Trevor Noah

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Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah at Parx Casino (42044443160) (cropped).jpg
Noah performing at Parx Casino in August 2018
Born (1984-02-20) 20 February 1984 (age 38)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Medium
  • Stand-up
  • television
  • film
  • books
EducationMaryvale College
Genres
Subject(s)
Websitetrevornoah.com
Signature
Trevor Noah signature.svg

Trevor Noah (born 20 February 1984) is a South African comedian, television host, actor, and political commentator. He is the host of The Daily Show, an American satirical news program on Comedy Central.

Born in Johannesburg, Noah began his career in South Africa in 2002. He had several hosting roles with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and was the runner-up in the fourth season of South Africa's iteration of Strictly Come Dancing in 2008.[1] From 2010 to 2011, he hosted the late-night talk show Tonight with Trevor Noah, which he created and aired on M-Net and DStv.[2]

In 2014, Noah became the Senior International Correspondent for The Daily Show, and in 2015 succeeded long-time host Jon Stewart.[3] His autobiographical comedy book Born a Crime was published in 2016.[4][5][6][7] He hosted the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards in 2021[8] and the 64th Annual Grammy Awards edition in 2022.[9]

Noah has won various awards, including an MTV Africa Music Award and a Primetime Emmy Award from eleven nominations.[10] He was named one of "The 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media" by The Hollywood Reporter in 2017 and 2018.[11][12] In 2018, Time magazine named him one of the hundred most influential people in the world.[13]

Early life[edit]

Trevor Noah was born on 20 February 1984 in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.[14][15] His father, Robert, is of Swiss-German ancestry, and his mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, is Xhosa.[16][17]

Under apartheid legislation, Noah's mother was classified as Black, and his father was classified as White. Noah himself was classified as Coloured. At the time of his birth, his parents' interracial relationship was illegal, which Noah highlights in his autobiography. Interracial sexual relations and marriages were not decriminalized until a year after his birth, when the Immorality Act was amended in 1985. Patricia and her mother, Nomalizo Frances Noah, raised Trevor in the black township of Soweto.[18] Noah went to Maryvale College, a private Roman Catholic primary and high school in Johannesburg.[19][20][21]

Career[edit]

Early work and breakthrough[edit]

Noah performing on his Loud and Clear tour in February 2019

In 2002, Noah had a small role on an episode of the South African soap opera Isidingo. He later hosted his own radio show Noah's Ark on Gauteng's leading youth-radio station, YFM. He dropped his radio show and acting to focus on comedy, and has performed with South African comedians such as: David Kau, Kagiso Lediga, Riaad Moosa, Darren Simpson, Marc Lottering, Barry Hilton, and Nik Rabinowitz,[22] international comedians such as Paul Rodriguez, Carl Barron, Dan Ilic, and Paul Zerdin, and as the opening act for American comedian Gabriel Iglesias in November 2007 and Canadian comedian Russell Peters on his South African tour.

Noah hosted an educational TV programme, Run the Adventure (2004–2006) on SABC 2. In 2007, he hosted The Real Goboza, a gossip-themed show on SABC 1,[1] and Siyadlala, a sports show also on the SABC. In 2008, Noah cohosted, alongside Pabi Moloi, The Amazing Date (a dating gameshow) and was a Strictly Come Dancing contestant in the fourth series. In 2009, he hosted the 3rd Annual South Africa Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) and co-hosted alongside Eugene Khoza on The Axe Sweet Life, a reality competition series. In 2010, Noah hosted the 16th annual South African Music Awards and also hosted Tonight with Trevor Noah on MNet (for the second series, it moved to DStv's Mzansi Magic Channel).[2] In 2010, Noah also became a spokesperson and consumer protection agent for Cell C, South Africa's third-largest mobile phone network provider.[23]

Noah performed in The Blacks Only Comedy Show, the Heavyweight Comedy Jam, the Vodacom Campus Comedy Tour, the Cape Town International Comedy Festival, the Jozi Comedy Festival, and Bafunny Bafunny (2010).[24][25] His stand-up comedy specials in South Africa include The Daywalker (2009), Crazy Normal (2011), That's Racist (2012), and It's My Culture (2013).

