Monday, 31 August 2009

The Vital Edinburgh Info

How to see my shows in Edinburgh:

The New At Kate is on daily 8th-28th Aug (not 18th) at 8.25pm at The Voodoo Rooms on West Register Street. That's my solo show.

I also host The Comedy Manifesto - a political panel show - at 4pm at The Beehive on Grassmarket again 8th-28th Aug and The Midnight Hour - a general late night show with different acts every night at Canon's Gait. That's every day except Sundays throughout the festival.

Better still all these shows are free. No need to book, just show up and grab a seat.

And I'll be making lots of guest appearances elsewhere too. Hope to see you on the way round.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Festival Activism

So after my fury at The Fix magazine's unprogressive selection of the "top 50" shows to see at the fringe, I decided to do something positive so I wrote a one-page (A5) leaflet which on one side criticised the homogenity of the list they had published and on the other offered some recomendations for show I felt they should have included. Those shows were Bethany Black, Chris McCausland, Nathan Caton, Pippa Evans, Paul Sinha and Susan Calman. And of course I plugged my show too. Then I printed about 1,000 and set about distributing them. And brilliantly some young feminists in the area offered to help me so they are now all over town, including I hear in the hands of a number of comedy journalists. So hopefully word will get back to The Fix and next time around they'll have a little look before publishing such a list!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

So Who Will Win The Straight White Able-Bodied Cissexual Male Comedian of the Year Award?

And who cares? Nominations include Tim Key's charmingly named show "Slutcracker" and Pete Johansson who has onstage mimed raping an unconscious woman and then said "rape is funny". Really - go to 2.34m on this clip. If that's what you get prizes for - I don't want one.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Riot Act

This story was just too important to publish on my Fringe blog - so I put it on the main one. Get in touch if you fancy a riot!!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

No Sex Please

By the way I'm now NOT compering Shaggers tonight. I've been asked to do a spot at Spank! - another late night crowded notorious show and so I'm going to do that as I've only done it once before and it'll expose me to a different crowd, etc.

Just for a laugh...

...and not for the easily offended or religious (often heavily overlapping groups in my experience). Sometimes there is real rubbish at the Edinburgh festival and this review of a piece which I admittedly have not seen had me in stitches!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Five Star Review!

For The Comedy Manifesto on Broadway Baby. Yeah!

Some Real Political News From The Fest

I'm just back from the Fringe Society AGM where I was elected to the board. Yeah! The Fringe Society runs lots of aspects of the Fringe including the box office, the brochures, international advertising and lots of services for performers. I hope to use my influence where I can to make it easier for performers (new and experienced) coming to the Fringe to do so without losing small fortunes and to encourage the Fringe to give more back to local people and causes.

If you have opinions or ideas about how the Fringe can be improved or what we should be doing - please get in touch, I would love to hear from you.

Great Review From The Spectator

"The hilarious and strikingly beautiful Kate Smurthwaite, a powerhouse of observational wit". Don't think you will get away with handling one of my flyers next year without this flashing at you in fluorescent lettering!

Quick Link

Caroline Castiglia mentioned me in her Edinburgh blog. You can read the piece and her other stuff here.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Sex and the Stand-Up Girl

Shaggers is a bit of an Edinburgh institution. Actually it's a bit of an institution at comedy festivals around the world. It's a late night show where a usually pretty drunk audience comes to hear comedians perform material exclusively about sex. The line-up is different every night and often includes some well-known names. It's always rude and outrageous and years ago when I first did a spot there I don't mind admitting I did feel a bit intimidated. But then I also thought I really wanted there to be women getting up and talking about sex, not just all guys, so I pushed on and over the years I've become a regular on their bills.

Well last Sunday I in fact became the first (and so far only) woman ever to headline Shaggers. And then last night I also became the first woman ever to MC Shaggers. Amazing that at my school careers day no-one ever suggested that sleeping around and amassing colourful bawdy tales of disastrous drunken trysts would wind up being a career move. But here I am. And I'm back again MCing the show next Sunday too so do come along if it sounds like your thing.

Edinburgh Lingo

I had a piece published on Edinburgh Is Funny (which is what London Is Funny is called in August), and you can read it here.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

An Hour Off

Well it's been a busy festival so far. Thought I'd do a quick tally-off of shows I've performed in (radio shows are in italics)...

