The dark side of Trevor Noah

2009-11-06 16:25
Jean Barker

Everyone’s always calling new, young stand-up talents "The fresh face of the new South Africa". The truth is there are many fresh faces out there, all featured along with some old ones in a new series of one-hour live comedy films being shown by Nu Metro in cinemas.

Trevor Noah is one of the freshest, and one of the best known faces on the South African entertainment scene. We got him on the phone for a serious talk.

What's he really like?

Like most comedians – and possibly all the best ones – Trevor sees himself as an outsider. You wouldn’t think - seeing his gentle way of coaxing laughs out of his audience even when tackling the contentious South African landscape – that as a kid, he was always in trouble at school. "I think now when you say it’s your job they don’t give you flak. I should have thought of that at the time." And when he runs into the teachers now, what does he say to them? "Told you so."

He’s softly spoken and speaks only when spoken to in the interview, considering his words carefully, like the guy you dream of taking home to meet Mama.

Touring the world

Trevor’s recently performed in top clubs in America and the UK. His comedy routines (no, he doesn't make it up as he goes along) tackle mainly South African topics. You wouldn’t expect that to work everywhere in the world, but Trevor says he just tells our stories from a South African’s point of view. "At the end of the day it’s a conversation, you know? People are people so… I really just try and have a conversation with the audience and try and just get the message across."

The crime, the crime

How does he react when someone steals his comedy routines? “As a good friend (and fellow comedian) Martin Jonas said to me 'imitation is the greatest form of flattery'. So if someone takes my material I just take it, and then I just try and think of something else. And try and more and more stuff that nobody else can do. That’s what it really boils down to."


Gory details, please. "First night in the UK. That was terrible. First time ever performing out of the country. That was… wow. I mentioned Chelsea in a place that supports… I don’t know… one of the other teams. And the booing that ensued was just horrible. Horrible and traumatic. But it made me a stronger person."

Fame and groupies

"Well, I don’t really roll with groupies hey, you know. I’m just so scared. I just never know what’s gonna happen and I get freaked out by these things. It’s like I don’t like reading about myself in the papers so I just try and stay away from all situations that might lead to that."

Mental health

"I’m very unbalanced. I’m a recluse of note. I can spend weeks away from human beings. I live in my head so… people who know me, know me, and people who don’t know me can mistake it for arrogance – they just don’t understand it. And that’s just who we are. You’re a comic, at the end of the day, because you don’t view the world the way that everybody else does. You live in this world that you think is extremely crazy, while everyone acts like it’s normal. And sometimes it gets to you. I can be extremely anti-social, but I get along with myself very well."

If you could roast any celeb live on TV, who would you do?

I’m horrible at insulting somebody on the spot. I’m not that kind of comic. That’s why I don’t even do it to audiences.

After the Hour

Trevor’s hilarious one-hour set, which suffers from boring camera work and a lack of close-ups, but is still the second best way to spend an hour in the dark, is screening at Nu Metro cinemas. With an hour of comedy out there in The Daywalker, what are Trevor’s plans for the next few months?

"Back to the grind. Back to the clubs. Back to being a humble comic with no new material again. I foresee a lot of death in my future. A lot of silenced audiences and people wondering how I got to where I got to. A lot of humbling experiences. And then hopefully in not too long, I’ll be back with another show."

* Trevor Noah: The Daywalker is currently playing at Nu Metro cinemas every Thursday evening, until 26 November, as part of the Nu Metro Podium Comedy series.


  • jinx - 2009-11-09 09:37

    He can make me laugh any time. A HOTTT man with a sence of humour. ANYTIME BOSSSS

  • Nondumiso Mngeni - 2009-11-09 09:43

    he looks shy, disciplined and grounded. Always taught comedy was for care free but I was wrong I guess

  • Charlotte - 2009-11-09 09:43

    I just love and enjoy Trevor's comedy. I think his profession calls for a lot of bravery. I think he makes a success all the time. Good luck for the future

  • Mega - 2009-11-09 09:55

    He's the best comic out now, period. I get the feeling we haven't seen nothing yet, this guy is gonna go far. His wit and delivery is amazing.

