Posts tagged ‘BBC Radio Scotland’

Crrrrrrrrrrrringe Central!!! – Fringe advice for new acts…

Auntie Keara’s TOP FIVE TIPS for New Acts Performing at The Edinburgh Fringe for the Very First Time…

Do not…

1. Tell me how many gigs you’ve done. Yaaaaaaaaaaaawn!!!! I don’t care. Just do them. Record yourself. Listen back to it. Be hard on yourself. And get advice from someone who knows. Discard the tape and do it again. And Again. And again. And again. And again. Forever. And ever. And E-V-E-R! Again.

If you MUST count something, make it the LPMs (If you don’t know what that is, find the fuck out).

Male comedian being pelted with food

Clip Art © Ron Leishman

2. Selfie-Pap yourself with a celeb comic – especially in a VIP bar – it makes you look amateur and performers come to those bars to get away from that stuff. Crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrringe!!! Why don’t you ask them for some tips instead? Old hands love to pass down their experience. And it’s a far better use of their time. And you might actually learn something. ūüôā

3. Stop saying it’s the “Fringe-Festival” – it’s not. ¬†– Unless you are doing ‘The Free Edinburgh Fringe Festival’ it’s actually called The Edinburgh Festival Fringe – or The Fringe – ie; on the Fringe of the Festival – yes, we know we’ve taken over! Result!! ¬†But know your history:¬†Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Female comedian starting out

Clip Art © Ron Leishman

4. Don’t perform drunk. You’re slurring your words and we cannot hear what you are saying. That’s why the joke didn’t work. Well, that’s one reason, anyway. Drink strangles your performance, it does not enhance it. Do some yoga for your nerves and maybe some affirmations. Or just ten long slow deep breaths. Meditation. Hug a bear. Drink water. And more water. No ice. Eat vegetables and fish and bananas. These things produce far better results than the demon drink. Get shitfaced after the show if you must (bearing in mind you have to do it all again tomorrow and are making it harder for yourself every day by the endless, compounded hangovers – still, it’s your funeral).

But, NEVER drink before a gig! Okay?

5. A Fringe audience is an International audience. Don’t blame them for not knowing your colloquialism. Adapt. If you cannot adapt your act to a wider audience, give up. Go join a band or something. Or take up hill-walking. The mountain people don’t listen to you anyway.

If you can perform to an EdFringe audience (of any size) and make them laugh, you can perform anywhere. I know, because I have done it. I have made all of these mistakes myself.  I have performed, ran shows and hosted stand up all over the world for over 15 years. I have done ten one-women shows at The Edinburgh Fringe and a range of other festivals. I have done two compilation shows over and above that, ran multiple-act bills for professionals and some for new acts, and have done many, many other guest spots all over the shop  Рno, I NEVER counted how many!!!  But let me count the shows: 12 Fringes in a billed show Р15 as a performer.

I am not in a show this year because I am writing my first character-based sketch show for for BBC Radio Scotland, Mistress MacKenzie and Friends, which will be on the airwaves later this year. These characters all started their lives in makeshift rooms at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. I would not now be doing my own radio show without first having done those tough shows at The Fringe.

So remember, when the going gets tough, think of the wider picture. Present pain for future gain, etc.

And if you need a wee cheerie up Рwhich you WILL need Рplease come and say hello to Mistress MacKenzie before she is too famous to respond.  You can ask her anything, using the hashtag #AskMistress

– She’s THE ONE:¬†Meet Mistress MacKenzie

See you amid the madness, children, and you can ask ME anything in person. And I will even let you have a wee pic with me (As long as the light is low and I have reapplied my lippy and there is nice furniture involved). What do you mean you don’t want your picture with me?!!! The cheek!!!


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So This Is Christmas…

And so this is Christmas…

Mrs Clause

Another year over, and what have I done?

Well, In January I hibernated with my new boyfriend and flirted with romance – which was nice. I also wrote a bunch of stuff which stood me in good stead for the rest of the year.

In February I wrote and performed a short play with actor and comedian, Garry Dobson, about Internet dating, Plenty More Fish, at The Scottish Storytelling Centre for the wonderful¬†Jo Caulfield’s Speakeasy. Jo hosted the show beautifully and the play went down very, very well. ¬†I was delighted. I also wrote and performed a brand new Robert Burns-inspired one-woman show, Mice & Women, directed by John Paul McGroarty, which I previewed over two nights at a small theatre in Leith. The first show was ropey so I sat up all night long and rewrote it. The next night, I nailed it. Then got crazy drunk in The Port O’ Leith Pub with the audience. Then went to the Casino. Yes, it was one of those kinda nights.

