Comedy Knights stars Babou Joe, Michael Sengazi, Herve Kimenyi, and Prince are set to perform at the New York Comedy Festival taking place on November 9. The New York Comedy Festival is an annual event hosted by Guilio Gallarotti, a stand-up comedian based in New York. Renowned comedians like Tracy Morgan, Wanda Sykes, and Trevor Noah have graced the festival’s stage numerous times, making it an ideal stepping stone for comedians on the journey to stardom. ALSO READ: Comedy Knights stars return with new show Speaking to The New Times, Babou Joe, one of the troupe’s founding members, delved into their anticipated performance at the festival, and why such opportunities are essential to the evolution of local talent. Babu Joe and Michael Sengazi from Comedy Knights first got acquainted with Gallarotti a couple of years ago through Facebook, when Gallarotti messaged the pair expressing interest in watching them perform in a comedy show—after which he was invited to a Comedy Knights show in Kigali. Gallarotti shot a documentary in Kigali upon his visit that featured the two and their friendship and camaraderie have blossomed ever since, according to Babou. “We met Guilio through Facebook and we invited him to watch a Comedy Knights show we were putting together. He came to Kigali and attended the show, and he also shot a documentary with us. “We’ve spent over 13 years trying to develop the comedy industry in Rwanda and Burundi and supporting other comedians, creating workshops for young comedians and we want to add to that,” he said. While the prospective opportunity to perform at the New York Comedy Festival this November appears to be one of a kind, Comedy Knights already made their debut in the festival’s comedic scene in 2022 as they performed virtually for the festival’s 2022 edition. ALSO READ: Comedy Knights goes virtual After spending over a decade trying to refine Rwanda’s comic scene, Babou shed light on how important it is to showcase their well-nurtured comedic talent on global stages, citing the sense of fulfillment that comes with working on projects beyond borders. “There are many comedians there doing shows that I like, and I am humbled and excited to be a part of this and I am preparing to do a great job. I need to represent and make it the beginning of something special. Doing this on an international level will be more fulfilling.” In recent years, local Rwandan talent has toured Europe, Canada, and the US for relatively highly anticipated shows for the Rwandan diaspora, and with the opportunity to participate in the New York Comedy Festival, Babu hopes to kick-start the culture of partaking in entertaining performances that are more inclusive because tailoring performances that only appeal to Rwandans is not the right route to being mainstream. “It feels good to try to do this on an international stage and we are grateful for the platform. We need more multilateral collaborations because that’s what’s going to take us out of the cocoon of Rwanda or just East Africa. We need to be able to show the world that Rwanda has intelligent eloquent comedians. We need to do shows that are inclusive for everybody, especially when we go to these tours, we shouldn’t be performing just for Rwandans,” Babou said. Comedy Knights will put together their regular “Caravane du rire” comic festival in March next year.