Interview: Jena Friedman – American C*nt

This article is from 2015

Fringe interview: Jena Friedman – American C*nt

Photo: Seth Olenick

‘No one is stealing my abortion jokes’

Fringe newcomer Jena Friedman keeps it pretty much to the point as this American stand-up considers the real reason why live comedy is struggling back home.

How well did satire do under Obama? And would another President Clinton be good or bad for American comedy?
I think satire did pretty well under President Obama and will do just as well under Hillary. But regardless of who’s president, our whole political system is ripe for comedy because our whole political system is broken.

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?

Bill Hicks or Denis Leary?
Bill Hicks.

Are American comedians bothered about winning awards?
I wouldn't know.

How healthy is the state of live comedy in America? What should be done to improve it?
It’s healthy and there are definitely more comedians working in the US than there have been in past decades. But live comedy doesn’t pay like it does in the UK and I think that’s because Americans as a whole don’t appreciate live comedy the way people in the UK do. Our nation is younger and our history is less steeped in the tradition of live performance. Perhaps if we had dead bodies buried under our cities, we'd appreciate live things more.

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?
No one is stealing my abortion jokes.

Curb Your Enthusiasm or 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?
I don’t know: Bin Laden?

Jena Friedman: American Cunt, The Stand V, Picardy Place, 0131 558 7272, 19–30 Aug, 7.30pm, £8 (£7). Preview 18 Aug, £7 (£6)

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

Jena Friedman: American C*nt

  • 4 stars

Dark, acerbic American stand-up from Jena Friedman.