With John Paul McGroarty in The Port O’ Leith
Keara and JP in Port O Leith

Two days after Valentine’s Day I ditched my new boyfriend for not sending me a Valentine card. And also for being an arse! He agreed with me that he was an arse so we decided to stay friends. We are not friends!

At the end of the month I hosted shows for The Gilded Balloon at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness and The Gardyne Theatre, Dundee – and fell in love with the work of two young and very talented comics, Bec Hill and Ray Bradshaw. They made the 100 miles across the Drumochter Summit at 2am almost bearable by creating a string of Your Mum jokes on a loop for nearly two hours! That’s talent! That there is talent!!

With Vladamir McTavish, Bec Hill and Ray Bradshaw
With Bec and Ray

In March, I debuted Mice & Men at The Glasgow Comedy Festival, and was also invited onto Janice Forsyth’s Culture Studio along with festival director, Tommy Sheppard, to talk about The Glasgow Comedy Festival, Glasgow banter, Glasgow audiences, The programme of events and, of course, my show.

I also hosted a large dance show at The Armadillo, my first time performing on that amazing stage – courtesy of the wonderful Sharon Quinn for Dance OK. It was an amazing night with so many wonderful dancers. Then back to Sharon’s for a brilliant all-night party for, Aiden, her son’s 18th birthday celebrations. Just magical.

Sharon Quinn and Sisters

Back at The Glasgow Comedy Festival I did my first ever pop-up comedy show in the foyer of The Citizen M Hotel which was chaotic and great fun. Then I spent a few days with my Glasgow family and friends. I revisited The Grand Ole Opry after a 25 year absence. I was once a waitress there and used to get up and do the charity song, occasionally.¬† Everyone I knew was dead or nearly dead. But I did reacquaint with some lovely old friends. ‚ÄúIf it ain‚Äôt country; it aint music‚ÄĚ they say down there. Well‚Ķ talking of music that isn‚Äôt country‚Ķ

In April I was cast as the brash Barbara Sinatra in a new musical-drama, Sinatra: The Final Curtain. Barbara was a challenging role as she didn’t appear to be a very nice person – she was a social climber and gold-digger. Pretty much the antithesis of me so I went deep into research for her to try and find a human side, assisted by her 600 page tell-all autobiographical tomb boldly entitled, Mrs Blue Eyes. Fascinating stuff! Sinatra was an angry, controlling, hygiene-obsessed drunk man! Allegedly. And his last wife was a gold-digger.

Me as Barbara Sinatra
Barbara In Fur

The play went on to enjoy a full run at The Leith Festival in June, which was just lovely and I made some wonderful new friends.

Barbara Sinatra with Frank (AKA Moray Innes)
Barbara with Sinatra

In May I became a regular cast member on Lach’s Antihoot Radio Show, where I performed a wide range of characters including a radical feminist; a woman giving birth using only a Birthing Clown (played by Lach, who‚Äôs wife informs us that he did actually once be a Birthing Clown! He hasn‚Äôt denied it) for pain relief; an old woman with Victorian Torette’s who blurts out ‚Äėankles‚Äô and ‚Äėpantyhose‚Äô instead of our modern swear words; a very drunk Jo Frost from off of Supernanny; a little girl guising on Halloween; and many regular guest spots as the favoured Mistress MacKenzie (see @MistressMacKenz) – my old radio show character. And many, many spots as myself in stand up mode as well as storytelling guise.

Me as Snudge
Keara as Snudge

A little later on in May I was commissioned by BBC Radio Scotland for my first ever radio series, The Shark’s Mouth, which ¬†made me leap with joy and cry with fear in the toilet of a posh hotel. I got over 100 ‘likes’ on Facebook for the BIG BOAST announcement. Why that matters I have no idea.

I then wrote and recorded the four character monologues, produced by the very talented Gus Beattie for The Comedy Unit, which were then broadcast on The Janice Forsyth’s Culture Studio in November & December. I needn’t have feared. They were very well received. Listen again here and judge for yourself: The Shark’s Mouth

My summer was taken up with family parties including a four-year-old’s birthday party involving tree climbing, falling over and chocolate cake and a 40 year olds birthday party involving dancing to Grand Master Flash, falling over and chocolate cake.

