South African comedian and television host Trevor Noah has been awarded the 2023 Erasmus Prize, becoming the first comedian to receive the award in 58 years. The Erasmus Prize is awarded annually to individuals or institutions that significantly contribute to the arts, humanities, or social sciences. The award carries a cash prize of €150,000.
Trevor Noah was chosen for his contribution to this year’s theme, “In Praise of Folly,” which is named after the famous book by Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus. The book is renowned for its humor, social criticism, and political satire. According to the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation, Noah was selected for his “sharp-minded, mocking, yet inclusive political comedy” and for upholding the “Erasmian Spirit.”
Before Noah, the award was last won by Charlie Chaplin in 1965. The Foundation stated that “the function of comedy is to sharpen our sensitivity to the perversions of justice within the society in which we live,” a statement that applies equally to Noah and his work.
More about Trevor Noah
Noah is an accomplished comedian, television presenter, author, and philanthropist. He rose to fame in South Africa as a stand-up comedian in 2009 and later hosted The Daily Show in 2015. During his tenure, the show became one of the world’s most popular satirical television programs. In addition, Noah’s astute reflections on issues such as fake news, the presidency of Donald Trump, and the Black Lives Matter movement earned him a young, diverse, and global audience.
In his autobiography, Born a Crime, Noah describes how he confronted racism early as the son of a black mother and a white Swiss father. But, instead of reacting cynically, Noah uses humor to expose the absurdities of injustice and combat struggles with the liberating power of laughter.
The Erasmus Prize will be awarded to Noah at a festive ceremony in the European autumn. In the meantime, he will be on tour in South Africa, presenting his comedic skills to his home audience.
Future of SatireSouth African comedian Trevor Noah wins prestigious Erasmus Prize for political satire; a testament to the future of satire.”
Trevor Noah’s contribution to political satire has earned him the prestigious Erasmus Prize, becoming the first comedian to be awarded the prize in 58 years. Noah’s unique ability to use humor to expose the absurdities of injustice has earned him a young, diverse, and global following. His work upholds the “Erasmian Spirit” and reminds us of the importance of humor in sharpening our sensitivity to social injustice.
Trevor Noah is coming home finally! The global comedy heavyweight and South African legend will be embarking on a long-awaited South African Tour in Spring 2023. He will be performing 12 dates in South Africa between August 31 and September 15, 2023. You can check tickets here.