Everyone loves to laugh. That's why we love comedians. And although a lot of comedians can entertain us it's a rare few that can make us laugh and think. Trevor Noah is one of them.
Some how, despite their initial differences nothing seems to go as well together as politics and comedy. As the executive producer, writer and of course, host to the award winning The Daily Show which he took over from previous host, comedy giant, Jon Stewart, it's Trevor's job to make us laugh and think.
With big shoes to fill, Trevor has come into his role as late night talk show host with a fresh, new perspective, covering the current American election cycles that are arguably their most conservational (and entertaining).
"I see things as I see them and I say things as I say them, sometimes people won't like it and sometimes people will like it, but that for me is good comedy," Trevor says. "We are in a race that is unprecedented completely. The US is experiencing something that they've never experienced before. And that is a man with a thing on his head and him saying things that are scaring a lot of people."
Trevor doesn't miss a beat. There's a witty comment, joke or punch line on the ready that is so flawlessly delivered in mid conversation that you can't help but do a double take before laughing.
Trevor was in Dubai to launch the Comedy Central channel who are the globally leaders really for all things that make us laugh. Launched last night on Channel 207 on OSN for viewers of the Middle East, the exposure of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah to the region is one of the first steps in playing a key and central role in making us understand complex political ideas and personalities all the while making us laugh of course.
City Times met the incredibly humble, witty, obliging and well dressed Trevor who told us what he loves about Dubai, the importance of comedy as a vehicle for change and who he is on stage.
On Dubai . . .
I really love Dubai. I think what I love most about Dubai is that it's acting as a gateway to the UAE. You're seeing a lot of cultural influence coming in from different places in the world and you're also seeing a way for the world to experience the culture of the UAE which is really something that I think is necessary for helping us to just understand each other in the world in general.
Comedy in Dubai
I always believed there is comedy everywhere. I think the challenge is always just finding the rhythm of that comedy, you know? Connecting with the people there in that place. For me I always say comedy is like food. It's about finding the spices of the region and everyone eats so . . .
Stage Persona . . .
When I go on stage, what I do is I go into the most honest version of who I am. Where as when you are in everyday life you adapt your persona to the situation that you are in, you're code switching. You have different personas, when you're with your friends you're very different then when you're with your family and when you're with family you're very different to how you are at work. That's what we do as people. For me comedy is me bringing all of those aspects to myself at one time on stage. So that, I would say, is the most honest version of myself.
The Launch of the Daily Show on OSN . . .
I'm excited when we can move to any new region. I think my goal is to grow the Daily Show into a show that can be telling stories of the world, doing comedy for everyone, everywhere in the world just because I think it helps people get perspective. A lot of the time people assume that they are living in the worst place or the worst thing is happening to them or the best thing is happening to them. It's nice to give people some perspective about what's happening somewhere else around the world. So I think that's really exciting is to be on OSN, cause OSN is in so many different countries in the region and in North Africa as well. So that's really exciting.
On taking over from Jon Stewart
It's like following in the footsteps of a great president or a great sports player. There is an immense amount of doubt or pressure. With all of that comes an amazing opportunity. I think that's one of the greatest things, realising that opportunity and acting on it.
On adding his own style of humor to the Daily Show . . .
It will always be a challenge. But I think what will happen is over time the audience will slowly morph into an audience that has an equal interest in what's happening in the world as much as what's happening in America. That is my dream is to get to a place where I have an audience that is sharing in that vision that I have.
Trevor's comedy . . .
My comedy has been me going to as many places in the world as possible, trying to form an opinion based on a world view and then to go from there.
Comedy and Politics
I think comedy helps because it opens up (conversation). Comedy disarms people because if people are laughing then they are not fighting. It's as simple as that. So, if you can say something to someone and make them laugh, their defenses are down and now they are thinking. I think that's probably what gives comedy the power that it has.
Perceptions of Politics . . .
People's perception of politics is what makes you believe that you're not into politics. People think that politics is the deepest policies or . . . politics is really many different levels. It's not just the government, it's social, it's not what's happening in terms of laws that are being passed but it's also just how we are interacting in society or what is being done to further those interactions or limit them. I've always been involved in that or into it in some way or another.
Comedy as a vehicle for change . . .
Comedy has always been progressive. Comedy is about improving and changing conversations. I think, comedy most importantly is about challenging the status quo, that's a lot of time what comedy is. Comedians observe what's considered the norm and find the flaws in that norm and find how to challenge that norm.
Favourite comedians . . .
I would have to say Eddie Murphy is probably one of my favourites and yes I'm still a huge fan of his. I don't know what to say when I meet him. Eddie Murphy was probably the de facto comedian for me.
Extroverted or introverted
I'm mostly an outsider and outsiders generally just sit and watch. It's just my personality, I just like to sit and watch. People think an introvert is someone who sits at home, doesn't speak to anybody. But really an introvert is somebody who speaks but mostly in their mind. So yeah, it's what I like doing, people watching.
On Fame . . .
You can never completely separate (from fame) because it's a part of who you are and what you do. I don't mind living my life apart from fame. In fact if there was a way to do that I would accept it gladly. I also don't deny some of its benefits. Fame is what it is, I think you choose, whether you amplify it or whether you just accept that it's part of the parcel with what you're doing. I know it exists, it knows I exist and that's what we do.
By Maán Jalal
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