The South African comedian and celebrated host of “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah, is coming to campus.
Two branches of the Social Planning and Events Committee — SPEC Connaissance, which is in charge of bringing influential speakers to Penn, and SPEC-TRUM, which represents undergraduate minorities — are collaborating to present a moderated discussion between Noah and Political Science professor Mark Pollack on Nov. 5 at 5 p.m.
The event, which will take place in Irvine Auditorium on the Sunday of Homecoming weekend, will also include a question and answer segment with audience members.
Noah hosts Comedy Central’s satirical news program “The Daily Show.” When Noah first took over the show from Jon Stewart in September 2015, critics were unsure whether he would be able to lead the show as successfully as his predecessor. Noah was relatively unknown in the United States prior to 2015, and he received mixed reviews during his first few weeks on air.
More recently, however, Noah seems to have cemented his comedic legacy. In November 2016, he released a New York Times bestselling book called, “Born A Crime.” He has significantly increased the show’s ratings among black viewers, hosted one of the last White House interviews with President Barack Obama and moderated an interview with young, conservative pundit Tomi Lahren, which went viral with over 7 million views on Youtube.
“We think that he has a lot of good things to say,” said SPEC Connaissance Director and College junior Natasha Allen. “We thought he would fit well with the Penn community and it would be a great show.”
Pollack, who will moderate the session with Noah, is most known on campus for teaching courses like International Political Economy. He is also a professor of political science and law at Temple University.
Pollack was selected to moderate the discussion “because of his interest and knowledge of politics and international affairs, as well as the energy he brings into any room he is in,” Natasha said. “We believe him and Trevor would feed off each other and engage in an interesting conversation.”
This event won’t be the first time SPEC Connaissance has brought celebrity comedians to campus — last March, the group’s spring speaker was Saturday Night Live star Kenan Thompson. Other SPEC Connaissance speakers include: Anna Kendrick, Caitlyn Jenner and Seth Meyers.
Tickets for the event will go on sale starting Monday, Oct. 23. SPEC will sell tickets to Penn students for $10 beginning at 10 am on Locust Walk and online.