Award-winning newcomer Sarah Keyworth says she’s slowly turning into her dad. But does that mean she can still have a good cry?


Sarah Keyworth has a strong suit game. I’d admired the Nottingham-born comic’s sharp two-piece at last year’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards where she was a Best Newcomer nominee. The promo pictures for this year’s show, Pacific, feature her in a Saturday Night Fever-style cream number with extra-wide funky flares. Who the hell is this woman’s tailor?

“Ha, ha! Well, we’re not talking Savile Row. I’m so tiny that I usually shop in the boy’s departments of Next and John Lewis. The cream suit is a bit special though. It’s my dad’s, the one he wore on his wedding day over 40 years ago. How skinny must he have been?”

Francis Keyworth features prominently in Sarah’s second hour. Mainly because she’s come to the conclusion that she’s turning into him.

“There’s always that thing where women reach a certain age and think they’re turning into their mother, but I’m definitely turning into my dad. The best way I can describe him is that he’s quite daft. He just does silly things and is very, very funny as well as being kind and gentle. I find myself unintentionally mimicking his behaviour as I get older. Shuffling round the house, covered in beans. And I’ve suddenly got very interested in torches. That feels like such a Dad thing. I like to have a torch wherever I go and I’ve no idea why. Also, I hear the way my mum speaks to my dad and weirdly it’s echoes of conversations I’ve recently had with my girlfriend. Especially about getting rid of the bean stains.”

Her girlfriend is fellow stand-up and rising star, Catharine Bohart. How unfunny is it trying to write two new Fringe shows in the same house?

“It has its moments. There are definitely times when we’re wandering around talking to ourselves and blatantly ignoring each other until we’ve got some material we want feedback on. We’ve got quite different styles, though, so we don’t step on each other’s toes too much and there’s very little joke-nicking.”

Is jealousy ever an issue?

“Jealousy seems like a strong word, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times when there’s a little bit of envy about a gig or TV show the other’s booked. It’s all about honesty, though. About being able to say, ‘I’m really pleased for you but a little disappointed for myself.’ The minute I found out that I was nominated for Best Newcomer last year but Catherine wasn’t, I went to the bathroom for a good cry. I was so disappointed for her. I subsequently found out that she was somewhere across Edinburgh crying happy tears for me! I think that sums up what we’re about, really.”

The ability to have a good sob is something that features in this year’s set as Sarah explores masculinity and in particular her own relationship with masculinity.

“Essentially, I’m a small woman trying to learn how to be a modern man. It isn’t easy. There was a whole load of soldiers at one of my previews. I wondered how they’d like the show but it turns out they loved it. They identified with the stuff I was saying about not being able to be emotional and resenting parts of yourself. I’m doing this show for the army!”

She’s picked up other awards too, a Chortle Best Newcomer and a Herald Angel. Has it ramped up the pressure?

“Not really. You experience a lot of knockbacks being a comedian, so it’s felt great to have some nods from the industry. Acknowledgements that I’m doing the right thing. It’s been a bit of a lovely year all round, and I’m super-excited about this new show.”


Sarah Keyworth: Pacific Pleasance Courtyard – Baby Grand, 31 July-25 August (not 13) 5.45pm. From £7

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