Comedy blog

Edinburgh Fringe 2014 interview: Andrew O’Neill

Andrew O’Neill is as much influenced by rock Gods like Metallica and Mastodon as by any comedian he’s ever looked up to.

The two subjects come together in Andrews’ Edinburgh Fringe show this year, where he brings us a history of heavy metal. With laughs, presumably.



Hallo Andrew. How are you today?

I am covered in mosquito bites. This is what comes from organising a last-minute gig on Hampstead Heath at dusk. Could have been worse. Could have been wolves.

What inspired you to teach Edinburgh audiences about the history of metal this year?

Satan is in all of our hearts. We can either choose to fight against him and struggle towards the light, or embrace the darkness and do as we are bid. If we listen, our True Will becomes evident and the path through to the chaos becomes clear. Also I have a new guitar I want to show off to people.

Any particularly interesting facts you uncovered in your research?

The keyboard shortcut for an umlaut Ö is ALT 148.

Are there any metal musicians you’d like to see try stand-up comedy?

Lars from Metallica never fucking sits down, so he’d be a contender. Lou Koller the frontman for the hardcore band Sick Of It All is funny as hell. And I could listen to Ozzy all day.

You just played Glastonbury with your band ‘The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing’. How was that? And any plans for Fringe performances?

Surprisingly enjoyable. I’d never been before and I was worried I’d end up killing some trustafarian out of pure Class War hatred but there were way more actual old-school festival people than I thought. In fact quite a lot of the people in the bit we were in (Shangri-La) looked like they’ve never left the site since 1980. The Men are currently on hiatus cos our frontman Andy has gone and got himself cancer. He’s currently baking in radiation like a microwave meal that’s been left to stand, but he’ll be fighting fit and ready to record our new album by the time we get back. I cannot fucking wait.

What else are you looking forward to in Edinburgh this year?

My other FREE show MINDSPIDERS is proving really fun to write. Pure surreal stand-up weirdness. Plus sleeping in the same bed for a month. That’s always nice.

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

Hermann Schramm (1871–1951) was a German tenor who sang at the Frankfurt Opera in the 1920s and made several recordings for HMV Germany. Although he was Jewish he escaped the deportation and subsequent fate of his colleagues at the Frankfurt Opera, Richard Breitenfeld, Magda Spiegel, bass Hans Erl and violinist Moses Slager, since he was married to an “Aryan” wife, and his children had been raised as Christians. Hans Meissner, head of the opera, intervened personally for Schramm with the mayor in 1933 when Erl and others had to be dismissed from the opera. A chance anecdote reveals Schramm, then 72, as a witness in the 1950 trial of low-ranking Gestapo officer Heinrich Baab who scoured the streets of Frankfurt after 1940 looking for Jews. Schramm was witness to the arrest of a Jewish woman caught with a tramway ticket in her handbag – evidence of her using public transport. Schramm attempted to intervene and was repeatedly struck in the face by Baab, but not himself arrested.

Andrew O’Neill’s A History Of Heavy Metal
Pleasance Dome
Aug 1 – 24, 10.45pm

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