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Trevor Noah Childhood Biography, Family & Facts

Full Biography of Trevor Noah

 20, 1984
BIRTHPLACE :  Johannesburg
COUNTRY : South Africa
AGE  :  34 years old
BIRTH SIGN : Pisces

 

Who is Trevor Noah?

Born on February 20, 1984 in Soweto, South Africa, Trevor Noah went on to become one of the top stand-up comedians in his country, touring in the United States and internationally as well.

After having made appearances on The Tonight Show With Jay Lenoand The Late Show With David Letterman, Noah also took on a correspondent role on the popular Daily Show With Jon Stewart. Upon Stewart announcing his departure from the show in 2015, Noah was named as his replacement.

Family, Brothers

Trevor Noah has two step-brothers – Andrew and Isaac whom his mother had with her second husband, Ngisaveni Abel Shingange.

Trevor Noah Background and Early Career

Trevor Noah was born on February 20, 1984 in Soweto, South Africa to a black Xhosa mother and a white Swiss-German father.

Influences

Noah has said of his comedic influences, “The kings are indisputable. Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby; for me personally I didn’t know of him before I started comedy but Eddie Murphy changed my view on the thing and I definitely look up to him as a comedic influence.

Chris Rock in terms of the modern black comedian and Dave Chappelle. Those are the guys that have laid the foundation and have moved the yardstick for all comedians, not just Black comedians.”He also cited 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 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.”

Among comedians who say they were influenced by Noah are Michelle Wolf and Jordan Klepper. Noah’s mixed-race ancestry, his experiences growing up in Soweto, and his observations about race and ethnicity are leading themes in his comedy.

Early life

Trevor Noah was born on 20 February 1984 in Johannesburg. His father, Robert Noah, is of white Swiss German ancestry. His mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, is of Xhosa ancestry; some outlets have stated that she is half-Jewish, but Trevor later corrected that as a misunderstanding.

She is actually full Xhosa, but converted to Judaism when he was 10 or 11 years old. She did not have her son convert to Judaism, but has introduced some aspects of and practices of Judaism to him.

trevor noah childhood picture

Trevor Noah childhood picture and Grandmother

Trevor Noah’s parent’s union was illegal due to the country’s apartheid system, which officially sponsored racial oppression and segregation. Nonetheless, Noah’s parents secretly maintained their relationship for a time. Some of his experiences growing up would become the subject of Noah’s comedic work, which would often look at the racial dynamics of his native country.

His mother was classified as Black under apartheid legislation, and his father was classified as White. His parents’ interracial relationship was illegal at the time of his birth under apartheid law. Interracial sexual relations and marriages were not legalised until the amended Immorality Act of 1985, a year after his birth. Patricia Noah was jailed and fined by the South African government. She and her mother, Nomalizo Frances Noah, raised Trevor.

Relationship

 

Trevor Noah and Girlfriend, Jordyn Taylor
Trevor Noah and Girlfriend, Jordyn Taylor

 

First things first, Trevor Noah has dated a lot of women and is definitely not gay, contrary to some public gossips. He is straight and as a matter of fact, has a girlfriend named Jordyn Taylor.

Jordyn is a singer who performs in the United States. Before Jordyn, Noah dated Dani Bagel also a singer.

Trevor Noah’s Journey from childhood

He was a mixed-race kid in apartheid South Africa, which is to say his birth was evidence of a crime; one early Noah routine was about how he learned to tell kids in his neighborhood that he was an albino, an unlikely story that was still more plausible than the truth.

His parents were never truly together, and on the occasions that Noah’s mother visited his father after Noah was born, she did so dressed as a maid. “So I would see my dad’s life, but it’s like visiting Disney World. Even though you visit Disney World, you don’t go, ‘That’s how life is.’ You go, ‘No, I live my normal life, and Disney World exists.’ ”

Trevor Noah as a toddler

Trevor Noah as a toddler

Noah’s normal life was in the township of Soweto, a bunch of relatives in a two-room house. “All the adults slept in one room, all the kids slept in the other room.” This is the part of the story that Noah has since told many times, often for laughs. “In the streets, my father couldn’t walk with us,” went one routine. “He would walk on the other side of the road and wave at me—like a creepy pedophile.”

But what happened next is something Noah has barely talked about at all.

After the end of apartheid in 1994, Noah’s father moved away, to Cape Town, and his mother—Noah’s partner in mischief, a voluble and funny woman who was fiercely protective of her only child—meanwhile had married another man. Noah was only 9 or 10, but even then he regarded his new stepfather with suspicion.

“I just saw something behind the smile, you know? But as a kid, people don’t take you seriously—they’re like, ‘Hey, calm down. Everyone doesn’t like their stepdad.’ “

The man moved in, and so commenced a violent and unhappy time in Noah’s life. “Over time, his true colors came out. He was an alcoholic; he was an extremely angry drunk person, very abusive.”

