Welcome to our Fringe Debuts series, where comedians taking their first show to Edinburgh Fringe will give you a little taster of what to expect, an insight into their world, or really super weird musings on something equally bizarre — to be honest, we just let them run with it. If you’re readying yourself for a giant lol injection in August, now’s your chance to find something NEW to add to your list.
Leo Reich is performing Literally Who Cares?!, a show of perfectly formed opinions and life’s big questions (such as, why aren’t you following him on Twitter?). Here he tells us why his ‘comedy show’ is the one you’ve got to see.
Debuting at the Edinburgh Fringe never seemed like an option growing up. Now it seems so obvious — but in those days? A one man show? By someone queer? Half culturally Jewish? Mildly colour blind? You would’ve been laughed out the boardroom. Where I lived, at the very edge — and I really do mean the edge — of Zone 2, the idea of ‘debuting’ was barely even talked about. It was like a dirty word, something that ‘other people’ do; something that wasn’t for the likes of me.
So you can imagine my excitement (mixed with a heady dose of nerves!) when, on a sunny afternoon at the height of last week, the CEO of Pleasance Courtyard turned up at my front door. I could immediately tell that he had some pretty big news to tell me, just by the way that he was kneeling down and sobbing. Once I had got him inside and calmed him down, it transpired that his tears were not of sadness, but of joy — he had just stumbled across one of my TikToks on his For You Page, and been so moved that he wanted to offer me a two month long slot at the Pleasance Grand. Ever the traditionalist, I managed to talk him down to the more customary one month, and to a smaller room (unlike in my sex life, on stage I find it a struggle to maintain an electric intimacy with more than ninety people).
And now here I am, going to Edinburgh to perform my first solo ‘comedy show’ (I use air quotes just because I find labels such as ‘comedy’ and ‘show’ tend to simplify my work — they are words invented by men in boardrooms in order to put young queer artists in little boxes. I think it’s repulsive actually) and I’m so excited! The Fringe is such a great place to show your art to audiences of all different backgrounds and origins — whether they are development executives at HBOMax, or development assistants at regular HBO — and I can’t wait to see the smorgasbord of amazing performance work on display at the festival. Hopefully this year someone finally has the guts to perform a stand-up/storytelling show based on their own lived experiences.
And what about my show? ‘Literally Who Cares?!’? Well, it’s a labour of love (because love, like everything else, is labour (emotionally, but also literally (just in terms of historically how love has been labour for people (read: women (of course))))) about my experiences of being me. Over the course of three, sometimes four hours, I share my truth in a way that is almost unbearably raw — or as the French would say, bleu — covering queerness, masculinity, climate change, cancel culture, and the cost-of-living crisis. And that’s just one of the jokes. Come see it. Or don’t. Who cares!
Leo Reich: Literally Who Cares?! runs from 3-28th August, 9:35pm, at the Pleasance Courtyard. Tickets here
Leo is on Twitter at @leoistired and Instagram at @leo_reich
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