Trevor Noah is a South African comedian, television host, political commentator, and author who rose to fame as the host of the American television series The Daily Show from 2015 to 2022. He is also known for his stand-up comedy shows, in which he often shared his observations and experiences of growing up in South Africa under apartheid.
Trevor Noah’s Early Life and Background
Trevor Noah was born on February 20, 1984, in Johannesburg, South Africa. His mother was a Xhosa woman from South Africa, and his father was a white man from Switzerland. Noah’s parents had to hide their relationship from the authorities, as interracial relationships were illegal under apartheid. Noah was raised by his mother and grandmother in Soweto, a township near Johannesburg that was designated for Black people. He faced many challenges and dangers as a biracial child, as he could be taken away from his parents by the police. He also had to deal with racism, poverty, violence, and domestic abuse. He learned to speak several languages, including English, Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaans, German, and Tswana.
When he was about 10 years old, apartheid ended and South Africa became a democracy. Noah attended a Catholic school and later a private school. He developed an interest in performing arts and entertainment. In 2002, he had a small role in a South African soap opera called Isidingo. He then hosted an educational show on a family public television channel and a radio show called Noah’s Ark.
Trevor Noah’s Comedy Career
Trevor Noah started his comedy career in 2002, when he accepted a dare from his friends to perform at a nightclub. He impressed the audience with his humorous stories about his life and friends. He continued to perform at comedy clubs and gained popularity in South Africa. He also hosted various television shows, such as a sports show, a dating game show, and major awards shows. In 2008, he participated in a reality dance competition show called Strictly Come Dancing.
In 2009, Noah performed his first solo comedy show, The Daywalker, at a theatre in Johannesburg. The show was sold out and the DVD recording became a best seller. He later hosted his own talk show, Tonight with Trevor Noah, from 2010 to 2011. In 2012, Noah performed his second solo comedy show, The Racist, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. He also toured with the show in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
In 2012, Noah moved to the United States to pursue his comedy career there. He became the first South African comedian to appear on the American television talk show The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He also appeared on other shows such as The Late Show with David Letterman and Conan. In 2013, he starred in his own comedy special on Comedy Central called Trevor Noah: African American.
Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show
In 2014, Trevor Noah joined Comedy Central’s satirical news program The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as a correspondent. He reported on various topics from an international perspective and made fun of stereotypes and prejudices. He also interviewed celebrities and politicians on the show.
In 2015, after Jon Stewart announced that he was leaving the show after 16 years as the host, Noah was chosen as his successor. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah premiered on September 28th, 2015. The show followed the same format as before: a half-hour news program that featured a monologue summarizing the day’s main stories with sarcastic or satirical comments; a “mockumentary” segment that explored an unusual or newsworthy topic with humorous reporting; and an interview segment that usually featured a celebrity or major political figure.
Noah’s popularity grew in the United States with The Daily Show, especially after he incorporated commentary on international and U.S. current events. He also offered a unique perspective as an outsider who had experienced different cultures and realities. He tackled issues such as racism, immigration, gun violence, health care, climate change, democracy, and human rights with wit and intelligence. He also engaged in friendly banter with other late-night hosts such as Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon.
After seven seasons of hosting The Daily Show, Noah left the show in 2022. He said that he wanted to focus more on his stand-up comedy tours and other projects. He also said that he felt that he had achieved what he wanted to do with the show and that it was time for someone else to take over.
Trevor Noah’s Other Works and Achievements
Besides hosting The Daily Show, Trevor Noah continued to tour worldwide with his stand-up comedy shows. He performed in sold-out venues across the globe and received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. He also created several comedy specials for Netflix, such as Trevor Noah: Lost in Translation (2015), Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark (2017), and Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia (2018).
In 2016, Noah published his memoir, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. The book chronicled his life under apartheid and his journey to becoming a comedian. The book was a best seller and won several awards, including the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work. It was also selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club. A movie adaptation of the book was in development, with Lupita Nyong’o playing Noah’s mother.
Noah also appeared in several movies and television shows, such as Mad Buddies (2012), Black Panther (2018), and The Lion King (2019). He also voiced characters in animated films such as Ice Age: Collision Course (2016) and The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019).
Noah won numerous awards and accolades for his work and achievements. He won several Emmy Awards, Peabody Awards, Critics’ Choice Awards, and MTV Movie & TV Awards for The Daily Show. He also won the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite African Star in 2017 and 2018. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2018. He also received honorary degrees from various universities, such as the University of Johannesburg and Yale University.
Noah also used his fame and influence to support various causes and charities. He founded the Trevor Noah Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides education and career opportunities for underprivileged youth in South Africa. He also donated money and equipment to schools and hospitals in South Africa. He also supported organizations such as Amnesty International, UNICEF, Red Cross, and Comic Relief.
In 2018 Noah partnered with American media conglomerate Viacom to launch Day Zero Productions, an international production and distribution company. Also that year he began the nonprofit Trevor Noah Foundation, based in Johannesburg, to help young people develop skills to succeed as adults in the workforce. In 2019 Noah started On Second Thought, a podcast featuring different opinions on such varied topics as sports, race, and science. He hosted the Grammy Awards ceremony in 2021, 2022, and 2023.
Noah’s memoir, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, was released in 2016. He later published a version of the book for a younger audience titled It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime (2019).