo!"

And that's where you knowit's on.

Yeah, 'cause everyone elselearned it from a white woman.

That's where it came from,you know?

It spread through societylike a virus.

It's not the natural soundanybody else makes.

White women make that soundinstinctively,

but everyone elsehas learned it.

Like, white men werethe first ones to learn it,

because for them,it's sort of like a mating call.

They know what it means.

They have to reciprocate,like, "Whoo-hoo!"


But everyone elsehad to learn it.

It's a natural sound for thembut for nobody else.

Like, black people whoo-hoobut it's not the natural sound

black people make for fun,you know?

Black people can whoo-hoo.Black people often do whoo-hoo,

but it's not instinctivelya black sound of happiness.

And I think it's becauseblack people aren't comfortable

with the whoo-hoo.

Deep down inside there'sa certain moment in whoo-hoo

when every black personstops enjoying it.

There's just--there's just a moment

when--and maybe this is justmy personal experiences,

but I fear it sounds eerilysimilar to a police siren.

There's just a momentwhere it stops being fun.

[cheers and applause]

There's just that split second

where it's like,"Whoo-hoo, whoo!

"Whoo, whoo, whoop-whoop, whoo.

Whoop. Whoop. Boop."


Put your hands in the air...

and keep them there.

It's not the sound of happinessin my life, that's not--

Some of you may or may not knowI got a job

This is fantastic for me.

[cheers and applause]

Thank you very much.

Thank you.Thank you very much, yeah.

[cheers and applause]

That's--and that's--

That's how my grandmotherput it, funny enough.

I phoned my grandmother to tellher that I'd be working

on "The Daily Show,"and she was really excited.

She was like, "Whoo, Trevor!

"I'm so happy for you!

Well done. You got a job."

I said, "No, no, Granny,I already had a job."

And she's like, "No, you didn't.

Did you have an office?"I said, "No."

She's like,"Then it wasn't a job."

That's all she cares about.

My mom was a bit better.

I called her to tell herthe news,

and to give you a bitof a backstory,

I've got two younger brothers.

Right, so one brotheris nine years younger than me,

and then the youngest is20 years younger than me, right.

And so the youngest just became

one of the student councilmembers in his school, right.

So he got ontothe student council.

So I phoned my momto tell her my good news.

I'm on the phone with herand I'm like, "Oh, Mom,

I don't know if you heard, I'mgonna be on 'The Daily Show.'"

And she's like, "Oh, my baby,I'm so excited.

"Oh, praise Jesus,this is wonderful.

"Well done, baby.I'm so happy for you.

And did you hear what happenedto your brother?"

I'm like, "No, what happened?"

"Oh, he's on the student councilat his school.

"Oh, I'm so excited.

"Both my boys are doingbig things in the world.

I'm so happy. Oh!"

[cheers and applause]

And I was like, "Yeah, somethings are bigger than others."


She's like,"No, it's all the same."

I was like, "You say that,but I mean, you know.

Come on, you know."[laughs]

She's like, "Okay, fine, fine.You were never student council.

So let's cheer for him."I'm like, "What?"

Every day I turn on the TV

another black personis being shot.

So I just want to knowhow not to get shot, you know?

I try and learn, I really do.I try and learn, you know?

It all started in the lower--in the lower echelons

of enforcement, community watch,

George Zimmerman, shot Trayvon,the young boy.

And the story started offwith "Man shoots boy."

Everyone was like,"Yeah, this is horrible.

This is disgusting."

But then the news, for somestrange reason, the next day

they just forget and then theystart asking other questions.

"Well, why was he wearinga hoodie?

What was he doing, and whywas he wearing a hoodie?"

I was like, "Oh, is that--sothat's--so don't wear a hoodie."

That's what it is, the hoodie.It's very frightening.

You don't knowwhat's going on under there.

Yeah, we've all seen"Star Wars."

It's the creepiest thing ever.Yeah, yeah.

It's the dark side.And so I was like,

oh, if I don't wear a hoodiethen I'm safe.

No one's gonna shoot meif I don't wear a hoodie.

you cut forward,and then the next thing you know

it's Mike Brown in Ferguson,and he gets shot by the police.

Unarmed, gets shot.

You know, like a man was unarmedand he got shot,

and I was like,"Oh, this is disgusting."

And they said, "But also,he approached the police officer

"apparently, and he may or maynot have scuffled with him.

We don't know,but he approached him."

And I was like, okay, okay,don't wear a hoodie

and don't approach the police.Don't go towards the police.

You see police,you go the other way.

You got the other way from--Okay, cool. I got it.

So no hoodies,no approaching the police.

This is it, I'm learning.I'm learning. This is--

But then--but then the next guycomes on the news,

Eric Garnerin New York City.

And there he is,he's standing and the police,

they apprehend himand they start choking him.

He doesn't go towards them.He doesn't--

He's standing therewith his arms up,

and he gets choked to deathby six policemen.

And then they come on the newsand they say--and they go,

"Well, you gotta understand,for these police, I mean,

"this was a--this was a pretty big guy.

"He was a pretty big guy.He was scary.

He was a really scary,big black guy."

And I'm like, "Okay, cool.So don't be a big black guy

"and then you should be fine.

Don't be a big black guyand then I should"--

And every day I look in themirror and I'm like, "Good job."