US comedian Abigoliah Schamaun plays Brighton
US comedian Abigoliah Schamaun heads out on her debut UK tour Do You Know Who I Think I Am? with dates including The Komedia in Brighton on October 23.
She’s been living in the UK since 2014.
“I got a chance to get a work visa to do stand-up over here,” she recalls.
“I was living in New York at the time and not a lot of stuff was really going on for me, so I thought I would try over here. I had been to the UK to do Edinburgh before. I thought I would come over for a year to see if I liked it, and I did.
“I loved the scene, I have met lots of good friends and I met a British guy. I have got no plans to go back.”
The thought of Donald Trump hardly makes the old country terribly appealing.
“I have just been back in the States for three weeks.
“ We get all the news about the States over here, but when you are actually there it is far more stressful. You are over there and you realise your whole country is crumbling to the ground.
“I stayed a week with my mum and my mum was like ‘Donald Trump is ruining this country!’
“She always says she doesn’t hate anything. When we were children, we were not allowed to hate anything. She would tell us you can not like things, but you are not allowed to hate them.
“We were not allowed to hate spinach. We were not allowed to hate people. But she was saying ‘I hate Donald Trump!’
“And she was saying that it was ruining her social life. Some of our extended family are Trump supporters including my uncle. And my mum was saying she wants to throttle her older brother. But that’s Trump. Trump is a divisive guy.
“But I really can’t imagine that all those people who thought they had reasons to vote for him would want to vote for him now.
“As a white middle class woman who lives in Britain, his policies are not really affecting my life, but what he is doing with immigration… well, when immigration gets tighter in one country, then obviously it will have an effect on other countries.
“The only good thing about Donald Trump is that he likes Twitter. If it were not for Twitter, he might be doing his job, and if he was doing his job full time, we would all be in trouble!”
Things aren’t necessarily terribly much easier over here, though.
“In the five years that I have been here, I have seen three prime ministers. I have not been allowed to vote for as many presidents as there have been prime ministers over here in the past five years.
“I didn’t know a lot about British government, but you guys in Britain can just declare a general election whenever you want.”
As for the humour, Abigoliah believes that British and American isn’t so very different – once you take out a few of the more local references which clearly won’t work.
“I do a lot of autobiographical stuff. I talk a lot about myself, but I haven’t actually had to change much really because I think because British people know American pop culture pretty well already.
“Americans don’t know a lot about British culture, but the British know a lot about American.
“If I did a joke about the US subway in Manchester, it would land. If I did a joke about the M5 in Wisconsin, I don’t think it would fly!”
As for the audiences: “Over here it is a little bit more theatre-y. In the comedy clubs in the States there are waitresses going round all the time and there is no interval. Here there is a break and you grab a drink.
“I am super-excited about the tour.
“I am hoping for fame and fortune and diamonds! Really I am hoping that I will get really lovely people that will come out and will want to come back.
“I just want to start touring regularly here now.”