The South African comedian tells us how he fell into comedy, his Dubai plans and what makes him laugh.
You worked as an actor and TV presenter, what made you switch to comedy?
I wasn’t attracted to comedy at all; it was just something I stumbled into. I always did it as a hobby but it was never something where I was like, you know, ‘I’d love to do that’. A friend told me to do it, and I did. And it was the weirdest thing ever.
You’ve discussed life in South Africa during Apartheid. What topics can we expect from the Dubai gig?
I always try to talk about what’s going on in my life and in the world. So this show is different. It’s just stuff that I’ve noticed from the past year – little stupid things all the way through to big issues. I’ve got a bit in there about South Africa, and the Oscar Pistorius trial, but the truth is, when I do shows, I almost try to let the audience decide the shape of them.
You’re constantly on tour and you’ve appeared on chat shows in America. Was it always a dream of yours to make it big there?
Not at all, funnily enough. My dream was to become a computer programmer and my other dream was just to be able to pay the rent. So, really, all these other things have been fantastic bonuses in life. I don’t think I dreamed about it because the idea that some random kid in South Africa could end up onstage on the Tonight Show, or working with Jon Stewart, that was beyond my belief.
What’s the worst heckling you’ve ever gotten?
I was heckled in the UK for the first time in my life: I came on stage and said, ‘Hello, I’m from South Africa’, and some guy started booing me. I didn’t know what to do because I didn’t know what heckling was – we don’t really heckle in South Africa. I’ll never forget that; I just wanted to cry and run away.
What’s the last thing that made you laugh?
I guess it was flying this morning. I was genuinely fascinated by how, every time someone stands up in an aeroplane, if they stand up to get something from the overhead locker, they always look around at everybody when they do it. I don’t know why they do it; it’s such a weird experience and I found it really funny.
You’ve been to Dubai before. Are you looking forward to doing anything this time?
I’m there for about a week, so I’m really excited. I can’t wait to go to brunch. I’m definitely doing that – it’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I got to drink out of a watermelon with a straw, which sounds useless, but it really changed my life. There’s just something magical about Dubai.
Dhs280. Trevor Noah: Lost in Translation. 8.30pm. March 25-28. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, www.ductac.org.