Interview: Annie McGrath

Annie McGrath Interview index
Annie McGrath’s latest show has received glowing reviews across the board, with Shortcom.co.uk describing it as “An intelligent and sharp-witted hour” while One4Review commented that it was “Well-crafted story-telling comedy, with flights of whimsy, ribaldry and sharp politicism, delivered by a consummate performer”. She’s also the host of an acclaimed podcast, has curated an exhibition of art by comedians, written for the BBC’s Newsjack, and appeared in a number of sketches for Channel’s 4 recent Sparks series, so it’s clear that she’s on the very edge of becoming hugely popular. Here she tells us about her stand up highs and lows, the highlights from her Secret Artists podcast, and how she recently dressed up as a potato for Greenpeace.

Comedy To Watch: How would you describe your comedy to someone who wasn’t previously aware of your good self?

Annie: It’s very, very, very important and there are absolutely no dick jokes.

CTW: And what can you tell us about your latest show, Shepherd?

Annie: I can tell you that there are still tickets available: https://sohotheatre.com/shows/annie-mcgrath-shepherd/

CTW: You’re also the host of the Secret Artists podcast, can you tell us about that, and some of the highlights since you started producing it?

Annie: Someone recently likened it to ASMR! Each week I meet a different comedian and we paint an object of their choosing whilst having chat. Sometimes radio interviews can feel a bit stilted so I wanted to create a podcast where the pressure is off the conversation. I think some of the most interesting stuff comes out when your mind is preoccupied. It’s also just fun to see what people choose and their approach to art.

Highlights… seeing Phil Wang play the trumpet, Alex Horne revealing his pineapple tattoo, and of course Lolly Adefope talking about seeing Tom Cruise break his ankle whilst filming her scene of Mission Impossible: Fallout.

CTW: You’ve created sketches for Soccer AM, and your football skills have even made it onto BBC3, can you tell us more about that, and would you like to mix football and comedy more in the future?

Annie: Yes please! I love playing football, a big fan of Arsenal and our women’s team is amazing. I think that it’s a great thing that’s women’s football is getting an increased profile.

CTW: You’re also part of the sketch group Twins with Jack Barry, what are the highlights of the times you’ve performed together, and do you have plans for the future?

Annie: I love performing with Jack- we have had the best and worst gigs together and we know each others best and worst traits. We have had loads of fun Edinburgh fringes together- performing in the Pleasance at midnight every night of 2015 was a real endurance test but we had some of our best shows too. Most recently we co-starred in a Greenpeace advert where he was dressed as a turkey and I was dressed as a potato… We don’t have any concrete plans coming up but there is apparently nothing we won’t do.

CTW: When it comes to stand up, how do you feel you’ve evolved since your first ever gig?

Annie: I think i’m better now than I was ten years ago. You would hope so anyway…

CTW: What do you most love about doing stand up?

Annie: When you meet a stranger at a Christmas party and they say “I better be careful or this will end up in one of your comedy routines” before telling the most boring anecdote you’ve ever heard.

CTW: And conversely, is there any aspect of the job that you don’t like?

Annie: Travelling back from gigs alone on the train on a Saturday night, then having to lie to taxi drivers about your job so you don’t have to explain that you do stand-up.

CTW: If you could change any element of the comedy world, what would it be?

Annie: The cost of putting on a show at the Edinburgh Festival.

CTW: If money were no object, and you could collaborate with any living comedian, what would you like to create?

Annie: Something with Tina Fey. A British Mean Girls?

CTW: What one piece of underrated comedy do you wish more people knew about?

Annie: My show at the Soho Theatre next week. Have I mentioned there are still tickets?

Also, Ian Smith’s ‘Hope You Come Up Here’ which is on Turtle Canyon Comedy’s YouTube channel. It’s a very funny series about the attractions of his hometown, Goole…

CTW: And finally, if you could interview yourself, what question would you most like to ask? And what would the answer be?

Annie: Why do you struggle with sincerity?
UM, why do YOU struggle with sincerity?!
I am yo-
Wait, what?

Annie McGrath – Shepherd is at the Soho Theatre on 17th and 18th of February, and further information and tickets can be found here: https://sohotheatre.com/shows/annie-mcgrath-shepherd/, while future dates can be found on Annie’s website.

Alex Finch. Photograph (c) Edward Moore.
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