Ellie Taylor was one of two contestants to leave Show Me The Funny on Monday before this Thursdayâs live final. OTB spoke to her and discussed donkey jokes, mysterious editing, and Hitler’s love of Blackpool.
Hi Nathan, how you doing?
Hi Ellie, I’m pretty good, how are you?
I’m alriiiiight thanks.
Congrats for getting so far in the show. Did you feel that there was anything different you could have done in your last performance?
Awww, thank you. Ummmm, not look at my hand? [Laughs] Or look at my hand in a slightly more subtle manner?! I had a bloody brilliant last gig, it was lovely. I don’t think the edit shows it at its best, they kinda chopped it up a lot, as you imagine they do, these bloody editors! I kind of felt like I went out on a high, which was something I was really keen to do.
You seemed to be much better at calming your nerves, Jason Manford even said it’s the best he’s seen you for weeksâ¦
It was better material! I hadn’t written the greatest stuff for the rugby and hospital gigs. It was alright, but I didn’t love it. I really liked the stuff I did in Blackpool, and I really enjoyed my time there. I like people in the North of England. I went to university in York, and I’ve always managed to kind of ‘get’ them. They’re friendly chaps.
Where was the hardest audience?
Hmm, all the audiences were pretty receptive really. I think if things didn’t go well it would have been down to the comic and the material rather than the audience. I did find the hospital gig a bit tricky as my material wasn’t that great, but also it was held in a really massive hall, so big that your words kind of rattled around in there. It really wasn’t warm and cosy, it was bit of a strange one- not full enough I suppose. I went in thinking that everyone would be Dr Jones, but it turned out they were all more Valerie from reception, and therefore it was a slightly different atmosphere to how I thought it would be. To be honest, I don’t know if anything would have made a difference, I’m just trying to make myself feel better about how it went. Before SMTF I’d never played outside London, so it was a great experience for me.
How do you go about finding new material?
It really was all about talking to people. In the last show in Blackpool we had a task but they haven’t shown any of it in the final edit which is a bit weird. We had to put on entertainment for a day and night for B&B guests- hard core Blackpool goers who have been coming for 50 years on the trot. They were really good craic and great to talk to. It was really helpful just to chat to people and that’s what I’ve tried to do the whole time. This and observing things that tickle my fancy. In Blackpool for example I liked the fact that donkeys always had Friday off but the horses didn’t. I made a bloody ACE donkey joke – something which you don’t get to hear that often – but they didn’t show it! You seriously missed out. Another thing I saw was a sign for a black pudding burger, which made me think “Wow, this is a forward thinking placeâ?. Also, did you know Hitler had apparently earmarked Blackpool as a place of leisure for when he invaded and therefore didn’t bomb the place?
You are kidding me…
No! Really! That’s an actual fact.
You learn something new every day. Being the least experienced of the contestants, what did you learn most from the experience?
I think I learnt to try and be a bit more resilient. Basically I tried to grow a pair throughout the show as I’m quite a nervy person. At the Watford gig, I kind of felt things had gone tits up, and I couldn’t remember where I was going. I needed to do five minutes, but thought I only had three minutes worth of material. Having kinda given up, I thought âthat’s it I’ll be going homeâ?, so sort of stumpled my way through the rest of the set. But then by the end I regretted giving up and not rectifying the situation. Tif said to me that after a good gig you should give yourself 20 minutes to congratulate yourself, and after a bad gig, you should give yourself 20 minutes to say that was crap and pull your socks up. But don’t linger, otherwise it’s a downward cycle of self-loathing that’s not massively conducive to being good and enjoying what youâre doing. I am trying to do that, as every comic will die on stage at some point, especially in places they don’t think they will. Those little deaths hopefully make you a better performer, and I’m sure I’ve got many more to come.
Well to sight an old phrase, ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you strongerâ. Did you learn much from being around the fellow contestants then?
That was probably one of the best things about being on the show- being around people who had been on the circuit. I found it interesting that Tiff and Stu would be quite analytical- sort of scientific- about what makes a good joke and why things didn’t work.
Who would you put your money on winning?
I think they’ve all come across well, but I think Pat might edge it. They’re all going to storm it on Thursday though – I’ll be in the front row with my popcorn and my loud laugh.
I’ll see you there! So what’s in store for you in the future? It must have been great to hear such positive feedback from Cannon and Ball?
Werenât they sweet? Seeing Bobbly Ball bend down and coming up to my boobs was the highlight of the series to be honest. It was also nice that Kate reneged on what she said about me being a bunny boiler too. She doesn’t take any prisoners so for her to say that was really nice. I love comedy, but I know that I’ve got so much to learn still. I really want to get better, and can only do this from performing. It will be interesting to see what the next year will hold for me. Acting, which actually came before comedy for me, is something I’d also like to pursue more of, but I’m just so pleased to be out of a nine to five job. It has definitely been one of those years youâd tell your kids about that’s for sure.
Iâm sure it has been! All the best for the future, take care.