Trevor Noah (born 20 February 1984) is a South African comedian, television host, producer, writer, political commentator, and actor. He is the host of The Daily Show, an American satirical news program on Comedy Central.
Trevor Noah was born on 20 February 1984 in Johannesburg, South Africa. His father, Robert, is of Swiss ancestry, and his mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, is of Xhosa ancestry from Southern Africa. Noah has claimed that his mother converted to Judaism when he was 10 or 11 years old, although she did not have him convert.
Under apartheid legislation, Noah's mother was classified as Black, and his father was classified as White. Noah himself was classified as Coloured. At the time of his birth, his parents' interracial relationship was illegal under apartheid law, and Noah highlights this in his autobiography. Interracial sexual relations and marriages were not decriminalized until a year after Noah's birth, when the Immorality Act was amended in 1985. Patricia and her mother, Nomalizo Frances Noah, raised Trevor in the black township of Soweto. Noah went to Maryvale College, a private Roman Catholic high school in Johannesburg.
In 1992, Noah's mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo married Ngisaveni Abel Shingange; they had two sons together, Andrew and Isaac. Shingange physically abused both Trevor and his mother, and the couple legally divorced in 1996. In 2009, after Patricia married Sfiso Khoza, Shingange shot her in the leg and through the back of her 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. In 2011, Shingange was convicted of attempted murder, and sentenced the following year to three years of correctional supervision. 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."
Born in Johannesburg, Noah began his career as a comedian, television host, and actor in South Africa in 2002. He has since had several hosting roles with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and was the runner-up in the fourth season of South Africa's iteration of Strictly Come Dancing in 2008. From 2010 to 2011, he acted as the creator and host of the late-night talk show Tonight with Trevor Noah, which aired on M-Net and DStv.
In 2002, 18-year-old Noah had a small role on an episode of the South African soap opera Isidingo. He later hosted 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, international comedians such as Paul Rodriguez, Carl Barron, Dan Ilic, and Paul Zerdin, and as the opening act for American comedian 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, and Siyadlala, a sports show also on the SABC. In 2008, Noah cohosted, 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 16th 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). In 2010, Noah also became a spokesperson and consumer protection agent for Cell C, South Africa's third-largest mobile phone network provider.
In 2011, he relocated to the United States. 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. Noah was the subject of the 2012 documentary You Laugh But It's True. The same year, he starred in the one-man comedy show Trevor Noah: The Racist, 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. In 2013, he performed the comedy special Trevor Noah: African American. On 11 October 2013, he was a guest on BBC Two's comedy panel show QI. On 29 November 2013, he was a panelist on Channel 4 game show 8 Out of 10 Cats and appeared on Sean Lock's team in 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown on 12 September 2014.
After his stand-up comedy career attained international success, Noah began appearing on American late-night talk shows and English 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 until 2022. His autobiographical comedy book Born a Crime was published in 2016 and garnered critical acclaim.
In December 2014, Noah became a recurring contributor on The Daily Show. 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.
In January 2016, it was announced that Noah signed a book deal with Spiegel & Grau. His book, Born a Crime, was published on 15 November 2016 and was received favorably by major U.S. book reviewers. Besides the author, his mother has a central role in the book, while his European father is mentioned only occasionally. 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. 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.
In 2017, he made an appearance on Nashville. In 2018, he also made appearances in Black Panther and American Vandal.
Noah has received various accolades, including a Primetime Emmy Award win from nine nominations. He was named one of "The 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media" by The Hollywood Reporter in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
In April 2017, it was announced that Noah was developing a talk show for Jordan Klepper. In July 2017, the show's title was revealed to be The Opposition with Jordan Klepper and premiered on 25 September 2017. On 15 June 2018, Comedy Central announced that it was canceling the show after one season, but that Klepper would be hosting a new primetime weekly docuseries, Klepper. The series premiered on 9 May 2019.
On 14 September 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.
In February 2018, it was announced that Noah would write a second book. In 2018, Noah and The Daily Show writing staff would release The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library, a book comprising hundreds of Trump tweets and featuring a foreword by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham.
In February 2018, it was announced that Noah will be executive producing a show with Roy Wood Jr. titled Jefferson County: Probation. 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 short form video content. In addition to the deal, Noah will also be launching an international production and distribution company called Day Zero Productions.
In April 2018, he set up the Trevor Noah Foundation as a Johannesburg-based non-profit organization that equips orphans and vulnerable youth with the education, life skills, and social capital necessary to pursue further opportunities.