To celebrate "The Daily Show" host Trevor Noah's 37th birthday on Feb. 20, 2021, Wonderwall.com is getting to know the comedy star a little better. Keep reading to learn a few things you might not know (but should!) about Trevor…
He was raised in South Africa during apartheid
Although he's now based in the United States, Trevor Noah is actually native to a different country: South Africa. The comedian, who's biracial, was born in Johannesburg during apartheid, a period of strict racial segregation and discrimination against nonwhites. "It was illegal to be mixed (to have a black parent and a white parent), but it was not illegal to be colored (to have two parents who were both colored)," Trevor wrote for Literary Hub. "So my mom moved me around the world as a colored child." His childhood was also plagued with the constant fear that he'd be taken away from his mother. "For the longest time I thought she meant that the other kids were going to steal me, but she was talking about the police. Children could be taken. Children were taken. The wrong color kid in the wrong color area, and the government would come in, strip your parents of custody, haul you off to an orphanage."
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He's dating an actress
As for his love life? In August 2020, Trevor Noah was linked to "Friday Night Lights" actress Minka Kelly. While they have yet to confirm the romance themselves, media outlets reported that the duo were quarantining together in Trevor's New York City apartment. "They're making plans for a future together, and it's a very stable relationship," a source told People magazine. "They've been spending time between coasts over the last year and had been looking for a place in L.A. as a couple." Trevor was previously in a relationship with model and singer Jordyn Taylor. They split in January 2019 after nearly four years together.
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He speaks eight languages
Trevor Noah can speak eight additional languages: English, Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaans, Southern Tsongo, Tswana, Tsongo and conversational German! "I think it was something I inherited from my mother, who learned to do it," he told NPR's "Fresh Air" podcast of code-switching between various languages and accents. "I, like a baby duckling, was merely mimicking the survival traits that my mother possessed, and I came to learn very quickly that language was a powerful, powerful tool."
He's paid his staff from his own pocket
Trevor Noah is a great guy who cares about his staff on "The Daily Show" — a lot. In 2020, he paid furloughed crew members from his own earnings. While Trevor has continued to broadcast "The Daily Show" from his home amidst the coronavirus pandemic, he also paid the salaries of 25 crew members during the production's hiatus early in the pandemic, Variety reported. "These are the people who have been on the show with Trevor from day one and help him put on the show," a source told the outlet. "Trevor is personally covering their salaries until the production business opens again. He respects his crew tremendously and feels it's only right that they get through this together."
He's a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Sure, we've come to know Trevor Noah for his skilled comedy and progressive views — but did you know he also lent his voice to a character in a major motion picture? In 2018, he made a small cameo in Marvel's "Black Panther" voicing Griot — the A.I. system that was invented by Letitia Wright's Shuri. Trevor (seen here with Marvel Cinematic Universe stars Tessa Thompson and the late Chadwick Boseman) praised the film for its "authenticity" while also noting that "people loved it back home" in South Africa.
He's built up a serious net worth
"The Daily Show" host, who replaced Jon Stewart on the Comedy Central show in 2015, has made quite the name for himself as one of the world's highest paid comedians. Trevor Noah's current net worth? A cool $100 million!
He was once (briefly) a soap opera actor
Trevor Noah: former soap opera actor? It's hard to believe, but it's true! The year was 2002 when an 18-year-old Trevor earned his first-ever acting role on the South African soap opera "Isidingo" — he played a teenager at a party. The role was so minor, he didn't even get credited for it!
He pretended he knew how to play tennis so he could hang with Bill Gates and some sports superstars
Another fun fact about Trevor Noah? He's a good sport! In 2020, the Emmy-nominated host played tennis with superstars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as well as billionaire Bill Gates in an exhibition match for the Roger Federer Foundation. "I don't know how this happened, but I think I've become friends with Bill Gates… I've just met him many times, and we have conversations," Trevor said on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." "And then one day he phoned and he said, 'Hey, do you want to play tennis with me?' And I was like, 'Yeah.'" The only problem? Trevor wasn't exactly familiar with the sport! "I said, 'I'm in, I'm in.' I didn't know how to play tennis though! But I didn't want to tell them this."
He got his big break in America on "The Tonight Show"
Trevor Noah and Jay Leno go way back! In 2012, Jay actually invited Trevor to perform on "The Tonight Show" as a guest comic. This was a monumental occasion in the young comedian's career — it was his first gig in the United States and it resulted in two more on the show.
His predecessor is a big fan
Before he became the host of "The Daily Show," Trevor Noah was actually a news correspondent on the series in 2014. While chatting with radio host Howard Stern, former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart spoke about how Trevor has been exceptional as his successor. "For Trevor, it's a part of him. It flows from him naturally… It makes it better. The show is better," Jon said.
His memoir was a bestseller
In 2016, Trevor Noah released the memoir "Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood," which earned a spot on The New York Times Best Sellers list. In the book, in which he recounts his upbringing in South Africa during apartheid, Trevor candidly speaks on how racism shaped his identity. "I think sometimes it's nice to have perspective on these issues, just so that you understand that it's not a unique problem that one country deals with, but rather an idea that society as a whole deals with across borders," he told "Here & Now."
He had surgery to repair his vocal chords
In December 2018, after losing his voice following a gig in his native South Africa, Trevor Noah realized that his medical condition was way more serious than he'd thought — he ended up needing surgery to repair his vocal cords. "I hate canceling shows but I also hate the idea of losing my voice forever so I'm postponing all this year's stand-up shows and working hard on rehabbing my voice," he wrote on Instagram. "Thank you again for the love and support. I appreciate you."
He has two stand-up specials you can watch right now
Trevor Noah currently has two stand-up specials available to stream on Netflix: 2017's "Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark" and 2018's "Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia."
He navigated a tricky stand-up scene in South Africa
Prior to making the move to New York City, Trevor Noah worked hard to establish himself as a comic in South Africa. But according to the host of "The Daily Show," fear of incarceration due to criticizing the government limited his scope as a comedian. When asked by Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show" if there was a big stand-up scene in South Africa, Trevor replied, "no, because there wasn't a big freedom scene." He continued, "If you were gathered in a group, especially if you were Black people, you would go to jail, because obviously you were planning something."
He's not shy about sharing his views
Trevor Noah isn't one to shy away from getting political or taking a stand. Following the killing of George Floyd in 2020, he denounced police brutality during an at-home recording of his show. "I think the real question we should be asking is why does there need to be a protest in the first place," he said. "If I had a magic wand I wouldn't be trying to fix protests, I would use it to get the police to stop brutalizing Black people, that's why protests are happening."