Trevor Noah is a comedic sensation all over the world. Americans, however, might not be as familiar with the South African’s historic rise through the comedy world. There have been many profiles written about him, but the best way to get to know the man is through his own words. These are the 7 best bits of media to teach you about Trevor Noah before he takes over The Daily Show next week.
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
No idea who Trevor Noah is? Well, look no further for an introduction than Jerry Seinfeld’s web series. Touching on everything from Noah’s childhood to his work ethic, this 24-minute episode is the perfect intro course. Elements of Noah’s comedic style shine through, especially when he flips some of Seinfeld’s perspectives and words around. By holding his own against one of the greatest comedians of the previous generation, Trevor Noah shows the wit and satire that will serve him so well when he takes over The Daily Show.
The Champs with Neal Brennan and Moshe Kasher
It’s probably better if you don’t waste an hour and a half of your life listening to two white guys prattle on and isolate their guest. But if you choose to, this trainwreck provides a glorious opportunity to see how Trevor Noah can turn around a bad interview full of awkward but “well meaning” racism. This episode may not tell you anything about the new host of The Daily Show directly, but it does bring some confidence as to how the occasional cringe-worthy interview will be handled.
You Laugh But It’s True (2012)
Although a tad dated, this 2012 documentary chronicles Trevor’s life leading up to the debut of his “That’s Racist” show. Filmed almost entirely in South Africa, this piece gives a great look at the events behind the the future Daily Show host. Hanging out with siblings, a tour of a childhood home, and even a harrowing family emergency — there’s honestly no better insight into what made Trevor Noah the man he is today. It’s worth a watch just to giggle with hindsight, as grouchy old comedians call him an upstart for headlining his own comedy set.
Available on Netflix and Vimeo on Demand.
It’s easy to mock GQ as a publication, but their recent cover stories have been knocking it out of the park. This one’s no different. Equal parts philosophical rambling and personal history lesson, the piece’s real strength lies in its ability to strike at the one story everyone knows about Trevor Noah: those awful tweets. By giving them context, the entire incident is given a chance at an open dialogue. If you had any doubts about Trevor Noah after that initial controversy, this may be the article for you
Once Trevor Noah gets past his initial childhood monologue, this podcast really kicks off. Most of that is thanks to host Dylan Gadino, who presses Noah with a number of followup questions while also giving the comedian a chance to steer the conversation. This leads to some fascinating insights into Trevor Noah’s character, especially when he reveals the reason many of his comedy specials aren’t available in the US. While the information may not be the freshest, it’s a great chance to hear Trevor Noah relax and explain his life philosophies.
Spot the Africa
While his comedy specials are great, there’s no better way to actually experience Trevor Noah’s comedy than through his first appearance on The Daily Show. From the masterful way he flips cultural expectation on its head to a purported naivete about certain elements of North American culture, all of Noah’s elements are found here. Short and sweet, this segment is a great summary of the man’s comedic styling.
The Daily Show Without Jon Stewart
Trevor Noah’s appearance on The Daily Show’s podcast is the closest thing the public can come to listening in on Noah’s job interview. From audience participation to who and what Jon Stewart is, Noah expresses a frank understanding of what makes The Daily Show an institution. More importantly, when he talks about his processes and focuses, Noah gives some pretty good reasons as to why the show is heading away from politics. This interview ends up telling us what no profile’s been able to: how The Daily Show will evolve under Trevor Noah’s leadership.
Article by contributor Byron Letourneau-Duynstee.