Fri 7th Aug Leith Talk on LeithFM, Anthologies

Sat 8th Aug The Comedy Manifesto, Some Comedy (In A Cave), The News At Kate, The Stephen Nolan Show on BBC Five Live, The Midnight Hour

Sun 9th Aug The Comedy Manifesto, Laughing Horse Compilation Show (Espionage), The News At Kate, Shaggers

Mon 10th Aug The Comedy Manifesto, Anthologies, Laughing Horse Compilation Show at The Hive, The News At Kate, The Midnight Hour

Tues 11th Aug The Comedy Manifesto, Anthologies, The News At Kate, The Midnight Hour

Weds 12th Aug The Comedy Manifesto, The News At Kate, Peter Buckley-Hill And Some Comedians, The Midnight Hour

Thurs 13th Aug The Comedy Manifesto, The News At Kate, Gill Smith's Show at The Newsroom, The Midnight Hour

Fri 14th Aug Leith Talk on LeithFM, The Comedy Manifesto, The News At Kate, The Midnight Hour

Say 15th Aug The Comedy Manifesto, The News At Kate (and on my way to The Midnight Hour).

That's 35 shows in just over a week. No wonder I'm shattered. So I was quietly relieved today when I was supposed to do a one-off extra version of my show out in Leith for the benefit of local people, to try to bring the festival to a wider audience. Well it turned out that the the people of Leith couldn't give a toss about such things. At the time I was due to start my audience was two people - Doug and Barbara - a couple from Boston (Massachusetts, not Lincolnshire). So I decided rather than running to two people that I would taxi them into town to see the later run of my show and they offered in return to take me for dinner before my show started. We went to the best restaurant in town - Creelers - and I had a huge tray of langoustines in garlic butter. Mmmm. Just the recharge I needed - thanks very much!

And as for the Leith-ites, more fool you, my evening show was packed and we all had a great time...

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

That picture in full...

That would be eighty - yes eighty - female comics. And if you have very good eyesight you may be able to spot me - I am in black and hanging round the central pillar on the left. To the right of me (the other side of the pillar, with her hand pointing over her head) is Hannah George - who was on at the last Abortion Rights fundraiser we had and was recently the first person in the UK to graduate with a degree in stand-up comedy. To the left in a white top and blond hair, my good friend Rachel Anderson who is actually pointing at me to help you spot me!

First Review

ThreeWeeks were apparently in at some point (I don't know when) and the review they've written is really fantastic, positively raving. It annoyed me a little though because they've done that thing of giving away punchlines - one less important but one that is built up to at great length and it quite central to the "story" of the show. Please don't do that reviewers, it's really annoying. Anyway so if you want to come to the show please don't go to the review site - I have reproduced the review in full here but asterisked out the two "spoilers".

The News at Kate, PBH's Free Fringe/ Kate Smurthwaite
Comedy that cuts through the crap. The News at Kate is a topical show that presents news events, politics and a few celebrity stories, inviting us to see beyond the propaganda and laugh at what is left. Highlighting the ludicrous truths about our democracy, charming and opinionated Kate Smurthwaite ******************************************. Other targets include the BNP, Jeremy Clarkson, and the Christian Party, who, Kate reveals, *******************. Smurthwaite's political conscience and her light-hearted approach make the show really enjoyable, and an effective platform for transmitting her manifesto of progression and common sense. (three stars).

But Really Though - Are Women Funny?

Yesterday morning I joined a 79 other female comics for one big photoshoot to hopefully put paid once and for all to the whole "Why don't women do comedy?" and "Why aren't women funny?" line of uninvestigative lazy journalism. It was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

First Interview of the Year

I had a chat with Carrie at Broadway World. You can have a look here.

Monday, 10 August 2009

A Fairytale of Edinburgh

Last night I was sat waiting to start my show when something wonderful happened... There were only nine audience members in with about one minute to show time and I was preparing myself for the possibility that it might be an intimate one. As usual before the show I was chatting to the people who were already there. My stage has a carpet on in which appears to be black with silvery flecks but actually the flecks are glitter which has been dropped by the burlesque show that uses the venue the rest of the year. We were discussing this and I was rubbing the carpet to show that when you did so the glitter jumped off the carpet and rearranged itself. As I did this I joked to the audience that I hoped there was a coach party on their way but that otherwise we would be starting in half a minute.

