Q&A : Harriet Kemsleys
New to the mothering game, comedian Harriet Kemsley brings her newest show Honeysuckle Island to the Edinburgh Fringe. This hour of comedy looks at how her life has changed after becoming a mother, how society puts pressure on woman and the vicous cycle of beauty enhancement. Harriet has featured on live at the apollo and 8 out of 10 cats does countdown amongst other things.
What can the audience expect when they see your new show ‘Honeysuckle Island’?
I will be on stage probably oversharing but basically just being very excited to be out the house. It’s a funny, silly show, but I am talking about things that mean a lot to me, like my daughter and laser hair removal.
Describe the dream holiday destination that is Honeysuckle Island?
So, Honeysuckle Island is the dream holiday destination that I designed when I was 11. It had everything a preteen could want - waterfalls, monkeys and zip lines but when I looked back at it during lockdown, I saw that in the corner I had also drawn a cellulite machine. And I’d spelt cellulite right and island wrong. Even on an idyllic island it’s clearly impossible to escape from beauty standards.
What message do you hope people will take away from your show?
There is a hidden message in the show. If you assemble the first letter of every joke it will spell out a phrase that will get you £2.50 off at Tesco.
What’s the best holiday you have ever been on?
We took our daughter on her first holiday this year when she was three months old. We went snowboarding, well I went snowboarding. Everything imaginable went wrong, I fell on my head and got a mild concussion, my sister tore her ACL and has just had to have an operation and my dad lost his short-term memory in what was one of the most terrifying moments of my life and was rushed down the mountain in a blood wagon to hospital in what turned out to be something called Global Transient Amnesia. Me and my Mum also got norovirus on the plane. Despite all that it was magical to take my daughter away for the first time and to be away together especially considering the last couple of years. I will gladly take a mild concussion over a nationwide lockdown.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to your teenage self?
Something called laser hair removal is coming and it’s going to change your life. Also don’t get drunk on Bacardi. The smell will haunt you for the rest of your life.
See Harriet Kemsley: Honeysuckle Island at the Monkey Barrel during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 3-25 August. For more information and tickets visit www.edfringe.com or www.monkeybarrelcomedy.com