Do you have an opinion? Because we’d love to hear it! Shivani Thussu’s Fringe debut hour is set in a focus group that goes too far. As seen on Pls Like (BBC). One of Funny Women’s Ones to Watch (2018). Directed by award-winning comedian Freya Slipper. Prefer Not To Say is at the Monkey Barrel Comedy for the month of August, so we caught up with Shivani about the show.
TF: You are performing your first ever Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
Absolutely shaking with excitement to be honest. Doing a full rebrand of my nerves and just deciding to shake with excitement at this point.
TF: Prefer Not To Say certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
Let me just say: thanks for saying it sounds intriguing. It’s a show where I play various characters facilitating a focus group. And the audience are the focus group. What they’re there to discuss is something mad though. I’ll either win a Nobel prize for it or get cancelled.
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
I love asking people difficult questions: it is my curse and my joy. And I’m interested in finding out how quickly a group of strangers can bond. I wanted a format where I could improvise a lot because I can’t write or learn lines for s**t. And I wanted to do a different show every night cos you get one life, and I didn’t want it to ever feel like an office job where I clock in, do my printing and then go home. Comedy influences are gently philosophical stuff like The Simpsons, and then big jokers like Sheeps and Jamie Demetriou, Kate Berlant, John Early, Naomi Ekperigin and Ana Fabrega. Love that disarming combination of very smart and silly. I love people who are funny in a very pure way and always have a secret warm sparkle behind their eyes like Zach Galifinakis. It’s rare and I spend my whole life seeking it out (I’m being earnest and that’s ok). I’m wildly inspired by the people I do comedy with at the Free Association too. And I read an essay called Human Rights, Rationality and Sentimentality by Richard Rorty about five years ago which shifted my perception about a lot of stuff to do with the show.
TF: Have you been to the Fringe before, is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh?
I have been going a lot since I was eighteen. I’m keen to see all the places I sat quietly wondering whether I had the brain to write an hour when I was up there last year.
TF: And what are your future beyond PNTS?
I really want to write a really serious album. I have a lot of hobbies and that’s why my show may not be finished in time, but that’s OK. It is what it is.
You can see Prefer Not To Say at Monkey Barrel Comedy from 2nd – 25th August at 13:20. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com