Last year, Dandy Darkly, satirist, storyteller, cabaret artist and “New York City’s preeminent King of Hallowe’en”, got full marks on here for the show Trigger Happy. “Superbly crafted tales, deeply thoughtful social commentary and a splash of satire, delivered with New York sass and Southern warmth,” we said. Back this year with new show, Myth Mouth!, we had questions at the ready…
Brand new show Dandy, how do you do it? Dandy Darkly’s Myth Mouth! has already been previewed at your Dick Dock show in Provincetown. How was the response?
Hello The Wee Review! Yes! Pre-Edinburgh previews this year in New York, London and Provincetown, Massachusetts where I did an excerpt as part of my annual Bear Week show. The response is always so great. Imagine burly bearded blokes pounding the rafters. My resplendent shoes caked with soggy sand and discarded condoms. Glamour overload! And I’ve honestly no idea how it’s all done. A few joints, several pots of coffee and a Ouija board and the muse flows right through me. Fortunately I’m on Truvada, so there’s very little risk.
You are like the perfect answer to the problem of what to do with an obsessive/compulsive, super-intelligent polymath. Do you see yourself as an icon for the overproductively weird?
Enchanté! I’m tickled to be an icon for anyone really, so I’m beyond honored to be considered a patron saint of the strange. The new show Dandy Darkly’s Myth Mouth! focuses heavily on our cherished icons, particularly those in the LGBTQ sphere and how they’ve inspired the whole of humanity.
Dandy Darkly’s Trigger Happy! foretold an event that tragically came to pass earlier this year. It’s happened again with Myth Mouth! pre-echoing the police killings of black citizens in the US. Do you set out to be an augur, or is this ability to read current social and political tensions simply finding a voice in Dandy?
Last year’s show focused on gun violence in America and featured a story “Silver Dollar” about a despondent, closeted Army veteran, struggling with PTSD, who commits a mass shooting at a small town gay bar. I’m sickened by my country’s ambivalence of police violence against black men. I’d written a piece entitled “The Black Death” that could serve as a launching point for a full show focused on race in America, but it’s such a delicate subject, I’d only dare approach it with the utmost consideration. That said, I don’t intentionally plan to write stories that prophesy current events, but I am a satirist, so pulling from social and media trends is undoubtedly a place of inspiration.
Dandy Darkly’s Myth Mouth! was partly inspired by the spate of iconic deaths earlier this year, but honestly it’s a show that’s less focused on political or social issues. Whereas past shows have tackled a singular topic like misogyny (Dandy Darkly’s Pussy Panic!) or guns, this new show is in many ways a more autobiographical peek inside, though I decidedly never once refer to myself. There’s plenty other storytellers out there, if you crave that level of navel gazing confessional bullshit. I’d rather spin you a yarn about a pathetic gay caveman and hope you’re bright enough to connect the dots.
You’ve said before that you find inspiration in the lowest forms of media, that of reality television. But is this not simply a modern day Jane Austen or Charles Dickens? People don’t change – we are still fascinated by the petty lives lived under the public glare. Who is your favourite grotesque figure this year?
Oh absolutely! Ultimately we’re all groundlings in the cheap seats throwing rotten fruit at the stage. As loath as I am to give him any praise, the singularly most grotesque individual of this decade is without a doubt Donald Trump. He’s a monster made real, brought to life via the evils of capitalism, greed, hatred and the 24 hour news cycle. His ascension would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous. It’s why he’s both so repulsive and so fascinating to so many people.
Do we need to thank our lucky stars you do not use your considerable super-powers for evil?
Trump speech writer!
When and where at this year’s Fringe?
I’m back at my Edinburgh home CC Blooms, venue 171. Dandy Darkly’s Myth Mouth! plays nightly Sat 6 Aug to Sun 28 Aug (not 17) at 6.45 pm. It’s a free show presented as part of the Free Fringe! I’ve also got three London previews at the end of July. Check out dandydarkly.com and follow me on Twitter @dandydarkly for more info!