Local Laughs: Rachel Graham – 'Even though the thought terrified me, I couldn't pass it up'

Local Laughs: Rachel Graham – 'Even though the thought terrified me, I couldn't pass it up'

Member of sketch group SCRAM! talks Dutch Courage and the feeling of getting that first laugh

The SCRAM! sketch member has a go at our Q&A aimed at emerging stars of the Scottish comedy scene. Graham chats with us about her particular pre-show rituals, the best advice she's ever received and her comedy heroes.

Can you tell us about the moment when you thought: 'live comedy is for me'?
I don't think I had a moment. The opportunity to join the sketch group SCRAM came about and even though the thought terrified me, I couldn't pass it up.

Do you have any pre-show rituals you can tell us about?
I like to have that little bit of Dutch Courage to loosen up, so I have a fruity cider and just try to chill out. You never know what's going to happen and the best shows we've done have been when we've all relaxed into it and just gone with whatever the night brings.

Where do you draw the line when it comes to 'offensive comedy'?
I think offence is subjective. Saying that, I think it's good we're living in a time where we call out bad behaviour and abusive language. Personally, I'm not that interested in brutally offensive comedy. I used to work at The Stand in Glasgow and having watched five years' worth of comedy, I became much more interested in quirky, alternative approaches rather than offensive comedy.

What's the one thing (good or bad) you remember about your very first live gig?
I just remember feeling an overwhelming sense of relief after we got our first laugh. None of our group had performed sketch until our first gig at The Stand and we didn't know how it would go down. I had never performed in something where the content and material was ours, and not from a playwright or lyricist.

What's the best piece of advice you've received from another comedian so far?
One comedian encouraged me to utilise my contacts in comedy and 'just go for it'. I had been hesitant to put myself out there as I thought that I wasn't qualified. I'm so glad I did, as I've surrounded myself with very talented writers and performers as well as becoming confident in calling myself a comedy actor.

Which comedian's memoir would you recommend to someone?
Definitely Robert Webb's How Not to Be a Boy. It's one of the best books I've ever read. Every page was perfectly pitched. He talks in depth about his personal experience of toxic masculinity. It's a huge problem in our society which is not only affecting men's mental health and incidences of suicide, but also encourages misogyny and mistreatment of women. It's got a great message as well as being really funny and engaging.

You're curating a 'legends of comedy' lineup. Tell us the bill's top three acts and why you'd have them there?
I'm going to cheat and say Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean together as one because I've become obsessed with their All Killa No Filla podcast and they're complete legends. Next I would have Hannah Gadsby as I've just watched her Netflix special Nanette and I've never seen stand-up that was so heartfelt, honest and brutally important. I cried. Twice. And lastly I'd say Foil Arms & Hog as they were the first sketch group that I saw and they're just masters of the genre.

SCRAM! is at The Stand, Glasgow, Wed 31 Oct.

Scram! - : Halloween Special

Join a group of Scotland's finest new comedians SCRAM as they return to the Stand with their Halloween Special! Along with the usual mix of sketches and stand-up there'll also be a fancy dress competition for best costume on the night! With Christopher Macarthur-Boyd, Rosco Mcclelland, Marc Jennings, Stephen Buchanan…

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