What do we want?
When do we want ’em?
If you didn’t, I was referring to Trevor Noah hosting The Daily Show on Comedy Central since 2015.
If you did get it, but you didn’t laugh because you found my joke kinda cheesy… I’m with you. Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself.
Speaking of helping myself, in light of what feels like the ever-crumbling state of all that is good on planet earth, I couldn’t help but find myself totally taken with the one person who somehow manages to piece together the shattered pieces of our world in a way that makes me laugh. I feel reassured by Noah’s take on current events, no matter how heartwrenching they may be. When he presents the news, it’s as if he is taking all those broken pieces, holding them up to us, and saying, “Hey, people, you know how the world is in shambles right now? Well, here is what it would look like if it were whole. Also, here’s a punchline to help you feel better about the whole thing.”
To use somewhat butchered Gen Z lingo, Trevor is giving healing vibes, no cap.
Named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2018, Noah’s outreach goes beyond his award-winning comedy news show. He is also a best-selling author, actor, two-time Grammy Awards host, and stand-up comedian able to draw crowds of fourteen thousand plus to amphitheaters across the globe.
And the best part is (drumroll please) HE’S A FEMINIST!
So, without further ado, here are 10 reasons to crush on Trevor Noah beyond that irresistible smile.
I mean, those dimples! Are you KIDDING me?
Ahem. Where was I? Oh, yes.
Reason 1: He Was Raised By Women, for Women
“I grew up in a world where authority was female,” says Noah when reflecting on his childhood spent in South Africa under apartheid.
Noah was raised largely by his mom, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, and his grandmother, Frances “Gogo” Noah. These amazing women spent most of their time hiding Trevor because his very existence as the son of a White father and Black mother was illegal under apartheid: hence, the premise of his autobiography, Born a Crime.
While Noah’s childhood may have been poverty-stricken and at times quite tragic, he makes it clear in his autobiography that thanks to the women who raised him, his home life was filled with a most resilient and all-encompassing love. In addition to love, the matriarchs in Noah’s life taught him about the importance of generosity and fairness and even imparted lessons about relationships like making sure your partner feels seen.
In his interview with Glamour magazine, Phoebe Robinson asks Noah if he considers himself a feminist. “Yes,” he answers. “Without a doubt. That’s because of my mom.”
Which is the perfect segue to…
Reason 2: He’s a Momma’s Boy
The Washington Post describes Born a Crime as “a love letter to (Noah’s) mother,” which he admits is true.
“We weren’t just a mother and son,” says Noah, “we were a team.”
Noah’s sweet statement alone speaks hugely to the type of strength his mother was able to instill in such a small child living in such dire circumstances. “My mom is a powerful woman who could easily be one of the beautiful soldiers in Wakanda,” says Noah.
Patricia is a tour de force if there ever was one. Without giving too much away — Patricia’s tales of resilience are big plot-driving points in Born a Crime — she is a woman who looked racism, poverty, and near-death experiences in the face and laughed. Not metaphorically. Literally. She was able to find humor in any situation. Sound familiar? After all, Noah’s comedy chops had to come from somewhere.
It’s no wonder Patricia is Noah’s biggest role model. Honestly, since reading about her, she has become one of mine as well. Imagine if everyone had a Patricia Noah in their lives. This is just speculation, but I’m pretty sure women like her are the antidote to antifeminism.
Reason 3: He Loves Books
Being trapped inside for so much of his childhood, Noah turned to books for entertainment. A feminist AND a bookworm? It’s like he was made for a feature on Feminist Book Club or something.
And since we’re all bookworms here, here’s a list of Noah’s top ten favorite books, courtesy of the New York Times:
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
My Traitor’s Heart by Rian Malan
To Quote Myself: A Memoir by Khaya Dlanga
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling [Editor’s Note: Because of repeated comments J.K. Rowling made against the transgender community, we are not linking to or promoting her works. This list of titles enjoyed by Noah initially came out in 2016.]
