Q&A : BriTANick
US comedy duo Brian McElhaney and Nick Kocher, collectively known as BriTANicK have been nominated for an Emmy, been named in Variety's Top 10 Comics to Watch, have written for Saturday Night Live and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and now make their Edinburgh debut, directed by multi-award winning comedian Alex Edelman.
BriTANicK’s two-person sketch show is a hyper-paced, meticulously crafted, manic whirlwind of joy and chaos. Blending comedy influences from classic vaudeville, witty wordplay, absurdism, and meta-deconstruction, expect to be enveloped by fast-paced choreography and head-scratching absurdity.
We chatted to Brian and Nick about their comedy, their name and ultimately, their trade secrets.
How long have you known each other?
We’ve been friends for twenty years, but aware of each other for thirty. We’re kind of shy, so it commonly takes us about a decade to break the ice.
You said that if you could change your name, you would, but you’re already too well known for that. If you were to change your name, what name would you choose instead?
Brian: Probably something where my full name is also part of it, so people don’t pronounce it “Brit-anick” anymore. Maybe NicKTANBriaNMcElhaneY?
Nick: Ted Lasso
What would you say is the secret to making your audience feel smart and silly at the same time?
We try to find an honest core truth to centre our sketches around, something that feels intellectually or philosophically resonant. Once we have that, we like to express that idea through human pettiness, ego, confusion, and chaos, so you’re laughing at something ridiculous but feel that it’s about something real. We’re essentially trying to make a smart cake with extremely dumb frosting.
You have had great success as writers, not only an Emmy nomination for best writing for Saturday Night Live, but also for other highly successful productions. What gave you the final impetus to go back and perform live as a duo again, and at the Edinburgh Fringe no less?
In our minds, there’s no “going back” to performing. Performing live has always been the top of the mountain. Also, writing is boring. We missed performing so much over the pandemic, the Edinburgh Fringe seemed like the perfect place to come back and really feel alive onstage again.
What would you say is the key word to describe BriTANicK’ s secret to success?
Have you tried haggis and if not, will you be trying it while you’re in Scotland
Brian: Not yet but put two Guinness’s in me and point me towards the Promised Land. I’m ready.
Nick: Have had it a bunch and love it. Haggis needs to fire whatever publicist it uses in the states, because there no reason it shouldn’t be huge over here too.
Assembly George Square (The Box), 7.45, 3-28 August (not 17)