South African comedian Trevor Noah has overcome adversity and mastered his craft to become the host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”.
He grew up in apartheid South Africa, built a career as a stand-up comedian in an environment where Black comedians were effectively locked out and made a life-changing move to the U.S. to take his career to the next level.
In November 2019, Noah became the first African to sell out Madison Square Garden, joining an elite group of A-list comedians including Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and Kevin Hart who have sold out the iconic New York arena.
Noah is the fourth highest-paid comedian in the world, earning an estimated $28 million between June 1, 2018, and June 1, 2019, according to Forbes. Most of those earnings came from his stand-up comedy shows.
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Here are 10 Trevor Noah quotes that entrepreneurs can relate to.
“We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most.”
“Don’t cry about your past. Life is full of pain. Let the pain sharpen you, but don’t hold on to it. Don’t be bitter.”
“As an outsider myself, I always mixed myself with different groups…I’ve never been afraid to go into a different space and relate to those people, because I don’t have a place where I belong and that means I belong everywhere.“
“You’ll have a few bruises and they’ll remind you of what happened and that’s OK. But after a while, the bruises fade and they fade for a reason. Because now, it’s time to get up to some s**t again.”
“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”
“Nelson Mandela once said, ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.’ He was so right. When you make the effort to speak someone else’s language, even if it’s just basic phrases here and there, you are saying to them, ‘I understand that you have a culture and identity that exists beyond me. I see you as a human being.”
“I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new. If you think too much about the ass-kicking your mom gave you or the ass-kicking that life gave you, you’ll stop pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules. It’s better to take it, spend some time crying, then wake up the next day and move on.”
“The first thing I learned about having money was that it gives you choices. People don’t want to be rich. They want to be able to choose. The richer you are, the more choices you have. That is the freedom of money.”
“I became a chameleon. My color didn’t change, but I could change your perception of my color. If you spoke Zulu, I replied to you in Zulu. If you spoke to me in Tswana, I replied to you in Tswana. Maybe I didn’t look like you, but if I spoke like you, I was you.”
“Comfort can be dangerous. Comfort provides a floor but also a ceiling.”