Comedy: Interview: Eleanor Conway
Clubber and party girl Eleanor Conway presents her stand-up debut about sex, sobriety and Sambuca – and the modern addict that lies within us all.
Premiered at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe to critical acclaim and now revisiting Bristol (Riproar, Sept 21) as part of a UK tour extension, Walk of Shame draws on Eleanor’s own experiences as a woman of extremes. She has partied around the world as a music journalist, run off to Asia to work for the triads, made hardcore porn and Tindered her way through most of London. Now sober from alcohol and substances, she’s failing to find moderation and meaning.
Partying around the world, running off to Asia to work for the triads, making hardcore porn: how much of each of these experiences has fed into your stand-up?
All of it. Wouldn’t it be boring if I’d led this life and then got up on stage and talked about eggs, or how craaaaazzzzy it is when you get a night bus home in your skinny jeans (super lols)?
Everything I talk about in Walk of Shame is true and indicative of the extremes I have gone to in life, and therefore is integral to where I am now; without the crazy I never would have gotten sober and without sobriety I would never have had the time and energy to tell my story.
Do you think stand-up is going to be a more lasting way of life for you than those others? If so, why?
Yeah totally, the freedom of writing a show, taking it to Edinburgh then touring it, is so incredibly satisfying. Something born out of writing in my flat during quite a dark time, taking it to the Fringe and then working hard to put together a tour. That’s a fantastic way to make a living and I can’t wait to do it again. I love that the dogged, singular focus I put in paid off. That’s far more positive than getting messed up.
Does addiction make for good comedy fodder?
Yeah, it’s funny. It’s all your drunk-night-out stories but with an extra edge and bundled into an hour. No one wants to hear that your life is great. And when you’re obviously alright and have come through an experience, people love to hear the lows. Audiences can either relate or they’re just being a bit nosy.
Are we all addicted to something (or have the potential to be), it’s just that some of us are coping with it better than others?
Well I talk about that briefly, but yes. I reckon everyone can get addicted on some level to something. Just some of us show more commitment. This idea of ‘quick fixing’ via social media and online is becoming ‘a thing’ and I think it’s going to be an interesting move culturally in the next 20 years or so.
Eleanor Conway’s Walk of Shame Thursday, Sept 21, Riproar Comedy. For more info and to book tickets, visit eleanorconway.designmynight.com/5942af3505b6e02f0b4c8f03/eleanor-conways-bristol-walk-of-shame