Born a Crime by Trevor Noah: the Impact of Childhood Experiences on Our Future Success

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Trevor Noah has today mastered a wide range of comic techniques with significant expertise. However, how did he groom himself to become more than an international comedian? Born a Crime is a comic autobiography that documents the childhood life of Noah as he grew up during the S. A Apartheid. The book was published in 2016 and proceeded to become one of the New York Times best sellers.

At the moment, it is being adapted into a movie. As one reads that book, it is clear that the storyline does not follow a linear timeline because of the narrative touches on a wide scope of Noah’s past. At the start of each chapter, there is a prologue that relates to its content. The book, however, does an exemplary job in explaining to the audience how Noah became a comedian. To begin with, the chapter 18 point at Noah’s mother as a key factor in making him a comedian. Firstly, Noah’s mother was a comedian by nature. For example, there was a time she was making fun of Noah’s hair in a way that the reader notes she passed the comic genes to her son. Noah grew up with a mother who used to crack jokes all the time. Therefore, Noah as a quick learner, he adopted the comic nature prolifically. Secondly, she played a great role in molding Noah into a lawful person, a missing virtue in most celebrities. Noah is one of the few entertainers that have no legal issues. His mother was a disciplinarian and anytime Noah “got into trouble it was tough love, lectures, punishment, and hidings” (227).

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The mother was tough on him to ensure that he turned into a good citizen. As such, Noah describes his mother as religious person who was keen on instilling good morals to her children. Also, as Noah grew up, he witnessed from his mother the importance of hard work and having good morals. This helped him become a well-mannered person, and a hard worker as he developed his comedian career. Additionally, chapter ten of Born a Crime depicts Noah’s school life as challenging in many ways. However, he bravely took up all the challenges. At the age of 11, Noah was transferred from Maryvale primary – a Catholic mission school and taken to H. A Jack primary school. While at his new school Noah got to learn a lot regarding social life. The whole week of Valentine’s Day, for instance, the girls in school kept asking, “Who’s your Valentine, who’s your valentine?” but Noah did not know what he was supposed to do (130). This is because he had never dated before. Noah was, therefore, finding it hard to answer that question. However, Noah took up the challenge and searched for his valentine. This is evidence that Noah’s school life was full of funny yet challenging experiences that needed him to get creative to avoid disgracing himself. Therefore, Noah’s schoolmates played a major role in enhancing his social skills which he uses now in the comedy industry when connecting with the audience.

According to Born a Crime, Noah grew up in a religious environment. Typically, such an environment has a unique way of bringing the spirit of togetherness among the people who profess the same faith. Noah states, “Prayer meetings would rotate houses up and down the block based on the day” (39). This shows that spirituality had integrated into the lives of Noah’s clansmen. Therefore, attending church meetings presented Noah an opportunity to meet a crowd people and pray loudly for them. Noah says, “Whenever the prayer meetings were at our house because my prayers were so good, my grandmother would want me to pray for everyone” (40). This helped Noah to overcome stage fright from a tender age which was to his advantage when he turned into a comedian. Such an encounter played a significant role in transforming Noah into a brave comedian because he mastered the art of addressing an audience every time he led prayers. The exposure of dealing with a huge audience was, therefore, groomed at a very young age. Noah involves himself with artistic content during his adolescent years. Noah had creatively found out a way of making money by pirating CDs while at school. Noah explains that his “tuck-shop business had evolved into a mini-empire that included selling pirated CDs he made at home” (163).

Typically, for one to sell the best-pirated CDs, he or she has to watch the content and choose the best. The business of piracy, therefore, exposed Noah to different artistic contents from across the world at a tender age. That early exposure to artistic content positively influenced his comedy career especially when it comes to observing scenarios and satirically commenting on them. The environment Noah grew up in groomed him to become an international comedian. The surroundings gave Noah a wide range of experiences and molded him to become not only a comedian but also a film producer, television host, political commentator, actor, and author. The environment helped Noah to overcome stage fright during his youth, which was to his advantage when he turned into a comedian. The book Born a Crime depicts Noah’s school life as one full of fun yet challenging in many ways. Throughout the book, the audience can clearly see how our childhood experiences can influence our characters to become successful and who we are today.

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