His mother and stepfather had two children together, Noah’s little brothers, even as his stepfather’s abuse became steadily worse. “He was sporadically abusive. I could count the abuse—in a twelve-year marriage, I could say, three times, probably.

Three or four times. But the scale at which the abuse—like, the first time was slaps, a few slaps. The second time was slaps that turned into punches. The third time was basically using a blunt object or whatever.”

Noah finally moved out of the house when he was 17. His mother stuck it out, until she didn’t, leaving with Noah’s brothers a few years later.

By then Noah was living on his own in a cockroach-infested apartment. He was 22 and began telling jokes in his spare time, dodging an older generation of angry white comics who thought guys like Noah were arrogant just for getting onstage, let alone for doing so and then talking about apartheid or their own complex racial identities, as Noah did.

“A lot of the white comedians were feeling aggrieved. They were like, ‘Why are the black comedians getting more laughs?’ And then they started hating on the fact that, I guess, we had experiences, we had a culture, we weren’t just talking about the weather or escalators.

We were going, ‘This happened with my family,’ and, ‘Let me tell you about the time I got arrested by the cops.’ We had experience; we had texture; we had layers; we had life.”

Trevor Noah's Book - Born A Crime
Trevor Noah's Book - Born A Crime

There was no way to get paid for the work, really, but it led to things, being onstage—television work, mostly. By 24 he was hosting the South African Film and Television Awards, “and then I was hosting our version of the Grammys, basically.” Suddenly he was famous, if not necessarily for comedy, but for just being ubiquitous, around. Soon, because he finally could, he leveraged that fame into a book and a stand-up special, The Daywalker, among the first of its kind in South Africa.

One night, while he was preparing for The Daywalker, his phone rang. “It was funny in hindsight, because it was my little brother, and he’s like, ‘Hey, Trevor.’ I’m like, ‘Hey, what’s up?’ He’s like, ‘Are you busy?’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m sort of sleeping. What’s going on?’ He’s like, ‘Mom’s just been shot.’ ”

Noah relates this story in an even tone, here in this brightly colored restaurant in the suburban bouncy castle that is Irvine, California, and that somehow makes it even more heartbreaking, his steady, deliberate march through the details. His mother and his brothers had just come home from church.

Since she’d left Noah’s stepfather, she’d become engaged to another man, and when her ex-husband found out, he’d returned with a gun. Noah’s brothers—the man’s own sons—pleaded with him to leave. Instead, “he started shooting, and my brothers ran for their lives, and my mom ran as well, and my uncle, and everybody who was there at the house—everybody just ran for safety.

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My mom got shot, shot once in the torso, and another bullet went in her head. She got shot in the head, you know? And my brother—to this day, the hero—he grabbed my mom, threw her in the car, blood gushing everywhere, drove her to the hospital”—a 15-year-old kid who’d only learned to drive two or three months prior, racing his dying mother to the hospital, which is in the end what may have saved her life.

When Noah arrived, doctors told him it was a “miracle” that his mother had survived—”that’s the word the doctor used, which doctors hate using, and I understand why. The bullet missed everything, went into the back of her head, missed her spine, missed all the nerves, everything, went through, didn’t hit the brain, just went through the bottom, just under the brain, just smashed into her eye socket, which then deflected the bullet, and it came out of her nose.”

There is a point to this story beyond the obvious, and for Noah the point is this:

Two days after it happened, Noah was by her bedside, crying. His mother asked him to stop. “She says, ‘No, no. Please, look at the bright side. I’m still here. Just be grateful that I’m still here.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, but still.’ She says, ‘And on an even brighter side…look at my nose. I’ve got half a nose now. So now you’re officially the best-looking person in the family. There’s no contest.’ And then I start crying. Everyone’s laughing and crying. You know? But that’s who we were as people; that’s who we’ve always been.”

Education

Noah spent his early youth at the private Maryvale College (at the age of three he started pre school, at the age of five he went to primary school), a Catholic school in Johannesburg. During his childhood, he attended Roman Catholic church every Sunday.

Career

In 2002, aged eighteen, Noah had a bit role on an episode of the South African soap opera Isidingo. He then began hosting 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 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,[2] and Siyadlala, a sports show also on the SABC. In 2008, Noah co-hosted, 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 sixteenth 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.

Trevor Noah

Noah has performed all over South Africa in The Blacks Only Comedy Show, the Heavyweight Comedy Jam, the Vodacom Campus Comedy Tour, the Cape Town International Comedy Festival, the Jozi Comedy Festival and Bafunny Bafunny (2010).

His stand-up comedy specials in South Africa include The Daywalker (2009), Crazy Normal (2011), That’s Racist (2012), and It’s My Culture (2013).

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.