In 2011, he relocated to the United States.[26] In January 2012, Noah became the first South African stand-up comedian to appear on The Tonight Show; and in May 2013, he became the first to appear on Late Show with David Letterman.[20][27] Noah was the subject of the 2012 documentary You Laugh But It's True.[28] The same year, he starred in the one-man comedy show Trevor Noah: The Racist,[29] which was based on his similarly titled South African special That's Racist. In September 2012, Noah was the Roastmaster in a Comedy Central Roast of South African Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr.[30] In 2013, he performed the comedy special Trevor Noah: African American.[31] In October 2013, he was a guest on BBC Two's comedy panel show QI.[32] In November 2013, he was a panelist on Channel 4 game show 8 Out of 10 Cats[33] and appeared on Sean Lock's team in 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown in September 2014.

The Daily Show[edit]

In December 2014, Noah became a recurring contributor on The Daily Show.[34] In March 2015, Comedy Central announced that Noah would succeed Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show; his tenure began on 28 September 2015.[19]

Following his announcement as Stewart's successor, attention was drawn on the Internet to jokes he had posted on his Twitter account, some of which were criticised as being offensive to women,[35][36] and others as antisemitic or mocking the Holocaust.[16] Noah responded by tweeting: "To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn't land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian."[37] Comedy Central stood behind Noah, saying in a statement, "Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included... To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central."[38] Mary Kluk, chairperson of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), said that the jokes were not signs of anti-Jewish prejudice and that they were part of Noah's style of comedy.[39] Noah has faced further criticism after video clips of him joking about Aboriginal women and the Marikana massacre in old standup routines resurfaced.[40][41]

After Noah took over from Stewart, viewership dropped 37%, and its Nielsen ratings fell below those of several other shows hosted by Daily Show alumni; however, according to Comedy Central's president, the Daily Show under Noah was the number one show for millennials.[42] James Poniewozik of The New York Times praised him and the show's writers, saying, "Mr. Noah's debut was largely successful, it was also because of the operating system—the show's writing—running under the surface".[43] Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times described him as "charming and composed—almost inevitably low-key compared with the habitually antic and astonished Stewart".[44] Other critics gave him less favorable reviews, with Salon writing "Jon Stewart created a national treasure. Noah has dulled its knife, weakened the satire, let the powerful run free."[45][42] Noah's platform on the show has led to three stand-up specials on Comedy Central and Netflix.[46][47][48] By 2017, nightly viewership was less than half of what it had been during the end of Stewart's tenure; viewership among millennials remained solid, however, and Comedy Central extended Noah's contract as host of The Daily Show through 2022.[49] He would also produce and host annual end-of-year specials for Comedy Central.[49]

In April 2017, Noah began developing a talk show for Jordan Klepper:[50] The Opposition with Jordan Klepper, which premiered in September,[51] and ran for one season. Noah also executive-produced Klepper, a primetime weekly docuseries, beginning in May 2019.[52][53] In March 2018, Noah signed a multiyear contract with Viacom giving them first-look rights to any future projects by him. In addition to the deal, Noah would also be launching an international production and distribution company called Day Zero Productions.[54]

Books[edit]

His memoir Born a Crime was published in November 2016 and was received favorably by major U.S. book reviewers.[4][5][6] Besides the author, his mother has a central role in the book, while his European father is mentioned only occasionally. It became a No. 1 New York Times Bestseller and was named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, Newsday, Esquire, NPR, and Booklist.[7] It was announced that a film adaptation based on the book would star Lupita Nyong'o as his mother.[55]

In July 2018, Noah and The Daily Show writing staff released The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library, a book comprising hundreds of Trump tweets and featuring a foreword by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham.[56]

Other work[edit]

In 2017, he made an appearance on the TV series Nashville.[57] In 2018, he appeared in Black Panther, Coming 2 America, and American Vandal.[58][59]

In addition to hosting The Daily Show, Noah has hosted the Grammy Awards twice in 2021 and 2022.[60][61] He also served as host of the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2022.[62]

Influence[edit]

