The AJC live at ‘The Daily Show’ taping in Atlanta, night one

A rundown on how it went down.

Trevor Noah on Monday during the first of four live tapings of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” in Atlanta joyously extolled how Black the city is.

“I landed in Atlanta,” said the late-night host. “I thought I flew back to South Africa by mistake. There are Black people everywhere. It’s like opposite Boston.... You get in the car, your Über driver is Black. Everyone in the hotel was Black. I turn on the TV, the news anchor is Black, throws to a Black weatherman, then crosses over to a Black sports reporter. I walk into the bathroom, look in the mirror. That person is Black! What?”

Credit: COMEDY CENTRAL

Credit: COMEDY CENTRAL

He also raved about the cuisine: “I’m loving the food out here. Everything here is extra. You have that Southern fried chicken. You’ve got that fried okra. You’ve got fried tomatoes. Everything is fried. Even some of your politicians’ brains are fried.”

And of course, having turned on the TV, he noticed what everybody in the state has been subjected to for months: the relentless parade of political ad after political ad.

“Every single ad is political now,” he said. “Every flyer, every spam text. It’s Halloween. I bumped into a kid on the street dressed as Frankenstein. ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ He said, ‘The real monster is actually inflation. This Three Musketeers feels like a Two Musketeers!”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was there at the live taping, which was two shows in one.

Noah didn’t hit the stage until 6:10 p.m. after most everyone was seated by 5 p.m. His long-time warm-up comic Vince August graced the stage for nearly an hour and seemingly interviewed half the audience, gently cracking jokes along the way.

While the crowd was diverse demographically and racially, it was clearly very, very blue and urban. August found just a single hunter in the crowd. And when he asked for NASCAR fans, the response was tepid, though he did marvel over two enthusiastic Black NASCAR fans in the crowd.

It was also a heavily white-collar crowd with some folks visiting from Granada, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C. He talked to multiple educators, a real estate investor, two epidemiologists, two psychiatrists and a row of nurses. There were two folks in the film business, one of whom had clearly signed an NDA and declined to say what he was working on and another who had previously worked on “She-Hulk.”

Later, when Noah mentioned governor Brian Kemp and Senate candidate Herschel Walker, the crowd booed lustily. Kemp, Noah bemusedly noted, is considered a moderate in part because he didn’t question Joe Biden’s win in Georgia in 2020 and didn’t support hanging Mike Pence.

He was also surprised how close the race is between current U.S. Senator and Democrat Raphael Warnock and his Republican opponent Herschel Walker. He listed several of Walker’s alleged lies, then said, “I’d like to meet the Herschel Walker that Herschel Walker thinks he is. He treats real life the way we treat dating apps.”

He showed a clip of Walker explaining to former brain surgeon and HUD secretary Ben Carson what he considered the most pressing issue of our time: “Celebrities telling people what they can’t do it.”

Not only did the answer befuddle Noah (”I know inflation is bad right now but the bigger issue is Vin Diesel has never told me to follow my dreams!”) but he was confused why Carson was even interviewing Walker. “The only reason those two should be in the same room is if Carson did brain surgery on Herschel Walker.”

Noah then played a clip of Barack Obama at an Atlanta rally last Friday questioning whether people would allow someone like Walker fly their airplane. “I love how Obama roasts you with his signature swag,” Noah said. “So polite but he’s roasting the [expletive] out of you.” Then he imitated Obama saying, “Last time I checked, you didn’t have any brains!”

He noted restrictive voting laws passed in Georgia as a sign of voter suppression, but the new voting restrictions “are motivating Georgians to vote even harder.” (Early voting in the state is far ahead of its pace in 2018.)

He noted: “That’s when you know you messed up and made Black people angry when we arrive early!”

The producers cut about two minutes of his monologue for time including a segment on how Powder Springs, which is majority Black, was gerrymandered into Marjorie Taylor Greene’s district.

There were two field pieces. The first that opened the show featured correspondent Roy Wood Jr. taking Noah to a Waffle House.

Noah wants to eat the waffles, but Wood said there was no way they were going inside until a fight breaks out. The reason to go, he said, was to shoot videos of violence that then go viral on social media.

This results, of course, in them fake tussling. The kicker: Tyler Perry is seen taping their fight on his smartphone. (The CGI was not terribly good because it’s obvious Perry was inserted into the scene from a different location.)

The second field piece featured correspondent Michael Kosta visiting the Trap Music Museum, famed strip club Magic City and the Grocery Spot ATL, a free food pantry with fresh produce and meat for those in need.

Off camera, Wood briefly waved from the sidelines to the crowd while Kosta, after the field piece aired, came on stage to note how wonderful the wings were at Magic City.

Credit: Comedy Central

Credit: Comedy Central

The final segment was an interview with Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who was on the show for a fourth time. Before she came on stage and before taping started up again, he asked the crowd not to spend too much time applauding because he had limited time and wanted her to have a chance to speak.

A countdown clock was set at five minutes.

During that time, she provided Noah many of her arguments why she should be elected governor over Kemp while Noah only gently alluded to the fact she is further behind in the polls at this juncture than she was in 2018 when she ran the first time.

When Noah referenced all the negative ads against her, she jokingly said, “My parents were surprised to learn that I was responsible for the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, I know where Hoffa’s body is buried and I may have stolen something backstage.”

More seriously, she said, “You can internalize the attacks or use it as fuel to remind you of why you are doing this every single day.”

In the end, the interview went ten minutes. The producers trimmed it to the originally planned five minutes.

From an audience perspective, the show appeared to run smoothly.

Noah did not need to do anything twice. Off camera, he spent a few minutes talking about how he wished, after watching the copious number of political ads in Georgia, that attack ads could be forbidden. He said he would love it if candidates could only talk about what they will do if elected, not what their opponents are doing badly or might do poorly. He compared this to R&B singers who would complain about how terrible a woman’s other man was to them while failing to note what they themselves could do better.

Noah did not mention to the audience about his pending departure from the show Dec. 8 after seven years.

To be in the audience, a proof of COVID-19 vaccination was required and although it was Halloween, the producers forbade those entering from donning distracting costumes. (The email sent out to attendees said masks would be required but ultimately, they were not and very few people wore them.)

Noah’s show is typically 30 minutes long (22 minutes with ads), but sometimes he does extended 45-minute versions. This one ended up going 45 minutes.

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