Trevor Noah's relentless arc to fame and fortune

24 May 2015 - 02:00 By GABI MBELE

Trevor Noah will soon begin shooting The Daily Show - as he takes over from its US host, Jon Stewart.

He's no longer just the Noah who was born in Soweto to Xhosa mother Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah and Swiss father Robert. He is now preparing to bid his local fans farewell, with several shows at Montecasino from Friday until June 12, ahead of his career abroad.

This week, he bagged another appearance on the English comedian John Bishop's upcoming BBC series The John Bishop Show, where he is set to appear alongside British musicians Leona Lewis, Florence and the Machine, The Vaccines and Jessie Ware. The eight-part variety show shot at London's Hackney Empire will air on BBC One from Saturday May 30.

But it has not been a smooth journey for Noah who, just a day after being revealed as the new face for the US show, was roundly criticised for his stand-up comedy material by The Washington Post's culture and race blogger, Wendy Todd, who said that Noah's jokes "often hinge on insulting African Americans".


"Noah might look like an enlightened choice, but his routines show he isn't - his jokes often hinge on insulting African Americans.

"Well, you can keep him. I'd like a conscious person of colour at the wheel, not someone who's already driven me off a racist cliff," wrote Todd, who also criticised most of his stand-up comedy clips about his experiences in the US.

According to Twitter Counter, Noah is the fifth-most followed South African on Twitter with close to 2.3million followers.

His account came under scrutiny from the very day his new gig was announced.

Some reports claimed that he had separated from his long-term Cape Town girlfriend, physiotherapist Dani Gabriel.

International media reports also focused on the violent attack by Noah's mechanic stepfather, Abel Shingange, on his mother in 2009. Shingange reportedly also threatened the comedian with a gun.

From the outset Noah's intentions to succeed on the international comedy front were clear. It started with the big nod he received in January 2012 when he became the first South African to appear on The Tonight Show. Amid all that, he worked on his own shows. He also made appearances on shows such as The Late Show with David Letterman and, in December last year, Noah became a regular contributor to The Daily Show.

Last month, when he was one of the guests at the Comedy Central roasting of Justin Bieber, he walked the red carpet at the Met Gala in a Ralph Lauren suit while posting a picture of himself with US crooner John Legend and the singer's model wife, Chrissy Teigen.