Red Funny – GayTimes UK

GayTimes UK

Transcribed from GayTimes UK, August 2013.

SHAWN HITCHINS, you might notice, is ginger. Ginger, proud and on a mission to repopulate earth with fellow fiery redheads. Funny ones. He’s already started by inseminating a lesbian friend, producing a gingery little girl and enough material for a hilarious (and surprisingly emotional) 55 minute solo Edinburgh show. We catch up with him in this Toronto flat before he makes his voyage up to Scotland, to find out just how gay this Ginger Nation plan is. It’s very gay, and so is gold star gay Shawn.

The obvious place to start is swapping stories about Edinburgh (“the harshest performance environment I’ve ever experienced”) and the inevitable flyering chores that take place. We suggest he’ll be able to harass ginger people on the streets…

“Well that’s how this show kinda started,” Shawn tells us, “I was trying to get people into the [2011] show, so I started targeting gingers. ‘You can get into my show for free ‘cos you’re ginger. Your friends get £5 tickets because they’re friends with a ginger’. Then I would actually have redheads come to the show. Then some people got offended because they thought it was unfair. I was like ‘this is affirmative action people, this is how it works’.”

Of course there is a bit more to his show Ginger Nation than simply collecting redheads like Pokemon.

“I was trying to parallel gay identity and ginger identity. The whole process of donation sperm was tapping into what my identity as a gay man lead me to believe were my options. At the same time the Danish sperm bank started blocking redheaded sperm donors. So because of who I am there are so many groups or institutions telling me what I can or can’t do.

“So that’s where I really started going deeper into ginger identity – what is this and how can I make it funny? Make this really odd, raw 55 minute story funny. I’m going to repopulate the world with gingers.”

Which is actually happening, albeit very slowly. He does have a daughter, if only as the biological father (“I now joke that I have a baby time share, a vacation baby”) which gives Ginger Nation a whole sperm-spilling narrative.

“It’s so funny the first time that I did it,” Shawn says about masturbating into a plastic beaker, “it was like I had never done it before. I was all thumbs. I had no idea what I was doing, I’d forgotten lubricant, it was high pressure – it was not as easy as you’d think it would be and it wasn’t as enjoyable as you’d think it would be. It was like a work drum beat and you’re masturbating to it. While trying to have to weave a basket.” You generally don’t consider the act of creating a new life when whacking one out.

“Yeah! I was confronting the whole thing that I was going to inject my semen into another woman. Usually you would just wipe off and give each other a high five.”

We did wonder if the whole experience could turn Mr Hitchins into a rampant heterosexual have been a turkey baster away from losing his gold star. “It didn’t open my mind to my sexuality, it more confirmed my sexuality.” Though there are two exceptions.

“Christine Baranski or Bebe Neuwirth. Maybe if they asked me, yes, I would. Basically I’m into 60-year-old-women.

And with that Shawn has us laughing again. Which is as good sign, given he’s taking on the whole being-a-comedian thing. He’s great at taking an idea and really running with it, such as jokingly concocting a plan to stalk Tilda Swinton, but he explains, “I’m never very serious. I also use the term, ‘person of primary colour’ – these things I find hilarious.”

We don’t spend that much time talking about hair, Tin Tin aside, but we do manage to explain to him who Nicola Roberts is and why she’s basically a ginger activist.

“I would love to become a huge ginger activist, but I don’t know if that works in Canada. We bully people, but we bully all different types of people, we’re diverse bulliers.”

Well there is one step he’s taking on his route to ginger activism/world domination. A Ginger Pride Walk, taking place on 10 August in Edinburgh.

“Part stunt, part I actually want to see how many gingers would come out for a mass photoshoot. I hope there are no haters, no one whipping Scotch eggs at me as I was down alone…”

[Bob Henderson]