Born a Crime

In November 2016, Trevor released his first book “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood,” which was an instant New York Times bestseller. Additionally, his performance on the Born a Crime audiobook was Audible’s highest rated audiobook of 2016, and has remained one of the top selling titles on Audible since its release. The book also received the Thurber Prize for American Humor and two NAACP Image Awards, one for Outstanding Literary Work by a Debut Author and another for Outstanding Literary Work in the Biography/Auto-Biography category.

TREVOR NOAH: BORN A CRIME

TREVOR NOAH’s BOOK: BORN A CRIME

The book is a collection of personal stories about growing up in South Africa during the last gasps of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that came with its demise. Already known for his incisive social and political commentary, here Noah turns his focus inward, giving readers an intimate look at the world that shaped him.

These are true stories, sometimes dark, occasionally bizarre, frequently tender, and always hilarious. Whether subsisting on caterpillars during months of extreme poverty or making comically hapless attempts at teenage romance, from the time he was thrown in jail to the time he was thrown from a speeding car driven by murderous gangsters, the experiences covered in this book will shock and amaze, even as they leave you rolling on the floor with laughter. The audiobook version performed by Trevor is currently available from Audible Studios, and is the #1 most commented-on and #4 most listened to title of 2017.

Lupita Nyong’o to Star in Trevor Noah’s New Movie ‘Born a Crime’

Lupita Nyong’o will star in the Trevor Noah biopic “Born a Crime,” portraying the mother of the host of “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah.”

Lupita Nyong'o to star in and produce Trevor Noah new movie Born A Crime

Lupita Nyong’o to star in and produce Trevor Noah new movie Born A Crime

 

The movie is an adaptation of Noah’s bestselling autobiography “Born a Crime: Stories From a Southern African Childhood.” Noah is producing the project through his Ark Angel Productions alongside Norman Aladjem, Derek Van Pelt and Sanaz Yamin of Mainstay Entertainment along with Nyong’o.

The book was published by Spiegel & Grau in 2016 and has won the James Thurber Prize for American Humor and two NAACP Image Awards. Noah focuses on growing up in post-apartheid South Africa as the son of a white father and black mother who had trouble fitting in.

“Born a Crime” is currently nominated for three Audie Awards in the “Autobiography/Memoir,” “Best Male Narrator,” and “Best Narration by the Author” categories. Noah’s untitled follow-up will be published by Random House and Audible Studios on October 23rd and will pick up where “Born a Crime” ends, following Noah’s journey from an aspiring young comedian in reborn South Africa to the cusp of global success. Trevor’s production company Day Zero Productions will partner with Viacom to produce the movie adaptation of Born A Crimewith Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o set to star as Noah’s mother.

Trevor Noah is regarded as one of South Africa’s biggest exports: the boy from the townships who made it big in the US and ended up hosting The Daily Show, one of the most influential satirical news programmes on American television.

But the odds always seemed stacked against Noah, as they are for South Africa’s black citizens. Many are trapped by the legacies of colonialism, apartheid and post-apartheid profligacy and face poverty, hunger, violence, bullying, racism and limited opportunities.

But there was an extraordinary buffer between this brutal world and Noah, as his autobiography, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, makes clear.

“For my mother. My first fan. Thank you for making me a man,” Noah writes in the book’s dedication. For indeed without his mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, and the rebellious spirit that enabled her to face down a hostile and inhospitable world, Noah would not have ended up where he is.

Born a Crime is an engaging, fast-paced and vivid read, traversing Noah’s early childhood, confined by the absurdities of apartheid, where he could not walk openly with either of his parents, where he was often closeted inside his grandmother’s two-roomed home, where he was mistaken for white, through to his troubled years at school, his brief incarceration and to his budding success as a hustler selling pirated CDs and DJing at parties.

Noah was “born a crime” because his Xhosa mother had conceived a child with a white Swiss-German, which was illegal at the time.And while Noah was born in 1984, in the turbulent dying days of apartheid (he was only six when Nelson Mandela was freed from prison in 1990), the world into which he was delivered was riven with the deep scars of history.

“The fact that I grew up in a world run by women was no accident,” Noah writes. “Apartheid kept me away from my father because he was white, but for almost all the kids I knew in my grandmother’s neighbourhood in Soweto, apartheid had taken away their fathers as well, just for different reasons.

Trevor Noah on His Surreal Journey to the Daily Show

“Their fathers were off working in a mine somewhere, able to come home only during the holidays. Their fathers had been sent to prison. Their fathers were in exile, fighting for the cause. Women held the community together.”

Noah writes of his profiling as white in a black world with characteristic insight and humour. “There were so many perks to being ‘white’ in a black family, I can’t lie. I was having a great time,” he writes. Only the young Noah did not think this special treatment was because he was light-skinned, but because he was special. “It wasn’t ‘Trevor doesn’t get beaten because Trevor is white’. It was ‘Trevor doesn’t get beaten because Trevor is Trevor’,” he writes.

