South African Trevor Noah Gets 'Daily Show'

Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah.

Comedy Central announced that Trevor Noah would take over as host of The Daily Show after Jon Stewart leaves the show in late 2015 or early 2016.

Noah, 31, is a South African comedian, actor and writer who had become a recurring guest on Stewart’s show since appearing for the first time in December 2014. Though he’s a bonafide star in South Africa, Noah is little-known in the United States and was a something of a surprising choice to host what has become an iconic and important American TV program.

Within 48 hours of the network’s announcement, Noah was already in trouble for tweets he had posted over the years that some claimed were offensive to women, Jews and minorities. Noah’s mother is half Jewish, a black South African, and his father is white and of Swiss-German descent.

"To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn’t land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian," he tweeted in response to the criticism.

A South African citizen of Noah’s talent will have little trouble landing a work visa from U.S. immigration officials — perhaps a P visa that’s often used for performers, entertainers or professional athletes.

Most major league baseball players, for example, come to the United States to on an O-1 or P-1 visa. The O visa is for immigrants who demonstrate “extraordinary ability” in some field, for example, science, the arts or professional sports. The O visa generally is for all-star caliber athletes.

Once he gets set up at Comedy Central, it should be a relatively easy matter for Noah to get a green card and attain legal permanent residency. U.S. immigration officials are ready to give status to foreign nationals with extraordinary talents that will contribute to the U.S. economy, as well as culture and the arts.

Prominent South Africans who have come here and ultimately earned their U.S. citizenship include recording star Dave Matthews, Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron and inventor/entrepreneur Elon Musk. Other well-known South Africans who live much of their years in the United States include golfer Gary Player, tennis players Cliff Drysdale and Johan Kriek, economist Robert Z. Lawrence, actress Embeth Davidtz and musicians Trevor Rabin and Jonathan Butler.

South Africans began migrating to the United States in the late 19th century and today, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 82,000 U.S. residents trace their origins to the country at the southern tip of the continent. During the 1980s and 1990s, thousands of South Africans fled to the United States for political reasons, escaping the civil strife in their homeland over apartheid and racial division.

Many white South Africans, most notably Afrikaners, emigrated out of fears of what would happen when the inevitable transfer of power to the black population occurred under Nelson Mandela. Most South Africans living in the U.S. today are whites of European heritage.

According to U.S. immigration officials, non-immigrant visas are processed in Visa Sections at three United States Consulates in South Africa located in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. U.S. Consulate Johannesburg processes applications for Immigrant Visas to the U.S. The U.S. Embassy in Pretoria does not provide any visa services. Applicants for visas in the Pretoria area should apply at the U.S. Consulate Johannesburg.