Fringe preview: Michelle Wolff is brave

Michelle Wolf. Picture: Mindy Tucker
Michelle Wolf. Picture: Mindy Tucker
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MICHELLE WOLF’s new stand-up show is called So Brave. In it, her first solo hour, the New Yorker takes her audience on a personal and occasionally political journey exploring how she sees the world.

Named one of the Top 10 Funniest Women in NYC by Time Out, Wolf’s act has been described as brave. But what exactly does brave mean... here Wolf ponders that question.

“I’m not sure I know what the word ‘brave’ means anymore. It used to be someone like a fireman was brave. Now someone that writes a blog post in their underwear is brave.

I’m not sure you can be brave without pants on. I think the only thing you can be without pants on is cold.

A lot of people think doing stand up is brave. It’s not. It’s hard. Well, it’s hard to do it well. It’s easy to do it bad.

It’s easy to do a lot of things bad. I’m bad at tons of things. Like cutting mangos and using TV remotes and relationships. I’m getting better at TV remotes.

But doing stand up isn’t brave. If anything it’s selfish and egotistical. You’re basically saying, ‘Hey, you! You listen to me. You’re gonna enjoy the words I say.’

I can easily get up on stage and talk at people. I find it a lot harder to be off stage and talk with people.

People confuse stupid with brave.  They call people that climb Everest brave. They’re not brave. They’re stupid.

Okay maybe the first guy that did it was brave and stupid. Imagine when that first guy said he was going to climb Everest. The person he told would have been like ‘what’s that?’ And he’d have to respond, ‘it’s a mountain I saw a picture of in a book.’ Because there wasn’t internet. If it wasn’t near you, you didn’t know what anything looked like.

So maybe that first guy was brave, but everyone else who does it is just selfish. There’s a pretty good chance you could die on the mountain. And a lot of people do die on Everest... there’s an easy solution - just stop climbing the mountain.

So many people have died on Everest that some of their bodies are used to gauge how far you are from the top. That’s not a way to give directions. If you gave directions to your house like that, ‘turn left and then a quarter mile after the dead body, my house will be on the right’ no one would come. 

So I might not know what brave is anymore. But I’m pretty sure I know what brave isn’t. And I am not brave.

Michelle Wolf: So Brave, Pleasance Courtyard, Beneath, today-28 August, 9.30pm, £11-£13, 0131-226 0000