Improv-ing Comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival attracts thousands of people from all over the world each August. Known as the largest arts and culture festival in the world, the Fringe Festival comprises free and paid performances and occupies a myriad of venues in Edinburgh, Scotland. The festival likewise features performances by big names in comedy and theatre, most notably Jojo Rinehart-Jones ’20.
Rinehart-Jones joined the improv troupe Running-A-Mock while studying abroad at Kings College London during the spring 2019 semester. The head of Running-A-Mock applied for the troupe to perform at the festival while Rinehart-Jones was abroad, eventually gaining the troupe the opportunity to perform six free shows in Edinburgh. The troupe performed toward the start of the festival, which altogether runs from August 2 to August 26.
Majors: Theatre, Literature
Hometown: New York City, NY
High School: Bard High School Early College Manhattan
“It was two weeks where my troupe and I basically had permission to do nothing but perform comedy, see comedy, talk about comedy, and eat delicious street food all day long,” Rinehart-Jones said. During her time at the festival, she observed and advertised other shows in addition to participating in Running-A-Mock’s own performances. Her experience at the festival not only allowed her to showcase her own comedic skills but learn from others’ talents as well. “I got to see so many amazing artists and performers, I’ve had a hard time processing it all.”
Rinehart-Jones said that one highlight of her weeks at the festival was witnessing actor Mackenzie Cook unexpectedly participate in a comedy-murder-mystery show. “My friends and I were in this Adam Riches show . . . that requires a lot of audience participation, so at one point the entire row behind us was called onstage. Turns out, one of the guys behind us was Mackenzie Crook, an actor from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, among other things.”
A theatre and literature double major, Rinehart-Jones hopes to work as a screenwriter for comedy television. On campus, she participates in mainstage productions, hosts a radio show, and serves as the editor-in-chief of the satirical publication The Duel Observer. Her participation in the Fringe Festival is just one of Rinehart-Jones’ many accomplishments and steps in pursuing her aspirations.
Rinehart-Jones ultimately had one impassioned piece of advice for readers: “Don’t dismiss the clown shows ... I know it sounds dumb but clowning is not what you see in the media. Go see a professional, contemporary clown show. Find a highly-rated one and you will not regret it.”