From the streets of Soweto to the glamour of US television, Trevor Noah is one of the outstanding media personalities in the world, and millions of American viewers tune into his Daily Show broadcast every week.
One of the most popular segments of the show is the ‘If You Don’t Know, Now You Know’ feature, where Noah shares some interesting information that few people know about. Many of the topics are fascinating, others scary, while some are downright bizarre. In this article, we’re take a look at some of the best facts Noah has given to his Daily Show audience.
‘5Ge’ – 4G in disguise
Everyone’s talking about 5G: how it will transform the internet, connecting everything digitally, eventually leading to a phenomenon known as the ‘the Singularity’.
The rewards on offer for big tech companies, and the countries that house them, are huge, leading to a 5G race between the US and China. The signs are that the US might be losing this battle, so what did their largest telecom company AT&T do? Well, they simply call their 4G service ‘5Ge’ and hope customers fall for it.
While it should be stressed that AT&T never explicitly claim that it’s 5G, it’s clearly a marketing ploy. 5Ge, or ‘5G evolution’, might sound great, but it’s no better than 4G coverage: like pasting a ‘Lamborghini’ sticker on a Smart car, as Noah says.
Superbowl 54 was the most bet on sports event in history
It's hardly surprising to see the US’s favourite sport at the top of the list when it comes to sports betting, but still the figures involved are incredible. According to the American Gaming Association, nearly $7 billion was bet on the 2020 game between Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers: that’s around $20 per American citizen. Some of the betting options were unusual to say the least: the colour of Gatorade poured onto the winners or whether Shakira would twerk during her appearance being two of them.
According to Noah, the new laws allowing sports betting in 20 states means that this trend is only going to continue. New Jersey, for example, could see an explosion in sports betting, as neighbouring New Yorkers cross the border just to place a bet: New York’s prohibitive laws means residents are only permitted to bet on lotteries. The segment ends with a hilarious Uncut Gems parody where main character Howard pays the price for some underhand betting behaviour.
The China/US trash connection
For years, China and the USA had a two-way relationship. The USA produced trash then shipped it to China, where it was remade into consumer products and sent back for the cycle to repeat.
The problem is that over the last decade or so, China’s economic strength has grown. They don’t want to take the trash anymore: they don’t need it.
This gives the Americans a problem: where to send the trash? Poor countries such as the Philippines can take some of it – the process is often profitable for workers there, with one local saying it’s allowed him to pay for his son’s PhD. But the rest? Well, it stays in the US, forming harmful plastic mountains across the country.
Noah’s solution? Simple: use less plastic. In a country that sells peeled oranges in plastic tubs – as if they don’t already come in a natural container – this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Panda diplomacy is actually a thing
In a world where international relations are a complex issue, a gift can go a long way. China’s long history of diplomacy is based around one particular offering: their famous panda bear.
In a tradition stretching back to the Tang Dynasty in 685, Chinese officials present the bears as a sign of strong diplomatic ties, although these days it’s more of a loan, as the recipient has to return the creatures after a certain period.
With Russia being on the receiving end most recently, Noah comments how this signals a strong relationship between Russia and China, leaving Donald Trump out in the cold.
Noah then suggests an interesting way for the US president to win favour with China: by dressing up as a panda. Not the most conventional way of doing diplomacy, but never say never.
The natural cost of trophy hunting
Trophy hunting has attracted some negative press attention in recent years: snaps of hunters posing with dead animals isn’t something many people want to see as they’re scrolling down their social media feeds.
Far more important, though, is the toll on wildlife that such a practice has. Hunters tend to target the biggest, strongest animals they can find which, according to one report, has decreased the size and population of the African lion over the last 30 years, as only smaller ones are surviving long enough to reproduce.
Noah goes on to say that there are many myths about the practice, too; namely that it provides meat and money to the locals. The reality is profits tend to straight to those in power. He finishes by imagining a scenario where rich Africans take to American streets and shoot all the local dogs and cats – but it’s OK, because residents will be able to eat the meat!
So, if you feel like learning something while watching light comedy, Trevor Noah’s sketch ticks both boxes. While some of the themes are heavy to say the least, you might learn a thing or two from his unique take on life and brilliant humour!