Interview: Katie Pritchard

Next Thursday the Bath Brew House are celebrating International Women’s Day with a bang: “we’re launching a special beer brewed by women from Bath College (50p from every pint to The Circle charity), we have an all female line up (performers to be announced shortly) of live music, live comedy from Saddlegoose Comedy, live poetry from Rhyme + Reason and talks from Protestival Bath. Also a pampering corner with female students from Bath College’s Academy offering hand massages and nail treatments PLUS artwork by female artists from Bath College available to buy through a silent auction on the night. All of this is for free with a ‘pay what you feel’ approach and all money raised goes to The Circle, a charity set up by Annie Lennox that strives for “Equality for women and girls in a fairer world”! It’ll be a fun packed evening for an excellent cause!”
Ahead of the event, we spoke to comedy headliner Katie Pritchard

Lise @ Bath Comedy Calendar: To start off; you’re headlining the international women’s day charity event the Bath Brew House are putting on on the 8th of March. There will be poetry, music and all sorts of other fun going on as well as comedy, so to anyone who hasn’t seen you before and wants to know more, how would you describe your act?

Katie Pritchard: Crazy. Probably, is the best reply here. On the back of my flyers I put “sketchy, charactery, musical comedy fun”. It’s basically whatever I find fun or funny to perform, and then I do that to music, because I am a big olde music geek. Here’s a quote about my comedy: “Katie Pritchard, a girl…” I think that tells you all you could possibly need to know about my style of comedy…right?!

L: Did you have a favourite act before you got into performing yourself, or somebody who you found inspiring?

KP: I guess my comedy inspirators were quite minimal, as I was banned from watching comedy at home. But, I managed to sneak in watching Monty Python late at night with my Dad, and I could just about get away with watching Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean, Dawn French in The Vicar of Dibley, and Victoria Wood in Dinnerladies. So those would be my top picks. However, since I’ve started doing the comedy myself, I’ve been binge watching anything I can get my hands on that I may have missed when it was originally aired when growing up under a comedy ban. I guess that’s why my comedy is a combination of loads of different styles because I didn’t grow up watching it, I had no idea on the common format of performing stand-up, so I just began prancing around to music and seeing what happened.

L: As it’s a special international women’s day gig, we should talk about gender balance in comedy. This event is of course entirely a female lineup, but what do you think about opportunities for new female acts to get started in comedy?

KP: I think that the opportunities for new female acts wanting to get started in comedy are so much better than they were even just a few years ago! Now it seems that promoters, at least at the open mic level, are trying real hard to get an equal gender split on their bills. Bookers and promoters are actively trying to change their booking guidelines to include more women on their bills. Eventually this will trickle up to the big clubs and TV. But, for now, in live comedy, at least, most nights will make sure that there is at least one woman on the bill, which is such a fantastic improvement on just 2 or 3 years ago! It’s not perfect, but everyone is certainly working towards a more equally balanced comedy circuit. It is very rare that I turn up to a gig now and I’m the only woman, whereas that used to be the norm when I first started. Eventually, gender won’t even be an issue, and a line-up of people will be created because of who is the funniest, and who would work best on a bill together, instead of having to do complicated maths equations to make sure that all bases are covered. And, I’ve no doubt that one day we will get there. We’re definitely on the right track, it’s just a very loooonnnggg track!

L: Do you have any recommendations of up-and-coming new female acts for us to keep an eye out for?

KP: Oh so, so many!!! Some you will most likely have heard of before because they’re awesome. But just incase you haven’t I would definitely recommend going to see: Bec Hill, Alison Thea-Skot, Elf Lyons, Lucy Pearman, Sindhu Vee, Catharine Bohart, Harriet Braine, Sarah Keyworth, Fran Bushe, Helen Duff, and so many others!

L: Best gig or worst gig anecdote?

KP: Oh my goodness. I have so many worst gig anecdotes. They can’t all be the worst gig, can they? I don’t know… Once I performed my whole set to a man off his face (on that white powdery drug that you sniff up your nose, not to name any names) shouting “slag” at me. He wouldn’t stop. Just “Slag” for the whole 5 minutes set. It was horrific. I also once performed to a pub where everyone had come out for Janine’s birthday (she was a local of the pub) and they’d all come out specifically for karaoke. However, there was no karaoke, there was only comedy. So we performed to a very hostile crowd of people all stood up. And, I mean, I’m quite short, so that was really intimidating. A fight nearly broke out between an audience member that wouldn’t stop shouting out, and the MC. The headliner had to box some of the audience in a corner with fruit machines because they were squaring up to him. There was also no mic stand, so I had to balance the mic on a tall table on a reserved table sign while I played my Ukulele. I got heckled with “You’re boring” from Janine herself. That’s one of those gigs where each time I get to a place that I think might be a tough gig, I look around and see that Janine isn’t there, and I instantly feel better. If I can get through that gig, I can get through most gigs. Sorry, should have done a health and safety warning before both of those.

Best gig, now that is a tough one! I think it has to be the Musical Comedy Awards Finals as that was in a massive West End Theatre to 900 people. That was definitely a life goal achievement right there. The cheers from the crowd were so loud because there were so many people. I’d never experienced that before. So that was amazing. I was pumped for days after that gig. And another favourite gig has to be in Edinburgh last year, I had this one show where the whole audience were hilarious. It was so much fun to perform my show in my tiny little 22 seater room, to an audience full of people ready for a great time. I love it when an audience has such a great collective personality!

L: And lastly is there anything you’d like to say to people who haven’t been to see much live comedy (yet)?

KP: Don’t be scared?! I guess?! WHY HAVEN’T YOU SEEN MORE LIVE COMEDY? (or maybe that’s coming on too strong?). Let’s be pals and go and see some comedy together? (is that weird, I mean, we probably haven’t met yet have we?) I guess I would say: live comedy is way more enjoyable than watching comedy on the tele. Comedy is so much about the atmosphere, and the rapport that the comedian builds with the audience. Go to a gig, expect the unexpected, go with the flow, AND if it’s something new and different, go with it – you never know, you might really enjoy yourself!

If that’s not got you giddy for some cracking comedy at the Brew House next Thursday, I don’t know what will! Come along for 7pm and head up to the Tank Room for the comedy section (there will also be copies of the Lisey and Jenby Bumper Book of Comedy Colouring for sale at £10 which also features an all-female lineup of comedians, with half the proceeds going to Circle!) and be sure to check out the poetry, music, art and talks across the full venue!

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