Chris Coltrane is the prince of absurd political comedy and he’s set for another Edinburgh Festival.
Hello. How are you today?
More importantly, how are YOU today? Haha, no, that was just a joke – it’s me that’s most important. I’m great! It’s 10am and I’ve already had a Twix, so don’t you worry about me, mum.
Are you ready for another month of Edinburgh Fringe action?
Yeah, I reckon. I’m still putting a lot of finishing touches to my show – there’s always a new news story I want to mention, or a stupid politician quote I want to put in. My show is currently 98% written, and 70% learnt. Instead of panicking at how much I’ve got to rehearse, let’s all be excited at the possibility of success! I do think this is the show out of all my shows that I’m the most passionate about though, so my energy levels are high.
I’m also doing a one-off free secret show on August 18th called “Chris Coltrane Tries To Learn How To Pronounce The Word Squirrel”. I’m not prepared for this, because the only thing I *could* do to prepare for it is learn how to pronounce the word Squirrel, which would defeat the whole point of the show. Please come along and help me to learn. I need to learn so badly.
At this stage, how closely does your programme blurb match the content of your show?
We have to submit our blurbs in around February, which is a huge problem for political comedy, because the thing about politics is that it does change rather quickly. For example, who would have guessed in February that Jeremy Corbyn would be President? That Nigel Farage would have his own range of women’s pants for sale in Asda’s? That Donald Trump would become a manager at CarpetRight? I basically had to re-write my entire show from scratch to accommodate these three facts, that I really hope I’ve understood correctly, otherwise I’ve fully wasted my time.
It is a genuine problem though. Part of the reason that I called my show Left-Wing Propaganda Machine is that I had to choose a title that would bring my kind of people in, and keep awful people away, but without tying me to a theme that might just not be relevant in half a year’s time! I knew it would sum up the spirit of the show, even though at the time I had no idea what was going to *be* in the show. It’s a preposterous system, really. Imagine if books worked like that. “I’m writing a new book, it’s called Lord Of The Flies. No idea what it’ll be about yet. Maybe some dude who’s the boss of some flies? I’ll get a better idea once I read it out loud in previews.”
What are your tips for getting people to see your show?
Well, as we all know, political comedy is extremely unpopular. We know this because TV executives tell us it is, despite the fact that almost every political comedy show at the Fringe has packed audiences every single day. But forget that: TV is correct.
So, I have to lie to get an audience in. Usually I tell them it’s a live cookery show. If they look old I’ll tell them it’s a racist cooking show. If they look young I’ll also tell them it’s a racist cooking show. British people are quite racist, you see, so it appeals to them. The British love foreign food, but they don’t love foreigners. Basically British people are garbage. (That’s not racist against British people, because it’s true.)
Once I’ve got the audience in, they soon find out that it’s not a cooking show at all, and that the levels of racism in my show are so low that you could almost say there’s no racism in it at all. But by then they’re trapped, and are forced to listen to my hour of good jokes. They leave better people, and are always grateful for my elaborate trick.
Is there anyone in particular you’d like to see in your audience?
Taylor Swift. I think me and her could be really good friends, plus we could do kissing practice afterwards which would be nice.
Who are you sharing a flat with this festival and how will you help each other survive the month?
I’m living with the sketch group Sad Faces, as well as Brydie Lee-Kennedy and Kieran Hodgson. I’m friends with them all apart from Kieran who I’ve never met, but who everyone says is lovely. I expect to begin with we’ll be rivals, but then we’ll be forced to bond when we realise it’s only us that can defeat Vladmir Putin when he invades on August 19th, after which we’ll have a deep #respect for each other. That’s what usually happens.
I help everyone survive by waking them up with one of my patented Cuddles™. It’s like a normal cuddle, but I also use my tongue.
Other than the great shows, what else are you looking forward to about your trip to Edinburgh this year?
I’m planning on doing some pretty hot banging.
What’s your topping at The Baked Potato Shop on Cockburn Street?
Chocolate. Hold the baked potato.
Here’s a space to write about anything you want. Go for it.
At present there is literally NO BUZZ about my show, which is a shame because it’s by far my favourite one that I’ve ever done. I’m really proud of the jokes, and hopefully I’m saying what a lot of people wish was being said more in the mainstream media. If you like jokes and lefty politics, please come to my show!
The list of shows I want to see is preposterously long. I can’t wait to see Lolly Adefope’s debut. The Story Beast is going to be a triumph, as is his fellow Beta Males star Richard Soames. Nick Doody and Stuart Goldsmith always knock it out of the park. Stuart Black is the best of the best. And I did previews with so many of my favourite comics, whose shows I beg you go see: Eleanor Morton, Stuart Laws, Matt Winning (who for my money could well be a contender for Best Newcomer), Will Seaward, Tiernan Douieb, Katia Kvinge. Honestly, this is one of the most exciting Fringes in a long time for brilliant shows. We’re going to have an amazing 2015, I can feel it!
Chris Coltrane: Left-Wing Propaganda Machine
8 – 30 August, 3:30pm