Trevor Noah becomes the first comedian to win the Prestigious Erasmus Prize since Charlie Chaplin in 1965
Written by Brooklyn Masuku on 20 March, 2023
Comedian Trevor Noah, the former host of “The Daily Show,” has won the prestigious Dutch Erasmus Prize, becoming the first humourist awarded the honour since Charlie Chaplin in 1965, the foundation that selects the winner announced Thursday.
The award is named for Dutch philosopher and humanist scholar Desiderius Erasmus, who lived from 1466 to 1536.
Trevor Noah is known for his sharp wit, his keen observations of the world around him, and his ability to make people laugh even in the most challenging of times. He is best known as the former host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central, where he uses humour and satire to tackle political and social issues.
The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation said in a statement that Noah, 39, was receiving the prize “for his inspired contribution to the theme ‘In Praise of Folly,’ named after Erasmus’s most famous book, which is filled with humour, social criticism and political satire.”
The foundation added: “With his sharp-minded, mocking yet inclusive political comedy, Noah, in the eyes of the jury, upholds the ‘Erasmian Spirit.'”
Noah, who rose to prominence as a stand-up comic in his native South Africa, announced last year he was leaving Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” after a seven-year run.
The Dutch foundation noted that Noah’s time anchoring the satirical late night talk show coincided with the presidency of Donald Trump, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The award, which carries a cash prize of €150,000, is given annually to “a person or institution that has made an exceptional contribution to the humanities, the social sciences or the arts, in Europe and beyond,” according to the foundation.
Previous winners include dissident playwright and former president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, the British artist Grayson Perry and online dictionary Wikipedia.
The Erasmus Prize is a fitting recognition of Trevor Noah’s contributions to comedy and social commentary. He is a trailblazer in his field, and his ability to use humour to address serious issues has inspired countless people around the world. By winning the Erasmus Prize, he joins the ranks of other distinguished winners, including Charlie Chaplin, Albert Schweitzer, and Nelson Mandela.