It’s a Bank Holiday Monday but, as the saying goes, there’s no rest for the wicked, so we’re up nice and early and on the phone to Essex comedian Abbie Murphy who is preparing for her return to Edinburgh Fringe in July with her show “Eat Sleep Shit Shag”.
1. Thanks for your time Abbie. You’re going back to Edinburgh in July, what are you most looking forward to going back?
“Edinburgh is my favourite place, I love it. I love seeing as many shows as I can fit in when I’m not performing. Can’t wait. It’s lovely to wake up every day and get to be a comedian every day.”
2. From a comedian’s perspective, how important is Edinburgh Fringe?
“I love it because I always grow a lot. I’m always quite aware of it because it’s painful [laughs]. When I look back at it in a few months time or I start writing a show then I can see the growth that has happened. It’s like a boot camp.”
3. Do you have a favourite memory from your shows there?
“I did do a show there once where a guy had a really funny laugh and as soon I started I’d done about two words and he was laughing and I was thinking to myself that I hadn’t been funny yet. It sounds like an owl so then every time he laughed the audience laughed and then I nervous laughed so I thought I’d better pack this in and start performing in a minute because it will get old. That was actually one of my most nervous because I thought I wouldn’t be able to stop laughing to do my show. He was kind of sitting in my spotlight as well because he was in my front row and the spotlight was shining on his head so, as everyone left, they were all pointing him out and saying is that him, is he part of the show? No he absolutely isn’t and he’d better not come back.”
4. Your current show takes a look at a particular period in your life…
“Yes, it’s kind of about why I went into dancing, I was a professional dancer, and I’m not sure it suited me. I like dancing and I was good at it but it didn’t really suit my personality. It’s about the faux-glamour of it and me being a tomboy. Some people think the show has a bit of a feminist streak to it but that wasn’t the intention. I think that comes from me being a bit of a Daddy’s girl and my sense of humour has been built from my family. I am a bit of a tomboy but I’m also a bit of a girlie-girl too! Just don’t label it!”
5. What did you learn from that period of your life as a dancer?
“It toughened me up a bit for sure! I don’t think I would have been performing on stage. I think things would have taken a more traditional route and I’d have ended up at University. I’ve always been interested in psychology and I think I would have gone down that road.”
6. From dancer to showgirl to comedian. How did the move to comedy come about?
“When I quit dancing, I became a dancer in Bollywood then, after that, I started doing castings for Bollywood films when they wanted foreign dancers to shoot in Europe or wherever. After doing a couple of years of that, I knew I wasn’t finished performing but I’m sure I didn’t want to dance. I debated with acting for a bit but I didn’t want to go to Drama school. I just wanted to do comedy. It’s the only thing I wanted to do so I realised that the only way I could do it was to go down the stand-up route. Once I started it I fell in love with it and thought, actually, yeah, this is all me.”
7. How does it feel talking about your life infront of a room full of strangers?
“I don’t mind talking [laughs] – as my mother would agree. It doesn’t bother me, I don’t mind, as long as they’re laughing. I quite like reliving these stories – talking about my time on a cruise ship, my days as a Bollywood dancer in India – they’re all my favourite stories anyway so if anyone gives me a chance and will listen then I’m happy to talk!”
8. What was it like as a female starting out in the comedy industry?
“I didn’t really think about it. I don’t feel overwhelmingly female in my outlook. I don’t notice it. You know how a lot of girls say they don’t feel safe walking home alone at night, I’ve never felt that. I don’t even think about and I think maybe I should [laughs]. I think it’s that streak in my personality where I don’t see myself as any different or less funny than the guys. I’ve not experienced anything yet where I’ve thought that they’ve treated my differently.”
9. Four part curveball question – what food do you dislike, which celebrity sends you to sleep, what makes you shit yourself and who is your celebrity crush?
1 – “I have this weird thing where I sometimes crave food I don’t like. I used to always crave lemon mousses but they make me gag. Yoghurts are the same I always eat one but I always hate it. Blue cheese is the same, I’ve never grown into that.”
2 – “Piers Morgan – I can’t stand him – I just think he’s talentless and I don’t know why he is there. He’s got nothing valid to say.”
3 – “Stand-up – it keeps me regular! Nothing better to sort out your IBS than a bit of stand-up!”
4 – “I’ve got a few but I would say Michael Scofield from Prison Break – I’m not sure what his real name is but… oooh! Also Lenny Kravitz, I’ve had a long love affair with Lenny Kravitz but I’ve heard he’s celibate so that’s that one out!”
10. Just to finish, the Edinburgh show runs up to the end of August, what are your plans after that?
“I’ve got Brighton before that, a little preview there. I’m also in a double-act show called Beg, Borrow and Bitch which is a character sketch show and we’ll be gigging together as well. I’m writing two sitcoms so I’m always trying to find time to push them along – one of them is called Bolly Dollies and it’s about my time in India. My first show in Edinburgh I did in character as someone called Stephanie Vange a girl from Essex who did stand up so I’ve incorporated her life into my life in India. The second one is called Be Lucky and it’s about a girl who inherits her Grandad’s black cab. My dad’s a London black cab driver and I come from a long line of cabbies. Write about what you know people say and I only know Essex, India and Cabs!”
To find out more about Abbie’s upcoming shows and her Edinburgh appearance, visit her official website.