Trevor Noah on juggling flaming swords hosting the 2023 Grammys

As Jay-Z says on one of his Grammy-winning hits, “On to the next one.”

Just a week after leaving The Daily Show, Trevor Noah has already landed his next big hosting gig: he will preside over the Grammys for the third straight year when the 65th annual ceremony takes place on February 5th.

“I don’t think it’s normal to host it once, so I don’t have a great frame of reference for that,” Noah told Billboard. “It is exciting. For me it’s a cheat code because I’m a fan of almost everyone who is there.”

This is the first time the awards are returning to the Arena. The Los Angeles venue formerly known as the Staples Center was home to the Grammy Awards from 1999 until the onset of the pandemic. In 2021, music’s biggest night took place in front of the Los Angeles Convention Center while moving to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for this year’s show.

“The first was … a completely different way of doing the show,” Noah said. “And then the next one was because of the restrictions in Las Vegas [in Los Angeles], and that was a different kind of show. Now it’s getting exciting [because] it will be … hopefully not just normal, but different for all the right reasons.”

Trevor Noah at the 2022 Grammys.
Trevor Noah returned to Las Vegas this year to host the Grammys for the second time.
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Trevor Noah and BTS at the 2022 Grammys.
Noah joked with BTS at the 2022 Grammys in April.
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The 38-year-old comedian brings a wealth of TV experience to the Grammy gig. “I was fortunate to work in television for 18 years – including South Africa,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to host crazy productions where everyone’s running around and you have to hit your targets and do different things. And most importantly – funnily enough – I don’t take myself too seriously. I take the liberty [to be] probably with the idea that everything could go wrong in a moment.”

With so many touching roles at the Grammys due to all the performances, Noah has more to think about on his feet than usual. “Once in a while [producers] don’t know where the artist is or someone went to the bathroom at the wrong time,” he said. “It’s just the craziest, most unfortunate thing that’s going to happen to you, and 99 times out of 100 it doesn’t happen. But when it happens, everyone needs to breathe and point everything in the right direction. We always plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

Trevor Noah and Silk Sonic at the 2022 Grammys.
Noah was Silk Sonic’s third honorary member at this year’s Grammys.
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While there’s a script at the Grammys, Noah likes to improvise. “Anyone who works with me knows I’m always going to go crazy,” he said. “If something happens that wasn’t in the script and you want to comment on it or make a joke about it, we do that and it’s fun… We don’t know what anyone might do before or after they perform, so it’s great to do it, to be able to react to it… I enjoy the fact that we are juggling flaming swords.”

Calling the Grammys “one of the greatest concerts you’re ever going to get a chance to see,” Noah added, “For me, the most important thing is that it’s a celebration.” Trevor Noah on juggling flaming swords hosting the 2023 Grammys

Emma Bowman

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