Then in walked four people. Then another two, then six, then three more clearly all part of one group. I told the original nine that clearly the coach party had arrived and we laughed. But they kept coming. I had to get get up and start finding extra chairs. In the end this group of fifty American students - some of whom had seen me the night before at my midnight show and had decided to bring their friends - took up so much room that I had to ask the original nine to move along and make room.

As I turned to do so I realised something amazing had happened. The original nine had seen me rubbing the glittery carpet and wishing for a coach party to arrive. They had then seen a coach party arrive and now firmly believed this was a magic wish-granting carpet. They were actually rubbing it themselves and wishing for thing they wanted themselves.

So come to my show and rub the magic carpet and make your own wish - maybe it'll come true!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Day One, Show One

Well before I got to my own solo show of course I had the comedy manifesto to run. We weren't rammed but we were pretty full, most seats taken (last year we ended up turning 30 away some days, but we were fuller today than we were on day one last year so hopefully set for a good run in that sense). I remembered from last year having real trouble getting the panelists to shut up and keep the show down to an hour. So I went in hard on them and didn't allow too much messing about and of course we ended up under-running. Not that that it's a problem to fill an extra fifteen minutes when you've got five comedians onstage but must remember tomorrow to be nicer to them and let them run about more, etc.

Then I ran over and did a little guest spot at "Comedy In A Cave" -(4.45pm, Rowan Caves 1, free) with guest acts run by the very funny Gareth Morinan. That was a lot of fun though quite weird largely because (a) it's a real cave - complete with dripping ceiling and muddy floor which annoyingly got all over my jeans from the mic cord and (b) the front row was fully comprised of young children (some maybe as young as 10...). Eventually I put the mic in the stand to keep it away from me and told the children if the venue became a nuclear bunker (it did look like one) that we would eat them first to stay alive. Then I got on with my actually quite clean set deliberately using lots of bad language because whatever grown-ups might say kids know it IS cool to swear.

Finally my show. This initially freaked me out a bit. We have had the debate about whether burlesque and stripping are the same thing, we could argue it all day. And I had been warned (admittedly long after I had accepted the space and filled in my brochure entry) that the venue usually hosts burlesque. I had however been reassured that it was all very tasteful and definitely didn't have a reputation as a seedy place. Certainly the interior is beautifully decorated and appears all new. What no-one had thought to mention was that outside there was a massive poster of a naked female silhouette waving some feathers and two huge and unfriendly bouncers making it seem like the sort of place Spearmint Rhino would decline to run as "not classy enough". Sure enough as soon as I started flyering outside I was asked how much I took off. Argh. So I went elsewhere. So I now have a venue I can't actually flyer outside... Head-wall-head-wall-head-wall-...

My efforts are further hindered by the fact that the colour contrast on my flyers is way too strong - too much red in the mix so it makes me look like I have a terrible red all-over facial rash of some sort which could well be a symptom of swine flu. Or plague.

In spite of this somehow about 20-25 brave and lovely souls somehow heard about the show and managed to fight their way past the bouncers to get in and watch the show. And the show itself I was really happy with, just got to find a way of getting audience in without feathers. And indeed getting in the kind of audience who don't really want feathers.

Off shortly to do the midnight show and I have heard a rumour David has convinced Alan Francis and Luke Toulson to do spots for us. If so it'll definitely be a great night.

Friday, 7 August 2009

One Day To Go

So the show(s) open tomorrow. Still nowhere near having read and picked apart the complete works of Jeremy Clarkson and also not got a CD copy of the bizarre 80s track I want to play at the end but otherwise just super-excited to finally be starting.

A lot of shows started today so I felt a bit left out. Well I would have done but I got to do a BBC Wales interview at 8.20 this morning about all the topical comedy at the festival. True there is a lot this year but about half of it is from me so not so much a question of why has the comedy circuit shfted this way as why are you doing this. Then I had a nap until 2pm when I went over to co-host the afternoon show on LeithFM. Among the guests my good old friend Jake Yapp and his yukelele and a cool new band I'd not heard before called Mayhew. All available to see for free if you know where to go or how to use Google.

Then finally I did a spot at Andrew J Lederers storytelling show Anthologies which was really fun. I told the story of how I wrote the end of my show, which is actually also the end of my show. The only downside was that I didn't have any flyers (still not printed) so all the kind people who asked me for one afterwards will have to rely on memory to find my show.