SA comic lands US comedy role
The news of South Africa comedian Trevor Noah snagging a U.S. comedy show has got most paparazzi and died hard fans aglow at their favourite comic’s bright international prospects. Though I am not paparazzi in the sense that I do not make it my daily bread to stalk celebrities for salacious tid bits of their lives, the story grabbed my interest because Trevor Noah happens to be one of my favourite laugh doctors together with Will Smith the former Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
Noah’s up-coming show will be produced by Overbrook Entertainment — a Hollywood outfit that is part owned by Hollywood celebrity couple Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith! Now the idea that Will Smith and Trevor Noah will be working together is making fans salivate with anticipation. The two happen to be witty, and quick on the draw. Their youthful looks effortlessly elicit laughs without their having to rely on profanity and dirty words in the manner of Eddie Murphy.
Trevor Noah has reportedly sold more DVDs than any other stand-up comedian on the continent. This may well be true were it not for rampant piracy bedeviling Africa. Trevor Noah was born to a Swiss father and indigenous South African mother. The new show is drawing from this bi-racial background and living and shuttling between Soweto and the leafy suburbs of his father’s family.
“Race is a big part of what South Africa is today — we’re still dealing with race relations, and it’s a huge part of who we are. I’m a product of the existence, of that world. My racial identity has been reclassified at least three times just in my lifetime, so it’s very important to me,” he is quoted in an interview with a United Kingdom paper.
Noah started out at age 18 with a cameo role in Isidingo in 2002. Other roles were as a presenter on SABC Sports (Siyadlala), hosting The Real Goboza in 2007, hosting own radio show Noah’s Ark on Gauteng’s leading youth radio station, YFM. Other television credits are hosting the South African Music and Film and Television awards.
Noah’s career highlight must be his widely coveted appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The David Letterman Show in America. These slots are coveted because American television is all about ratings which, of course, translate into advertising revenue for the television networks with the most compelling programming.
The entertainment business is so cut-throat. Producers are always scrambling to find material that spellbinds the fickle audiences of couch potatoes who deliver the numbers to television bosses worried about the bottom line.
Behind the glitz, there is grime and grind of naked ambition. That Noah is breaking through is not merely down to serendipity. He is young, gifted and black. America loves them like that. Yes America loves milking cows. Think Tiger Woods, young Michael Jackson and young Eddie Murphy. Can our own Carl Joshua Ncube and Clive Chigubu follow suit? Maybe. Just, maybe.