Our resident Edinburgh Fringe correspondent interviewed the fabulous Kate McCabe


This is part of a three-week nearly everyday series wherein polyamorous ex-nun nurse nonbinary queer comedian Kelli Dunham explores all the queermost edges of The Edinburgh Fringe, performs her own hilarious and hopefully hopeful show, annoys and confuses people with her gender, and drags you along for the ride. 

Day Two: Class Reunion At Dyke High

I know the brilliant Kate McCabe from performing as part of the Famous Lesbian Comedy Road Show (Famous Lesbians Not Included). None of us identified exactly as lesbians (or that wasn’t the full spectrum of our identities), and none of us were famous. Some of us are much more famous now. Ahem. But that’s a different conversation. 

Once, we were booked in a hotel conference room in a queer beach town’s Fringe where audiences were small indeed; we were competing with Margaret Cho and Five Naked Men Singing, and some dude dressed up like Cher on a scooter. But Kate went to her hotel room and produced – and to be clear, I am not way exaggerating for comedic effect – an actual homemade Xena costume. Flyering dressed in cargo shorts and a pride shirt? Highly ineffective. Flyering dressed as a 90s sapphic superhero? Very different story. 

I tracked Kate down as she was dashing from show to show: 

What are you doing at the Fringe, Kate? 

I’m doing as much as I humanly can at the Fringe without running myself absolutely ragged. The primary projects are Name Of The Dame… this is a scripted two-hander that I’ve co-written and acted in. I describe it (when I’m stood in the street flyering) as something like Naked Gun-style humour in a film noir setting. It’s VERY silly. I wear a blonde wig and talk like a gangster’s moll in it. I haven’t worn nylons since Catholic school, and I have to give myself an extra 5 mins to put them on before the show. You’ve got to engage your core so you don’t fall over.

Who likes your show? 

Comedy fans. Improv fans. Dad-joke fans. Folks who like parody and people who like off-kilter humour as well. People who LIKE stand-up may want a palate cleanser and try something different. 

What’s the most interesting/bananas/depressing thing you’ve done/are going to try to get butts in seats?

I have, on at least one occasion, pressed the pedestrian crossing light so that cars have to stop and I can flyer them.

If you were a bird of prey, what kind of bird of prey would you be? 

Snowy owl. I will offer no explanation.

What do you always bring to the potluck? 

I’ve recently upped my Caesar salad game with a recipe for an excellent dressing. But as we all know from Homer Simpson, ‘you don’t win friends with salad’, so I might deviate to Nigella Lawson’s apricot harissa/chicken thigh tray bake recipe if I really needed to impress.

See Kate in Name Of The Dame, which runs until the 20 August (not the 14), 5:50 pm at The Nucleus/Sub-Atomic Room. Murder Inc runs until the 20th (the 14th is dark) at 7:45 pm at The Mash House/Cask Room. Both shows are £10 or Pay What You Want, more at edfringe.com.

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