  • Anony - 2009-11-09 10:32

    I think he is cute and all that, but I and a whole lot of people I know, jusy dont get him. I have come to a conclusion that he is getting the spotlight because he is cute, thats all. I have seem better comedians, and I am so sorry he does not do it for me. I think he caters for teenagers

      dumisiledee - 2012-01-09 14:37

      lol maybe you have a problem, like lack of humor

  • JK - 2009-11-09 10:44

    Trevor is HOT - as in ridiculously. A bit of a bonus that he's very funny too! I wish him all the best

  • Prudence Gwala - 2009-11-09 11:05

    I am one of the few people who considers clean fun comedy to be good comedy. Obscenities turn me off. Trevor is just the epitome of clean. He is not only cute and handsome he is very funny too. I love your work Trevor, keep it up.

  • Jabu Tiks - 2009-11-09 11:21

    I just love the guy what ever he says even if it is not funny I will defenetely laugh. He is so cute, handsome and seezling hot. His comedy is for everybody(clean and funny) GOD BLESS YOUR MOM.

  • Onelargeprawn - 2009-11-09 11:38

    Certainly my most favourite SA comedian. His airport skit had me in tears. Brilliant stuff.

  • angel - 2009-11-09 12:36

    trevor,i love you very much.keep up the good work.

  • Thembeka - 2009-11-10 17:04

    Trevor is a natural, he doesn't try too hard and he can entertain all kinds of audiences black,coloured or white. He is very talented

  • Lesego - 2009-11-11 11:40

    I like the fact that his jokes are clean, he does not need to swear to make his audience laugh. Something that other comedianS can learn from.

  • renguila helene - 2009-12-16 13:17

    i think is kind of cute and seems clever and hilarious as he is ... i am also a huge fan so that why i am to kind but good luck chuck

  • thato mochemi - 2009-12-24 20:48

    he is cute and brilliant as well!he is actually good.

  • Thakane - 2010-01-07 15:39

    He is funny and handsome, quite a combination. Put your head down, keep doing what you are doing and you will go places. all the best.

  • Julia - 2010-01-11 16:01

    I love you Trevor,thats all i can say,if i could,i would marry you....30 live cows for you.boy you are worth it.

  • georgie - 2010-01-26 02:54

    fantastic i am proud to be south africian we have such talent keep it up trevor cheers

  • Sebe Nkosi - 2010-03-08 08:38

    I absolutely loved The! Strangely I googled you to see how much of your biography is as true as you told it. I'm amazed at your talent and I'm so proud Trev, keep it up!

  • Cindy-lee - 2010-03-29 14:35

    Anony man....Don't play a hater..the man is good...Trevor you good...and you have to know that im not by far a comedian fan.but boy did you make me laugh....all becouse every one was speaking about your dvd.

  • vuvu - 2010-04-20 12:06

    Trevor is hot and hangsome and also amazing i love ur work joe

  • Juliet - 2010-04-27 15:44

    Congrats to the best standup commedian of this time.You are a true role model to todays youth. The professionalism that comes through your work will let you rise beyond your own expectations. And lets not forget......that your also easy on the eye. Keep smiling I love your dimples.

  • sthe - 2010-05-16 02:04

    I laughed through out the dvd. Trevor is talented, gifted and the brother is hot......

  • Da Man - 2010-06-04 15:26

    Hi Trevor i like your work. My wife love u to bits Dude, she drool when u she see you we comming to watch you perform @ the ICC on the 30/06 ot on the 31/07. Although my wife make such a fuss over you i still think you one of the best S.A has ever had. keep up da good work

  • maipelo - 2010-07-30 12:43

    your jokes are hot..i laugh till i swet..

  • ivy mochemi - 2010-08-02 16:36


  • Jeanette - 2010-08-06 09:42

    One day I was sitting in a taxi and the driver actually played one of Trevor's dvd's in the taxi.All the way to work all people in the taxi were laughing like crazy.I never started a day laughing so much and I enjoyed it so much that I went and bought more of his dvd,s.Trevor is without a doubt a very good comedian.

  • Frank - 2012-01-09 11:21

    Trevor rocked,hoping to see him live in South Africa of course.

  • Sandra - 2012-01-09 16:31

    I love Trevor Noah'c style of comedy. He tells it like it is and takes the mickey out of all South Africans which is great. We should all learn to laught at ourselves. Long live Trevor.

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