Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Russian comic Igor Meerson

This article is from 2014.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Russian comic Igor Meerson

‘If you say “My wife left me because I drank all her perfume” in Russia, no one will know that you are joking'

As one of the first Russians performing stand-up, Igor Meerson elaborates on the difficulties of introducing the new art form at home. ‘If a man stands on stage and says “hello, my name is Peter. My wife left me because I’m an alcoholic and yesterday I drank all her perfume”, in Russia, no one will know that you are joking. They see a person with a problem and are ready to help, to advise. To drink with you.’

The St Petersburg native’s self-deprecating show explores ‘cultural differences and features stories of my crazy personal experiences. The second is usually a result of the first’. Unlike Western audiences, who ‘laugh, not only at well-written jokes but interesting observations and ideas’, Russian crowds are tougher he suggests, because jokes are paramount.

‘Everybody in Russia considers themselves to have interesting observations,’ he explains. ‘They are unforgiving, which helps to make your brain work harder.’ At his first UK spots last year, he was both surprised and pleased: ‘British audiences are so open and will sometimes react a couple of times when you’re still on your way to the punchline.’

Igor Meerson: Hou I Lernt Inglish, Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, 2–25 Aug (not 11), 8.30pm, £8–£10.50 (£7–£9.50). Previews 30 Jul–1 Aug, £6.

Igor Meerson: Hou I lernt inglish

  • 2 stars

Mick Perrin Worldwide in association with Dylan Moran Edinburgh Festival's first Russian stand-up ever. Igor ruins the stereotypes about Russia and discovers stereotypes about Britain and the West. Igor tells about his childhood in the Soviet Union, life in modern Russia and internationally. One of GQ's ‘Five new faces…


1. Elizabeth Ewing24 Aug 2014, 11:02pm Report

I really enjoyed Igor Meerson's set tonight, but I think was the only one laughing at half the jokes. It's a darn shame, too, the man is intelligent and very funny and deserved a better audience. Probably it being the last night of the Fringe didn't help - but keep an eye on this one. If nothing else, you've got a decent chance of a free vodka shot...

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