The Fringe freaked me out and I took a panic attack in one of those artist’s VIP bars where everybody is talking about themselves loudly and waving flyers and cards in your face whilst spitting saliva on you and periodically looking over your shoulder. ¬†And no one is actually listening to anyone. I locked myself in my flat and refused to come out ¬†until the End of Festival parties. I went to all the parties.

Come September, I was drained, as always after the Fringe. And I have to add, I wasn‚Äôt even doing a show but still it destroyed my soul. ¬†However, we were back at Lach’s Antihoot Radio Show sharpish on the 4th September – like the true pro’s we are. The subject: Flyerers Anonymous and Fringe Fatigue. It was very cathartic.

More shenanigans down at Henry’s Cellar Bar, along with a range of other gigs and things throughout the months of October, November and December kept me on the edge of excitement.

In October I wrote and performed a brand new story about the vandalization of my face, which I presented first at Lach’s Antihoot and it went down a storm.¬† I then did it again at The Speakeasy at ¬†Scottish Storytelling Centre to some laughter, a few raised eyebrows and a couple of walk-outs (although, I still maintain that was caused by the sweary performance poet who came on after me rather than my beautifully crafted but edgy story).

In November, I wrote and performed a live stand up benefit gig at The Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh’s for Children In Need, alongside some of Scotland’s finest comedians. This was hosted by Sanjeev Kohli and was broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland.

Stand Up For Pudsey at The Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh
Keara Stand Up for Pudsey

My routine about me giving short shrift to some Leith children coming guising to my door at Hallowe’en was dropped from the broadcast because the euphemisms still weren’t ‘family friendly’ enough. Still, it’s a story best experienced live. And away from small children.

Once my mini-series aired on BBC Radio Scotland In mid-November I went into annoying promoter mode, making sure everyone who should hear the show did hear the show. And even those who didn’t. Or refused. Or couldn’t. Or ignored me because they have a normal job. I. Made. Them. Listen! I have ways of making them… No I don’t. Sadly. No I don’t.¬†All I can do is ask, politely, that you click on the link and enjoy:¬†The Shark’s Mouth

In November, I launched my own cabaret club, Keara’s Comedy, Cocktail & Cabaret Club which was far, far more successful than I could ever have hoped for or imagined. But my hard graft and years of experience paid off and thus another long-held ambition was achieved. Get in!

We are shooting for a regular monthly gig from March. Check in:¬†Keara’s Comedy, Cocktail and Cabaret Club

In December, I performed live at The Storytelling Centre once again, this time for Feeling Kind of Funny, produced by Richard Melvin’s¬†Dabster Productions and beautifully hosted by the lovely¬†Julia Sutherland, which was UTTERLY AMAZING! Followed by a radio interview¬†to discuss the dark side of comedy. Which was UTTERLY HARROWING!

This show will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland in January 2014. I shall listen to it myself quietly before sharing. I’m feeling kinda funny about it, to be honest.

I’m joking! I’m very excited about it. My bit will be going out on the 16th January. Don’t worry, I will remind you!

When I look back over any year it’s not my work achievements that immediately spring to mind – which is possibly why I feel the need to catalogue them here. It’s not the gym sessions I did, the days I did the housework, the days I stayed sober and turned down party invitations. It’s always, always, always the people who shared part of my journey through this life with me. Those who were kind to me. Those who made me laugh. Those who laughed at my stuff. And those I partied with.

Manus Fortieth

I made loads of new friends in 2013! Like LOADS!!! I also reconnected with some really special old friends. Which is always nice.

I also fell in and out of love Рwhich is never a good idea. I also fell in and out of lust Рwhich is never a good idea. And, as is my pattern, I also dated a bunch of freaks Рwhich is never a good idea. And in fine moments of strength, I blocked a few people from my life Рwhich is always a good idea. And it’s all good for material.

I spent loads of lovely time with my family; became a Godmother for the second time but first time to a beautiful baby boy; tried positive affirmations to combat my recurring Black Dog, which worked. Sometimes.

And after almost beating a rubbish food intolerance thing I felt more well physically than I had done in ages.  With my newly returned health I did an epic amount of socialising involving cocktails in the park, orchestral pyrotechnics in The Gardens, festival nudity in the street (not me), cross-dressing in a Dive bar (yes, me), and drinking in some classic quiet bars with some very classic people.

With Lach and Bernard O’Leary at Henry’s
Dive with lach and Bernard

Okay, 2014, bring it on. I am ready for my close up!



