Edinburgh Fringe Fest - The George Lucas Talk Show
Underground-cult-hit comedy show, The George Lucas Talk Show is making its first journey to the Edinburgh Festival following a long-running prime-time weekend off-Broadway slot and a sell-out run at London’s Soho Theatre. In a twist to the standard talk show format, comedian Connor Ratliff appears as “retired filmmaker George Lucas” the creator of Star Wars, interviewing real celebrity guests.
We spoke to Connor Ratliff about his hilarious embodiment of George Lucas, how he connects with guests and his exploration of the influences, successes and failures of the iconic filmmaker.
Tell us about The George Lucas Talk Show in 5 words or less
A weird, fun, kind-hearted show
Why George Lucas?
He is one of the most successful artists in the history of the world, he has literally changed the way movies & television are made multiple times over. But there are a couple of things that make him a funny character to play– one is that his influence is so enormous that you can tie almost any cultural thing back to him in like one or two moves.
Like, if Taylor Swift was a guest on the show, you might think, "oh, how will ‘George’ connect with this guest?" Well, she has gone back and re-recorded all her early albums, just like how George went back and did "Special Editions" of all his movies. It's rarely hard to come up with an angle for George to relate to a guest.
The other thing that is funny is that he is so successful, but he has also had a lot of high-profile failures – and a few of those "failures" are more successful than most things anyone will ever do. Like, the Star Wars prequels were some of the most poorly reviewed and widely criticized movies, but they have made an absolute fortune and now there is a wide swath of people who adore and cherish them.
Also, he is not a performer or a comedian, so there is something automatically funny about putting him in a job that he would never actually be qualified to do, hosting a chat show. It gives me a license to be bad at it sometimes. If a show goes off the rails, I can always blame "George."
What’s your favourite thing about the Edinburgh Fringe?
It's relentless and decentralized. So many shows, and there is no one gatekeeping force telling people they can or cannot do it. It encourages a kind of rugged individualism and self-confidence, to believe in yourself enough to take the risk of coming here and putting your show into the mix. I find that exciting.
Who would be the ultimate guest on the Talk Show?
Obviously, the real George Lucas would be a mind-bending "get," to have him be interviewed by a bizarre version of himself. But truly, I'm always most excited at the idea of getting someone who is completely unlikely. Like, if we could book Michelle Obama and Martin Short, I feel like that would be the dream line-up, just to have two perfect top tier chat show guests whom one would never imagine in conversation with "retired filmmaker George Lucas" and "Watto."
Your shows have been described as having ‘cult status’ – do you agree with that?
Very much so, in the best sense of the word. We started GLTS as a midnight show in New York’s East Village, and what surprised me was how many people were drawn to the show who had literally never seen a Star Wars film. They’d be attending our shows for years and then come up to us and say, “I just started watching them for the first time.” And they would process everything in those movies through the prism of our show. “Oh look, that’s Watto, from The George Lucas Talk Show.”
Up until the pandemic hit, we were very much a “you had to be there” kind of experience. If you weren’t at a show, you missed it, and there would be no trace of it online except a few snapshots. We would have guests violate serious NDAs and then swear the audience to secrecy. But then in 2020, once we became an online livestream show, I was worried that we would attract some of the more negative aspects of Star Wars fandom. I was pleasantly surprised that our fans still tend to be really nice.
The George Lucas Talk Show will be performed at 11.35pm in Assembly George Square Studios (Studio Two) on 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th August
George-Prov: An Improvised Theatrical Experience’ will be performed at 5.55pm in Assembly Roxy (Downstairs) from 25th – 28th August