Cult Japanese music group Frank Chickens are to appear at the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time in 25 years – thanks to the subversive campaign to crown them the biggest Comedy Gods the festival has produced.
Stewart Lee, who prompted the revival of interest in the band as a protest against Edinburgh Comedy Awards sponsor Foster’s, has invited them to play his celebratory Stewbilee gig at the Festival Theatre tomorrow night.
When Frank Chickens were nominated for the award in 1985, when it was called the Perriers, they were a duet comprising Kazuko Hohki and Kazumi Taguchi. Now it is a 17-piece outfit, still led by Hohki.
With just over a week’s voting to go, they are still top of the Foster’s public poll to find the ‘comedy god’, out of all the acts who have been nominated for the awards of the last 30 years.
Lee started the backlash against the ‘vacuous’ poll, saying the awards simply wanted to find a big-name act that could be linked by association to the new sponsor, a result almost guaranteed as no one would remember bygone avant garde acts such as Frank Chicken. The idea sparked a Twitter campaign to protect the spirit of the Fringe, that has gathered apparently unstoppable momentum.
Stewart Lee’s Silver Stewbilee celebrates the Fringe veteran’s 25 years at Edinburgh, and is designed to promote his new book How I Escaped My Certain Fate. Surprise guests have been promised, but the only name made public before now has been Kevin Eldon.