Posts Tagged Radu Isac

Counter Culture Interview with Radu Isac

raduisac

Radu Isak: “cynical and tricksy”?

You’ve been described as “simultaneously sweet and dark” and “cynical and tricksy”. Our own review of your show described your comedy as “dark and edgy”. Do you think these are fair descriptions?

I like them. I think they describe my personality and if I managed to get that across in my comedy that makes me happy.

Some of your jokes might be deemed offensive to some. You discuss some potentially sensitive issues like depression. Do you worry about causing offence? How do you deal with the possibility that some might be offended? Do you think there is a right not to be offended?

I don’t really believe there is a right not to be offended. I do think about offending people though. If a joke gets one person upset in a live show that ruins the flow of the gig. Doesn’t matter if the person is right to be upset or not. My work that evening is still ruined. I listen to what offended people have to say. It’s always constructive. I can either edit the joke to include their viewpoint. Or add another layer to the joke to contradict it.

In Good Excuses for Sociopaths, you talk about keeping the audience liking you. Is it working and how do you do it?

I am mostly joking when I say that I want everyone to like me. Of course, a lot of people don’t and won’t like me. I’m happy with that. Wanting everyone to like you seems like a very constrictive way of life. 
But generally, I think if people are laughing they are liking me. Most of them came to the comedy show to laugh.

Do you feel that comedy, in general, has any social responsibilities to avoid topics or deal with them in a certain way?

I honestly like all types of comedy. From musical to prop and even magic sometimes. If it brings a smile to someone’s face I’m happy it exists. The only type of comedy I don’t like is the preaching to the choir and learning genres. I think those comedians should get into politics, teaching or motivational speaking and stop hijacking comedy. Comedy has a responsibility to itself to never become another disciplines bitch. If the teacher does a joke in a chemistry course, it’s still a chemistry course. I wouldn’t want the Professor to start teaching chemistry in comedy clubs under the pretext that they’re doing comedy.

You’ve worked in different countries. Have you noticed differences in the way audiences from different nations react to your comedy?

I have noticed big differences between cities in the UK and even the boroughs of London. I don’t think the differences between countries are bigger than that. Generally, in my experience, wealth, education, class and sobriety are the big important parameters of differentiating audiences.

You draw on your Romanian background to highlight some differences between Romania in the past and what used to be referred to as “the West”. Clearly, we know a little about the bad side of Romania in the past but were there any areas which were better than what you’ve seen in the UK?

Well, we always did better at gymnastics than the UK. And I’m sure there are a couple of other areas where we always surpassed you. But in my show, I was mostly addressing the differences between communist Romania and capitalist Romania. I like to highlight the negative parts of our transition to capitalism. As I feel “The West” only ever talks about the positive ones.

The reaction of the audience at Good Excuses for Sociopaths I attended was very good and people were talking about it on the way out after and in the bar area. What kind of feedback have you been getting for your show?

I’m very happy to hear that. One of the main reasons for doing controversial material is to get people talking about me. I’ve mostly been getting positive reactions as well. Writing the jokes was the tough part. I had to try out suicide and genocide material sneakily in London. People still react well to edgy jokes in 2019. But no one reacts well to edgy work in progress jokes. You get branded as a risky booking way faster and more permanently than with other jokes that fall flat.

Have you seen any Fringe shows yourself? Are there any you really enjoyed?

I haven’t seen enough. I really enjoyed all that I’ve seen. Leo Kearse, Rich Wilson, Luca Cupani, Tony Law, Phil Nicol, Tania Edwards, John Kearns, Olie Horn, Darius Davies.

What next after the Fringe?

Back to the grind, I guess. I have a lot of shows booked around the UK and Europe. Will use them to write and hone new material. And hopefully, be back with a new offensive but fair and considerate hour next year.

Radu was interviewed by Pat Harrington

Radu Isac is currently giving ‘Good Excuses for Sociopaths’ at the fringe. Tickets can be purchased here.

The Counter Culture review is here.

#edinburghfringe2019 #edinburghfringe

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