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
But What if We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman
Native Life in South Africa by Sol Plaatje
The Roald Dahl is my personal favorite, in case anyone was wondering.
Reason 4: He Respects the V
All-gendered fans of the vagina, this one is for us.
Betty White said it first: “Why do people say, ‘Grow some balls’? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina. Those things really take a pounding!”
Yes, Betty. Yes.
Riffing on this very concept, Noah does an entire section about the strength of the vagina in his Netflix stand-up special, Afraid of the Dark.
“I have found the pussy to be one of the strongest things I have ever come across in my life,” says Noah. “You realize vaginas can start revolutions and end wars? Even on a physical level, the vagina is one of the strongest things that have ever existed. Virtually indestructible. Many men in this room have tales of how they once defeated the pussy. Let me tell you now, they have not.”
You gotta love it.
Reason 5: He’s Brave
I always say that being brave is not about not being scared. It’s about being scared and doing it anyway. In an interview with The Guardian, Trevor admits the day he took over The Daily Show was one of the scariest days of his life. He was so afraid of the rejection that might follow that his negative self-talk was overwhelming.
And then his fears came true. “People didn’t even know me, and they hated me,” he says in his “60 Minutes” interview. There was a major backlash when Noah took over the show. Even with the largely liberal audience that The Daily Show draws, Noah was getting racist threats left and right.
But he stuck it out anyway. Noah explains that he has faced this type of pre-judgment his entire life due to the color of his skin. Considered neither Black nor White in a society that hung resolutely on racial definition, Noah spent his entire childhood fitting in with everyone and with no one. “I’m always trying to figure out, ‘how do I speak to someone who hates me,'” he reveals.
His resilience paid off. Big time. Through persistent trial and error, Noah eventually earned the love of millions of fans, succeeding, as always, in the face of adversity.
Reason 6: He’s an Empath
“When you’re an outsider,” says Noah, “you’re always working to see different people’s points of view because the world is never yours, you know? You don’t exist in a space where you ever see yourself as the be-all and end-all, and that was one of the greatest gifts I got.”
Just a guess again, but maybe Noah’s ability to see the world from someone else’s perspective, coupled with his innate intelligence, are contributing factors to his on-the-nose impressions, and why he speaks, I don’t know, like a hundred languages.
Noah’s empathy is also definitely the catalyst for…
Reason 7: He Argues Diplomatically
On The Daily Show, Noah is always stressing two things: the importance of nuance and the importance of appreciating both sides of an argument. He sometimes has guests on his show with whom he disagrees, and yet he manages to diffuse even the tensest situations by finding common ground.
“I always try to put myself in the other person’s shoes,” Noah tells The Guardian Live. “It doesn’t matter how crazy the person is. I say to myself, ‘I’m going to think like you.'”
Reason 8: He’s an Advocate for Women’s Reproductive Rights
After the overturning of Roe V. Wade, which left so many of us breathless with disbelief and rage, Noah ended a number of his shows by directing his viewers to available resources for women seeking abortions. His riff on Conservative hypocrisy in this decision is still pinned at the top of The Daily Show‘s Instagram feed.
Reason 9: He’s Shy at Heart
Once an acne-ridden teenager, Noah was always awkward and shy around girls. Seemingly brimming with confidence now, he admits that, in spite of his perceived confidence, he is still that same shy boy.
In an interview with People magazine, Noah says, “You know what, I’ll tell you this — if anyone has suffered from acne vulgaris the way I did, you’ll know that that sticks with you.” He adds, “When I meet a woman, I’m still the kid in high school.”
The humility is refreshing, especially from someone as influential as Noah.
Reason 10: He’s an Optimist
“I think comics are cynics on the surface and eternal optimists at heart,” Noah tells Alex Wagner in a recent interview. “Because just by the very mere fact that they get out there and say things and then think that people might laugh, tells you about a certain optimism that we have to possess as human beings. Just like a naked hope.”
I was eying to explain to a friend why I love Trevor Noah and this is all that I had to send to her. Thank you so much for saying it so eloquently and with humor.