Posts tagged ‘Stand up comedy’

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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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

Glasgow Comedy Festival 2013

My new show, Keara Murphy: Mice & Men, will¬†debut at Glasgow Comedy Festival 2013 on 14th March… Tickets Here:!/shows/425

Keara Murphy: Mice & Men
Whilst preparing her annual Burns Supper speech, a wee mousie popped its head out from under Keara’s¬†couch to ask, politely, if he could share her rice.¬† After a courteous conversation involving a hammer, Keara pondered¬†the line in Robert Burns’, To A Mouse: “A daimen¬†icker¬†in a thrave’s¬†a sma’ request”.¬† Should Keara¬†grant the mousie’s request or lay down fifty shades of warfarin for the wee blighter?¬† If we continue to treat mice ‘humanely’ will they eventually take over the telly?¬† – It’s already happened in Leith!

And, what of men?  Are they not just gigantic mice?  After extensive on-the-job research, Keara thinks this may be so.  Therefore, like Rabbie Burns before her, Keara muses the parallels between the species and laments. 

“She’s Eddie Izzard with less make-up and more Glasgow” List”
“Exudes Glaswegian charm.” Scotsman
“Intelligent Burns banter” Friday Fix
“Passionate, enthusiastic and¬†deeply knowledgeable about¬†Robert Burns”¬†SLTA

It’s gonna be good, it’s gonna be truthful, it’s gonna be funny, it’s gonna be beautiful, it’s gonna lose me friends and alienate people, it’s gonna be fun!


Billy Connolly, My Hero…

I have had Billy Connolly in my bones since I was a wee girl and now, as an adult, I still adore him as much as, if not more than, I did back then.  He is the reason I do comedy.  He has had a massive influence on me and my life.  He gave me permission to make fun of everything and go boldly into this world, daring to speak the truth and to have no fear.  He is like some kind of uncle-Godfather figure to me and now I get to write about him as part of my job.

I wrote this piece a week ago and, by coincidence, this week he was voted the most influential British comedian of all time.  I knew that already, of course, and to the Glasgow comics and fans, this comes as no surprise.

In recent years I have heard people saying things like, ‘Billy Connolly’s not funny any more’ and ‘The Big Man’s lost it’ and it infuriates me.¬† What more do they want from him? He’s almost seventy, for f’s sake!¬† And he was¬†the one who started it for us all;¬†there would be no Frankie Boyle, no Kevin Bridges, no Janey Godley without him.¬†¬†He talked about the tragedy of the human condition; ‘life with the knickers down’ –¬†and made us laugh at ourselves. He paved the way for the rest of us who dreamed of doing the same.¬†But none of us can or will ever touch him; he is the original and still¬†the best.

We must remember what he gave us: He has recorded around 30 albums, written three full-length plays for theatre, appeared in around forty films, made hundreds of television guest appearances¬†–¬†over and above his constant touring¬†all across the¬†globe¬†and endless charity work for Comic Relief and beyond.¬† He has already given the world more than enough.¬† He is a genius and an inspiration to millions.¬† And he¬†came from nothing.

This was published¬†today in The List, and I couldn’t be prouder.¬† Gaun yersel Big Yin!¬† You are –¬†and always will be –¬†my number one hero!¬†

It’s The Year of The Dragon – But I Am A Sheep

Last week, in a flush of self-assurance, I¬†said to a comedy friend, ‚ÄúI think next year is¬†my year!‚ÄĚ

He paused, smiled, looked over my shoulder to another male comedian and said, “Well, it¬†IS the year of the dragon!”

They both burst into laddish guffaws then high-fived each other as I sat smiling, mildly laughing and thinking that if I WAS a dragon I would not be sitting here but rather soaring above the rain clouds and flying into to the sun.  And occasionally singing a song about frolicking in the Autumn mist.

‚ÄúI‚Äôm not a dragon!‚ÄĚ I¬†protested ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs my trouble; I‚Äôm too soft.‚ÄĚ

A cynical eyebrow was raised¬†as the lads exchanged knowing looks.¬†¬†I thought, Christ, these guys really don’t know me.

