trevor noah

In December, Trevor Noah, a 31-year-old comedian, made his debut as an on-air contributor on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” offering his outsider’s perspective, as a biracial South African, on the United States.

“I never thought I’d be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa,” he said with a smile. “It kind of makes me a little nostalgic for the old days, back home.”

Now, after only three appearances on that Comedy Central show, Mr. Noah has gotten a huge and unexpected promotion. On Monday, Comedy Central announced that Mr. Noah would be the new host of “The Daily Show,” succeeding Mr. Stewart after he steps down later this year.
Mr. Noah, who spoke by phone from Dubai, where he is on a leg of a comedy tour, said he had been given a great opportunity, as well as a significant challenge.

“You don’t believe it for the first few hours,” Mr. Noah said of learning about his new job. “You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you’re in a place where you can’t really get alcohol.”

The appointment of Mr. Noah, a newcomer to American television, promises to add youthful vitality and international perspective to “The Daily Show.” It puts a nonwhite performer at the head of this flagship Comedy Central franchise, and one who comes with Mr. Stewart’s endorsement.

“I’m thrilled for the show and for Trevor,” Mr. Stewart said in a statement. “He’s a tremendous comic and talent that we’ve loved working with.” Mr. Stewart added that he “may rejoin as a correspondent just to be a part of it!!!”

But the decision also invites questions about Mr. Noah’s experience and visibility (or lack thereof), and why the network did not choose a woman to crack the all-male club of late-night television hosts.

Michele Ganeless, the Comedy Central president, said in an interview: “We talked to women. We talked to men. We found in Trevor the best person for the job.”

Ms. Ganeless added: “You don’t hope to find the next Jon Stewart — there is no next Jon Stewart. So, our goal was to find someone who brings something really exciting and new and different.”

In his standup routines, Mr. Noah comes across as a self-assured polyglot with an international perspective.

As he joked in a 2013 comedy set on “Late Show With David Letterman,” Mr. Noah said that he did not like being introduced as a comedian from Africa, as if he represented the entire continent. “They make it sound like a guy in leopard skin’s going to come running on the stage,” he said.

Mr. Noah said in his phone interview, “I didn’t live a normal life — I grew up in a country that wasn’t normal.”

He grew up in Soweto, the son of a black Xhosa mother and a white Swiss father, whose union was illegal during the apartheid era. “My mother had to be very clandestine about who my father was,” Mr. Noah said. “He couldn’t be on my birth certificate.”

By the time he started performing stand-up in his 20s, Mr. Noah said he had long been taught that “speaking freely about anything, as a person of color, was considered treason.”

His globe-trotting spirit (and ability to speak six languages) set him apart in comedy, and he performed widely in the United States between 2010 and 2012, eventually coming to Mr. Stewart’s attention about two years ago.

When Mr. Stewart announced his plans to depart “The Daily Show,” Ms. Ganeless said that Comedy Central quickly drew up “a shortlist” of possible successors “and Trevor checked off every box on that list and then some.”

“He brings such a unique worldview and a deep understanding of human nature, which makes his comedy so insightful,” she added. “He’s truly a student of the world.”

Mr. Noah gave no formal auditions for the job, outside of his performances on “The Daily Show” and elsewhere.

Mr. Noah said he expected to be criticized and second-guessed long before his first episode as host. “We live in a world where some people still say Beyoncé can’t sing,” he said. “Clearly I’m not immune to that.”

But in his conversations with Mr. Stewart, Mr. Noah said that he had found a kindred spirit in a fellow comedian who was not much further along when he came to “The Daily Show.”
“He told me, ‘I was where you were when I took over the show,’ ” Mr. Noah said. “ ‘Nobody knew me. I was just starting out, finding my voice, and that’s when I was handed this seat.’ ”

“Now,” Mr. Noah added, “it’s my turn to steer the ship.”

(NyTimes.com)


BY KAPA187

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Good this is guy is crazy and funny. I didnt even know that he had made a clip about Zambia till last evening when I was watching his show. Check you tube: Trevor Noah makes fun of Zambia

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    • I have watched Trevor live, he is damn funny guy, I thought he would do best in movies. But Daily Show is even best for him.
      Next year he will host the Oscars.

