On March 16, Former “The Daily Show” host and comedian Trevor Noah was honored with the prestigious Dutch Erasmus Prize. The prize was named after Dutch Philosopher and humanist scholar Desiderius Erasmus who lived from 1466 to 1536.
This marks only the second time in history a humorist or comedian has been awarded this prize, the first one in history being Charlie Chaplin back in 1965, Charlie Chaplin was famous for his comedy skits during the silent movie era.
The Dutch Erasmus Prize is given to those who demonstrate “exceptional contributions to humanities and the arts, as well as social sciences”. Previous winners range from United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, to even the online dictionary known as “Wikipedia”.
Trevor Noah rose to fame with his comedy as a stand-up comic in his native country South Africa, He then went on to become the host for “The Daily Show”, a late-night satirical show known for its comedic takes on top stories. The show runs on the channel known as “Comedy Central”. However, he announced that he was leaving Comedy Central’s show last year, ending his seven-year run on the show.
The Dutch foundation chose to give the award, which also comes with a cash prize of €150,000, to Noah for his “inspired contribution to the theme In Praise of Folly which was named after Erasmus’s most famous book.” The book is known for containing forms of humor, political satire, and social criticisms.
“With his sharp-minded, mocking yet inclusive political comedy, Noah, in the eyes of the jury, upholds the ‘Erasmian Spirit.’” Stated the foundation.
The foundation also noted that Noah’s time on the comedy central show was coinciding with huge events such as Donald Trump’s presidency, the Covid-19 Pandemic, and even the Black Lives Matter movement.
“With his astute reflections on such issues, he garnered a young, diverse and global audience and, in the process, infused a highly polarized media landscape with a breath of fresh air,” the foundation said.
The foundation is making arrangements and has scheduled to present the prize to Noah at a ceremony this coming fall.