Kenyan stand-up Njambi McGrath returns to the Edinburgh Fringe this year after a sell-out run in 2019 with her show Accidental Coconut and a limited run in 2021. In her new stand-up hour, Black Black, Njambi explores striking similarities of identity politics amid growing emboldened racism alongside the special relationship she had with her grandmother, we spoke to Njambi about her top tips for going to the Fringe and using comedy to communicate…
Funny Women: How does it feel to be returning to a ‘back to normal’ Edinburgh Fringe?
Njambi McGrath: After the couple of years we’ve had, I am very excited to be headed back to Edinburgh. I feel like a caged animal set free. It’s amazing to see life getting back to normal. I at one point never thought comedy would ever happen again and we would be confined to zoom gigs. It’s also nerve-wracking trying to get a show together and take it out to previews. This is the exciting, but adrenalin-inducing stage as I am just finalising the show.
FW: Do you find addressing horrific subjects such as racism and concentration camps in a comedy show a challenge or a necessity to get your point across?
NM: It’s both! Mention concentration camps and there are gasps. It requires careful orchestration so as to keep people on board. I have a platform and it’s necessary to use that platform to highlight what my grandmother and mother were never able to. Besides, audiences are hardy otherwise horror would not be such a popular genre. People like entertainment with a bite and my show definitely has bite.
FW: Have you got any tips for comedians going up to the festival for the first time?
NM: Remember only you know what you want to tell us, so it doesn’t matter if you forget bits of your material on stage. Stay calm and carry on. Remember it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Eat well and sleep well. Also, remember to have fun. Don’t compare yourself to others and like a motorway keep your eyes ahead of you. It’s sometimes necessary to look back if only to see how far you’ve come.
FW: Who are the funny women are you hoping to see in Edinburgh this year?
NM: Too many to count but I am looking particularly to seeing all the comedians of colour or those narratives that are underrepresented. I look for unusual stories, shows with a zing. I love shows that make me think.
Njambi McGrath’s new stand-up show Black Black will be at the Pleasance Courtyard Baby Grand at 5.50pm for the month of August for tickets go to www.edfringe.com