Steve N Allen hits the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe with an entertaining, and sometimes hard-edged, guide to be Better Than. In a time when you can’t do right for doing wrong, Steve 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. Steve spoke with The Fountain about the show and his need for vitamins during August.
TF: What is the premise of your show?
Doesn’t it feel like the world keeps getting worse? There are some bad people but no one thinks they’re in the wrong. What if you could make the right choice? In the show I look at those small moments in life where you get to pick what to do and these days we’re being coaxed into doing the bad thing and justifying it to ourselves. Pick the option that’s better and you could end up better than the angry shouting people in politics, better than the dodgy movie moguls, better than what you would have been. It’s that. A look at how to be slightly better than the alternative.
TF: What drove the project, where did your influences lie?
A lot of my work has been topical recently, from the radio stuff for the BBC and the work on The Mash Report, and I started to get the itch do go back to something that was pure stand-up.
The idea is inspired by Nudge Theory from behavioural science, but I hope no one can tell. Whenever I have a point to my stand-up I like to bury it well. I don’t want to preach, I want to entertain with a little leftover good point for people to take with them.
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?
Vitamin supplements! I’m convinced those little tablets got me through the slog in the past. I’m also saying I should pace myself when it comes to staying up late and drinking. I realise everyone says that, including the people you’ll see getting the round in at 5:30am.
TF: Is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh?
I plan to see as many shows as I can and that has to include shows I’ve never heard of by people I’ve never heard of. It’s easy to find the stand-up specials of the big names on streaming services now, so the kind of risky hours, where you might see something great or something painful, that’s something you can get in Edinburgh and nowhere else.
TF: And what are your future plans beyond your show?
As soon as the festival is over we’re back with another series of The Mash Report. While I’m doing that I have my BBC comedy podcast that comes out every week. I want to take a version of the show on tour and I have a few other radio projects coming along nicely. All of that means the full-on pace of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe might be the most chilled time for me for the rest of 2019. I’d better keep a cache of those vitamin supplements in.
You can see Better Than at The Stand Comedy Club 2 from 2nd – 25th August (not 12th) at 20:50. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com