Edinburgh Festival / Day 15: Side View

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The Independent Culture

Robert Llewellyn on the UN, a suitable case for treatment

There is an equation that goes 'comedy equals events plus time'. So we're not supposed to laugh at something that's just happened. But I'm not making jokes about the fact that people have been dying in Yugoslavia. The humour is about the ineffectiveness of the UN. A lot of the UN soldiers are Canadian, and I play a Canadian in Blue Helmet. In this country I'm teased for being so right on, but when I went to Canada they thought I was some sort of thug because my language was bad and I smoked cigarettes and farted in public. I even saw tramps jogging in Vancouver. Canadians are all fit. I think they all must have incredibly fulfilling sex lives. So really my character is based on that very positive, benign attitude of Canadians and on the UN soldiers coming from that security into the chaos of Yugoslavia. They have no idea of the complexity of the situation or the hatred that goes back tens of thousands of years. I only understood that once I went to the New World. Being brought up in Europe, I didn't understand what roots were or what history meant. You don't understand it until you leave.

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