Trevor Noah Opens Up About Love for His Mom, Childhood Struggles and Why He Was Ready to Tell His Life Story

Daily Show host talks about his new book Born a Crime

By Jennifer Dill Nov 22, 2016 1:25 AMTags
Watch: Trevor Noah Opens Up About His Humble Roots

Trevor Noah has become an open book—fairly literally. Or at least literarily.

The South African comedian may have achieved a whole new level of success as host of The Daily Show that he couldn't have imagined when he got his start doing stand-up and television in his native country, but he hasn't forgotten his roots. Far from it, in fact.

In his new memoir, Born A Crime, available now in stores and online, Noah opens up about his life story, from growing up in poverty to dating as a teen and then rising to stardom on late-night TV. But first, it all started with being born to a black mother and white father whose coupling was considered a crime in apartheid-era South Africa.

"I want to share [my] story [because] I know so many of us are judged on face value," Noah explained to E! News. "So many of us have lived lives where there's a history we want to forget. There's a period you go, 'I wouldn't mind forgetting about this,' but when you can share the fact that you also have that then maybe people go, 'Oh, I can relate.' We like to know we share something in common with other human beings. It's how we build our communities."

Late-Night Talk Show Hosts

As for why felt it was so important to write this book, he says that it helped him remember how exactly he got to where he his today.

Random House

"I think writing the book made me appreciate everything even more because sometimes you forget where you've come from, sometimes you forget how far you've come and you get caught up in literal first world problems," Noah, 32, explained. "I've come so far in my life that I can almost take a moment to breathe and go, 'I appreciate all of this.'"

And as mentioned, the book's title isn't an exaggeration.

"I was born in South Africa during a time known as apartheid, and apartheid was a system of laws that restricted the movement of people people, but more importantly the associating of different races," he explained. "My mother is a black woman who is from South Africa and my father is Swiss from Switzerland and they broke these laws and had me during that time and so I was born a crime."

Watch: Trevor Noah Explains Why He Was "Born a Crime"

And as much as this is Noah's story, he doesn't feel that the book is about him, but rather his mother, Patricia, who, as he explains in the book, went through a great deal of hardship after he was born—including being jailed for violating the oppressive race relation laws.

"This is a story that is, if anything, a love letter to my mom," he said. "I don't think I truly knew how much I should have appreciated her."

"I always thought that I was going to be the hero of my own journey, but once I was done writing the book I was like, 'Oh no, I'm just a lucky sidekick that got to come along for the ride.'"

We have a feeling someone has made his mother quite proud.

Born a Crime is on sale now, and The Daily Show With Trevor Noah airs Monday-Thursday at 11 p.m. on Comedy Central.