Globally renowned comedian and host of America’s The Daily Show, Trevor Noah is our personality for the month of July. We share his inspiring story as well as his encouraging quote to young people in Africa.
Noah was born on 20 February 1984 in Johannesburg (South Africa). At 34, Trevor Noah’s career keeps soaring to new heights. The Soweto- born comedian has come a long way since breaking into the entertainment industry at the age of 18. He began his career as a comedian, a presenter and an actor in South Africa in the year 2002. He held several television hosting roles with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and he came second in their fourth season of Strictly Come Dancing in 2008.
Trevor and his mom (Patricia Nombuyiselo) suffered physical abuse from Trevor’s dad (Ngisaveni Abel Shingange). Even after Noah’s mom divorced his dad and married another man, Noah’s biological dad shot his mom in her leg and through the back of her head. Sad right? The bullet though went through the base of the back of her head, avoiding major nerves and organs including her spinal cord and her brain, but the bullet caused minor damage to her nostril. Trevor then called his dad to confront him about the shouting, his dad threatened to kill him then he decided to leave for Los Angeles.
Noah has described himself as being progressive and having a global perspective. However, he has clarified that he considers himself a “progressive person”, but not a “politically progressive”
Trevor credited his comedic influence to American actor/comedian, Eddie Murphy, who he claimed changed his view on comedy and he definitely looked up to him as a comedic influence. He also mentioned Jon Stewart as an influence and a mentor, following his appointment to succeed Stewart as host of The Daily Show. In an interview with The New York Times, Noah likened Stewart to “a Jewish Yoda” and recounted the 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.”
Noah’s efforts have earned him several worldwide recognition. In 2017 and 2018, The Hollywood Reporter named him as one of “The 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media”, also in 2018, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
His advice to young people is, “Be determined. Go where the work leads you. And take the no’s as an opportunity to find the yes’s. Be excellent here in Africa, don’t wait for overseas. Just work on making the best thing possible in your country and then you will find that overseas will come knocking and you may not even want it then.”
You can catch Trevor Noah on The Daily Show Tuesdays – Fridays at 21:00 CAT on Comedy Central, DStv 122.