Transcript for Larry Charles on his new comedy docu-series
Let me ask you a question, can you find humor when you’re living in a tragic or deadly situation? Because that’s what the comedy veteran who worked on classics “Seinfeld,” “Curb your enthusiasm” and “Borat” is finding out in his new Netflix docu-series, “The dangerous world of comedy.” Take a look. It’s a dangerous world filled with hate and violence and war, and amazingly enough, comedy. Could you make a living as a comic in Iraq? Helping people forget they live in a war zone. How do you break into comedy in Somalia? Brave people to make dangerous comedy. It’s therapy. Laughterhe stress. Risking their lives just to make people laugh. You said that. I didn’t say that. Comedians will save the world. Please welcome Larry Charles. Larry, so — Before we start, I think we should talk about the hair for one more piece. Don’t you think there’s a little more hair discussion to be had. Sure, go ahead. I have the same hair as trump actually. That really threw me. If I grow it out lono that, you’re saying I could look like him? Yeah, you could. You may need an extra hour in the morning. You need a lot of glue. It doesn’t stay down. A helicopter is a big problem. You need like wranglers, hair wranglers. So Larry, you’re already a comedy legend here in the states. Thank you. Yes, you are. For those three shows that I just mentioned. All great shows. All the funniest shows W had here. What would possess you to go to these dangerous places? I went to Mogadishu and Somalia. A lot of things. It was a culmination of a lot of things that were going on. One of them was trump. I grew up in trump village in Brooklyn. Where is that? At the end of coney island and Brighton beach. I grew up there. I never heard of it. Where? Williamsburg. When he was elected this isolationism creeping in and I thought we don’t know anything about the rest of the world and now we’re going to know even less. I’ve had the good fortune to travel over the world doing the boat movies and things like that. Every place I had been to there were comedians. I would be in Jordan for instance and there would be a stand-up club in Jordan and all these places. So I started to Google just out of curiosity the most crazy, dangerous places in the world and comedy. No matter what I put in, no matter what I googled, there were always comedians. Somalia has comedians. I thought, they’re there, they’re living there, how do they do it? I knew myself I get to leave these countries, these oppressive regimes, come home, get the accolades, get the rewards, they’re stuck there. How do they live under those oppressive regimes and practice their comedy. That’s the series. The stakes of that was so different than the stakes we have here and I thought I have to go pursue that. It’s fascinating. My husband and I watched it and loved it. Some people might assume that comedy doesn’t exist in a place like war-torn Iraq of course but you’ve said that even under oppressive regimes, there were comedians there risking their lives, risking their lives. Yes, litly. Why would they do that? What did they say? Comedy in these other countries like a calling, like a religious calling. They feel they have a need to reach their audience and help them, help heal, help inform because these like the women from Saudi Arabia, they have to use social media to bypass the mainstream media to get their message out and wind up reaching millions of people that way. They have a very important message through the humor and the humor is sometimes used to inform and sometimes used to heal. Do they at least — are they careful about attacking the people in charge who might go after them? Are they careful? We’re not here obviously. In some countries — So far. In some countries there’s more caution. It depends on the individual. There’s a very courageous comedian in Iraq who hosts the Iraqi version of the Daily Show. It’s very anti-government and very anti-isis. He’s got both of them out to get him. He is not afraid. Most of the Iraqi comedians are prepared to be martyrs if it means they will eventually heal the wounds of Iraq. They want Iraq to be a country again. That’s what their desire is. So they’re willing to risk their lives for that. For freedom and the freedom of speech that we have in this country. Yes, yes. Amazing. Exactly. So I understand — I love this concept and I think it’s really fascinating and I understand comedy being used as a survival mechanism in bleak circumstances. Just me in my life, I completely understand it. But you did ask a member of ISIS what they laugh about. I hate ISIS. With all due respect, what should I care what a terrorist finds funny? He was a prisoner at that time wearing cuffs. I also talked to an Al shabaab terrorist who was defected. We can put everyone who does bad things to death, put them away and never hear from them and we’ll never understand, I think, and that’s the risk that we take. To me, the terrorism we know about is the end result of terrorism. We don’t know what really brings people to that point, you know. We’re talking about people whose countries are under attack from the time they’re children, so I thought it would be interesting to talk to people like that to find out how they reach that, and was there ever a moment where humor might have changed things. Al Bashir in Iraq talks a lot about how he has convinced people not to join ISIS through his humor. Do they find American humor funny? Do they ever reference that? All the countries I went to are addicted — western humor is the foundation everywhere. Everybody knows Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle. It’s amazing. That’s why I thought we should know them better. I love what you’re doing because we’ve gotten to this point in our country that we can’t even have a comic at the white house correspondents dinner. A lot of political correctness here. I have to go, I’m afraid but I’m sorry. I could talk to you — Yeah. Come back. I’d be happy to come back. I’m not even sure if you could do boat now. That’s correct. It would be a different movie now. Our thanks to Larry Charles. His dangerous world of comedy is streaming on Netflix now. Watch it.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.