Oleg Denisov: Russian Troll

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Material: four-stars.png  Delivery: four-stars.png Laughs: four-stars.png Room: four-stars.png


The Scotsman hotel was very plush, where hidden away was the Champion of Festivals venue where we were to meet Oleg Denisov, a stand-up comedian from the new realm of Russia. His comedy has been described as politically oriented, in which, as he himself stated, he has a vested interest. But as the show developed, there also emerged an interest in philosophy, a field he had studied in Russia. In his introduction, Oleg brought up the origins of the troll, a myth that came from Scandinavia, but then there was also the political troll, and neither ever had any good intentions. Thus did he set out his stall.

Oleg talked eloquently, putting forth his ideas with quasi-debating techniques, interspersed with both heavy and light jokes. Ideas as fresh as he was. He was young, 30 years old, a fact he used to compare himself to his beloved Russia, also but an infant after some major social restructuring. This was a well-honed act, leaving us feeling relaxed and hungry for the next killer line, the next exuberant punchline.

The name comes in part from the “Russian Trolls” as a popular news story, and in part from a scholarly version of how the mystical creature called “Troll” was invented by Scandinavian people. Oleg Denisov  (read the full interview)

The momentum built in great strides, taking us deeper and deeper into concepts of freedom of speech in a truly masterful way. He compared Scottish culture to that of Russia, retaining always his own Russian identity and throwing ideas around like a juggler. It was wonderful to see and to listen to this well-crafted, energetic, yet calmly delivered rhetoric that he made sure to weave into hilarious, yet mind-expanding comments and queries. The jokes were sometimes risqué, but it was the preposterous debating that really drew us in, while still coming across as though he sincerely cared about the stunted state of his homeland.

This was a skillful, commanding, endearing and insightful take on personal reality, on finding strength and overcoming adversity in the face of seemingly ridiculous situations. Mixed with many painful and poignant moments in Russian history. Nonetheless, this comic philosopher was always optimistic, whi- sharp and as honest as you can be; a quality orator who choses out of necessity to bring his great thoughts to our attention using amazing comedy.

Daniel Donnelly

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Russian Troll

Champions of Festival @ The Scotsman

Aug 2-26 (16:40)

A3 Poster Oleg Edinburgh - jpeg

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