Comedy blog

Edinburgh Fringe 2014 interview: Joe Wells

Despite some voices to the contrary political comedy in the UK is in a strong state with Mark Thomas’ brilliant tiny acts of rebellion, Josie Long’s earnest efforts to educate young people and Chris Coltrane’s inventive activism all continuing to inspire and entertain.

Add to that list Joe Wells who has emerged as one of the leading young voices on the satirical left, even earning a spot as your support for Alexia Sayle.

His first full show at the Edinburgh Fringe promises to tackle the seedy underbelly of the Conservative Party. And all the other seedy bits too probably.


Hallo. How are you today?

I am good thank you, how are you? I said how are you? Fine, just ignore me.

The Fringe seems to be just round the corner now. How are you feeling? Nervous? Excited? Hungry?

I’m feeling quietly confident, I’ve got a show that I’ve been working on for over a year now that I’m really pleased with. I love the fringe and have always wanted to take up an hour-long show but the standard there is so high that I wanted to make sure that I had something I was really proud of before I went.

You’ve performed at the Fringe before, including a show with Tom Toal. What have you learnt in that time?

That I’m bad at flyering, really bad. I don’t know what to say to people, I’m like a teenage boy trying to chat up an older and more attractive girl.

Your show is about the ‘grisly past’ of the conservative party. Are there any revelations that stand out?

Obviously if you go back in history then there’s all sorts of dark secrets but section 28 (legislation outlawing the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools among other places) wasn’t repealed until 2000. It’s scary to think that was something happening in my lifetime, that there are people in cabinet now who supported that legislation and believed that gay people go round recruiting children into the ‘homosexual lifestyle’.

What do you hope people take away from your show?

The take home message is that class still matters, that working class people are getting screwed over by the rich and we should be angry.

Are you secretly hoping Michael Gove turns up one day?

No, he’s not really my target audience.

Do you have a favourite memory or experience of the Fringe?

Arthur Smith’s late night tour of the royal mile is always brilliant anarchic fun.

Other than see great shows, what would you recommended to someone visiting Edinburgh?

Seeing some terrible shows (“We agree” – Ed)

Here’s a space to write anything you want about any subject. Go for it:

I’ll write about the PBH Free Fringe then. My show this year (12 noon 2nd – 23rd august, viva mexico) is part of the Free Fringe which means that it costs nothing to come see the show but there is a bucket collection at the end. Free Fringe also hugely cuts on the cost of me taking a show to Edinburgh. It means that people like me who don’t have any income other than my fledgling comedy career can take a show to the fringe without getting into thousands of pounds of debt. It’s a brilliant thing and there are some great shows on the Free Fringe this year.

Night of the Living Tories
Aug 2 – Aug 23, noon
Viva Mexico, 41 Cockburn Street

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