Noah has said of his comedic influences,

"The kings are indisputable. Richard Pryor, [Bill] Cosby; for me personally I didn't know of him before I started comedy but Eddie Murphy changed my view on the thing and I definitely look up to him as a comedic influence. Chris Rock in terms of the modern black comedian and Dave Chappelle. Those are the guys that have laid the foundation and have moved the yardstick for all comedians, not just Black comedians."[63]

He also cited Jon Stewart as an influence and a mentor, following his appointment to succeed Stewart as host of The Daily Show.[64] In an interview with The New York Times, Noah likened Stewart to "a Jewish Yoda" and recounted advice Stewart gave him, saying,

"The most amazing thing that Jon did was he didn’t give me a mandate. He didn’t say, 'You need to make my show.' He specifically said: 'Make your show. Make your best version of it.' I apply those teachings of Jon’s to everything that I’m doing."[65]

Among comedians who say they were influenced by Noah are Michelle Wolf, Jordan Klepper, and Hasan Minhaj.[66][67][68] Noah's mixed-race ancestry, his experiences growing up in Soweto, and his observations about race and ethnicity are leading themes in his comedy.[69][70]

Personal life[edit]

Noah speaks English, Afrikaans, Southern Sotho, Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Tsonga and some German.[71]

In 1992, Noah's mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo, married Ngisaveni Abel Shingange; they had two sons together, Andrew and Isaac. Shingange physically abused both Trevor and his mother, and the couple legally divorced in 1996.[72] In 2009, after Patricia married Sfiso Khoza, Shingange shot her in the leg and through the back of her head; she survived as the bullet went through the base of her head, avoiding the spinal cord, brain, and all major nerves and blood vessels, then exiting with minor damage to her nostril. When Noah confronted him over the phone about the shooting, Shingange threatened his life, prompting Noah to leave Johannesburg for Los Angeles.[26][73][74]

In 2011, Shingange was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced the following year to three years of correctional supervision.[75] Noah stated that he hoped the attention surrounding the incident would raise awareness of the broader issue of domestic violence in South Africa: "For years my mother reached out to police for help with domestic abuse, and nothing was ever done. This is the norm in South Africa. Dockets went missing and cases never went to court."[26]

Noah has described himself as being progressive and having a global perspective.[76] However, he has clarified that he considers himself a "progressive person", but not a "political progressive" and prefers not to be categorized as being either right or left in the context of US partisanship.[77][78]

In April 2018, he set up the Trevor Noah Foundation as a Johannesburg-based non-profit organization that equips orphans and vulnerable youth with the education, life skills, and social capital necessary to pursue further opportunities.[79]

Noah was selected as the Class Day speaker for Princeton University's Class of 2021.[80] He gave his address virtually on 15 May 2021, and was inducted as an honorary member of the Class of 2021.[81]

He resides in New York City.[82]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2011 You Laugh But It's True Himself Documentary
2011 Taka Takata Pilo
2012 Mad Buddies Bookie
2018 Black Panther Griot (voice)
2021 Coming 2 America Totatsi Bibinyana (Zamunda News Network anchor)

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2002 Isidingo Teen at party 1 episode
2008 The Amazing Date Himself (host) 13 episodes
2009 Trevor Noah: The Daywalker Himself Stand-up special
2010–2011 Tonight with Trevor Noah Himself (host) 26 episodes; also creator, writer, and executive producer
2011 Trevor Noah: Crazy Normal Himself Stand-up special
2012 Trevor Noah: That's Racist Himself Stand-up special
2012 Comedy Central Roast of Steve Hofmeyr Himself (host) TV special
2012 Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand Up Revolution Himself Episode: "2.1"
2013 Trevor Noah: African American Himself Stand-up special
2014 Trevor Noah: It's My Culture Himself Stand-up special
2014–2015 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Himself (correspondent) 5 episodes
2015–present The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Himself (host) Also writer and executive producer
2015 Trevor Noah: Lost in Translation Himself Stand-up special
2015 Trevor Noah: Pay Back the Funny Himself Stand-up special
2017 Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark Himself Stand-up special
2017 Nashville Himself Episode: "Fire and Rain"
2017 Trevor Noah: There's a Gupta On My Stoep Himself Stand-up special
2017–2018 The Opposition with Jordan Klepper None 128 episodes; co-creator and executive producer
2018 American Vandal Himself Episode: "The Brownout"
2018 Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia Himself Stand-up special
2019 Klepper None 8 episodes; executive producer
2021 63rd Annual Grammy Awards Himself (host) TV special
2022 64th Annual Grammy Awards Himself (host) TV special
2022 White House Correspondents' Dinner Himself (host) TV special

