Jamie Kilstein - There Is No God and That's Okay

You have your Fringe Picks, your Comedy Highlights, the Edinburgh Comedy Festival, all intended to direct you to the big names that you should see. But sometimes it’s important to take a punt, to put your faith in a recommendation; it’s what the Fringe spirit is all about. I took a chance on Jamie Kilstein and my recommendation to you is that you do the same. You’ll not be disappointed by his eloquent intelligence, razor-sharp wit and unconventionally convincing arguments.

A previous festival hit has been Bill Hicks: Slight Return, an actor impersonating the great comic with – in my mind – mixed results. Kilstein, on the other hand, is to me eerily reminiscent of the man himself and not in the sense of an astute impersonation but as if we are witness to some sort of Second Coming. Though I should probably bear in mind the religious connotations of my comparison, as Kilstein doesn’t reckon upon Jesus coming back to us and casts cutting aspersions on his ever having dropped by in the first place.

Kilstein’s first full Edinburgh show is called ‘There is no God and that’s okay’ and he handles his subject matter impeccably. It’s well-trodden ground and the pitfalls of cliché abound but he never falls victim to lazy jibes or condescension; anyone can do that and it’s tedious. Instead, his major tool is to turn the broad and often ridiculous generalisations made by those hard-line religious folk back on those who make these claims. A particularly compelling tirade ends with the conclusion that ‘God fucks children’, which is at best implausible and entirely blasphemous. Kilstein doesn’t believe in any omniscient deity so he couldn’t possibly believe this to be true.

But this equates to arbitrary statements made by extreme religious figures he has heard who claim that, ‘If there weren’t blacks there’d be no theft’ or ‘Hurricane Katrina happened because America tolerates homosexuality’. Kilstein highlights the inherent fallacy and stupidity of these statements, lucidly suggesting that actually theft is related to poverty and class and that hurricanes occur due to weather patterns. He is no believer in fate or a higher power but, rather, will and action and intent.

As he steps up to the mic for his closing tirade, the rhythmic likeness, intelligence and searing wit of Hicks permeates the hushes room and surrounds us all. Kilstein is a special talent and one that I feel privileged for having seen at this early stage of his career.

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The Blurb

'There is little that is genuinely, engagingly, impressively new in comedy. Kilstein is all of that. I don't think there is higher praise for me to give' (Kate Copstick, Scotsman).

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