What Trevor Noah Remembered When His Life Flashed Before His Eyes

Noah recounted a daring experience on a friends trip to Costa Rica.

Trevor Noah recounted an adventure that made his life flash before his eyes...in an unexpected way. On the Jan. 18 episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Noah told Stephen about a whitewater rafting trip in Costa Rica and showed the host pictures of his capsized raft and submerged friends. 

Noah explained that Costa Rica was the latest destination for an annual friends' trip. "I've been lucky enough to have the same group of friends going on. What are we now? 14, 15 years from South Africa? We all started our careers together. Different paths, different journeys, but every year we make sure that we go on a friend's trip," he said. 

"Doesn't matter where it is. Sometimes South Africa, sometimes, you know, it can be California. And this time was Costa Rica. We do something that we don't really want to do for the experience. And so this year, I picked Whitewater River rafting." Colbert then began to show a few photos from the rafting excursion to the camera.  "Here you are," Colbert said. "About to go over the falls. And that's, that's, that's you right there, right?" The late-night host noted that Noah wasn't paddling. 

"You're not supposed to," Noah said. "There's points where you paddle, and then there's points where you don't, and you have to listen to the guy who's on the back. So our guy, Chico, he was telling us, he's like, guys, you're going to be paddling. When I say stop, you stop, you put the oars up. When I say paddle, you paddle go. He continued, "So I'm listening the whole time like, stop, go, stop, go. Yes, I've got it. That's what I'm doing. Yes. Right. And then he goes, we're coming into a rapid. It's gonna be great. I was like, all right, we ready for it. Rapids are great. Rapids are cool. You go through a few, you're like, this is easy, this is fun. And then, it's not." 

Colbert displayed another photo of the raft flipping over in the churning waters, the only thing visible being a friend's lower leg and shoe. Noah claimed his"life flashed before my eyes," when the raft overturned, insisting that when that happens is also when "you also remember random things." "Well everyone thinks it's gonna be like, oh, when you were born? When I was just like, ah... that's where I left that controller," Noah quipped. "It's like random things like that come into your head." 

While Colbert called it "a wonderful picture to look at," Noah added that "when you're in it, it's cool because you don't know that it's happened yet." "And then the next thing you know, there's no boat under you. The water's on top of you, the boat's on top of you, and then you're like, oh, I don't think I'm in a boat anymore. But you still have your paddle."

The next photo elicits laughter as a waterlogged Noah can be seen using the raft to climb out of the water. "And this, and this is well past when you've realized what's happened," Colbert said. "Yeah. So that's, that's the face when I realize... I was having a good time until one of my closest friends decided to pull me down into the water to try and lift himself up," Noah replied to more laughter from the audience. 

"And you said that river rafting is, this experience is, a metaphor for life. How so?," Colbert asked. "I truly think it is. I think in life, you know, you, you on, you're on a river. You can't control what the river's gonna be like. There's gonna be moments where it's beautiful and calm," Noah said. "There's gonna be moments where there are rapids that shake you up. You don't know what your life will be like. What you can control is the people you are in the boat with. And so I'm glad I chose those people for my life. For that boat ride, for that journey."