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Chris Grace

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Words: Caroline Whitham

You’ve been performing on the Fringe with Baby Wants Candy since 2011. Are you looking forward to coming back to Edinburgh?

Absolutely, this is set to be my tenth time at the Fringe and I’ve no doubt it’ll be the best one yet! That’s just my Yankee optimism talking, of course – I’ll be sure to rein that in before touching down in Edinburgh.

Your new show, Chris Grace: As Scarlett Johansson, pays tribute to everybody’s favourite Asian American actress. Can you tell us a bit about it?

It’s a one-man comedy spectacle that is both a glorious homage to Scarlett Johansson and an antidote for racism all in just under an hour. Do you reckon anyone’s trying to do that at the International Festival? Doubt it!

Are we coming to a point where the entertainment industry is ready to respect characters’ races and roots, or do you think that’s still a long way off?

We are… a medium way off! We’re in this middle ground where we don’t necessarily need creators to handle our culture with extreme caution so much as afford us the opportunity to be involved in projects so our voice can be heard – and not just as the comic relief or an exposition bot that assists or educates the lead character. Respect is nice but meaty roles are nicer! Also, “Meaty Rolls” is the name of my food truck I’ll be bringing to Fringe in 2024.

For me and many others, Jerry and Sandra were the true will-they-won’t-they couple on Superstore. Do you find yourself getting stopped in the street a lot more these days?

Definitely! Once Superstore hit Netflix in the UK, my recognition in Edinburgh and London sky-rocketed. People ask if it ever gets tiring… Does it bother me that every other day a stranger on the street compliments me? I’m quite alright with it! If you see me at the Fringe please say hello, take a leaflet from me, and then tell me you’re coming to see my show (and if you need to bin the leaflet just make sure I’m out of your line of sight).

Is there anything in particular you look forward to whenever you’re planning your Edinburgh stay? Any city highlights?

There are always a few meals I must have: I adore a Gregg’s, and Kismot, and Dishoom, and I love Noodles & Dumplings. These are all experiences I can’t replicate back in the US – believe it or not, Noodles & Dumplings is one of my favourite Chinese restaurants in the world, and I reside in Los Angeles. I’m also quite fond of the National Museum, the Meadows, and popping into a random bookshop to peruse old treasures.

Are there any other shows you’re looking forward to seeing? 

I’m excited to see my friend Tim Murray’s show “Witches”, I got a glimpse of it in its early stages but he’s sharpened it brilliantly and I can’t wait to see the final product. I’m also looking forward to seeing Jonny & the Baptists, The Retreat, MC Hammersmith, Chris Turner, Sofie Hagen, Pattie Harrison and Mike Birbiglia!

Any advice for first-time visitors?

Try to catch at least two shows that you know nothing about, aside from their title and description – ideally in some obscure venue in a remote part of town. If you’re out late partying, head home 20 minutes before you reckon you ought to. Make time for rest and relaxation. Enjoy a pasty. And don’t fret about whether you’re doing the Fringe “right”. You’re definitely not, but that’s absolutely fine!

Chris Grace: As Scarlett Johansson
Studio Five – Assembly George Square Studios
Thurs 3rd – Mon 28th August

Baby Wants Candy
Studio One – Assembly George Square Studios
Weds 2nd – Sun 27th August

Shamilton! The Improvised Hip Hop Musical
Studio One – Assembly George Square Studios
Weds 2nd – Mon 28th August


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