Interview with comedian Christopher Macarthur-Boyd

Christopher talks to us about Edinburgh Fringe, his early inspirations, and offers some advice to those of you who might want to take a show to the largest arts festival in the world.

Interview with comedian Christopher Macarthur-Boyd

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
Hi there, I’m Christopher Macarthur-Boyd. Either it’s nice to meet you, or it’s good to see you again.
How would you describe your show?

“Oh No” is an hour of stand-up comedy about going mental in a world that is on fire, and how I got better. 

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

I really enjoy writing and performing stand-up, and you need to write a new show and then perform it at least 27 times in one month at the Fringe, so that’s very exciting. But really, I want to do the Fringe for the same reason everybody does: a vague sense that it’s what I should be doing.    

What differentiates it from other festivals?

Sheer scale. It’s a lot bigger. 

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?

When I was in primary school as a wee boy, there was a year-wide project called What Do You Want To Do When You Grow Up? And everybody wanted to be a marine biologist or a policeman or whatever, but I wanted to be a stand-up. I’d seen Billy Connolly and Jack Dee on TV, and fell in love with it. My teacher thought it was unusual, so she got me to do “stand-up” at the school assembly, which was me reading jokes out of a Hallowe’en-themed joke book in March to a very tepid response.

After my original inspirations, I fell in love with the modern Scottish greats like Boyle and Bridges, the dirty offensive comedians like Stanhope and Jeselnik, the alternative Americans like Pepitone and Bamford. Bill Bailey, Dylan Moran, The Mighty Boosh, John Mulaney, Hannibal Buress, Norm McDonald. I was just obsessed like a proper comedy geek, all the way up through my teens.

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

That’s a big question. Sometimes I’ll listen to a podcast, and I’ll hear a middle class comedian go, “You know I was three years into my law degree when I decided to drop out. Next thing you know, I was at one of Phillipe Gaullier’s clowning courses in Étampes. Mummy and Daddy were furious, of course!” My mum and dad are just glad I’m not working in a call centre, again. Every facet of comedy - particularly at the Fringe - is dominated by people who are extremely privileged, which is obviously very distressing. They just don’t connect with your stuff in the same way, because you haven’t lived the same life that they have. This is why upper class comedians have such disdain for observational comedy by people like Peter Kay, because it is utterly alien to them, and then so often become surrealists. God bless them! 

What is your earliest childhood art memory?

I was asked to leave a screening of the film Babe because I wouldn’t stop crying. 

If you didn’t have your current job, what would you probably be doing?

I like to think I would be a lucha libre star, performing acrobatic feats of agility under a mask in the style of Rey Mysterio.

Did Covid-19 change the way you create work? Do you approach shows with adifferent mentality now?

No, not really. It certainly makes me appreciate the beauty of live performance after a period of only performing virtually, or to people sat in cars at drive-in shows.

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?

Better than the one before.    

Do you subscribe to the idea that art should be exempt from ‘cancel culture’?

“Up yours, woke moralists. We’ll see who cancels who.”

If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick andwhy?

I would love to work with Charlie Chaplin. Not to make comedy with him, just to show him apps on my phone to freak him out since he’s from the past. Even early apps, like the one where a pint of beer comes up on the screen, and you can tilt it to pretend to drink it, would probably give him the fear. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?

Get to Palmyra Pizza before it shuts at 1.30am.

When and where can people see your show?

You can see my show at Monkey Barrel’s Carnivore venue on the Cowgate at 6.20pm every day from the 1st to the 28th of August, with the 17th off.  

And where can people find, follow and like you online?

You can follow me on Twitter @macarthurboyd, or you can follow me on Instagram @macarthur.boyd (@macarthurboyd on Instagram was taken by my father, for his hairdressing business, and he refuses to give it to me).

Christopher Macarthur-Boyd: Oh No is at Monkey Barrel's Carnivore at 6:20pm from 3rd – 28th August. For tickets go to

Header Image Credit: Provided


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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