(1978-01-20) 20 January 1978 (age 38) Trappes, France
Hélène (m. 2007; 5 children)
Nothing in my younger life could have told me I would have needed to know how to speak English.
When I was a boy, my older brothers listened to Earth, Wind & Fire and Kool and the Gang. When I would try to get into their room, they would close the door and say, 'You can't hear that. It's not for a child!' Now, I can listen to it and enjoy it.
When I was young, a lot of things were closed off to me. I was always told, 'Don't do this, you can't do that' - instead of stopping me, it made me think, 'I can do that, I must do that.'
I understood from a very young age that school was important and that my parents were making great sacrifices for me. Every morning I saw my father get up and go to a job that he didn't really like. They came to France for the same reasons all immigrants move to another country - so their kids could have a better way of life.
I never predicted that I'd be a comedian, but it was something that came so naturally to me. I just felt good doing it.
I'm definitely more at ease with comedy - that's where I started out - and so it's my first love, so to speak, and I have more of a sensibility for it and more familiar with it. Having said that, I also want to be open to everything else.
People only look at you and say, 'You are black and you are from the banlieue,' and all the doors are closed. I had the desire to be something else. If I see a door that is a little open, I will find a way to get through.
I began in radio in 1997 on a radio show hosted by a now very famous comic, Jamel Debbouze. I would fake call listeners.
I really like to kid around, and it's my own way of concentrating. In order for me to be able to feel better and concentrate, I need everybody else around me to be relaxed.