Trevor Noah

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Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah 2017.jpg
Noah in 2017
Born (1984-02-20) 20 February 1984 (age 34)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Medium
  • Stand-up
  • television
  • film
  • books
Years active 2002–present
Genres
Subject(s)
Signature Trevor Noah signature.svg
Website www.trevornoah.com

Trevor Noah (born 20 February 1984) is a South African comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, and television host.[1] He is known for hosting The Daily Show, an American satirical news program on Comedy Central.

Born in Johannesburg, Noah began his career as a comedian, presenter, and actor in his native South Africa in 2002. He held several television hosting roles with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), and was the runner-up in their fourth season of Strictly Come Dancing in 2008.[2] From 2010 to 2011, Noah was the creator and host of Tonight with Trevor Noah on M-Net and DStv.[3] His stand-up comedy career attained international success, leading to appearances on American late-night talk shows and British panel shows. In 2014, Noah became the Senior International Correspondent for The Daily Show, and the following year, he succeeded long-time host Jon Stewart and is set to remain in this position up until 2022.[4]

Noah's autobiographical comedy book Born a Crime was published in 2016 and garnered critical acclaim.[5][6][7][8] Noah was named one of "The 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media" by The Hollywood Reporter in 2017 and 2018.[9][10] In 2018, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.[11]

Early life[edit]

Trevor Noah was born on 20 February 1984 in Johannesburg, South Africa.[12][13] His father Robert is of Swiss German ancestry, and his mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, is of Xhosa ancestry. She converted to Judaism when he was 10 or 11 years old,[14] but did not have him convert, although she introduced him to some aspects and practices of Judaism.[14]

Under apartheid legislation, Noah's mother was classified as Black, and his father was classified as White. His parents' interracial relationship was illegal at the time of his birth under apartheid law. Interracial sexual relations and marriages were not legalised until the amended Immorality Act of 1985, a year after Noah's birth. Patricia Noah was jailed and fined by the South African government.[15][16] She and her mother, Nomalizo Frances Noah, raised Trevor.[17] Noah spent his early youth at the private Maryvale College (at the age of three he started pre school, at the age of five he went to primary school), a Catholic school in Johannesburg.[18][19][20] During his childhood, he attended Roman Catholic church every Sunday.[21]

Career[edit]

In 2002, aged eighteen, Noah had a bit role on an episode of 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 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 went on to host 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,[2] and Siyadlala, a sports show also on the SABC. In 2008, Noah co-hosted, 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 sixteenth 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).[3] 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 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).[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] 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.[19][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. On 12 September, 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] On 11 October 2013, he was a guest on BBC Two's comedy panel show QI.[32] On 29 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 on 12 September 2014.

The Daily Show[edit]

Noah (second from left) at the 2015 Dubai Comedy Festival

In December 2014, Noah became a recurring contributor on The Daily Show.[34] On 30 March 2015, Comedy Central announced that Noah would succeed Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show; his tenure began on 28 September 2015.[18] Within hours after announced as Stewart's successor, attention was drawn on the Internet to several jokes that Noah had posted on his Twitter account, which were criticised by some as being offensive to women and Jews,[35][36] and to be making fun of the Holocaust.[37] 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."[38] 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."[39] 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.[40] Noah’s debut received positive reviews.[41] James Poniewozik of The New York Times praised Noah and the shows 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".[42] Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times described Noah as "Charming and composed - almost inevitably low-key compared with the habitually antic and astonished Stewart."[43] Noah’s success on the show has led to two stand-up specials on Comedy Central and Netflix.[44][45] On September 14, 2017, it was announced that Comedy Central had extended Noah's contract as host of The Daily Show for five years, through 2022. He will also produce and host annual end-of-year specials for Comedy Central.[46]

In April 2017, it was announced that Noah was developing a talk-show for Jordan Klepper.[47] On July 2017, the show’s title was revealed to be The Opposition with Jordan Klepper and premiered on September 25, 2017.[48] On June 15, 2018, Comedy Central announced that it was canceling the show after one season, but that Klepper would be hosting a new primetime weekly talk show, Klepper.[49]