I’m not really surprised when people still ask me why I’m still single. Still? They ask me like I’m sad. Like there’s something wrong with me. Like I must be lonely. Or like I’m not enjoying my life.

Keara Hanging by A Thread 2

Hanging by a Thread (Iceland)

I know they mean well – even mean it to be flattering! But the question always deflates me. Because, you see,¬†I am enjoying my life!¬†I’ve never been happier. ¬†In fact, I’m having a ball!

Being single has some wonderful benefits like having the bathroom indulgently to yourself; never having to clean up after another human being – ever; finding all your precious things exactly where you left your precious things; reading long and late into the night with the light on without someone calling you a ‘selfish bitch’; having just a massive bag of popcorn for Sunday dinner in your¬†pajamas¬†whilst watching repeats of¬†old 80s cop dramas and simultaneously leading a heated debate on facebook as to what was the best Cop Drama of the 80s (Cagney & Lacey, by the way!) without anyone calling you ‘a weirdo’; taking off on wild adventures and knowing that the only person who knows what you just did is you – and the stranger you just did it with; never waking up freezing on the hard floor having been accidentally elbowed in the eye and kicked over the edge of the bed by your attacker/beloved who is now a snoring sweaty creature lying diagonally across the bed cocooned in all the covers, smiling; never having to say, “Why did you throw out my vintage tweed skirt? It was not moth-eaten! It was vintage! Vintage! And it was mine!”; never having to ‘check in’ with another person when you’re out enjoying yourself – or working! – only to hear such classic lines as “Remember I have to get up in the morning” or “Remember you have to see your accountant at half past nine” or “Remember I’m bolting and chaining the door from the inside at 2300 hrs precisely and I’m going to pretend I did it accidentally.”

The joys!

All this, and getting to look around for a possible mate/companion/special friend/boyfriend/buddy/nutter/dog/goldfish/mercat/shag-pile-rug at your leisure without the feeling that life is all sewn up or that you’re living someone else’s life or that somehow you never get time to yourself.

“Time is running out” they say.
Tick-tock! Time.
“Time is running out!” you think.

Time does not run out.
Time is timeless.
“Time makes lovers feel
that they got somethin’ real” (Boy George).

Time is on your side.
Especially when you’re single.

Being single means that you have all the time in the world to indulge in all your passions freely. You get time to build your career without having to consider another person. You can spend hours and hours raking through the racks in that lovely vintage boutique on Cockburn Street without your Significant Other saying, “Should you be wearing that?” or “Can we afford this?” Or “Never mind, I’ll throw it in the charity bag when you’re not looking.”

So, being single is incredibly exciting, at times. And, of course, at times, it is truly, truly shit.

Keara onstage at Cabaret Club

Hosting my Comedy, Cocktail & Cabaret Club


The worst thing about being single – apart from always being asked “Why are you still single?” by men who think you’re ‘going to waste’ or couples who’d like to invite you to their dinner party without unbalancing their seating plan or your mother who wants more grandchildren (Mum, I’m fort… in my late thirties, that ship has sailed!) – is being on the dating scene (yes, it’s a bloody ‘scene’) with all its emotional ups and downs.

I wrote an article on my personal experience of ‘dating’ last year which was published in The Skinny in the run-up to my Glasgow Comedy Festival show, Flypaper For Freaks. Since I wrote that article I have dated a few more freaks, but not much else has changed. I’m just a little further down the less travelled road.

However, at this minute in my life, I have never been happier. Being single is my current lifestyle choice. I have so many wonderful friends; a large, loving, ever-expanding family; a healthy body and mind; an incredible social life; an amazing career doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing; and a beautiful home filled with astonishing crockery.

Not too shabby!

So, just¬†in case¬†you missed it: I’m fine, thanks. ¬†I’m really, really fine.

Here’s the article from last year – still as relevant now, if not more so:¬†Flypaper For Freaks, by Keara Murphy

More tales of being single and being out on the ‘dating scene’ can be heard through my characters’ voices broadcast¬†on BBC Radio Scotland.

All episodes can be heard here:¬†The Shark’s Mouth

Tune in and raise a glass to all the single lassies. 


Is That a Podcast?


OWEN: So, have you got any gigs comin up?

KEARA: Yes, a few things.

OWEN (TO J.P.) Have you seen her?

J.P. Yes.

CHRIS: Is she funny?


RAYMOND: Aye, she’s no bad. Ah seen her once. She did a bit o stand up an then a mad auld lady character hing. It wiz quite funny.

