With over 3,000 shows during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, it can be hard for performers to come up with a name that stands out. Jena Friedman has managed to find one that’s both cutting and patriotic. Friedman is currently a producer for The Daily Show with John Stewart and has also written for The Late Show with David Letterman. Come see Friedman in her Edinburgh Festival Fringe initiation for a handful of dick jokes and a raid on the US body politic with American C*nt. It’s about to get real.
Flicking through the Fringe program your show name definitely stands out. Why did you go with American C*nt? Were there any alternatives that didn’t make the cut?
I really wanted a title that would encapsulate what my show is about. I came up with a few names but none really felt right. Then I thought of the worst thing I could possibly call my show and I jokingly told a friend, ‘what about American Cunt?’ She said, ‘you have to call it that, it’s so you!’ Her response was so immediate and emphatic, I just decided to go with it.
You’ve written for a few well known late night shows in the US. How is writing material for your own show different?
Writing for someone else or for TV has its advantages in that it’s less risky and obviously more lucrative, but for better or worse, there are so many filters between your ideas and what ends up reaching the audience. And conversely, that’s what makes stand up so special, especially in the context of a solo show. It’s just you up there with a mic and your voice and people can take it or leave it, or hate it or be offended by it but at least they’ll get to hear it.
Being an Edinburgh Fringe Festival first-timer, what are you expecting?
Nothing. If you have no expectations, you’ll never be disappointed.
What’s the best/worst thing about being a stand-up comedian?
What I enjoy most is the autonomy, the creative freedom and immediacy of the form. The toughest part about being a comic, at least in America, is that you can’t really earn a living unless you are famous and/or on TV. It makes sense as to why that is, it would just be nice to not have to move to LA.
You’ve mentioned in previous acts how you used to bartend. Do you prefer a drunk or sober audience ?
Sober, hands down… What comic would prefer an audience not in control of their mental faculties? Other than maybe Cosby.
Like tampered with Halloween candy, your tone is dark with a bit of sugar on the outside. How did you develop your comedic style?
Trial and error.
What’s your favourite place in the world to perform?
Germany, because the audiences there will laugh just because they want everyone else at their table to think they speak English.
Give me three words to describe your show:
Dark, Political, Cunty