Backstage boos from the Edinburgh fringe
I’m just back from Edinburgh’s Venue 150, which tonight will host Amnesty’s Stand Up For Freedom comedy show in front of a sell-out crowd of 1,200 comedy (and hopefully Amnesty) fans at the Edinburgh festival.It starts at 9.30 tonight and my colleague Emerson and I are going backstage to attempt some interviews with the comedians, which we’ll tweet out as Audioboos from the @Artsfromamnesty account. If you’re wondering what an Audioboo is, so was I this morning: it’s just an audio clip that’s uploaded online, a link to which one can then easily tweet.So if you’d like to hear what the likes of Ed Byrne, Russell Kane, Jenny Éclair, Mark Watson, and Kristen Schaal from ‘Flight of the Conchords’ have to say for themselves when they come offstage, do follow us tonight. I’d like to apologise in advance for the inept interview technique.If you have any questions you think we should ask, DM us at @Artsfromamnesty. No promises, mind you. I heard Russell Kane last night doing a routine about being single at the festival, but I’m not asking him out for you!The Amnesty team is here to promote our work to protect the right to freedom of expression. You might have seen my colleague John quoted in the Independent today, pointing out the irony of the Chinese government promoting itself at the world’s biggest arts festival, while at home it has clamped down so harshly on artists like Ai Weiwei and anyone else who’s perceived as speaking out of line.We’ll also be calling on everyone at tonight’s gig to take action for the “UAE 5”, five men in the United Arab Emirates who are locked up for “insulting officials” after they asked for more democracy and questioned how the country is run. We’re asking people to join a petition to the UAE authorities by texting the word FREEDOM plus their full name to 81222. You don’t HAVE to be at the gig to do it though – so why not get your phone out now?Comedians have been keen to get behind the campaign. Ed Byrne told us: “If you can get locked up in the UAE for insulting officials, I hope no Emirati police ever come to Edinburgh or they’ll end up jailing half of the festival.”Or as Kristen Schaal and her comedy partner Kurt Braunohler put it: "We’re supporting Amnesty's SMS campaign to free the UAE 5. Come on Edinburgh, LET'S TEXT MESSAGE THESE GUYS OUT OF JAIL!" .
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.