If they did they would know that I am so far removed from the personality of a dragon that if I tried to breathe fire on them they would be gently cooled in a soothing spray of scented lavender.

So I said, ‚ÄúActually, I do need to toughen up.‚ÄĚ

More cynical smiling glances were exchanged and as my under-inflated ego was adopting the brace position I suddenly thought, actually, perhaps I do need to be a dragon to succeed in this industry.

So, what is a dragon then? And how can I become one?

According to Chinese Horoscope, ‚ÄėThe Dragon is a creature¬†of myth and legend’ Okay, then, I can pretend to be¬†one. ¬†After all, this industry is full of artifice.¬†¬†The dragon is ‚Äėa symbol of good fortune,¬†a sign of intense power and a master of authority.‚Äô

Sounds pretty cool, huh?

‘The Oriental Dragon is regarded¬†as a divine beast ‚Äď the reverse of the malicious monster that Westerners feel necessary to find and slay.‚Äô

Ahah! ¬†So my friends were inadvertently complimenting me? I cannot wait to¬†thank them.¬† Furthermore ‚ÄėThose people born in Dragon years are to be¬†honored and respected.‚Äô¬† So there!¬† Read it and weep fat boys –¬†and kiss my sweet smelling feet.

Except, I wasn’t born in the year of the Dragon, I was born in the year of the Sheep.

I know this because my sister lived in Hong Kong for ten years and she once bought me a beautifully framed litho¬†print of a sheep for one of my birthdays.¬† The sheep is ‚Äėobedient and kind‚Äô according to the notes on the back of this print – which sounds much more like me.

However, the sheep does tend to have negative connotations¬†in this country involving being a follower, being dependent¬†on others¬†and em, being¬†treated¬†as a ‚Äėcompanion‚Äô in remote areas,¬†my trusty Chinese Horoscope tells me that ‘The sheep simply wants a bit of peace.¬† They enjoy carrying on with life in their own quiet¬†way, content to be¬†in the middle of it all rather than¬†to be¬†leading it. Sheep are¬†quiet and calm people. They enjoy cultural things and focus much of their energy on artistic hobbies. Sheep are easygoing and relaxed, kind, smart and happy¬†to be¬†going with the flow.‚Äô

Now this does more accurately describe me.  And the next time you pass a field of sheep have a closer look.  You will see them behind easels painting the landscape, doing a little yoga in the afternoon sun, then later enjoying a cheese-board and a fine vintage Port.

‚ÄėSheep people are nurturers,¬†they are¬†reserved¬†and soothing and will¬†generally do well because they are so good at keeping the peace and accomplishing the tasks at hand.‚Äô¬† Not too shabby ‚Äď or, em, woolly even.

Except, perhaps being too much of a sheep has held me back in the comedy industry?¬†Sheep are also ‚Äėdependent and insecure‚Äô which isn‚Äôt so great.¬† Mind you, I do not know any comedian, artist, actor or performer of any kind who isn‚Äôt at least a little insecure.¬† And aren’t we all on some level dependent on others?

I‚Äôm not sure I mind too much being a sheep ‚Äď which is, in fact, just like a sheep.

However, what can I learn from the dragon?  What characteristics does the dragon have, clearly lacking in the sheep, that I can nurture to help me be a more successful comedian?

People tell me to be¬†a successful stand-up comedian one has to be¬†ruthless, determined, single-minded, unsentimental, eager, sociable, hard-working, adaptable,¬†available, manipulative, Machiavellian, smart, fucked-up in some way and I think ‚Äėfunny‚Äô comes into it¬†somewhere.

