Orlando Baxter: 'The role of a comedian should be to speak their truth and be funny'
- Claire Sawers
- 25 July 2019
American stand-up comedian returns to the Fringe with a show that explores the struggles of trying to reconnect with an absentee parent
Massachusetts comedian Orlando Baxter brought a show to the 2016 Fringe about his old job as a high-school teacher. After appearing on Conan and at comedy festivals in Johannesburg and Melbourne, he's back. And this time it's even more personal …
What can you tell us about Finding Mariah?
It's a story about my difficult relationship with my absentee father, and the time he informed me that I might have a sister.
Was the show harder to write than previous material?
Yes, much harder. I tried to write a Fringe-style show which is different than what I'm used to as an American comic. It was also hard because it was the first time I was attempting to write something funny about some difficult times in my life.
Did anyone in your family object to you going public with any details?
No. They've been pretty supportive about it, which is awesome.
You've made your name with a brutally honest, funny style, not shying away from political hot potatoes. Are you tackling current affairs again, or is this show more focused on your personal story?
It's definitely more focused on my personal story but I may drop in something about current affairs. In 2019, I think the role of a comedian should be to speak their truth and try to be funny about it.
You've performed comedy all round the world since quitting teaching. Anything you miss about teaching?
I don't miss the job per se but I do miss the students … and summer vacations.
What's better: playing comedy clubs or being on TV?
Although I love TV and want to do more of it (hint hint) I would definitely say playing comedy clubs. There's less pressure, it's usually intimate, and it's familiar to me, so it always feels like home no matter where I'm at.
What are you looking forward to doing in Edinburgh when you're not onstage?
Watching other shows, hanging with friends and lying to myself about getting more sleep and drinking less.
Orlando Baxter: Finding Mariah, The Stand 2, 2–24 Aug (not 12), 5.05pm, £10 (£9). Preview 1 Aug, £6.