InfluencesNoah has said of his comedic influences, "The kings are indisputable. Richard Pryor; [Bill] Cosby; for me personally I didn't know of him before I started comedy but Eddie Murphy changed my view on the thing and I definitely look up to him as a comedic influence. Chris Rock in terms of the modern black comedian and Dave Chappelle. Those are the guys that have laid the foundation and have moved the yardstick for all comedians, not just Black comedians." He also cited Jon Stewart as an influence, following his appointment to succeed Stewart as host of The Daily Show.
Noah's mixed-race ancestry, his experiences growing up in Soweto, and his observations about race and ethnicity are leading themes in his comedy.
Personal lifeNoah is a polyglot; he speaks several languages including English, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Tswana, Tsonga, Afrikaans, and some German.
In 1992, Noah's mother was married to Ngisaveni Abel Shingange, and while married they had two sons, Andrew and Isaac. She divorced him in 1996. In 2009, after she became engaged to Sfiso Khoza, Shingange shot her in the leg and head, stopping when the gun jammed; she survived as the bullet to the head avoided the brain and all major nerves and blood vessels. When Noah confronted him on the phone about the shooting, Shingange threatened his life, prompting Noah to leave Johannesburg for Los Angeles. In 2011, Shingange was convicted of attempted murder, and sentenced the following year to three years of correctional supervision. Noah stated that he hoped the attention surrounding the incident would help the domestic abuse problem in South Africa: "For years my mother reached out to police for help with domestic abuse, and nothing was ever done. This is the norm in South Africa. Dockets went missing and cases never went to court."
Noah has described himself as being progressive and having a global perspective. However, he has clarified that he considers himself a "progressive person", but not a "political progressive" and prefers not to be categorized as either right or left in the context of US partisanship.
He has been in a relationship with model Jordyn Taylor since 2015.