Fringe Q&A: Steve N Allen, Better Than

In a time when you can’t do right for doing wrong, Steve N Allen (as seen on BBC Two’s The Mash Report) takes a look at how hard it is to be better. When you want to be PC, right on or woke, it can be tough. Be better than a Weinstein. Be better than an angry Twitter egg. Be better than you. An entertaining and sometimes hard-edged guide to better better than. 

AAA caught up with Steve ahead of his visit to the Fringe

Is this your first time at the Fringe?

I’m looking at this as my Fringe: The Return. I have previously done solo shows but they have all been topical comedy reviews of the year, with screens, projectors and headlines. This time it’s all about the pure stand-up.

Tell us a bit about the show you’re in this year?

My show, Better Than, is about doing the right thing on a really small level. We so often get a choice of acting in the right way or finding reasons to let ourselves act like massive tools. In a world where we have sex pests as world leaders and people on social media thinking death threats are perfectly fine, the skill of being slightly better than the worst we could be is sadly lost.

How much work has gone into getting it ready for Edinburgh?

This show has been bubbling up in my head for ages. Every quiet rant at the TV, every tut at a newspaper story, every time I have had a row with a caller on the radio shows I have done, it has added to my general sense that we could be nicer.

I’ve been writing it into stand-up for months too. Of all the material I have ever worked on this has been the most fun for me. I’ve had a good look at all of my flaws too and really enjoyed writing about them.

There’s thousands of shows on – why should Fringe-goers fork out to see yours?

So many reasons. I try to mention Brexit only once, which will give people at least 55 minutes of not hearing about it, which is a lot these days. I hope it’s funny but I am sure there’s a good point to it. I don’t want to sound like a self-help guru but if you watch my show I think you’ll end up being a better person. Not that much better, just a really small amount better. Or don’t see my show and be like the rest of the angry people making the world a worse place.

Are there any other shows on this year you’d recommend?

I’ve caught the previews to Nick Doody’s show and it looks like one to see. I’ve seen Matt Forde working on his and it was going great guns. I work a lot with Erich McElroy and I know this year he has a very interesting take on political life.

What’s on your hit-list to see?

I have stopped making lists like that because some years I have failed miserably. I have had years at the biggest arts festival on the planet where I have struggled to get to see many shows. It all depends how your own run of shows goes so this year my plan is simple, I aim to see some shows that I have never heard of. I’ll find the days when I can fit it in and take risks. 

What are you planning to do on your days off?

That’s a secret. I will say it will involve going off-grid, getting away from the self-obsessed nature of being a performer and may also involve mojito.

Sell your show in no more than ten words…

Why are people getting worse? Find out in Better Than.

The Stand Comedy Club 2 – Stand 2, 20:50, until 25 August, www.edfringe.com

Leave a Comment