This was, he says, because he had no other points of reference. “There were no other mixed kids around so I could say ‘Oh, this happens to us.”

In the end Noah chose to be black, a state of mind that had so much more to do with his lived experience than someone else’s notion of who he was, and is.

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“I soon learned that the quickest way to bridge the race gap was through language. Soweto was a melting pot: families from different cultural groups, and thus different homelands. Most kids in the township spoke only their home language, but I learned several languages because I grew up in a house where there was no option but to learn them.”

Noah’s story provides an intimate ringside seat, for those who might not have one, to the fractured arena where a divided South Africa – white, black, coloured, Indian, Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Tsonga and so on – intersects.

There is a deeply touching moment in the book when Noah describes how his violent stepfather (who later shoots his mother) kicks his beloved dog, Fufi.

“The strange thing was that when Fufi got kicked she never whelped or cried. When the vet diagnosed her as deaf, he also found out she had some condition where she didn’t have a fully developed sense of touch. She didn’t feel pain.” Noah, too, appears not to have felt the pain or, at least, to have turned it into humour.

The book is essential reading not only because it is a personal story of survival, leavened with insight and wit, but because it does more to expose apartheid – its legacy, its pettiness, its small-minded stupidity and its damage – than any other recent history book or academic text.

That Noah has emerged miraculously unscathed, filled with determination, grit, wisdom, a searing intelligence (cultivated through the books he read as a loner) and an enduring mischievous glint, is inspiring. These are all qualities that the millions who know him as a standup comedian in South Africa have come to love.

International Stand-Up Star

In 2009, Noah helmed his own one-man show, The Daywalker, which was also filmed as a documentary, and hosted The South African Music Awards. In 2010, the comedian’s own talk show, Tonight With Trevor Noah, debuted on M-Net and Mzansi Magic channels.

After performing stand-up in the United States, Noah staged another one-man show, The Racist, at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe festival. That year he also made his U.S. TV debut on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, becoming the first African comedian to appear on the program. The following year Noah had his own comedy special on Showtime, Trevor Noah: African American.

And in late 2014, Noah landed yet another major gig, debuting as a correspondent for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

Trevor Noah Surreal Journey to be Appointed as ‘The Daily Show’ Host

After Stewart announced in February 2015 that he would be leaving The Daily Show, it was revealed in March that Noah would be his replacement. Noah had appeared on the program three times previously.

Trevor Noah on The Daily Show

Trevor Noah on The Daily Show

The Questions surfaced about how the show might change with a fresh, international host taking the anchor seat. Controversy also followed around some of Noah’s previous Twitter posts, which contained jokes that could be considered offensive to women and Jewish communities.

Rumors also arose that he may have purloined stand-up routines from others. Nonetheless The Daily Show has stood by its decision, with the public and media continuing to speculate how Noah’s distinctive perspective will shape the program.

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah made its debut on September 28, 2015, with fellow comedian Kevin Hart as first guest.

Net Worth, Achievements

He is a big shot and has made a lot of money with his talent. Trevor’s net worth estimated at $13 million was garnered over the years through his comedy shows and his other endeavours. He reportedly earns $4 million as his annual salary.

Trevor Noah’s success is quite remarkable as he is reported to have sold more DVDs than any other stand-up on that continent. Fans recite his performances verbatim, share his clips globally and have followed him in legions on Facebook and Twitter.

Most recently and to the surprise of his excited fans, Trevor Noah was announced as the successor to Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show. It was no easy feat considering the height at which Americans have placed the Daily Show With Jon Stewart but Trevor Noah has won the hearts of many and is still set to win more and to fill in properly, the massive shoes that Jon Stewart has left behind.

The Daily Beast called it the hottest job in America. Indeed, there’s an intrigue and interest to see what he does in the role. Despite the reservations on the part of the audience in America who feel that he might not do well outside South Africa which is his usual audience, it is still believed that if he was chosen, there was a very good reason for that.

Quick Facts about Trevor Noah

Trevor speaks up to six of the 11 official languages in South Africa. This is one of the distinctive marks that makes him able to thrill his South African audience better. But when he has to perform outside South Africa, it becomes a bit of a challenge to try to adjust to his audience’s setting and their surroundings since they are not from his world.

Understanding the person of Trevor Noah and his personality may not be as easy as everyone thought. Starting from the illegal circumstances of his birth that should have marred him but made him stronger instead, to the fact that most of the time people look at him strangely for wanting to be black rather than white.

Trevor is the true african hero. But through all of the controversial differences surrounding him, he is still a strong personality whose infinite hard work has earned him a spot in a the fast-rising lane to more fame and popularity.

 

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