Shazia Mirza returns to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017 with a brand new tour.
With Love From St. Tropez follows her critically acclaimed 103 date, sell-out tour The Kardashians Made Me Do It, which began life as 2015 Fringe show The Road to Al Baghdadi. Once a high school chemistry teacher, the now celebrated comedian focuses on lies and truth.
Can you tell us about the new show?
It’s about the state of the world. There’s about Brexit, racism and the rise of Bigotry and things like that. I also then use the periodic table and relate it to the world. All the answers to the issues of the world are in the periodic table. I’ve got a bit about the banning of the burka on the French beach and how i don’t understand modern feminism.
Do you mind going into more detail on that?
I don’t really understand what modern feminism is. Donald Trump said that he grabbed pussy and women all over the world got angry and they marched the streets. Obviously I don’t agree with him, I don’t agree with what he said and I’m not condoning it, but I just don’t think it was that bad. I think feminism is a white thing by white middle-class women for white-middle class women, who like signing petitions and campaigning.
In the show I point out that Muslim women are the most oppressed minority in the world and nobody signs petitions for our pussies. There was no worldwide march for us; when you have Muslim women who are sent off to Pakistan to marry 65 year-old men or have acid thrown in their face, and there’s never a worldwide march for them. I thought that feminism is not just what you do for yourself but what you do for all women.
I have a 23 year-old Muslim friend who wear the niqab. I was going to do a gig for international women’s day when her mother said,”What is that?” and my friend responded with “it’s that thing white women celebrate once a year”, and I thought “Oh my god”.
That was the first time I’d heard it and I thought that this must be what a lot of women who aren’t white think. This was the first I’d heard it so I thought I must go and write something about it because there must be loads of women who think like her.
Did that form a large part of your motivation for the show?
No, it’s actually only a very small part of the show that I end on. I’ve only got fifty minutes and it isn’t enough, but when I go on tour I can do an hour and a half, then it’ll be much longer.
Is this your first time performing the show?
Well, I’ve done loads of previews, which went well. There are obviously people who won’t agree with what I say, especially in Edinburgh given it’s the domain of the white middle-class and there’ll be a lot of people who will probably say that it’s not right to say Trump wasn’t that bad because it kind of takes away from how awful that is. But I didn’t warrant a worldwide march.
Do you feel any pressure following the international success of The Kardashians Made Me Do It?
Maybe, but I don’t think of it like that. It was a great show and people really liked it, but I’ve got other things I want to talk about now and other things I want to say. It’s totally different from my last show.
Given that you had to change the title of the The Road to Al Baghdadi to The Kardashians Made Me Do It when you took it to London, do you ever feel the need to suit different attitudes or censor yourself?
No, I don’t feel that I do, especially not in Edinburgh. There are obviously people who are going to be offended, but if you think about the audience and worry about what they’re going to think then you’ll never do a true piece of work.
The promotional material for St. Tropez includes the lines “the truth is so 1980s”. Would you mind explaining that?
I just talk about lies, Brexit being based on lies, and Trump being based on lies, and how people actually prefer to hear lies than the truth, because there’s more comfort that way. It comes in to how I use the periodic table in the show. It brings back horrific memories for some people to see it, but it’s based on scientific facts and how everything can be related to the way that the elements are mixed and congregate by themselves. The left of the table and the right don’t mix, and when they do… It’s generally a metaphor for the world.
What’s the plan for after the Fringe?
I’ll be doing a few dates before Christmas, then i’ll start the main UK tour in March or April. I’ve also just filmed Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls with Mark Watson and a few other people. That starts August 28th on Channel 4. It was very difficult, but a life changing experience.
Shazia Mirza’s new show With Love From St. Tropez play from 2nd – 28th August at the Billiard Room, Gilded Balloon as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. You can purchase tickets here.