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Gayle King on Why Trevor Noah Is a Perfect ‘Daily Show’ Host

Treavor Noah Gayle King New York
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For Variety’s latest issue, we asked Gayle King to write a tribute to Trevor Noah, one of 50 people to make our New Power of New York list. Here’s why Noah, the host of “The Daily Show,” represents a new generation of movers and shakers that capture the best of Manhattan. For the full list, click here.

Trevor who? That was the question in September of 2015, when a 31-year-old comic from Soweto who had made only a handful of appearances as a “Daily Show” correspondent suddenly became its host.

Like that new guy who buys the house two doors down after a beloved neighbor moves away, Noah took some getting used to; our feelings ran the gamut from resistance to resentment. But having to prove himself to gain acceptance, that’s the stuff he’s dealt with all his life.

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The title of Noah’s remarkable autobiography is “Born a Crime.” He writes of being a boy whose mixed-race heritage literally violated the law of apartheid in South Africa: “Where most children are proof of their parents’ love, I was the proof of their criminality.”

But what didn’t kill Trevor Noah seems to have made him funnier. He has become a sworn enemy of the hypocritical, the phony and the power-hungry. His particular brand of fake news comes from somewhere very real, and his stinging satire is must-see TV for millions of viewers in search of a little sanity or maybe just a few laughs before calling it a night. He may have been “born a crime,” but he’s living a life of defiant achievement. And nobody is asking, “Trevor who?” anymore!

Iveta Karpathyova for Variety

Gayle King is the co-anchor of “CBS This Morning” and editor-at-large of O, The Oprah Magazine. Read the rest of our New Power of New York list.