Interview with comedian Chloe Radcliffe

"I once performed in the middle of a boxing ring, AFTER a charity boxing tournament, in the Russian neighborhood in deep Long Island. I was telling jokes for no one, as competitors literally bled out of their faces and got yelled at in Russian by their coaches."

Interview with comedian Chloe Radcliffe

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

I’m a standup from NYC who’s absolutely in love with the storybook city of Edinburgh! I was a writer on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and I have a set on Comedy Central. I bike everywhere. 

How would you describe your show?

It’s raw, electric standup about a thing that almost everyone grapples with, but no one is allowed to talk about. I have cheated in almost every relationship I’ve been in, give or take one (and if you’re my ex reading this right now, it was you!). And while I certainly represent the extreme end of the spectrum, I think that way more people run into issues with monogamy than we admit. We all know that monogamy is far from a perfect system, but the only way we talk about cheating is “cheaters are villains and you just shouldn’t cheat!” We take an abstinence-only stance, and you know how well that works when you tell teens to just not have sex. So I believe it’s better to discuss our bad behavior than just repress it. That’s how you know I’m not British.

What is your favourite part of your show?

My favorite part is when I stand on a table and flash the room and kiss the hottest person in the crowd and then hand out £100 notes to every member of the audience. And I guess you’ll just have to come see the show to see that part!!!!

If your show had a theme song, what would it be and why?

There are SO MANY SONGS about how cheaters are bad. Where’s all my anthems about how cheaters are good!? Or, flawed but lovable!? In absence of a celebratory, throw your hands in the air, we’re all cheaters here bop, I’ll go with You Know I’m No Good, by Amy Winehouse. Because at least I’m up front about it!!

What is one thing you hope audiences will take away from your show?

I think way more people have complicated feelings about commitment and relationships than we want to admit - even if they aren’t cheating, so many people struggle with knowing when a relationship is “good enough.” So for those people, I hope they walk away feeling a little less alone. And for the people who love monogamy and have never had any issues with clarity in relationships? I hope they walk away terrified.

If you could add a surprise celebrity cameo to your show, who would it be and why?

Remember when everyone was mad at Adam Levine for sending corny DMs to an Instagram model? I would love to have Adam appear onstage so I can yell at everyone for being mad at him. He’s literally a pop star who made his career singing about being horny!!! Him sending cheesy DMs is the least surprising headline since “Royal Family Embroiled In Another Scandal.”

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

I wanted to run a show in a festival that values art for art’s sake. And that meant I had to look outside of the US. (We value art for the sake of its future licensing and brand collaboration potential.) And since Edinburgh is big enough to basically have its own gravitational pull, it felt natural to find my spot in its orbit. 

What differentiates it from other festivals?

Its reputation! Everyone in the world knows that this festival is a marketplace of incredible talent, emerging voices, and hungover comedians. And I would like to be seen as all three of those, so this is the place to be.

What is one thing you would change about the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

I would put it in the US. Way, way more convenient for me.

How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career?

Both of my parents were self-employed for parts of their careers, so they’re very understanding of my, errr, “non-linear” path. It also helps that in university, I was a math major... so I think they know that if I flame out in the entertainment industry, I can always just get a job as the funniest accountant you’ve ever met. 

What is your favourite thing about performing for a live audience?

There’s a circuit of energy between a performer and an audience that I call The Loop. I throw a little bit of myself out to the crowd, and they throw a little bit of themselves back, and ideally, we create this constant flowing buzz during a show. That’s what you can’t recreate watching a video on an app. Now, some shows I just can’t get The Loop to take hold. Those nights, I’m like, Yeah, we should all just be at home on our phones.

What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you while performing?

One time I…didn’t get laughs?? On a joke that I am certain is genius?! Incredibly strange. I’ve struggled for years to come up with an explanation, I simply cannot.

What's the most challenging or unconventional venue you've ever performed in, and how did it impact the overall experience?

I once performed in the middle of a boxing ring, AFTER a charity boxing tournament, in the Russian neighborhood in deep Long Island. I was telling jokes for no one, as competitors literally bled out of their faces and got yelled at in Russian by their coaches. But what made it a bad show was no snacks in the green room. 

Is there a piece of feedback you've received from an audience member or critic after a performance that’s stuck with you?

When I was about a year into standup, living in Minnesota, a guy named Jet Black asked when I was planning to move to NYC or LA. I told him that I wasn’t even sure if I would stay in comedy at all, and he was affronted and said, “You’re good enough to have a real future, so either quit now and stop wasting your time and everyone else’s, or commit to this.” And that was actually exactly what I needed to hear – I decided that night to pursue this as a true career. Now, a couple days later, Jet Black got weird and creepy, which we all could have seen coming from a man named “Jet Black,” but hey, he gets credit for the push in the right direction. Separate the art from the artist, y’know.

What is your favourite thing to do in Edinburgh when you're not performing? How do you relax and look after your mental health?

I bike everywhere, which is my special little time by myself. I never listen to headphones or music – I just get to be zen and only focus on the 25’ radius in every direction around me. I’m not used to being in a place where people like bikers! In the UK, you’re like “oh it’s actually ATTRACTIVE that you’re wearing a plastic hat and riding a child’s toy.” Back in NYC, everyone is like, “Bike lanes are for walkin’!”

Is there a show you’re excited to see when you’re up there?

I’ve chatted a good bit over Zoom with Johnny Pelham, and I’m so excited to see his work live and in person. And also I’ve heard that the bouncer at Abattoir is a show in and of himself.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone thinking about taking a show up to Edinburgh? If you’ve never been before, what would you say has been (potentially) the most useful?

I’ve never been before, and the most useful advice has been, find accommodations where you have your own bathroom. My friend shared one toilet among six flatmates, and he said that most mornings he took his morning wee (like, literally the first thing you do in your day?!) at the cafe down the block. I do not want to have to queue for the toilet when I wake up.

When and where can people see your show?

 7:15 at The Pleasance Courtyard, Bunker 3, 2-28 August (not 14).

And where can people find you online?

I’m @chloebadcliffe on all socials!

Header Image Credit: Mindy Tucker


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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