Konstantin Kisin uses his Fringe debut to give a hilarious, refreshing affirmation of the importance of free speech.
The comic stormed to headlines in December 2018 for refusing to sign a behavioural agreement that would not allow him to say offensive material for a show given to students.
After conversations on breakfast television with Piers Morgan and on Radio 4, Kisin preached an unerring message of why free speech is so integral to civilised society. In a set that loosely mapped out his hectic half-year since December, Kisin embarks on anecdotes involving jokes that showed exactly why he turned down that behavioural agreement.
He mocks the fact that he has been dubbed ‘‘a Nazi’’ because of his basic belief in free speech, despite being Jewish himself.
This performance feels like an authentic plea to a small audience to prevent today’s politically-correct society getting the better of our mouths and minds, and who better to preach this message than a man whose grandfather was kicked out of the Soviet Union for expressing in private his disregard for the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan? Kisin claims to know why free speech is so important, and he convinces the audience that his opinion on this is more valid most others.
Intertwined with his jokes, he gives hard-hitting statements confirming his positive message. ‘‘Free speech does not equate to being offensive,’’ he said, as well as the thought-provoking idea that ‘‘being offended is a luxury that people who truly struggle do not have.’’
Kisin’s show makes a list of ‘10 acts challenging the liberal consensus’ – which he thinks is perceived by most as a negative trait. As he comes to a close, he asks the audience just how liberal this consensus was if it is being challenged by a man asking for freedom. ‘Not very’ is on everyone’s minds, as Kisin makes everyone aware of the reality we live in today.
Kisin will make you think – and laugh whilst you do so. This hour is not to be missed.
Konstantin Kisin: Orwell That Ends Well is playing at The Gilded Balloon, Teviot – Wee Room (Venue 14)
At 19:00, 5th-12th, 14th-26th
Get tickets here
Image: Steve Ullathorne