Trevor Noah is ready to face one of the toughest audiences of his career — the millions watching as he once again hosts the Grammy Awards.
"It is easily the most nerve-wracking thing that I do, but I love it every single time," Noah tells The Associated Press ahead of Sunday's telecast. "Each year there’s a new highlight and a new moment that is embedded into my memory."
The 2024 Grammy Awards will air live on CBS and Paramount+ from the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. The telecast — with SZA having a leading nine nominations — will be Noah's fourth consecutive hosting gig for the awards.
He said he's looking forward to the live performances, especially ones by nominated artists Burna Boy, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa and Travis Scott.
"I always love seeing artists who have an innate understanding of how different and powerful the live experience is, and I think Burna Boy is one of those artists," Noah said. "He really excels in transforming live energy into a special moment in time.
"Billie Eilish has never given a half-hearted performance. Every time she’s on stage, it feels like watching a vignette from a classic film. It’s really thought-out and beautiful. I think Dua Lipa is one of the best pop performers of our lifetime. She does a fantastic job for this generation. Travis Scott is definitely going to be doing something crazy, so we should get ready for that. I would tune in because I think it’s a good mix of predictably amazing and then unpredictably amazing as well."
The comedian, best known for hosting Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show" from 2015-22, just won an Emmy Award for best talk series for the last season of the show. He previously won one in 2017 for hosting a spin-off show, "The Daily Show — Behind the Scenes," which was voted outstanding short-form variety series.
Noah is not only a host this year — he's also a nominee, with his comedy album "I Wish You Would" up against "I’m an Entertainer" by Wanda Sykes, "Selective Outrage" by Chris Rock, "Someone You Love" by Sarah Silverman and "What’s in a Name?" by Dave Chappelle.
"I’ve looked into all the Grammy bylaws, and there’s nothing that says being the host will give you any leg up in winning the award," Noah jokes. "I think Dave Chappelle is the favorite because he’s always the favorite, and rightfully so."
If that happens, don't expect Noah to be complaining that he lost the Grammy to Chappelle or that it's the second time he's lost a best comedy album Grammy to Chappelle.
"I don’t understand how people live in a world where you can lose something that you never had. I’ve never won a Grammy. I don’t have a Grammy. Unless Dave Chappelle comes to my house and takes my Grammy. I can never lose the Grammy to him," he says.
Award show hosts have had a rough few years, with The Slap marring the Oscars in 2022 and comedian Jo Koy getting critically panned at the Golden Globes earlier this year.
"In my head, it was always hard being a host. I always assumed anything could happen. I guess the very nature of comedy has always felt like that for me," says Noah. "I never blame an audience. I might not enjoy an audience, but I never blame an audience."
Harvey Mason Jr., president and CEO of the Recording Academy, has got Noah's back, calling the comedian "a total pro" as host.
"There’s never a hesitation, never a hiccup. There’s never a stumble. Second of all, he relates so well to the artists and to the music community in my mind, because he’s a fan and he’s an appreciator and a lover of music," says Mason.
Noah says he's enjoying his life post-"The Daily Show," which includes hosting the interview podcast "What Now? with Trevor Noah" which has attracted the likes of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Bill Gates, Kerry Washington and DaBaby.
"I’m trying to build a platform where I get really comfortable and people get really comfortable having honest and open conversations with each other," says Noah. "We’re in a little short supply of that compassion for each other as human beings."