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R3m for a private gig with Trevor Noah

Oct 04 2015 15:35
Garreth van Niekerk

Johannesburg - Fancy a one-night private performance with new Daily Show host Trevor Noah? You can have it, but only if you have at least R3 million to spare for an hour-long performance, excluding flights and accommodation for his entourage.

A former agent of Noah’s said it would be difficult for any local client to afford Noah for a private gig in the country.

As Noah began his new career in the US this week, replacing Jon Stewart after 16 years at the Daily Show, local industry insiders told City Press that the 31-year-old had – in the past few months – refused a sponsorship deal in excess of R5 million, a major role in a local movie, long-running international brand endorsements and a slew of corporate-rate appearances.

One of Noah’s former agents this week said they were negotiating with the comedian’s new American agents for a corporate function just less than a month ago.

“There was just no way local clients could afford him,” said the agent, adding that the R3 million fee requested was too much for locals.

The fee may seem high, but when considering that Noah could have made in excess of R20 million from his sold-out Lost In Translation South African tour earlier this year – just one stop on his world tour – there’s some maths behind this Noah madness.

A film distribution source said Noah sold more than 150 000 DVDs from past tours, including That’s Racist, Daywalker and Crazy Normal – potentially generating R16.5 million, excluding the syndication and the regular royalties he’s likely to acquire.

These calculations are in line with Celebrity Net Worth’s estimate – the website reported Noah is worth about $3 million (just over R40 million at the current exchange rate).

For a primetime TV host, red carpets, private jets and parties are just the tip of the iceberg. Behind the scenes, they demand incredible sums from the brands they work with, generating lucrative product endorsements, sold-out world tours and exorbitant annual royalties.

Noah’s predecessor, Stewart, is one of the world’s highest-earning media personalities. When it was announced that Stewart would be stepping down earlier this year, Celebrity Net Worth confirmed that it would be with just more than R1 billion in the bank.

But some local brands are still scrambling to make Noah their brand ambassador.

One high-end alcohol brand said that for every day that Noah was on the Daily Show this week, the price to have him as a brand ambassador was escalating.

Even three years ago, his endorsement didn’t come cheap. When Noah was announced as the new “CEO” of Cell-C, he was paid R1 million, a ground-breaking figure at the time.

Two of Noah’s US agents this week refused to give us financials for the South African. But if Stewart’s track record – his salary at the Daily Show was $25 million a year – is anything to go by, Noah has struck gold.

trevor noah  |  travel and leissure


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