Now what do you write? What do you write as a joke? It's like trying to write jokes about a comedian. The comedian already told the joke, so what is your joke gonna be?
Newkirk: You often talk about your perspective as an outsider from South Africa. Does this all shock you from that perspective?
Noah: Well to me, everything is normal. That's probably my greatest gift. I thought it was a curse when I first came, but then I realized everything is normal. I actually wasted time listening to people when I first started the show, because when I got here I said, “Oh, that Trump guy is gonna go far.” And everyone in the office said “Oh, what are you talking about? Oh man, we gotta explain American politics to you.” They said “There's a little thing that happens to us in the summer. We go a little bit crazy. And then what happens is by the autumn it calms down, and then by the primaries the people fall out.”
But I saw that the guy's charismatic, he's funny, and he's crazy. I want to watch that person. And because it seems like a reality show, I'd vote for him to stay. For me, because I didn't have the experience of the Sarah Palins and the Herman Cains, I was only operating from that view. That is still how I operate, and I realize that that's my advantage now. And I lean into that and talk about how I see things, because I'm seeing things for the first time. So I will speak to them from that point of view because a lot of the time, people have accepted things as being normal. I'll ask the question, and then people will say, “That's just how we've done it.” And I ask, “Why? Why do you do it like that?”
Newkirk: As a person who’s seen all this as an outsider, what does 2017 look like?
Noah: I've given up predicting anything. What I do know is, it all depends on the American election. I do think Trump losing will send a huge message to the world. Germany has that story now of right-wingers succeeding. Australia has that rising story. Austria has that story. Britain has that story. For America to say, “Oh no, that story failed here,” that just adjusts the course of everything. It's like winning a key battle against ISIS. All the sudden things shift and actually not all is lost. The one thing I do know is the West can't continue the way it's going. One thing I envy about Africa is there's all the room to grow. It's not an easy road, it's a very rocky path. We still have the ills that have been left behind for us by our colonizers, but there's all that room to grow. And once that starts, the sky's the limit.
Newkirk: You've got your first book coming out. How's the rollout on that feel?
Noah: Man, it's cathartic. It's a tough experience, but it's one where if you open up and if you're honest and you live within it, I found it really liberating. Sharing fears, ideas, past, and present. Going back sometimes helps me understand why I am here. Realizing that everything in my life is something that has brought me to this point. Even realizing how hard I've worked to be here, which sometimes I forget and people even make you forget. We live in the world of the now, and people will tell you, “Oh, you're a bad writer, or a bad comedian,” or whatever, but you forget how much you've gone through to get to that point. So writing the book was really special for me. It was also special because it made me appreciate the people in my life. Having to go back and remember good stories and moments and lessons that I've lived, I was like, “Wow.” I've lived quite a life and there are some amazing people in it.