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