A “visibly upset” Trevor Noah was forced to abandon a comedy gig in the Indian city of Bengaluru after the audience was unable to hear the performance due to sound problems.
The South African comedian apologized to fans for the “technical issues” that became apparent when he took the stage on Wednesday (September 27). A second performance in Bengaluru, scheduled for Thursday evening, was also cancelled.
Noah insisted this has “never happened before” and apologized for the “inconvenience and disappointment” caused to his fans.
“Dear Bengalaru India [sic]”I was so excited to perform in your great city, but due to technical issues we had to cancel both shows,” he wrote on It’s not possible to hear him.
“We’ve tried everything, but because the audience can’t hear the comedians on stage, there’s literally no way to put on a show,” he said.
Noah is playing shows across India as part of his Off the Record Tour. There will be seven performances in New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai between September 22nd and October 1st.
The recent incident in Bengaluru caused uproar among its fans, who had bought tickets months in advance but largely said they felt let down by the organisers, online ticketing platform BookMyShow.
Although the show was scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., it was initially delayed as the audience was stuck in the city’s notoriously bad traffic.
Antara Gupta Pisharody, who managed to attend the show after leaving her taxi and running to the venue, said The Independent that the show at the Manpho Convention Center failed from the start.
“Nobody could hear the opening comedian because there was so much echo. The back rows couldn’t hear anything and at one point started chanting “We can’t hear,” which the opening speaker mistook for the audience booing,” the 24-year-old visual designer said.
“Trevor Noah finally came on stage and immediately addressed the sound issue, but he himself looked visibly angry and mentioned the word ‘refund’ every now and then. But event organizers announced there was a “delay” and that we should help ourselves to drinks and food outside.”
Gupta Pisharody also lamented the “sloppy planning” and choice of venue, which she claimed left more people like her “running out into the streets.”
“Many of us had traveled a long way to get there and as I said, it would have been fun if more than one group had been running on the street to get to the event in time if the event had taken place,” she said.
“It just felt like sloppy planning. There are plenty of better places for an event like this, and yet we were seated in an auditorium that resembled an annual school auditorium.
“Even the women’s toilet stalls were appalling, there was a queue of 12 women literally walking away.”
Other fans compared the venue to a “warehouse” with poor acoustics and a reverberating echo that didn’t match the show’s capacity.
Dhanya Rajendran, Editor-in-Chief, Indian News Website The News MinuteNoah kept saying on stage to check the acoustics.
“Before Noah, the audience reported audio problems, but the original artist couldn’t understand. But Noah obviously heard it because when he got on stage, the first thing he asked the audience was, ‘Can you hear me?’ And he apologized,” she said The Independent.
“This shows that event managers in India have no respect for the audience and are so happy to portray themselves as mediocrity,” said Rajendran. “There is simply a lack of respect for the artist and the audience.”
Organizers apologized for the inconvenience and promised a refund.
“All customers who purchased tickets for both shows will receive a full refund within 8 to 10 business days,” BookMyShow said in a statement.
“We deeply regret this experience experienced by our valuable customers and hope to bring Trevor back to this wonderful city as quickly as possible.”
The Independent reached out to Noah and BookMyShow for comment.