Award-winning sketch troupe Gein’s Family Giftshop are heading to the West Midlands this spring, as part of their debut tour. The hotly-tipped group, named Best Newcomers at last year’s Chortle Awards, will be bringing their dark comedy to Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry and the MAC in Birmingham.
Who’s Laughing Now? caught up with Gein’s – Kath Hughes, Edward Easton, James Meehan and Kiri Pritchard-McLean – to find out what audiences will be treated to at the shows.
WLN: How did Gein’s Family Giftshop come about?
GFG: We all met in the wilderness of higher education; the University of Salford to be precise. Our name is a combination of our favourite things: murderers (Ed Gein), family (never know when you might need a kidney), and gift shops (we love pencil toppers).
WLN: What makes you all laugh?
GFG: Kath’s impression of her music teacher singing in French. It’s a travesty we’ve not managed to work it into a show. Maybe that can be a special for the tour?
WLN: How would you describe the way you work together as a sketch group?
GFG: Badly. When we’re not arguing with Jim about which penis synonym is funniest, we’re asleep from the exhaustion of yelling penis synonyms at one another.
WLN: Who are your comedy heroes and inspirations?
GFG: We all love The League of Gentlemen, Jam, Spaced, and that goat who yells like a man on YouTube.
WLN: This is your debut tour, so what can people expect from the shows?
GFG: Nudity. For real, you should know that before you arrive. It is fleeting though, like all the best nudity/feelings of nausea. The show is a combination of our two Edinburgh shows; the best bits, of course. Normally people wait a career to do this stuff so don’t be surprised if we implode after this tour.
WLN: You recently did a series for BBC Radio Wales. How did that come about?
GFG: We loved working with Radio Wales. We met our producers, Rubber Chicken, at the fringe as Tom Price (joint head chicken*) was performing in the same room as us. They managed to wangle us three half-hours on the radio and it was so fun. Radio Wales are very supportive, and by that we mean they let us swear a bit. It’s been really nice because each half hour was totally different and unrelated and everyone seems to have their favourite.
*This means he jointly owns the company. It is not a delicious dish from KFC. It should be though.
WLN: You’ve done stuff for TV as well, with Crackanory (on Dave) and your Christmas Comedy Short for Sky. How did you find making those?
GFG: They were both glorious adventures and steep learning curves, like climbing Mount Everest or writing for TV. Exactly like writing for TV.
WLN: What has been your most bizarre experience as a group so far?
GFG: When we all ordered the exact same thing from KFC; sort of a melding-of-minds moment. You know, when you’re so in tune with other people and then BAM! Four Wicked Zinger Tower Burger Meals with Pepsi Max. Heart-stopping stuff.
WLN: What’s in store for you in the future, beyond the tour?
GFG: Well, hopefully Radio Wales will let us swear on the radio again. Jim and Kiri are going up to the Fringe with their first stand-up shows. Fingers crossed they go really badly and we can all go back to flogging this ailing horse again. If they go well Kath and Ed have vowed to avenge all those that have wronged them, or go inter-railing around Europe. Not decided which yet.
You can see Gein’s Family Giftshop on tour at Coventry’s Warwick Arts Centre on Wednesday 16th March, and Birmingham’s MAC on Friday April 15th.