Exclusive: Aasif Mandvi Talks National Geographic’s ‘Years Of Living Dangerously’

Aasif Mandvi appears on Episode 6 of National Geographic’s ‘Years Of Living Dangerously’

Q:  So you are on episode six on this show so what was it like being a correspondent on the show?

A:  It was amazing.  The only way I know how to interview people is being a douche and so that’s my interview style and so when I came into this I was like, ‘oh this is an incredibly important story.’  My story was about animals and how animals have been affected by climate change.  And we inserted some humor but mostly it felt like I was trying to learn and understand about the devastation of climate change and about the ecosystem and how fragile it is and how our planet is really fragile.  And when you go to Africa and see the elephants and the hippos and how vulnerable they are to the climate change, to what we are doing with the shipping industry and meat industries.  We have 500,000 elephants in the continent of African today and we are losing 30,000 a year and that means in 10-15 years there will not be any more elephants.  So your kids will never see an elephant and that is a devastating statistic, it is a remarkable statistic.  It all becomes abstract until you put it into that context.

Q:  How did you approach getting onto this program?  What made you interested in doing this?

A:  They came to me.  They were probably fans of mine from The Daily Show and they asked me to do it.  But, honestly, I went because I was like this is great, this is an adventure to go to Africa.  Why not?  But then I went and I became a part of this and this is the most important story of our lifetime.  Climate change is something that we have to deal with because if we don’t there will be no BlackLivesMatter or terrorism if we don’t have a planet.

Q:  Did your experience at The Daily Show and your other projects prepare you for such a critical and heavy topic?

A:  We did some really important stories on The Daily Show as well.  The only adjustments I had to make were to just not be a dick about everything.  Not to be so cynical about it all.  But we injected a certain amount of humor to get to the truth because sometimes provoking people through humor engages them.  But, this was the sort of thing I—sometimes on The Daily Show we would try and find the funny but here we were trying to find the truth of this.

Q:  Let’s pretend you were asked to come onto another episode on season 3.  What topic would you tackle on this hypothetical situation?

A:  I don’t know.  Let’s see if they ask me back but if they do I would like to go to space.


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