Michael Che brings debut comedy show to 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This article is from 2013

Michael Che

credit: Mindy Tucker

From painting portraits on the street to 'comfort-performing'

You wouldn’t know it from his assured appearance on Letterman, but New Yorker Michael Che is a relative newcomer to comedy. Although he’s about to hit 30, he only started gigging in 2010 after spending most of his 20s painting portraits on the street and scraping a living as a freelance designer. What made him turn his hand to comedy? ‘Depression,’ he reasons. ‘I felt creatively stunted. I felt like I was getting old; I didn’t know exactly what I was gonna be doing and my five-year plan was a shambles.’

Chancing upon an open-mic night, Che dipped his toes and found his calling. ‘I always wanted to try comedy. I had incredible stage fright and I bought a pint of brandy. But I did five minutes and I thought, “Man, I can’t believe I waited this long to try it! This is what I’m supposed to do.” And it wasn’t even a particularly good set, but it was just some comfort-performing.’

Now well into his stride, Che admits he finds it hard to take things easy, maintaining a hectic gigging schedule throughout the year. ‘It’s an insane blitzkrieg of a pace. You’re out four or five times a night, you’re jumping in and out of cabs, you’re running on stage. It’s exciting: you feel like a rock star but you’re not!’

As well as performing his debut show, Cartoon Violence, Che is excited about catching up with old friends and making new ones. ‘I love David O’Doherty!’ he exclaims. ‘I got to meet him and hang out with him in Melbourne. I can’t wait to just walk the streets with him and have him tell me stories about every single building. I’m also looking forward to finding people I’ve never heard of. That’s the exciting thing about festivals.’

Assembly Rooms, 0844 693 3008, 2−25 Aug (not 12), 10pm, £10 (£9). Preview 31 July, £9 (£8).

Michael Che: Cartoon Violence

  • 4 stars

Michael Che / The Assembly Rooms. Critics and audiences agree NY-based comedian Michael Che is a star on the rise. Recently named one of Rolling Stone's 50 Funniest People, Che's humour applies street culture to world issues with a delivery that the New York Times describes as 'a reflective, laid-back stage presence with…