My trusty horoscope tells me ‚ÄėDragons are free spirits‚Äô.¬† They dislike rules and regulations because¬†restrictions blow out the ‚Äėcreative spark that is ready to flame into life.‚Äô

Well, I am a free-spirited and I hate rules¬†but I have found, to my cost, that sometimes breaking the rules can get you into a lot of trouble so you do need to know¬†what rules to break and which to¬†observe. ‘The dragon is a beautiful creature, colourful and flamboyant.‚Äô¬† Uhuh, keep talking! ¬†‘The dragon is an extroverted bundle of energy, gifted and utterly irrepressible.‚Äô

Hmmm,¬†sometimes I¬†feel like this but¬†only¬†on my birthday and maybe on the first day of Spring¬†and possibly for a few moments after I‚Äôve had a Grand Marnier¬†–¬†longer if I‚Äôm sitting in front of a roaring peat¬†fire. ¬† ‘Everything the dragon does is on a grand scale.¬† They are full of¬†big ideas, ornate gestures and extreme ambitions.‚Äô

Okay, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed about being a dragon now.

‘However this behaviour is natural and isn‚Äôt meant for show.‚Äô¬† Okay, I would never expend all that energy unless it was for show.¬† Otherwise, I see no point in not sticking the kettle on and watching my laundry dry whilst¬†licking a chocolate ginger.

Okay, tea-break¬†over, back¬†to the dragon: ¬†‘Because they are confident and¬†fearless in the face of challenge‚Ķ‚Äô of course they are ‚Äė‚Ķthey are almost inevitably successful.‚Äô¬† Well, that‚Äôs nice!¬† Well done that Dragon.

Can I take a nap now, please?

No, okay… ‚ÄėDragons usually make it to the top.‚Äô ¬†Yes, but do they have any friends? ¬†‘Dragons‚Äô generous personalities give them the ability to attract friends, but they can be¬†rather solitary people at heart.‚Äô¬† Ah, so the¬†Dragon is a lonely beast?

‘A dragon‚Äôs self-sufficiency can mean that he or she has no need for close¬†bonds with other people.‚Äô¬† Okay, so,¬†not lonely, just psychopathic.

I guess I already have some of the ‚ÄėDragon‚Äô elements in me. ¬†I am generous and do attract friends, I can turn on the gregarious personality when I want to.¬† But, like the sheep, I¬†often do want to stay at home in my¬†pyjamas with a cup of Green tea watching a documentary about the slow, painstaking process of¬†restoring a grand¬†old building.¬†¬†And I¬†shout at¬†the TV people sometimes.

Yes, I am currently single ‚Äď and I‚Äôm okay with that too.

Much more of a sheep than a dragon I think we all agree.

‚ÄėDragon people must be¬†aware of their nature.¬† Too much enthusiasm can leave them tired and unfulfilled‚Äô ‚Äď Ah, there we have it, finally:¬†an admission that¬†being a dragon is exhausting¬†and¬†unfulfilling.

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa to that! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

So, I¬†am¬†happy to be¬†a sheep.¬†¬†The art is¬†its own¬†reward for me and all that ‚Äď and the time to do that¬†and to do it well is more important to me than money (which is just as well what with me being a sheep and all).

Is the dragon ever content in the efforts of the busy-busy life?  Does she not tire of always charging forward?  Does she not get fed up with all that success and all those parties and the fun and fire and brimstone of it all? Does she ever take time to enjoy the process or to sit still in the joy of being?  Has she ever trully enjoyed a dark chocolate ginger?

And it‚Äôs just silly to think you can¬†throw out all of the¬†rules!¬† You would¬†be inundated¬†with¬†parking tickets and spend half your life in the jail ‚Äď I‚Äôve been there (well, not the jail, yet!)¬†¬†and you would NEVER make it in show-business, so may have to content yourself with being a successful entrepreneur or¬†something.

I¬†do observe¬†the important rules¬†and ignore the ridiculous ones.¬† I now¬†enjoy a slower-paced life where I get to enjoy the sunsets and the¬†finer details of evolution.¬† And people are important to me –¬†my friends and my family. ¬†Without them I¬†cannot hear the sound of laughter.¬† And, in my own way, I am already a success:¬†¬†I can change a tire, bake a lazy loaf and can sometimes even¬†set my flamin‚Äô hard-to-set vibrating watch to actually vibrate.

So, to my cynical chums, as you can see, if horrorscopes are to be believed, I am not a dragon but a sheep.  Neither label is uncomplimentary.

A sheep actually painted this whilst I was slaying that dragon. Unbelievable!

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