Interview with Konstantin Kisin

"I’d love to meet a medieval court jester who succeeded in entertaining the court and helping his ruler to see sense at the same time."

Interview with Konstantin Kisin

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

My name is Konstantin Kisin – I am a Russian-British comedian who made headlines earlier this year by refusing to turn down a ‘safe space’ contract from a university.

How would you describe your show?

It’s a comedy show about free speech. Yes, it’s funny. Yes, it has a message.

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

That’s a loaded question. ;)

What differentiates it from other festivals?

It’s longer and more expensive. ;) 

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

My inspirations were people like George Carlin and Bill Hicks: comedians who had something to say. I entered the industry to try to do something similar.

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

Making lots of money in a horrific finance job and hating my life.

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

The guy who stops Donald Trump from sending out the tweets he never actually sends out. Imagine saving the world every single day?

Do you ever feel any pressure to be a social commentator, or constantly update material to respond to events?

I am on TV and radio regularly commenting on social and political events. I write regularly for the Telegraph and Spectator as well. It’s a perk of the job as far as I’m concerned -  people taking my opinions seriously for no reason whatsoever.

Equally, do you think there has been a shift in public sentiment that has affected your work?

Absolutely. We live in a country where many people are unsure about what they can and can’t say. The supposedly tolerant minority are dictating to all of us what we’re supposed to think and believe. The job of comedians is to push back against this authoritarianism and I try to do that.

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?


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

I’d love to meet a medieval court jester who succeeded in entertaining the court and helping his ruler to see sense at the same time. Those guys risked their life every time they opened their mouths!

Why would a performer opt to do either a ticketed event or participate in the free fringe? What are the benefits and limitations of both?

Free fringe allows you to keep the costs low, especially if you struggle to fill the room. But if you can sell tickets, it’s a much better option because you have an audience that came to see you specifically and they’re bought in to what you’re doing.

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

Come for a week a year or two before and do compilation shows before you bring your own. 

When and where can people see your show?

7PM, Gilded Balloon Teviot, Wee Room

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

@konstantinkisin on Twitter

Header Image Credit: Steve Ullathorne


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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