Former SNP leader Alex Salmond will begin a two-week run of his Edinburgh Festival Fringe show today.
The politician’s show, Alex Salmond… Unleashed, has been extended twice to meet demand for tickets.
The former first minister of Scotland has promised to use the gigs as an opportunity to reveal ‘the things you can’t say in office’.
Some 6,000 people due to see the former politician’s Fringe debut.
Mr Salmond, 62, who was ousted from his seat at Westminster at the general election, said he was ‘delighted’ by the response from Fringe-goers.
Promoters say the show will feature invited guests, music and comedy, as well as ‘a bit of light-hearted banter and a few behind-the-scenes revelations about his time in power’.
The guests, from the worlds of media, politics, sport, and showbiz, will be unveiled at the start in a surprise for audiences.
Speaking on the eve of his opening show, Mr Salmond said: ‘There are things you can’t say in office that you can say out of office.
‘And there are things you can do out of office that you can’t do in office, not just as First Minister, but as an MP you can’t just swan off to the Edinburgh Festival for a couple of weeks.
‘That’s not fair on your constituents, but luckily my constituents relieved me of that responsibility, and I’m now able to do it.
The ex-SNP leader said he had always fancied doing the Fringe
He told the National newspaper: ‘I have always fancied a spot at the Edinburgh Fringe and this is going to be lots of fun.
‘Obviously in the show there will be lots about politics but the emphasis will be very much on the lighter side.’
And Mr Salmond insisted the Donald Trump and North Korean despot Kim Jong-un would have made the ‘perfect combination’ to join him on stage.
‘I was tempted to ask Trump, and put a Tweet out,’ he joked. ‘Can you imagine the entourage from each? It would be absolutely fabulous.
Mr Salmond insisted the Donald Trump and North Korean despot Kim Jong-un would have made the ‘perfect combination’ to join him on stage
‘The fight over the camera angles for the hairlines. It would have taken years to get the thing stage-managed. It would be brilliant.’
Mr Salmond added it was ‘an extraordinary consequence of the manipulation of the democratic process that somebody like Donald Trump could end up the most powerful man in the world’.
He added: ‘The further he puts his big flat feet into things, the more difficult it gets just to be funny about it. Because the consequences are clearly not.
‘I was asked before he became President what I thought people should do, and I said Antarctica might be a great place to go.’
The public has already had a taste of Mr Salmond’s humour during his political career.
In response to Theresa May’s admission that the unruliest thing she has ever done was ‘run through fields of wheat’, the former MP tweeted a picture of himself stood next to a field alongside the caption: ‘Tempted to be naughty’.
And in 2015 the politician was filmed joking that he would be writing the budget in a Labour Government.
But it has not always been a barrel of laughs. Four years ago it emerged that Mr Salmond had demanded his advisers write better jokes for his speeches after a one-liner he used while talking to staff at a factory fell embarrassingly flat.
In June this year Mr Salmond posted a picture on Twitter mocking Theresa May’s cringeworthy admission that the ‘naughtiest’ thing she had ever done was ‘run through fields of wheat’
Telling the hundred-strong crowd at Nigg Energy Park in the Cromarty Firth about how he had partnered with golf pro Phil Mickelson at a pro-am ahead of the Scottish Open, the then-SNP leader said: ‘There were obviously a few nerves on the first tee when I was playing with Phil Mickelson.
‘But I soon put Phil Mickelson at ease and he was all right after that.’
The joke was met with a wall of deadly silence and it is hoped his Fringe slot will be more successful.
Social media users were sceptical of Mr Salmond’s new pursuit into comedy
Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw is not convinced.
He said: ‘Only Alex Salmond would have the ego to think he could be an attractive fixture at the world’s biggest comedy festival.
‘The crowds will almost certainly be laughing at him rather than with him.’
Social media users were also sceptical of Mr Salmond’s new pursuit.
Ceylon Andi Hickman wrote on Twitter: ‘Alex Salmond turning to a career in comedy is the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while. He can retire now.’
Another user, Ross Butler, wrote: ‘Alex Salmond is trying his hand at comedy, what next, flying pigs? #alexsalmond #fringe #why #pleaseno.’
While Tim Errington wrote: ‘Alex Salmond going into comedy. With the state of British politics, I thought he already was.’
The hour-long event will run until August 27 at the city’s Assembly Rooms.
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