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Is Trevor Noah the Most Successful Comedian from Africa?

Thirty-one years ago, he would not have thought this possible. Born in apartheid South Africa, growing in the streets of Soweto, aware that his mother was jailed and fined for indulging in the relationship that resulted in his birth.

A lesser man might have remained bitter about the circumstances of his birth and childhood. A great man has turned them into comedy gold. His name? Trevor Noah.

Trevor Noah

Born in February 1984, the South African Comedian, Political satirist, Writer, and Television host, acted in a major role in the South African soap opera Isidingo in 2002 when he was just eighteen.

He subsequently began hosting his own radio show “Noah’s Ark” on Gauteng’s leading youth radio station, YFM and went on to anchor a host of shows ranging from educational shows to dating-game shows.

He hit the big time when he started to host numerous television shows including South Africa’s Music, Television and Film Awards, the South African Comedy Festival and two seasons of his own late night talk show, “Tonight with Trevor Noah.”

Contrary to popular advice, which advocates spreading  one’s net as wide as possible, Trevor left radio and acting to focus on comedy, and I daresay his single-mindedness’ paid off in huge doses. He has performed with South African comedians such as David Kau, Kagiso Lediga, and Riaad Moosa in comedy shows all over South Africa. He has also performed alongside 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.

Credit: Byron L Keulemans/ GQ South Africa.
Credit: Byron L Keulemans/ GQ South Africa.

These were his days of little beginnings.

In 2012, he made his television debut in the United States on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and subsequently appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman; becoming the first South African stand-up comedian to do so.

That same year, Trevor was the subject of David Paul Meyer’s award-winning documentary film ‘You Laugh But It’s True’ which tells the story of his remarkable career in post-apartheid South Africa. His Showtime comedy special, “Trevor Noah: African American” premiered in 2013 and he has performed for the Royal Family at the Royal Variety Performance.

Trevor was featured on the October 2014 cover of GQ South Africa and has been profiled in Rolling Stone, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal, and by CNN and NPR’s Talk of the Nation. He was nominated for “Personality of the Year” at the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards.

He has fully come into his own as a critically acclaimed comedian and tours the world, performing before millions of people, eager for a dose of Noah medicine.


Most recently and most notably, Trevor is billed to host Comedy Central’s Emmy and Peabody Award-winning ‘The Daily Show’ after appearing as a recurring contributor for almost a year.

We wish him the best as he continues to be outstanding!

The Book of Proverbs does not falter when it decrees that a man’s gift will bring him before Kings. Isn’t it time to fan that kindling and make it burn brightly?

Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya
Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya
5 Things You Didn't Know About Jennifer in 2015: 1. Her newest collection of short stories, 'The Curious Case of the Small Pikin & Other Stories' is available on 2. She ported from Blogger to WordPress and shares her uncensored thoughts on 3. She is an aspiring Filmmaker & Talk-show Host[ess] 4. She's a mother of two, wife of one and daughter of God. 5. She plans to travel around the world in less than 80 days... Now you Know! Find me on Twitter: @jennynkem

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