“I love making a mess and mayhem on stage.” | Katie Pritchard on the best thing about bad advice – her new show, Storm Stud

Tell us about your show, Storm Stud.

Storm Stud is a musical comedy show all about bad, often unsolicited, advice that I’ve been given over the years. Featuring incredible (very hand-made) costumes, and pumping original choons, this show is a high octane romp through my synapses. Think of it as observational comedy, but from a completely different angle.

It is so fun to perform, and has been such an enjoyable process to write. It’s really cathartic to sit down and write jokes about things which at the time made me a bit annoyed.

And I like to think of it a bit as me sticking two fingers up to the people that have been rude to me, but in a way where everyone’s laughing at them for being such a fool, instead of the mean advice givers laughing at me. Screw you meanies and bullies!!

What inspired you to write a show about bad unsolicited advice?

Well, initially, the show was going to be based on a particular book that I was reading, because I found the advice in the book incredibly hilarious. And as I started to write the show, I realised that I had been given bad or unsolicited advice so many times, and most of it even more ludicrous than that which was in this book. So I sat down and thought about all the ridiculous things people have said to me throughout the years. And then … tahdah … these mad-capped songs and ideas just came out of those stories and memories. 

What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Oooo that is such a toughie. There have been soooooo many choice pieces I could pick. I think I’ll go with the most popular one that I get “Grow up”… which I refuse to do in both connotations of the phrase. 

Sorry, that was a very silly joke! Don’t worry, that one didn’t make it into the show! I promise I won’t do it again!

I think the worst piece of advice that I’ve ever received has to be when I was told as a kid that I couldn’t be a footballer and a dancer, because ballerinas wouldn’t go and play football. I miss playing football, and I’m not that good at ballet, so it was a lose lose for me. Still, I got to wear a nice tutu for some performances every now and then, until I discovered that I was much better at any dancing that was not ballet. 

What inspired your surreal approach to comedy?

This one is a toughie. Great questions!! Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to watch much TV – it was very strictly monitored, and as such, it meant that I hadn’t seen much in the way of comedy, until I started performing. Even now, I feel like I don’t hardly know a thing about comedy! I should really do some more research and watch some more shows, but I love watching people live, and so that limits me to shows that fit with my schedule!

But, my background as a performer stems from acting, dancing and music, so I think naturally I was always going to perform in a style that used all of those elements to create the comedy because that’s such a major part of who I am.

And, I guess, my brain just looks for the more silly/surreal/alternative jokes and situations to write about. For example, why would I write about me eating a lettuce, when I could be the lettuce? Seems obvious right?! So, no real inspirations, other than shows that I’d either performed in myself or seen on the West End/Broadway.

So, perhaps it was my lack of knowledge of the more widely performed observational comedy styles that meant that I didn’t end up writing like that? 

What made you decide to incorporate costumes into the show?

I looovvveee a costume! Another huge part of who I am, is that I love to craft. As you can probably tell, I am not creating the most professional looking costumes, but I love making things, and designing things, and seeing what I can make to fit the characters.

And, I think when audiences see the show, they appreciate that the costumes and props have probably taken quite a while to make, and that you can see what I tried to make, even though in most circumstances I have failed to complete the task in a proficient manner.

I guess this costume element does stem from my theatre background, but also, I love making a mess and mayhem on stage, and having the costumes really does create those two things. It means I get to make stuff, and I have so much fun on stage when, inevitably, something breaks or doesn’t work properly!

How did you get into musical comedy?

I’ve literally never thought of doing comedy without music. Why would I? I’ve got loads of stories that I use in my sets and shows, but I play 12 musical instruments, and I love doing it, so this is a perfect way to flex my music muscles and create those backing tracks at home.

Also, I think sometimes a song can entertain and surprise and tickle an audience more than just talking might (depending on the comedian and the audience member, of course).

If musical comedy is done well, it is one of the most entertaining ways to tell jokes – you’ve got the music so it’s an aural delight, you’ve got the jokes so it’s funny, you’ve got the instrument playing or the backing tracks to show off your musical talent so it’s entertaining, and maybe some costumes so that visually it looks cool. What is not to love?

*I’m not saying that Musical Comedy needs all of those elements, but the possibilities of ways to entertain and make the audience laugh are almost limitless when you have so many elements coming into one performance. That’s what I think though, other people, I know, think very differently. 

What do you think is the funniest instrument?

Right now, I would have to say the slide whistle – I do love it! 

What do you hope people take away from your show?

I hope people take away that it’s ok to be who you are, and if anyone tells you you’re wrong, or you shouldn’t be your true authentic self, you should tell them to stop being such a jerk you big butt head! It’s a feel good show, so I hope everyone leaves having had piles of fun, and feels like they are awesome! 

Are there any other shows you’re looking forward to at the Hull Comedy Festival?

Ooo I want to see quite a few if I can: Jack Gleadow, Charlie George, Ross Brierley, Paul Foot, Sian Davies, Cally Beaton, Yuriko Kotani, Jeddy Bear and Gary’s Picnic…SO MANY!!! 

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to break into comedy?

DO IT!!! Stop dillydallying and give it a go! You’re not going to know how you feel about it until you get up on that stage a few times and give it a go! If you’ve tried it a few times and you love it – just know that it can sometimes be quite hard as a career path, but if you love it, then just try to remember why you love it and use that as motivation to keep going.

Only you can be in charge of your own comedy at the start, so don’t make any excuses about it, and just get yourself to an open mic night, sign up, do your jokes, meet some new people also dipping their toe into comedy, and HAVE FUN!!!

You got this!

Katie is performing Storm Stud on 15th November.

You can find out more about the Hull Comedy Festival here.

You can keep up with other stuff Katie has going on by checking out her website and following her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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