The Former anchor of The Daily Show and comedian Trevor Noah has been awarded the prestigious Dutch Erasmus Prize, the first humorist to do so since Charlie Chaplin in 1965, according to the organization that chooses the laureate.
Desiderius Erasmus, a Dutch philosopher, and humanist scholar who lived from 1466 to 1536 are honored by the award’s name.
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Noah, 39, was awarded the prize “for his inspired contribution to the theme ‘In Praise of Folly,’ named after Erasmus’s most famous book, which is filled with humor, social criticism, and political satire,” according to a statement from the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation.
The foundation stated, “With his sharp-minded, mocking yet inclusive political comedy, Noah, in the eyes of the jury, upholds the Erasmian Spirit.”
A Dutch foundation pointed out that Noah’s tenure as host of the satirical late-night talk show coincided with the election of Donald Trump, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Noah, who first gained notoriety as a stand-up comedian in his native South Africa, announced last year that he was leaving Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.
“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 remarked.
Each year, “a person or organization that has made an extraordinary contribution to the humanities, the social sciences, or the arts, in Europe and beyond,” according to the foundation, receives the award, which comes with a financial reward of €150,000.
Previous recipients include the British artist Grayson Perry, the dissident playwright and former president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel, former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, and the online dictionary Wikipedia.
The honor will be given to Noah during a ceremony in the fall.