A self-confessed ‘comedy nerd’, writer and long-term, long-suffering temp Holly Walsh only began performing stand-up in 2006, because ‘I was coming up with jokes that nobody else wanted but which I thought were really funny. Turns out they weren’t but it was great fun learning.’
Since then, the daftly smart 28-year-old’s career has really taken off, with Walsh scooping Chortle’s best newcomer award last year and embracing one of the toughest gigs in showbusiness – deputising for Ed Petrie and Oucho on CBBC. Having grasped the cactus of opportunity, she maintains that ‘in grown-up stand-up you’ve always got swearing and innuendo to get a laugh, whereas with kids you have to be so much more imaginative. It was terrifying filling in for Ed though because I think what they do is brilliant.’
She returns to television this month in BBC2’s Winging It, where several upcoming comics, including The Inbetweeners’ Joe Thomas and Matthew Crosby from Pappy’s Fun Club, have to improvise their way out of tricky encounters with the public while receiving instructions through an earpiece. Without revealing too much, Walsh was made to impersonate an authority figure while fretting that she was a ‘stripper in disguise’.
‘It was pretty scary but I’ve compered a lot, so that helped with the ad-libbing,’ she recalls.
In addition to doing a few ad hoc stand-up sets at the Edinburgh Fringe, she is currently rehearsing the sketch show Institute of the Unexplained with Fat Tongue’s Sophie Black and Jon Hunter. A ‘freelance renegade think tank’, the IOU will be striving to answer ‘what is love, does luck exist, aliens, all that sort of stuff really.'
The Stand, Glasgow, Thu 23 Apr; Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock, Fri 24 Apr; Glasgow University, Sat 25 Apr