When you are honest in your comedy, you have to acknowledge the world that you're in. Through a comedic voice, you're talking about what needs to be talked about, whether it's race relations or politics or anything that's happening on a global or an American scale.
I like the anonymity, the fact that you're a stranger making strangers laugh. You aren't forcing them to laugh - it's involuntary, and that's when they give the most honest response.
I always believe that funny is serious and serious is funny. You don't really need a distinction between them.
If you laugh with somebody, then you know you share something.
I lost contact with my father for many years because of apartheid. For, like, six years, I didn't see my dad. And, now, this was the six years of being a teenager.
We get angry about the small things sometimes, I feel, so that we feel like we're doing something, so that we don't have to tackle the big things. And it's fine; let people do that. But I'm not gonna now change because of that. You know? Like, the worst thing that happens to me is you don't like me. And then what?
The older you get, the more you start to realize that you can't win an argument in a relationship. You can't win a fight with your woman. Because if you lose, you lose. And if you win, you lose.
I live in South Africa. I'm proud to live there. I've always said I want to be a comedian from South Africa in the world. I will stay in places for a bit here and there and pop into New York for a while, maybe stay in London for a year, but my home will always be South Africa. I enjoy it too much.
The truth is, people don't know me. When people don't know you, they're going to try to get to know you as quickly as possible, because you're now taking the place of somebody that they love dearly, or somebody that they hate sincerely, and so they need to know who you are.
I was born in South Africa during apartheid, a system of laws that made it illegal for people to mix in South Africa. And this was obviously awkward because I grew up in a mixed family. My mother's a black woman, South African Xhosa woman... and my father's Swiss, from Switzerland.
What I've always said about comedy is if you do it in the right way, you can say anything to anybody because they know where you're coming from. They know it's not malicious.
I'm not a big Hollywood guy. I don't know how the machine works. I leave that to people better than myself.
I don't think I have thick skin, but I heal fast. It's easy to break through, but I heal fast.
I'm not an abrasive person. I do speak my mind, but my goal is never to offend. I don't intentionally want to strike a chord.
We've got so many different cultural groups in my family that I've had to learn to accommodate them in different ways. My father speaks different to my mum. My mum speaks different to my grandmother. Everybody speaks different, so you find you start tweaking your language to be more accessible to people.
You have two choices, two paths to take as a comedian. You can tackle the difficult subjects and be harsh about it, be brash, be abrasive. But adding hatred to racism is not going to help everybody. So I like to have fun around it.
During my New York run, I injured my voice badly. I was getting increasingly hoarse, and it finally gave up. The doctor said I had two choices. Either cancel things, or try my luck and perhaps never speak again. That's not much of a choice.
If you look at it, the history of comedy has always been strongest among the nations who have been persecuted the most.
My mom, through my dad, rented the apartment next door to his... he had the lease on both places. But then, she would dress up and act like his maid... a practical maid. No fantasies.
The first purpose of comedy is to make people laugh. Anything deeper is a bonus. Some comedians want to make people laugh and make them think about socially relevant issues, but comedy, by the very nature of the word, is to make people laugh. If people aren't laughing, it's not comedy. It's as simple as that.
We live in the Internet age. Everyone wants clicks. Clicks are what sells.
My mom used to get arrested for being with my dad. She would get fined. She would spend weekends in jail.
My ideal setting is I walk from the streets, backstage, and straight onto the stage. Two minutes, and I am on the stage. That way, in my head I have gone from my world and then into a social setting with my friends.
There's more outrage on Twitter about a One Direction split or about what one band member said to another than there is about institutionalized racism and something huge.
I was doing a show at the Comedy Store which Eddie Izzard saw, and we chatted for a bit afterwards. I didn't really know he was; we just hung out as comedians together, and when he heard my story, he said, 'Why don't you tell that on stage?' I didn't really want to burden people with all that, but he said that I could have fun with it.
I want my audience to be my friends - that is when they will get the best comedy. If they see me as a performer, they won't get the best show.
Most of my show is true; like, 90% of everything I say on stage is true. I just have to find the way to make it funny - that's the difficult thing.
If I'm doing something on stage, and it evokes an emotion, then I might show that emotion, but I also don't believe in being a preacher. If you have a point, that's a bonus. But the funny has to come first; otherwise, you shouldn't call yourself a comedian.
I'm a quarterback. I don't need to score the touchdown. I just need to spot the pass.
I'm literally driving in the middle of the night, and my phone rings, and my manager says, 'How would you like to be the host of the Daily Show?' I get out the car, and I didn't have legs. You know in those movies where there's an explosion? But instead of the sound of the explosion, you hear the silence. That's literally what happened.
Nobody owns comedy. Nobody owns a premise. Nobody owns an idea.
I was the first in my family to board an airplane. I was the first in my family to get kicked off an airplane.
I've never been afraid to fall in love, nor impatient to find it.
Comedy is really getting quite popular in South Africa.
I live in a country where I'd say nine out of ten people know me when I walk through the streets. There's people taking pictures, there's tabloids trying to make up stories. I'm used to that. The same thing when I'm in Australia or the U.K.: I get stopped.
As a comedian, I'm forced to have a tough skin. Until people laugh, they are detractors. You walk into a new audience where nobody knows you, they go: 'Make us laugh. Show us what you're made of. Prove why we should be listening to you.'
I'm not a confrontational person or comedian. I think we can explore more things if one of us is not fighting with the other. I take it easy. But I do like comedians who are very different from myself: I love dry comics with deadpan one-liners. I look on and think, 'That's amazing; why didn't I think of that?'
I've always been a fan of issues around race and racialism, and I've loved playing with it. People act as though it isn't an issue, but it's a recurring theme in our lives globally.
Maybe it's because I come from a very utopian world of being a comedian, but I'm used to many live comedy performances going on in any city I'm in, and each of us is trying to be the best at what we do. I don't think of it as a competition so much as a thriving comedy economy.
Africa's not a color - it's a place.
I don't know how to let loose when I'm dancing to the music and the people that made the music are watching me. I've never felt so much pressure in my life.
America was a thing I saw on TV - that wasn't a real world. That wasn't within my realm of dreaming.