Awards[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2012 South African Comics' Choice Award Comic of the Year Won [83]
2014 Nominated [84]
MTV Africa Music Awards Personality of the Year Nominated [85]
2015 Won [86]
2016 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Talk Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [87]
Outstanding Variety (Series or Special) Nominated
Outstanding Host in a News, Talk, Reality, or Variety (Series or Special) Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Talk Show Nominated [88]
2017 Zora Neale Hurston Award Born a Crime Won [89]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Literary Work – Biography / Auto-biography Won [90]
Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author Won
Writers Guild of America Award Comedy/Variety – Talk Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [91]
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award Favourite African Star Won [92]
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Talk Show Episode Won [93]
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Host Won [94]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Short Form Variety Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Between the Scenes Won [10]
Thurber House American Humor Born a Crime Won [95]
2018 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Talk Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [96]
Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble Nominated
Writers Guild of America Award Comedy/Variety – Talk Series Nominated [97]
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Talk Show Episode The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [98]
The Opposition with Jordan Klepper Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Variety Talk Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [10]
Outstanding Interactive Program Nominated
Outstanding Short Form Variety Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Between the Scenes Nominated
People's Choice Awards The Nighttime Talk Show of 2018 The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [99]
2019 Dorian Awards TV Current Affairs Show of the Year Nominated [100]
Producers Guild of America Award Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television Nominated [101]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Talk Series Nominated [102]
Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble Nominated
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Won
Outstanding Variety (Series or Special) Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia Nominated
Critics' Choice Real TV Awards Best Late-Night Talk Show The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [103]
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Host Nominated [104]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Variety Talk Series Nominated [10]
Outstanding Interactive Program Nominated
People's Choice Awards The Nighttime Talk Show of 2019 Nominated [105]
2020 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Comedy Special Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia Nominated [106]
Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [107]
Grammy Award Best Comedy Album Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia Nominated [108]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Talk Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [109]
Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble Nominated
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Nominated
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Talk Show Episode Nominated [110]
Critics' Choice Real TV Awards Male Star of The Year Nominated [111]
Best Short Form Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Between the Scenes Nominated
Dorian TV Awards Best Current Affairs Program The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [112]
Wilde Wit Award Nominated
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sketch/Variety Shows Nominated [113]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Variety Talk Series Nominated [10]
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series Nominated
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Between the Scenes Nominated
People's Choice Awards The Nighttime Talk Show of 2020 The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [114]
2021 NAACP Image Awards Entertainer of the Year Nominated [115]
Outstanding Talk Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated
Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble Won
Outstanding Short-Form Series – Reality/Nonfiction The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Between the Scenes Won
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Variety or Talk Show Episode The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [116]
Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television Nominated [117]
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Host Won [118]
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Television Academy Honor Won [119]
Critics' Choice Real TV Awards Male Star of The Year Nominated [120]
Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards Best Broadcast Network or Cable Sketch Series, Variety Series, Talk Show, or Comedy/Variety Special Nominated [121]
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Variety, Talk or Sketch Nominated [122]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Variety Talk Series Nominated [10]
Outstanding Variety Special (Live) 63rd Annual Grammy Awards Nominated
People's Choice Awards The Nighttime Talk Show of 2021 The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [123]
2022 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Talk Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Won [124]
Outstanding Host in a Reality/Reality Competition, Game Show or Variety (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble Won
Outstanding Short-Form Series (Drama or Comedy) The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Between the Scenes Won
Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [125]
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Variety or Talk Show Episode Nominated [126]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Noah, Trevor (2016). Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. Spiegel & Grau. ISBN 978-0399588174.

Audiobooks[edit]

  • 2016: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (read by the author), Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio, ISBN 978-1531865047

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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