Spending an Hour Interviewing Trevor Noah

Enjoyed spending an hour interviewing Trevor Noah yesterday at the University of Kentucky’s historic Memorial Coliseum. The conversation focused on race and equality.

Here are the questions that I asked:

  • Many are familiar with your life story told in “Born a Crime,” growing up mixed-race in Apartheid South Africa. Are there particular lessons from your experiences that you think would translate well to the higher education conversations surrounding race and social justice?
  • As we, the University of Kentucky, spend this next academic year, reflecting on the progress we’ve made over the last 70 years as an institution, what are some things we should keep in mind as we strive to move this work forward?
  • What role does higher education play in a national conversation regarding race and social justice? What do these institutions add to that conversation?
  • What from your background has made you particularly prepared to talk about the issues of race and social justice in America in a meaningful way?
  • What do you think the role of young people is going to be in terms of changing the discourse in our nation in the next five years? (Parkland and BLM, etc.) What will the role of youth activism be in social justice issues across the United States?
  • What has made some of the young leaders and activists you have met distinctive or that made them stand out in your mind? Is there something you can pinpoint that makes young leaders/innovators/activists stand out?
  • Is there a particular guest you have interviewed that had a real impact on you related to issues of race and social justice?
  • Is there one person in history you would like to interview on the issues of race and social justice? Who is that person and what would you like to ask him/her?
  • Could you speak to the importance of diversity in the comedy and entertainment industry? Why it is important that people of color are represented in particular spheres of influence across industries and professions?
  • How do you create and design humor that doesn’t offend but gives people some levity—and sense of engagement—around very serious topics like race and social justice?
  • Have you encountered any stories recently that have had a major impact on you?
  • We have a tendency to form relationships with persons we have the most in common. Can you think about a time when you established a relationship with someone that was different from you? What was the benefit of this relationship and what did you learn from it?
  • A hot topic on college campuses in recent years has been the tension between protection for free speech and space where hate speech can erupt. Can you share your perspective on this tension and how you see it shaping higher education environments in the US?

(CLARIFICATION: The space referred to is a college campus as a public institution where protecting the right for free speech can sometimes mean protecting the right for individuals to say things that could be offensive to others and perceived as hate speech. One example, would be in 2018 when the University of Virginia banned white supremacist speaker, Richard Spencer and other leaders of violent ‘Unite the Right’ rally.)

FUN QUESTIONS TO MIX IN:

  • What do you enjoy doing more – standup or the Daily Show?
  • What’s the backstory to your new podcast and what are you talking about in your episodes? Does a podcast allow you to reach different audiences?
  • Do you have a favorite Kentucky Bourbon and have you mixed it with Ale 8 One?

Unfortunately, due to the event contract, a video is not planned to be available to the public.

Here are a couple of pictures from the event.

 

The hour went by too fast! Also, see reporting about the event here: https://www.kentucky.com/…/celebrities/article234552032.html

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Twitter: @ProfessorJVH

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