Authentic Trevor Noah

Authentic Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah talks about Authenticity in this exclusive excerpt from his keynote at Canada’s largest Real Estate Conference & Trade Show, TRREB REALTOR® QUEST on May 18, 2023 at the Congress Centre in Toronto.

In Trevor’s intimate and compelling conversation he shares his expertise in communicating effectively with individuals, and how to make connections that resonate with others. 

Trevor Noah is a Comedian, Emmy-award winning Host of The Daily Show, and Author. 

Cheryl Hickey, ET Canada Co-Host, Host of Family Home Overhaul on HGTV, is the keynote moderator. 

Van Hansen attended ‘A Conversation with Trevor Noah’, and shares with you the ‘Authentic Trevor Noah’ video, plus an abridged transcript of the presentation.


Cheryl Hickey: On social media or on your stand-up tours you're so authentic. Here. He's incredibly authentic.

And... yeah. It can be really difficult in a world that is trying to keep up and the trends are changing in your world that's happening.

Trevor Noah: Right.

Cheryl Hickey: What are some key things that you think people could take away with to stay true to themselves and to stay on their path?

Trevor Noah: I think authenticity always has to be juxtaposed with context

You are never going to be your most authentic self with everyone nor should you be. I don't believe in that.

You know people like be yourself in the office! Hold on.

Figure out who yourself is. Figure out who your office is. See which parts of you match. That's good. 

I've met many people who are too authentic in the office. They need to relax. 

I think authenticity is context based. 

Okay. You know. You are most authentic or should be with yourself.

And then as those concentric circles go outward there's different types of authenticity.

So you'll a different type of authentic with your partner or your spouse.

You'll be another type of authentic with your kids. You'll be another type of authentic with your family, with your friends, with your colleagues, with people you live in the same town with, city, country, world.

But I don't think you're just trying to just be you all the time with everyone without context.

I think that makes people you know, it's why people are a**holes a lot of the time?

Genuinely, because they just go like "Well that's what it is". Yeah, you didn't need to say that. 

"Oh well I just wanted be authentic." Yeah you were authentically not nice. That's what you were.

It's like you didn't need to say that in that moment. You know?

So, you know, if you're going to be one of those people who did well, "I just tell it like it is".

Oh then I'll tell you like it is you're not liked in most places. And you're not actually achieving the thing that you're trying achieve. 

And it's not to be liked but it is to try and find some sort of cohesive way way of being authentic. You know?

So I think in every space I'm trying to be as authentic as I need to be. It doesn't mean that you're being fake.

You're acknowledging that you're existing in a space with other people. You know?

Like I listen to music the way I listen to it, but when I'm in a different space I might be cognizant of the fact that somebody's close to me and so I'll turn the music down to a certain level.

Or I'll turn it... because I understand that you're here. It doesn't mean that I'm not being authentic. It just means that I'm acknowledging my authenticity might brush up against yours.

You know the way I would drive my car if there was nobody on the road? It's very different to how I drive when the rest of you are there with me.

You know because I acknowledge, I'm like this is not my authentic driving.

I don't drive at like a speed limit. The lines mean nothing to me!

Are you kidding me? If I was alone on the road, I would just be cruising. I would go backwards sometimes.

Trevor Noah Quote "Authenticity always has to be juxtaposed with context", text on image of setting sun

Cheryl Hickey: But nobody says that by the way. Because it's very cool right now, and you all know this. It's very cool to be your authentic self. But I think you talking about...

Trevor Noah: That's ridiculous! Who says this?

Cheryl Hickey: Everybody! But nobody says, I think it's the first time would you agree, in a long time that someone's like, you need to be aware of your surroundings?

Trevor Noah: Yes.

Cheryl Hickey: I don't think people say that Trevor; they don't.

Trevor Noah: You are existing in relation to others. If you're on a desert island, you're stranded like Tom Hanks, then you can be friends with a volleyball.

Do it, go crazy, have a good time. Because that is the situation you're in. That is authentic. You know?

But once you are in a space with other people it changes. You know? 

There are cultural norms you have to be aware of, depending on the space you're in, depending on the place you're in. And it doesn't mean don't be authentic. It means find your spaces where you can. 

And what happens over time, I'm sure you know this, when you work in office with people as you get to know them and that's why I'm saying context is important.

As you get to know them you start to reveal layers of yourselfand they do the same thing and that is natural. That is what we do as human beings. You know you don't just start off like that. 

Have you ever met like a dog that's been rescued? Like if you go to a pound or you go to any place with a shelter, right?

You'll meet an animal. Most of them are shy. Most of them are afraid, you can feel this in them.

And then you start showing them love, you start caring for them and all of a sudden that dog starts jumping on you and it starts barking and it starts running around.

It's like, yeah that's the same dog. It's not that it's not authentic. It was authentically afraid and now it is authentically happy and enjoying the love that you're showing it. 

Both are true. When people say be your authentic self, it's like which part of my authentic self?

Sometimes I'm nervous, sometimes I'm scared. Sometimes I'm grumpy, that is authentically me.

So I'm just gonna come in the office kicking trash cans. "Shut up!" That's authentic. "I'm having a shitty day. Welcome to real Trev".

No, no. Deal with your shit at home. Understand that in this space your authenticity is affecting other people.

Or if you know the people well in the office, and they know you well, then you can connect. I'm having a tough day... It's context. You should have enough EQ to understand the context.

How long have you known people? What is your position in relation to them.

You know how many bosses I've met who'll be like, "Yeah Trevor, I always tell jokes in the office, and it goes well".

I'm like, no you're the boss. Relax.

"How do I bring more humour into the office?" You don't, you're the boss.

Alright, because when you're a boss, you work in a different context to other people.

Understand your position in relation to them. Understand that they may be afraid of you. Understand that they don't know if they can voice their true opinion. Understand that. And the context builds over time.

And I think you have to have a certain amount of emotional intelligence to process that, but that's what living in a society is all about.

But try and be yourself in as many places as you can, try and grow. And I think that's what building a relationship and communicating is all about.

But please, save your authentic self for the situations that deserve it.


Jen & Van Hansen are Real Estate Brokers at the boutique brokerage Apex Results Realty Inc. serving Halton | Hamilton, and surrounding areas. Say hello.. move forward with more™


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