Trevor Noah, comedian and face of “The Daily Show,” returns to host the Grammy Awards for the second year in a row. For the 2021 show, Noah was center stage at the unconventional Grammys, with a few pre-recorded performances and most of the ceremony taking place outside Staples Center (now known as Crypto.com Arena) in Los Angeles. “Overall, Noah did something that could have been like many competing shows,” New York Times pop music critic Jon Caramanica wrote.
This year, for another pandemic-delayed show, the coronavirus is one of the few tricky topics Noah might touch on in his monologue. In the weeks leading up to the event, he had a high-profile clash with Kanye West, who is up for five awards and until recently was scheduled to happen at Sunday night’s ceremony.
Devoted Noah an excerpt from his show on March 15 to a nearly 10-minute unscripted monologue about what he said was West’s harassment of his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian. West had posted a Claymation video in which he appeared to kidnap and bury a character resembling Pete Davidson, the “Saturday Night Live” comedian who was dating Kardashian.
“What she’s going through is terrifying to watch, and it highlights what so many women go through when they choose to leave,” Noah said in the segment, comparing West’s behavior to the abuse he witnessed in his childhood. (Noah said that between the ages of 9 and 16, he saw his stepfather abuse his mother; he later shot him.)
A few days after Noah’s monologue, West posted an image of Noah on his Instagram alongside a racial slur. Meta, which owns Instagram, quickly banned West – who had also posted lengthy videos criticizing Kardashian and others – for 24 hours. Then, just two weeks before West was due to perform at the awards, organizers informed his team that he wouldn’t be allowed on stage.
Noah appeared to object to the ban. “I said advise Kanye, not cancel Kanye,” he tweeted.
Noah is a Grammy nominee himself. His stand-up special “Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia” was nominated for Best Comedy Album at the 2020 Grammys. It lost to Dave Chappelle’s “Sticks and Stones.”