“Her stand-up is startlingly good. She works the audience and makes the most of her cleverness with words, her knack for seeing things freshly. She has a great riff about people scraping moss off each other every morning in Scotland, but the audience seems most to enjoy the material about pubic hair. I learn that her father was from Birmingham and her mother from North Wales, that they went to Australia but then came back to Dundee before she was born and that they split up when she was quite small, which is more information than she ever appears to have divulged in an interview.”
There’s nothing like bucking the trend – a number of comics have made the transition into more and less serious prose. A.L.Kennedy made the transfer in the opposite direction in 2005, delighting a few members of the press and hugely annoying many. And national broadsheets did indeed demand free tickets for open mike nights (the tickets were only a quid in the first place) and considerably more hooha than was strictly necessary ensued. Things are a little more sensible now, the gigging has continued and much fun has been had amongst the people who pay for their tickets in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Berlin, Stockholm, London, Aberdeen, Hastings and some other places.
ALK would give enormous thanks and a biscuit to everyone at the very fine comedy emporia of The Stand. Without initial support from Tommy Sheppard and The Stand, none of that fun would have happened. So here’s a link to Tommy’s ever-growing empire… http://www.thestand.co.uk/
ALK now focusses on performing solo shows and radio work, particularly monologues. She also takes part in the range of more and less bizarre events which are offered to people who are considered to be in some way “fusion”. Since 2005 she has been performing a series of one hour comedy shows specifically about writing. In 2009 this developed into the show WORDS, an early review of which you can find here http://ed.thestage.co.uk/reviews/540
Along the way, audiences at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Cambridge Festival, Latitude Festival (Robin Ince’s Book Club), Bookslam, the Berlin Writer’s Festival and a number of others have helped to make a variety of evenings very splendid.
The show WORDS travelled to Richmond Virginia, Berlin’s Humbolt University, Toronto’s Harbourfront Festival, Leuven University, the Words By The Sea Festival, The Bridport Festival and a number of others. Its final performance took place in Humbolt University, Berlin – appropriately, in a room overlooking Bebelplazt.
A.L.Kennedy also occasional appears at political meetings as light relief amidst the news of mayhem, greed and stupidity. She has been known to get involved with such excellent enterprises as the Literary Death Match http://www.literarydeathmatch.com/ and 5 x15 http://5x15stories.com/ and even the wonderful Special Relationship http://thespecialrelationship.net/main/about/ Just in case you weren’t aware of how many great literary event series are out there…
If you would like to contact us with regard to any of the above, please use the details elsewhere in this website. Increasingly, there are snippets of grainy and shaky A.L.Kennedy comedy video about on the interweb and there are audio and video links to some of her material here.
- Two Guardian Podcasts: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/series/books+alkennedy
- Granta podcast: http://www.litagogo.com/2010/08/al-kennedy-launches-granta-podcast.html
- US podcast: http://www.podcast.com/Arts/Literature/I-329096.htm
- Lannan Reading (we love Lannan): http://podcast.lannan.org/2010/10/24/a-l-kennedy-reading-20-october-2010-%E2%80%93-video/
- An episode of Open Book: http://player.fm/series/books-and-authors/open-book-a-l-kennedy-jm-coetzee-readers-guide
- Point Of View Essay: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30939668