Interview: Jamie Kilstein – Sober Song Rants and a Cat Story

This article is from 2015

Interview: Jamie Kilstein – Sober Song Rants and a Cat Story

‘It’s like rape jokes are their civil rights movement’

American stand-up and co-host of Citizen Radio, Jamie Kilstein recalls the time he met a Scottish comedy legend.

How well did satire do under Obama? And would another President Clinton be good or bad for American comedy?
The good news: I could still talk about the same stuff. The VERY bad news: Obama was still droning the shit out of little brown kids! YAY / SOB. The thing is, no matter who the president is (Obama was, of course, better than Bush), we still have a pretty sexist, racist framework to deal with. So, as long as fucking assholes are being fucking assholes, satire should be fine. Clinton would probably be ‘good for comedy’ but terrible for democracy? To be honest, I’m about ready to do some airplane food and ‘my wife’ jokes if it means this shit will stop.

The British are overly keen on saying that Americans don’t do irony. Can you offer a piece of evidence that blows that theory out of the water?
Criticizing America after electing Tony Blair and David Cameron.

Bill Hicks or Denis Leary?
I tend to side with the heroes in stories and not the thieves. So, Hicks.

Are American comedians bothered about winning awards?
We don’t get awards over here and are treated like trash so we just don't know what they are. I’ll be happy, though, cos I have dad issues.

What will Trevor Noah need to do to maintain The Daily Show’s success and reputation?
Just be honest. It’s so cool not to have another white American hosting so I just want to see his perspective.

Tina Fey or Sarah Silverman?

How healthy is the state of live comedy in America? What should be done to improve it?
It’s rough. You have this host of ‘edgy’ comedians who take to Twitter screaming ‘why can’t I make rape jokes without people getting mad?’ It’s like rape jokes are their civil rights movement.

Do Americans generally welcome the likes of uppity Brits (John Oliver, Tracey Ullman and Ricky Gervais for three) coming over there and stealing all your jokes?
John Oliver’s show is the best on TV. It’s like The Daily Show with balls.

Curb Your Enthusiasm or Seinfeld?
Curb: it’s meaner Seinfeld.

Billy Connolly is widely regarded as the man who helped pave the way for modern British stand-up comedy: who would you pinpoint as doing the same in America?
Oh man, we had Billy on Citizen Radio for a live show and I’ve never been next to someone on stage who controlled an audience SO much. I honestly don’t know. I mean, George Carlin for political, Richard Pryor for raw honesty, and Andrew Dice Clay for sad man-boys pretending to be edgy but just being fucking assholes.

Jamie Kilstein: Sober Song Rants and a Cat Story, Stand in the Square, St Andrew’s Square, 0131 558 7272, 18–31 Aug, 8.20pm, £12.

Read more in our series of Q&As with US comedians appearing at Fringe 2015.

Jamie Kilstein: Sober Song Rants and a Cat Story

  • 3 stars

Jamie Kilstein Jamie Kilstein fuses music and his infamous rants that have received international critical acclaim. ‘There are few truly insightful, passionate and hysterically funny political comedians around. Jamie Kilstein is a light probing into the murkier corners of the religious right and corrupt politics of his…