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A look back over 2019 – The life of a comedian, with Fran Garrity

Hello Fran Garrity here, Teesside’s favourite comedian.

I don’t think I am but it sounds good and I shall continue to use it. So I’m here to do a review of my 2019. I’ll not post about every gig but if I was ever evicted from I’m a celebrity or Big brother here are my best bits.

This year I stretched myself as far as a possibly could in terms of solo gigs, online content and the odd bit of self-promotion. Never had so many gigs where I was introduced as the ‘only’ comedian 

That’s good, I like that.

In other words ‘this is all you’ve got’, ‘hope you like him’, ‘got nowt else’.

Still fortunate to headline some wonderful gigs, Rose and potter in Marske, Coast in Tynemouth and Travellers rest in Hartlepool – I did very well at those gigs. Humbly I smashed them.  

2019 started on the back of some sell out shows for my solo show Faith Hope and Garrity (yes it’s a good title innit?) at the Majestic Theatre in Darlington which then continued throughout the year.

This brought on some other requests to give a further mixture of comedy, the show and talks around the area of forgiveness. Most of them, not even comedy venues.

Challenging but very rewarding and some great feedback from the audience regarding this (still taking bookings)

Bradford, Darlington and Walsall, in particular, were amazing. Apart from the actual gig itself in Walsall, I found out that their local gallery had Noddy Holder from Slade doing the announcements in the lift. How incredible. I spent half an hour in there going all the way up to every floor and back down again, didn’t even see any of the exhibitions.

When I say he was in the lift, he wasn’t, he was far far away.

I gigged at Sunderland’s Stadium of light for a cricketers’ event, as a Boro Fan – Top three things  I didn’t mention were their Netflix special, them being in League one or when the Stadium first announced its name some supporters declared ‘Stadium of shite more like’.

I should have done though as they weren’t listening.  

More light-hearted comedy chat shows with Dean Moore and Steffen Peddie at The Westgarth brought out the best in improv and quick thinking as the audiences could ask any question they wanted. Anything at all and we had to give funny answers. I cannot repeat what was asked, mainly because it was months ago and I can’t remember but the raffle ended up being the prize they ‘deserved’ not the prize they wanted.

Did a panel game show at The Georgian for Shoecake comedy and the highlight had to be improvising over a clip from the Shawshank Redemption. I was Andy Dufresne by the way, Carl Gillespie played Red.   

Black tie do at The Baltic in Gateshead was a proper posh gig for HMRC. I’m on about posh, the poshest you can, then add a little bit more posh on top of that. The sort of gig where they look at you and ask ‘and what do you do?’  All the top directors and all the board members from all around the country were there.

(I asked if it was cash in hand, it wasn’t) They said I did much better than the guy they had last year.

I asked who that was ‘y’know the one that went out with one of the cheeky girls – Lembit Opik. Great, better than Lembit Opik, what a poster quote.

First proper photoshoot with Andy Hollingworth – you’ll have seen his work with Kevin Bridges, Josh Widdicombe, Ricky Gervais, Fran Garrity. A wonderful guy who would not let me go till we got the shot right, spent a great deal of time working out what we’d shoot together and we even did our own tribute to the Slade thumb. Definitely a tick off my bucket list to work with him.

First proper Edinburgh showcase this year with Best in Class was THE highlight.

Sell-out shows every day and a lovely bunch to work with. They’ve already started to raise funds for next year so please, please Google them, get involved and donate what you can– you can catch up with all my blogs I did for RGM whilst in Edinburgh HERE. It’ll be somewhere here or near the end of this article. Phil Mitchell also featured.

I got to see my all-time favourite comic Sean Lock in Blackpool, he was performing there. Wasn’t doing the donkey rides (waheey!!)

But sometimes gigs do not turn out how you expect them to, you can do your research be well prepared have a tight script a few put-downs ready and you arrive and you can’t leave.

You’re booked as they ‘only’ comedian so there’s no one else to take your place, it’s a rugby club in the west end of Newcastle, you’re there as part of their annual dinner and award ceremony.

You open the door to the club and it is utter mayhem, young lads all ripping each other, extremely loud young lads full of testosterone and they don’t know what to do with it. Looks like drink has already been involved for quite a number of hours preceding this event. They are climbing the walls like monkeys and slagging each other off from across the room. If they had peanuts they would be thrown rather than eaten.

You cannot distinguish between them as they are all dressed in club colours, white shirts, grey trousers, pinstripe ties.

I stand out like a sore thumb. As they hand out the awards there’s cheers and boos and general banter. I am going to get eaten alive.     

The club chairman introduces me and says a few words. I notice he has printed off my full comedy CV from a website. My head is in my hands or vice versa I can’t remember.

Every time he mentions something I would consider an achievement the crowd all burst into an ‘Oohhhh’ very loud. You know like ‘I’m a lady’ off Little Britain.

This happens nine times.

Please welcome Fran Garrity – he didn’t say it but I’m sure he meant ‘can afford any more’, ‘this is all you’ve got’, ‘hope you like him’, ‘got nowt else’. Big warm cheer from the audience and it takes a minute for them to settle down. Like a teacher with a nursey class of kids.

I take the microphone and introduce the audience to one of the guys who had won two awards that evening, he was sat right near the front of me but I’d seen him earlier on complain that he didn’t get his photo taken twice when he won both his awards. 

I said I wanted him to enjoy the night and not to ‘continue to cry like a baby’, at that moment the crowd went wild ripping into him as I got out my mobile to take a picture of him with his trophy.

‘I’ll WhatsApp it to you later, babes.’ and I blow him a kiss, the rest of that gig did not turn out how I expected, it was a joy x

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📸 Credit : Andy Hollingworth