No More Mr Nice Chelsea is the highly anticipated debut stand-up hour from rising star Chelsea Birkby. Chelsea was lovely, sweet, adorable. But not anymore! Think sex and drugs and
rock n roll* (*Nickelback). In this thoughtful, playful and punchline-rich hour, full of pop culture and philosophy, Chelsea asks: what is nice? Who does it serve? And don’t we need to let our darker side out occasionally? We chatted to Chelsea about Mr Blobby, reviews and how a joke can be a tiny revolution…
Funny Women: Tell us about your show.
Chelsea Birkby: It’s my debut hour and I’m unpacking what it is to be nice where we learn it and when it’s time to stop. So many of us grow up learning to be “nice little girls”, and it can mean a lot of averting your eyes and holding in your feelings, sex, anger. Well now, I’m embracing my dark side and I’m trying to be openly hostile to the audience, but I keep forgetting and asking if people still like me. It’s like that book Rage Becomes Her, but with more references to Mr. Blobby and I wear a sexy outfit.
FW: You’ve received praise for how you tackle darker subjects on stage, what draws you to tougher topics for your comedy material?
CB: I once read this essay about humour as non-violent action where each joke is a tiny revolution and was like ‘oh okay, so that’s what I was doing making weird power points for my homework as a teen.’ If there’s something bothering me it will come out as a joke first before I even realise it’s affecting me, which I am sure is very psychologically healthy and balanced! Either way turns out it’s a useful thing for this job. And although the topics might be darker, the show is very joyful and joke-led.
FW: How does it feel to be returning to a ‘back to normal’ Edinburgh Fringe?
CB: I was really excited about it. Then I got an email about reviews and I couldn’t feel my palms. I guess we’ll know when I’m at Tebay services on the way home, drafting my ‘we did it’ IG post and secretly wishing they had normal, horrible fast food.
FW: Have you got any tips for comedians going up to the festival for the first time?
CB: The seaside is actually so close. And you can get a bus to the Pentlands. It’s like unlocking a new part of the map on a Rockstar game. That and open with a joke.
FW: Who are the funny women are you hoping to see in Edinburgh this year?
CB: I’m excited to see my brilliant friends: Carla Gordon, Celya AB, Isabelle Farah, Helen Bauer, Katie Pritchard, Olga Koch, Lanessa Long, Liz Guterbock, Davina Bentley, Hannah Fairweather, Eva Bindeman, and some all-time faves: Lou Sanders, Josie Long, Jess Fostekew, Siblings, Sara Barron, Cat Cohen, Mary Beth Barone and omg so many more.