Georgie Carroll Nurses Her Debut

We caught up with Georgie Carroll, comedian, nurse, wife and mother, who was born and raised in Manchester, but found a new life in Australia. She brings all these elements together in her debut show at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Nurse Georgie Carroll: Sista Flo 2.0, having won Best Comedy Show at the Adelaide Fringe and following on from a 110-date tour around Australia, including a sold-out performance at the Sydney Opera House.

Italy...we would be the worst dressed and drunkest people there

Why did you move to Australia?

I had married, had kids and nursing career by my mid-20s and was just feeling a lot of wanderlust. I actually wanted the family to move to Italy, Steve (husband) and I went to take a look at Italy and worked out we would be the worst dressed and drunkest people not Italy. Steve is part of the Barmy Army so went to Australia to watch the ashes and he fell in love with the Adelaide Oval. We are a good fit for Australia, we have the right look and are the right amount of battered for the environment when we leave the pub.

Do you think it's very different being a mum and a successful comedian to being a successful male/dad comedian?

You absolutely have to travel to build comedy, you cannot get better playing your local club forever. It's the travel bit- the being away from the kids that is questioned more for mums than dads I reckon. It's something I even question myself about. I would, of course, die for my kids, but that rarely comes up as an ultimatum, so until it does I have taken the stance that I am as important as they are. I wonder what books the kids will write. Will they say that I was either never there or that I was an inspiration; both would be true on some level.

It's not only the travel away from my kids that other people have to wrap their heads around, it is also the fact that comedy looks like and often is a party of a job. If I travelled to play a sport people would question it less, especially if I was a bloke- my husband Steve is a mad cricket fan. If he was sat at his office job and all of a sudden the cricket President burst into his job and proclaimed '' Steve, we have been keeping an eye on you, come train with the England squad, come travel with us,'' everyone would think he was out of his mind if he turned that down for family.

Why did you go onto Britain's Got Talent?

I had some stuff I'd built in Australia: live shows, a book and a couple of comedy specials that I am really proud of. I wanted to show them to as many people as possible. BGT was the best way for me to get in front of as many UK eyeballs as I could before I launched myself here. I also love the programme, I often scroll the golden buzzers for a bit of joy and catharsis. Loving the programme helped cement the decision to go on it.

What did you think of your fellow contestants?

What a bloody lovely troop of all kinds of everything they were. anything from 5 year olds dressed as sea creatures through to elderly men's choir fighting off their depression with song. By the time you get to semis most of you are living in a hotel together, like a massive cruise ship full of performers and their nearest and dearest.

People would often ask me who I was supporting rather than ask what my talent was, I suppose I look more like a dance mum than a comic for most people. I dance-mummed the shit out of it, my two boys were in a troop called Boi-tronix, my youngest had a foot injury so it was touch and go for a while there but he pushed through.

Do you think going on a talent show would help a newbie performer?

You could absolutely do a talent show as a newbie and get something out of it, but I think it would be way better to wait a while until you have substantial live shows to push off the back of it otherwise you do it, you get a following and you have nothing else to give them after. It could also do you a bit of harm, depending on how robust you are. It's an enormous platform to open yourself to criticism on. If you are a newbie considering it, just know what you are getting yourself into.

Do you think the show has boosted your exposure?

It did the job I wanted it to for sure. I choose to take a gig or opportunity by asking myself if they provide cash, joy, exposure or getting better. It doesn't have to give all four, it's just if no boxes are ticked I say no. BGT is not paid but it is guaranteed epic exposure, for better or worse. I did not expect to get better or learn anything new doing BGT but it was a totally different style of writing. It is ultra family friendly and you have 2 mins 40 seconds. I like an hour to perform and I am very bawdy so it did pop open a new bit of my brain.

Why did you choose to come back and do the Edinburgh Fringe?

You need a lot of money to come to Ed Fringe as an international. You have to go into it being aware that even if you sell very well you could be going home with a loss or a debt. It had to be the right time as far as money was concerned. Also, the kids are 17 and 19 now. it's easier to go away for huge chunks of time. Ed Fringe is an arts festival and an industry fair for comics and I am now making stuff I am super proud of; time to show it off. I am looking forward to watching everything too, all the shows, art-feeds-art and all that.

Are there any stories or rumours about the Fringe that you're worried about and other things that you're really excited about?

Absolutely not in the first case. Bring it on, I am going to leave it all on the pitch. As for the rest, "Yes!" watching everything, all the shows. I will probably snaffle four a day, always adding-in taking a punt on something I have never heard of.

What would be the best outcome for you at Edinburgh?

Sell all the tickets, that people who come love it and then get carried around on the shoulders of Joe Lycett and Andy Askins. For anyone who knows those two performers, Andy is taking most of the load.

Any advice for a comedian wanting to take their career up a notch?

No, if someone came to me with a specific question about how to ramp it up then I might have some advice but there really is no one size fits all type answer. The only one piece of advice that does fit is for anyone who is thinking they might want to be a comic but does not know how to start; go hang out an open mic, then write a couple of minutes of stuff you find funny, then do it. What are you waiting for, come steal my job.

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