On February 2018, it was announced that Noah will be executive producing a show with Roy Wood Jr. titled Re-Established.[50] In March 2018, Noah signed a multiyear contract with Viacom that gives first-look rights to any future projects by Noah, be they television, feature films or shortform video content. In addition to the deal, Noah will also be launching an international production and distribution company called Day Zero Productions.[51]

Born a Crime[edit]

In January 2016, it was announced that Noah signed a book deal with Spiegel & Grau.[52] His book, Born a Crime was published on November 15, 2016 and was received favorably by major U.S. book reviewers.[5][6][7] It became a #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.[8] It was announced that a film adaptation based on the book will star Lupita Nyong'o as Trevor's mother Patricia. She will also serve as the film's co-producer alongside Noah.[53] In February 2018, it was announced that Noah would write a second book.[54] In 2018, Noah and The Daily Show writing staff will release The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library, the book will comprise hundreds of Trump tweets, and featuring a foreword by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham.[55]

Influences[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."[56] He also cited Jon Stewart as an influence and a mentor, following his appointment to succeed Stewart as host of The Daily Show.[57] 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."[58]

Among comedians who say they were influenced by Noah are Michelle Wolf and Jordan Klepper.[59][60] Noah's mixed-race ancestry, his experiences growing up in Soweto, and his observations about race and ethnicity are leading themes in his comedy.[61][62]

Personal life[edit]

Noah is a polyglot; he speaks English, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Tswana, Tsonga, Afrikaans, and German.[18][63]

In 1992 Noah's mother Patricia Nombuyiselo was married to Ngisaveni Abel Shingange, and they had two sons together, Andrew and Isaac. Trevor and his mother were both physically abused by Shingange, and the couple legally divorced in 1996.[64] In 2009, after she married Sfiso Khoza, Shingange shot her in the leg and through the back of the 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][65][66] In 2011, Shingange was convicted of attempted murder, and sentenced the following year to three years of correctional supervision.[67] 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.[68] 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.[69][70]

Noah has been in a relationship with American model and singer Jordyn Taylor since 2015.[71]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2011 You Laugh But It's True Himself Documentary
Taka Takata Pilo
2012 Mad Buddies Bookie
2018 Black Panther Griot (voice)

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, executive producer, writer
2011 Trevor Noah: Crazy Normal Himself Stand-up special
2012 Trevor Noah: That's Racist
Comedy Central Roast of Steve Hofmeyr Himself (host) TV special
Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand Up Revolution Himself Episode: "2.1"
2013 Trevor Noah: African American Stand-up special
Trevor Noah: It's My Culture
2014–2015 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Himself (correspondent) 5 episodes
2015–present The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Himself (host) Also executive producer, writer
2015 Trevor Noah: Lost in Translation Himself Stand-up special
2017 Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark
Nashville Episode: "Fire and Rain"
2017–2018 The Opposition with Jordan Klepper None 128 episodes; co-creator, executive producer

Awards[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2012 South African Comics' Choice Award Comic of the Year Won [72]
2014 Nominated [73]
MTV Africa Music Awards Personality of the Year Nominated [74]
2015 Won [75]
2016 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Talk Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [76]
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 [77]
2017 Zora Neale Hurston Award Born a Crime Won [78]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Literary Work – Biography / Auto-biography Won [79]
Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author Won
Writers Guild of America Award Comedy/Variety – Talk Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [80]
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award Favourite African Star Won [81]
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Talk Show Episode The Daily Show with Trevor Noah for "Angelica Ross" Won [82]
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Host The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Won [83]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Short Form Variety Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Between the Scenes Won [84]
Thurber House American Humor Born a Crime Won [85]
2018 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Talk Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Nominated [86]
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 [87]
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Talk Show Episode The Daily Show with Trevor Noah for "Trans Veterans React to Ban" Nominated [88]
The Opposition with Jordan Klepper for "Danica Roem" Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Variety Talk Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Pending [84]
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 Pending [89]

Books[edit]

Audiobooks[edit]

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

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Jon Stewart
Host of The Daily Show
2015–present
Incumbent