Award-winning comedian Maria Shehata is taking her brand new show Hero to the Edinburgh Fringe, in which she shares the story of her move from LA to London all in the name of love – only to end up sharing space with an octogenarian. Maria was shortlisted as one of the Five Best New Performers at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe by The 99 Club and she’s on our list of must-see shows at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. We caught up with Maria to talk about her new show, performing to an audience of 6000 and the UK vs US comedy scene…
Funny Women: Tell us about your show Hero
Maria Shehata: Hero is about my life in the UK after my whimsical move from LA for love fell apart. I was sleeping on couches with two trash bags of stuff to my name and ended up lodging with an 83-year-old who never quite remembered who I was. Not exactly what I had in mind when I left LA! It’s also about my parents’ lack of choices vs my abundance of choices and with their very permanent arranged marriage and my never quite settling on a home, who has it better in life? (me, I do)
FW: Do you think everyone should be their own hero?
MS: I think that’s circumstantial. I should be able to be my own hero. Children at the Mexican/US border in camps – I’m not saying they need to get their shit together.
FW: You’ve found success in comedy both here and in the States, how do the comedy scenes differ?
MS: The audiences are way better here. Better laughers, better listeners, and pick up on more subtleties than American audiences. I know I sound like I’m pandering but I mean it.
FW: You supported American comedian Bill Burr on tour, how did you find that?
MS: Really hard to go back to doing normal gigs! Performing in front of 6,000 people in an arena one night and four people in the basement of a pizza restaurant the next was a buzz kill I wasn’t prepared for. Comedy is so good at keeping you humble.
But Bill has always been incredibly supportive and it was a really cool if not the scariest experience of my career. But now when I’m doing my own arenas I’ll have nothing to fear.
FW: Obviously, your show Hero is on our list, but are there any other women comedians you recommend we see at the Fringe?