Trevor Noah

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Trevor Noah
Born (1984-02-20) 20 February 1984 (age 31)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Medium Stand-up, film, television
Genres Political satire, news satire, observational comedy, surreal comedy, black comedy, insult comedy, deadpan
Subject(s) Mass media, news media, media criticism, American politics, South African politics, current events, religion, pop culture, race relations, racism, human sexuality
Influences Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy
Notable works and roles The Daily Show

Trevor Noah (born 20 February 1984)[1] is a South African comedian, television and radio host, and actor.[2] He is the host of American news satire television program The Daily Show, succeeding Jon Stewart.[3]

Early life and family[edit]

Noah was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. His mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, is of mixed Xhosa and Jewish ancestry,[4][5][6][7] and his father, Robert, is of Swiss German ethnicity. Noah spent his early youth in the private school of Maryvale College, a Catholic school in Johannesburg.[8][9][10] His parents' relationship was illegal at the time of his birth because of apartheid, and his mother was jailed and fined by the South African government.[11] His father later moved back to Switzerland and Noah was raised by his mother and maternal grandmother, Nomalizo Frances Noah.[12] During his childhood, he attended church every Sunday.[13]

He has two younger half-brothers by his mother's husband, Ngisaveni Shingange, whom she later divorced. In 2009, after she became engaged to another man, Shingange shot her in the back and face; he was unable to continue shooting as the gun jammed. He later threatened to kill Trevor Noah, forcing him to leave Johannesburg for Los Angeles.[14][15] In 2011, Shingange was convicted of attempted murder. Noah stated that he hoped the attention surrounding the incident would help the domestic abuse problem 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."[14] In 2012, Shingange was sentenced to three years of correctional supervision for the attempted murder.[16]

His mixed-race heritage, his experiences growing up in a Soweto township, and his observations about race and ethnicity are leading themes in his comedy.[17][18]


When he was 18 (2002), Noah had a starring role on the South African soap opera Isidingo. He then began hosting his own radio show "Noah's Ark" on Gauteng's leading youth radio station, YFM. Noah went on to host an educational program, "Run The Adventure" (2004–06) on SABC 2. In 2007, he hosted The Real Goboza, a gossip show on SABC 1,[19] and Siyadlala, a sports show which also aired on the SABC. In 2008, Noah co-hosted, alongside Pabi Moloi, on The Amazing Date (a dating game-show) and was a Strictly Come Dancing contestant in season 4. 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 (in season 2, it moved to DStv's Mzansi Magic Channel).[20] In 2010, Noah also became a spokesperson and consumer protection agent for Cell C, South Africa's third largest cellular provider.[21]

Noah 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 Gabriel Iglesias in November 2007 and Canadian comedian Russell Peters on his South African tour.

Noah has performed all over South Africa 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).[23][24] 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 moved to the United States.[14] On 6 January 2012, Noah became the first South African stand-up comedian to appear on The Tonight Show; and, on 17 May 2013, he became the first to appear on Late Show with David Letterman.[9][25] Noah was the subject of the 2012 documentary You Laugh But It's True.[26] The same year, he starred in the one-man comedy show Trevor Noah: The Racist[27] which was based on his similarly titled South African special That's Racist. On 12 September, Noah was the Roastmaster in a Comedy Central Roast of South African Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr.[28] In 2013, he performed the comedy special Trevor Noah: African American, now available on DVD and digital platforms.[29] On 11 October 2013, he was a guest on BBC Two's comedy panel show QI.[30] On 29 November 2013, he was a panelist on Channel 4 game show 8 Out of 10 Cats[31] and appeared on Sean Lock's team in 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown on 12 September 2014.

The Daily Show[edit]

Further information: The Daily Show

In December 2014, Noah became a recurring contributor on The Daily Show.[32] 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.[33]


Within hours of his being announced as Stewart's successor, attention was drawn on the Internet to several jokes that Noah had made through his Twitter account, which were criticized as being offensive to women or Jews.[34][35] 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."[36] 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."[37] 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. She stated, "The SAJBD wishes him all the success and wisdom that he will require in his new position, and is confident that he will do our country proud."[38]


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."[39] He also cited Jon Stewart as an influence, following his appointment to succeed Stewart as host of The Daily Show.[40]

Personal life[edit]

Noah is a polyglot; he speaks several languages including English, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Afrikaans, and German. He speaks some Japanese as well as a little bit of Spanish. [8][41]

Noah has described himself as a political progressive.[42]



Year Title Role Notes
2011 You Laugh But It's True Himself Documentary
2012 Mad Buddies Bookie


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Isidingo Himself 2 episodes
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, executive producer, writer
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
2013 Trevor Noah: It's My Culture Himself Stand-up special
2013 QI Himself (guest) Series K Episode 6 "Killers"
2013 Live at the Apollo Himself Series 9 Episode 1
2014 Trevor Noah: NationWILD Himself Stand-up special
2014–2015 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Himself (correspondent) 5 episodes
2015 Red Nose Day 2015 (UK) Himself (participant) 2015 Telethon
2015 The John Bishop Show Himself Series 1 Episode 1
2015 Would I Lie to You Himself (guest) Series 9 Episode 6
2015–present The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Himself (host) Also executive producer, writer
2015 Trevor Noah: Lost in Translation Himself Stand-up special[43]


