My answers are as follows.
- Why would I be in a strip club and, in the unlikely event that I was, why would I be with a former Chippendale? ( I have actually met The Chippendales; we shared a dressing room at The Fringe some years ago. They followed me onstage,; post show I would walk into the testosterone haze emanating from a dozen of the most perfect specimens of the masculine form. It was tough for them having to watch my beautifully toned, muscular and baby-oiled intellect as they got ready to “leave their hats on”.)
Asking a comedian what they find funny is not as straightforward as it might seem. Like a chef, we pick through the food and either offer opinions as to what is wrong or wonder how they created something so sublime. Without the brilliant Billy Connolly I, and a sizeable cohort of my contemporaries, would never have thought it possible to take to the stage. To watch the effortless elegance of Sarah Millican, the room comfortable captured in the palm of her hand, one leaves wondering if there is any point in ever doing a show again. I’ve also made the mistake of spending my pre-show Fringe afternoon watching Stewart Lee, causing a profound existential crisis about my own ability.
For me, now more than ever, comedy is crucially important to the world. Whilst satire might struggle to lampoon the political pandemonium of the age, unable to be funnier than the nonsensical events unfolding at present, comic minds are compelled to at least attempt to apply their craft to the cacophony of chaos from Trump to Brexit. For those not so disposed (not all of us are consumed by constitutional comedy) I think we all agree that we could do with a blessed escape from this harshest of realities.
For me, the best comedy will always be delivered by those that love language, can wow us with words, flirt with phrases. I grew up with the brilliant writing of The Two Ronnies, the surreal scripts of Blackadder and the sorely missed genius of the inimitable Victoria Wood. In terms of the contemporary scene, Tez Illyas is as clever as he is hilarious; Ellie Taylor combines brilliant material with consummate stagecraft; and Romesh Ranganathan just cracks me up, every time.
See Hardeep Singh Kohli: You-Topia at Assembly George Square throughout the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 1st – 25th August. For tickets visit www.edfringe.com