Trevor Noah finds humour in tragedy

trevor-noah-born-a-crimeFor those of you who are fans of The Daily Show, you should get your paws on Trevor Noah’s autobiography, Born a Crime. Better yet, get the audiobook version (read by Noah) like I did after my friend, C., highly recommended it. (Thanks C.!)

Like The Daily Show, Noah tackles tough topics in Born a Crime, like being a mixed-raced child growing up in apartheid South Africa, where mixed-raced relationships were legally prohibited. But Noah finds the humour in his predicament because if you think about the implications, it’s ridiculous.

Noah shifts between tragedy and comedy without skipping a beat, breaking down barriers for the taboo. I remember my high school drama teacher telling us that comedy is just tragedy plus time and Noah illustrates this like a true comedian. Spoiler alert, the last chapter is most devastating but also made me laugh the hardest.

Noah reminds us that people can’t be reduced down to their ethnic, religious and socio-economic groups. History shows that attempts to draw lines where they don’t belong (between people, within a person, between places) results in tragedy.

We’re better off if we can love and laugh together.

More reasons to love Tina Fey

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler rocked the Golden Globes this year. I mean, they just nailed the opening:

I love Tina Fey so much, I listened to her memoir “Bossypants” in audiobook and couldn’t stop laughing. Out loud. On public transit. Is there some way I could get Tina Fey jokes on an endless looping audio track?

Canoes Full of Canada in Sussex Drive

Thank you to Random House Canada for sending me a copy of Sussex Drive: A (satirical!) novel in exchange for an honest review.

When the American elections finally ended, I realized two things: 1) I now know more about Ohio that I ever cared to know. 2) Canadian politics seem even duller now.

Linda Svendsen’s Sussex Drive taps in the world of Canadian politics and attempts to add emotion, drama and humour. There are moments of genius in Svendsen’s satirical novel which follow some curiously familiar characters and events: a Conservative Prime Minister and his wife who dream of a majority government, an African-Canadian Governor General and the inevitable proroguing of Parliament.

But as clever as Svendsen is with peppering Canadianisms throughout Sussex Drive, I just couldn’t finish it. There’s a frantic pace to the novel but not much of a plot. The characters are strangely annoying.

Sussex Drive is worth a flip through if not just for some of the hilarious references to Canadian culture. All the major players on Parliament Hill get a jab from the CBC to the Real Housewives of Hockey Players. But even Canadians get bored of making fun of themselves, eh?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Kick Ass Wise Men from Seth Grahame-Smith’s Unholy Night

I can just imagine Seth Grahame-Smith as a child, sitting in bible school, day-dreaming of the wise men battling their way to Egypt. Unholy Night describes the Wise Men’s journey in comic book vernacular — that is, in a series of fight scenes worthy of big speech bubbles with the words, SPLAT, BOOM and POW written in them.

I never learned much about religion (my secular public school had a don’t ask, don’t tell policy about religion) but I imagine Grahame-Smith’s retelling of a classic bible story might be a little blasphemous. The Wise Men are a bunch of criminals led by Balthazar, also known as the Antioch Ghost, a legendary thief hated by King Herod.

When Balthazar escapes from Herod with two other criminals: Melchyor and Gaspar. They escape to Bethlehem with pockets full of stolen frankincense and well, we all know who’s in Bethlehem. In trying to get baby Jesus to Egypt, Balthazar encounters all sorts of supernatural events. I don’t want to give away too many details but Grahame-Smith, who also wrote Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, does an awesome job at putting his own (bloody, gorey) twist on supernatural bible phenomenons (I think these are called miracles).

Unholy Night was a fun and fast read — and you don’t need to know anything about Christianity to appreciate it. I’ve always said that fight scenes and car chases are great for movies and bad in books. But Unholy Night proved me wrong. Grahame-Smith’s detailed description of violence is commendable. After all, the Bible was one violent book.