By Gugulethu Mhlungu, City Press. Photo: News24
South Africa’s brightest star on the international entertainment stage, Trevor Noah, is learning to be “thick-skinned”.
In an email interview with City Press before the inaugural Comedy Central International Comedy Festival that starts in Jozi next week, Noah said this past month had taught him how thick-skinned he was becoming and needed to be.
The new host of The Daily Show, who replaced Jon Stewart in September, said of his new job: “It’s been the proverbial roller coaster ride so far. So much to get used to; so much learning. However, the most important thing is that it’s been exciting. It’s still becoming real.
“When a show has to go out every day, there is very little time to look around and see where you are. You just focus on making the best show you can.”
In the two months since he’s been on The Daily Show, Noah has shed 37% of the viewers his first episode attracted, but the big bosses don’t seem to mind, because he’s bringing in a new crowd.
So far, so good, said Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless. “I couldn’t be happier,” she told TheWrap, adding that Noah offered “a more global … millennial perspective”.
In his first four weeks, the show’s viewership dropped by 32% among 18-49-year-olds and 37% in total. But Noah’s on-demand streaming is up 44%. He is picking up younger, more diverse and tech-savvy viewers.
Despite his new-found international fame, Noah remains deeply private, and chose not to answer a question about who he has been linked to romantically.
His new girlfriend is reported to be car show model Jordyn Taylor who he met after moving to New York. He also would not answer questions about his recent appendectomy.
“Generally Uber,” he joked.
“Jokes aside, I am driven not to let people down, especially with being The Daily show host. I feel a huge responsibility to make a great show.”
Despite the challenge, he’s had a great time and counts his interviewees as being among his highlights. “[Comedians] Kevin Hart, Seth Rogen, [New Jersey] Governor Chris Christie and [actress] Brie Larson were lots of fun,” he said.
Tickets to the Comedy Central International Comedy Festival – priced between R120 and R650 – sold out fast.
Another date was added for the Trevor Noah Nation Wild gala between November 25 and 28, with the festival being extended to December 5. “It’s exciting to be performing in a festival with many of my friends,” said Noah.
Although requests from him for backstage comforts might have been expected, Sarit Tomlinson, who is handling public relations for the event, said: “You know, he’s asked for nothing. Absolutely nothing.
“All the performers, including a big name like Jeff Ross, have literally asked for nothing. They’ve said: ‘We were excited to come to SA and perform...’ It’s been amazing.”
Noah may ask for a cup of rooibos tea, which he says is good for his throat.
The comedy festival takes place at multiple venues at the Silverstar Casino in Krugersdorp.