CHRIS: So, when can we see you next?

KEARA: Well, I’ve got a gig on Saturday night, a new comedy cabaret show I’m hosting. I could sort tickets for you all.

OWEN: In Leith?

KEARA: Eh, no. In Edinburgh.


KEARA: And on Friday I’m on the radio doing another character.

OWEN: The radio?

RAYMOND: Aye, It’s a Podcast.

J.P. She’s on YouTube too.

KEARA: It’s radio. I’m on the radio on Friday.

CHRIS: Where can we see it?

KEARA: Just tune into the Janice Forsyth Culture Studio on Friday afternoon at 2.55 for five minutes. It’s a character thing I’m doing. It’s a wee series. It’s on over the next few Friday afternoons. Different characters every week.


RAYMOND: Friday efternoon?

OWEN: Culture?

KEARA: Or you can listen again on iPlayer.

CHRIS: Is that a podcast?

J.P. She’s on Vimeo too.

OWEN: Is it on your website?

KEARA: It’s on BBC Radio Scotland’s website.

OWEN: Radio Scotland?

KEARA: Yes. I’ll put a link up on my facebook page.

RAYMOND: Don’t put me oan facebook!

OWEN: He’s got an email.

RAYMOND: Nah. Ah goat rid o’ that an all. Load-a auld shite.

KEARA: I’ll text you.


OWEN: He can’t even make a phone call on it.

RAYMOND: Aye, ah cin. If ah toap it up.

CHRIS: He never tops it up.

KEARA: I could write it down for you

RAYMOND: Aye, write it doon. Does embdy hae a pen?



CHRIS: (TO RAYMOND) Do you have a radio?


OWEN: So, when can we see you next?

KEARA: Well, I’ll see you all here on Sunday for the game.


OWEN: Aye, that’ll do.

My brand new character comedy monologue series, The Shark’s Mouth, is on again on Friday afternoon. 2.55pm, The Janice Forsyth Culture Studio, BBC Radio Scotland. ¬†Hear last week‚Äôs monologue here:¬†The Shark’s Mouth


The Shark’s Mouth

All of my life, I’ve walked alone in search of a star. These are my stars, they’re the ones I’ve waited for… the ones I’ve waited for… lalalalalalala etc…

Proudly announcing the first in a four part mini-series of my brand new comedy monologues. They are my cute wee babies. I love them all! I LOVE them all!!! And I love you too.

I must say you’re looking really hot today. Have you been working out? And your hair! What’s going down with that? And, are they all your own teeth? They really are a marvellous fit. In fact, you are positively glowing! Are you in love? Or pregnant? Or about to do a crime? Or are you just a real smashing natural beaut?

Anyway, you are beautiful. I love you! I really do. And I hope you love me too. Awkward if not, but I’ll take it on the chin. But, we all love babies, don’t we? Wee cute babies. Diddums!! Well, these are my babies. I love them all and I hope you love them too.

Today, my first incarnation, Grainne O’Grady, introduces the theme for the series: single women looking for love. There is also a lovely cameo appearance by Mammy O’Grady (voice based on my beautiful dead Granny, who, had she lived, would be 120 years old TODAY!!!). Thank you, Granny, for your voice, which lives on inside me.

RIP Granny. Long live The Shark’s Mouth

Tune in here at 2.55pm (duration: 5mins)
The Shark’s Mouth

Thank you Gus Beattie, everyone at The Comedy Unit, everyone at The Culture Studio (especially Zoe & Amy), Janice Forsyth, BBC Radio Scotland. Oh, and, em Jeff Zycinski… and my Mammy and my Granny (two of the funniest women I know).

BBC Radio Scotland Stands Up For Pudsey

I was absolutely delighted to be asked to take part in Stand Up For Pudsey¬†Live at The Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh.¬† It was recorded live and¬†broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland last Friday.¬† I appeared¬†alongside some of Scotland’s finest comedians,¬†delightfully hosted by one of my comedy heroes, Sanjeev¬†Kohli.¬†Click on the link below to hear the show.¬† I am second on, so pretty close to the start.¬† I did a five minute¬†set which went down a storm, but sadly, my ‘Guising’ routine about children coming to my door at Hallowe’en and how I gave them short shrift was deemed a bit to close to the bone for a family audience on Children In Need day.¬† Oops!¬† You’ll just have to catch that one live in a comedy club near you next Hallowe’en.

Keara Murphy Stands Up For Pudsey

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