Zaef received a creation grant in partnership with the Atelier des Artistes en Exil. 


What is your artistic background?

When I was a taxi driver in Abidjan and then in Libreville in Gabon, it was my clients, to whom I started telling stories, who convinced me to go on stage. I trained with Omar Defunzu, and performed in various TV programmes, festivals and stages devoted to comedy, and I won prizes. I also participated in writing the TV series Taxi Sagateand Kongossa Télécomfor Canal+ Afrique and TV5 Monde. Arriving in France in 2016, I performed with the stage name Zaef Le Sans-Papiers. In August 2019, I created my show Il fallait bien que quelqu'un le dise. I am a member of the Atelier des Artistes en Exil.


How do you view your profession?

For me, today it is difficult to deal with all subjects without walking on eggshells. It is also important to stand out with a different style because many subjects have already been tackled. The competition is tough. I also have the impression that as comedians, we lack media coverage despite all the social networks. It's also important to have a morality behind your work. 


How do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?

My first goal is to get a residence at a venue so that I can perform several times a week. My long-term goal would be to fill the Olympia show venue, because one can always dream! 


This interview was conducted in 2020

Photo credit: Kamila K. Stanley