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    • I personally find his racist jokes not so funny, and i detest him, he comes across as someone with a low self esteem.

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  2. @ Lorna, that wasn’t a joke, it was the truth. Lusakans were flocking in numbers to the Malls to ride on an Escalator.

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  3. Well Well Well, I have just watched the clip on Zambia! Its really funny though he is wrong about the first ever escalator in Zambia. Those who grew up in Lusaka in the seventies will agree with me that there was an escalator in Mwaiseni Stores along Cairo Road. I hope someone will one day correct him on that!!!

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    • You are right guys, as kids we found Mwaiseni fun on the escalators and there were other good department stores too. That though may not be the point. It is not really good to say we had this and that as a way of an excuse.

      Remember we also had live TV in Zambia well before RSA and others on the continent, thanks to money from copper because the first station was in Kitwe my ‘hometown’. However what has happened since those times is a big scandal as progress has been virtually zero.

      Our real rate of improvement has been dismal and that is what Noah and others like him will be mocking. The reference to escalators and others such in my view is merely a ‘figure of speech’. If we teat it that way we should not really be offended …

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    • The more we try to defend what he says the funnier it becomes. The fact that we are here trying to stick up for the one escalator we had in mwaiseni (since 1964) would just add to the comdey! Some things are better left un said!

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  4. I saw that clip were NOAH was demeaning ZAMBIANS. But I said to myself that this guy never did his research properly about Zambia. Zambia had escalators even in the 80s and 90s. Am saying this coz I was born in the late 70s and I found escalators in MWAISENI STORES etc, so to some of us that wasn’t a joke. Even in S.A were he comes from you will find pipo lining up to use an escalator. Research before u say something about others.

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  5. I am sorry to break the bad news bad he is not going to last long. The American media market is tough and he needs to come with his A-game.

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  6. The boy is good. Not the dorika of this country fake and boring.

    You only mentioned of Mwaiseni Stores that had an escalator. The young people who were born in the mid 80s and early 90s are the ones who were flocking the malls to ride on thses escalators.
    bufotini bunapakisa pa Zed.

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  7. So in the whole country there was only one escalator? Yes, I also remember the escalator that was in Mwaiseni store, South end, Cairo Road. I think Trevor Noah was misinformed by his hosts.

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    • mwebantu but so what? do we make things because others have got them or out of our need for the gadget? Skyscrapers are a good example. Most of Africa doesn’t need them but we still went ahead and constructed them. When they catch fire we can’t tackle the fire. when the lifts break down we can’t repair them

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  8. Hope he survives. The field of late night shows is white male-dominated and Americans prefer their own but wish him success. Hopefully he doesn’t cement the stereotypes about Africa with his comedy.

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  9. I hope this will make African govts to start taking comedy seriously. This is an industry thay can thrive and feed a lot of people on the continent. Besides a lot of talented comedians have ended up in the wrong professions in Africa because this industry isn’t developed in their countries. I have in mind such talent as Chishimba Kambwili, Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, Father Bwalya, Daniel Munkombwe, Rupiah Banda, Muliokela, my God there’s so much wrongly placed talent in the country awe mwe! let’s start this billion dollar industry

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  10. Robin get a life. Racist jokes trend in countries with a heavy racial history such as the US and South Africa. It’s a way of breaking the ice towards a rainbow nation

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  11. It’s called satire. Don’t be too quick to be offended. Analyze first. I think he’s a good choice for the Daily Show. There are a lot of comedians in America who would have done the stint, but very few are neutral on the Liberal-Conservative divide. Trevor Noah brings a much needed fresh perspective.

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  12. Zambians don’t get the point that the humour is in the irony. In a city developing so rapidly and in many ways equal to other cities in developed countries, that an escalator would be a novelty. That one would marvel and wonder about escalators: technology that has been around for a long time, all the while using an Iphone 6 (newest technology) to photograph and share using very fast Internet connection this ‘moving stairs’ phenomena. How can you not see the humour. The joke is not that Zambians are backward but that you don’t get the joke and take offense where none was intended means that he struck a raw nerve. All this does is that it gives me the impression that you might actually be ‘backwards’ or underdeveloped in a whole other way that Trevor Noah’s skit never intended. I’d…

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