Year Award Work Result Ref.
2012 South African Comics' Choice Award for Comic of the Year Won [44]
2014 South African Savanna Comics' Choice Award for Comic of the Year Nominated [45]
2014 MTV Africa Music Award for Personality of the Year Nominated [46]
2015 MTV Africa Music Award for Personality of the Year Won


  1. ^ Wemple, Erik (31 March 2015). "New ‘Daily Show’ host tweeted a ‘fat-chick joke’ at age 27!". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 13 June 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Jesse Lichtenstein (18 June 2012). "Can Trevor Noah's comedy jump from South Africa to the U.S.?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Trevor Noah to replace Jon Stewart on The Daily Show". BBC News. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Daily Show's Trevor Noah under fire for Twitter jokes about Jews and women". The Guardian. March 31, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Trevor Noah: All the way from Soweto to the very biggest gig in comedy". The Independent. April 3, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Trevor Noah Is A Quarter Jewish. Does That Make His Anti-Semitic Jokes OK?". NPR. April 1, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Take it from a Comedian — Trevor Noah Is No Anti-Semite". The Forward. April 2, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Itzkoff, Dave (31 March 2015). "Trevor Noah to Succeed Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show’". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Stephen Armstrong (16 December 2012). "Heard the one about the Swiss South African?". Sunday Times Culture magazine. pp. 12–13. 
  10. ^ Roz Laws (22 November 2013). "South African comedian Trevor Noah to play Birmingham’s Glee Club". birminghampost. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Ep. 55 - interview with South African comedian Trevor Noah". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "Trevor Noah’s tough upbringing in Soweto will help him: granny". The New Age. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  13. ^ "Daily Show host Trevor Noah's stepfather tried to hunt and kill him". Mail Online. 
  14. ^ a b c Sidimba, Loyiso (11 March 2011). "Trevor Noah 'fled' to Hollywood". Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "Trevor Noah’s hell at home". City Press. 3 March 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  16. ^ "Threats or No-ah threats, the tour is on". City Press. 4 August 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  17. ^ "Why mixed-race comic was 'born a crime'". CNN. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  18. ^ "Trevor Noah interview – Comedy interviews". Time Out London. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  19. ^ "Trevor Noah - Actor Profile". Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  20. ^ "Tonight with Trevor Noah". 1 April 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  21. ^ "Tell Trevor — Cell C South Africa". Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  22. ^ "Bafunny Bafunny official website". Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  23. ^ "Bafunny, Bafunny". Royal Albert Hall. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  24. ^ "Review: Bafunny, Bafunny". Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  25. ^ Jay Leno. "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Episode Guide". NBC. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  26. ^ David Paul Meyer. "You Laugh But It's True". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  27. ^ "Trevor Noah: The Racist – review". Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  28. ^ "War of words erupts after Hofmeyr’s roast". City Press. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  29. ^ "Showtime : Trevor Noah: African American". Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  30. ^ "QI, Series K, Killers". Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  31. ^ .@jimmycarr is your hilarious host for 8 Out 10 Cats again tonight with international stand-up star .@Trevornoah as guest panelist. C4, 9pm! Chamber's Management on Twitter. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  32. ^ Weinstein, Shelli (10 October 2014). "‘The Daily Show’ Adds Comedians Hasan Minhaj and Trevor Noah". Variety. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  33. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (30 March 2015). "Trevor Noah to Succeed Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show’". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  34. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (31 March 2015). "Trevor Noah, New ‘Daily Show’ Host, Comes Under Scrutiny for Tweets". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  35. ^ "New Daily Show Host Trevor Noah Faces Backlash Over Controversial Tweets". E! Online. 31 March 2015. 
  36. ^ Noah, Trevor. "Trevor Noah (Twitter)". Twitter. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  37. ^ "Comedy Central Stands Behind Trevor Noah, New ‘Daily Show’ Host, Amid Scrutiny". The New York Times. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  38. ^ Pillay, Taschica (6 April 2015). "Trevor Noah's 'playful' jokes don't offend us - SA Jews". Times Live. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  39. ^ "New & Next: Meet South African Comedian Trevor Noah". Essence. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  40. ^ "Trevor Noah to succeed Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show". The Guardian. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  41. ^ Roz Laws (22 November 2013). "South African comedian Trevor Noah to play Birmingham’s Glee Club". birminghampost. 
  42. ^ Moore, Frazier (31 March 2015). "'Daily Show' host Noah discusses his new gig". Associated Press. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  43. ^
  44. ^ Ndlovu, Andile (11 July 2012). "HomeThe TimesArticle Noah voted king of comedy". Times Live. Retrieved 2 April 2015. Noah was named last night as the Comic of the Year at the second annual Comics' Choice awards ceremony... 
  45. ^ "The nominees for South African Savanna Comic’s Choice Awards 2014 are...". Channel24. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  46. ^ "Mafikizolo, Uhuru, Davido lead nominations for MTV Africa Music Awards". Sowetan Live. 17 April 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Jon Stewart
Host of The Daily Show