Q&A : SHELF
Brilliant Comedy duo Shelf make their highly anticipated comedy debut with their show Hair. This hour of laughs tells the story of two very different experiences told through Rachel WD and Ruby Clyde, with lots songs and music along the way. Shelf have had over 1 million views on BBC Three.
How long have you two been working together? Why did you decide to work together?
We've been working together in a literal sense since about 2015. Ruby saw Rachel doing a university sketch comedy (thought the group were terrible) but Rachel was funny and suggested they would have more fun doing comedy as a pair. Ruby was right! We’ve known each other since we were 10 and are the type of friends who always have a “thing” we do together- first videogames, then skateboarding, now comedy. So, we always have kind of been colleagues. And friends too, to be clear.
How do you bounce ideas off of each other / how do your jokes come to fruition: from idea to completion?
It varies, sometimes we'll get in a room together and talk an idea out, sometimes one of us will just text an idea and see if it sparks for the other one. Especially nowadays it’s very loose - we spend a lot of time together so often we’ll see or do something and be like “let’s make that a song!” You don't always know when a joke or a bit is “complete”- through performing it you eventually land on the best way to deliver it, but there are always tweaks you can make.
How do your different experiences on gender identity inform your show?
The crux of the show is that we actually have a very similar experience of our gender identities, but our contrasting personalities, upbringings and musical talents have changed the way we’ve each felt able to explore and express it.
Our show is maybe most informed by our different experiences of musical talent: one of us has it, and the other doesn’t. Come see how we find a way around that!
What catalyzed your involvement with The LOL Word?
In 2017 it looked like Ruby wouldn't be able to make it up to the Fringe, so Rachel had the idea to gather some of our queer comedian pals and put together a queer mixed bill. In the end Ruby did make it to the Fringe and we hosted the night together! At first we thought it would just be a show at that one Fringe- but things really picked up pace. We started putting the night on in London, booking queer women, nonbinary and trans comedians, and it just turned into a lovely night where we could put our favourite performers on.
Now we have a monthly spot at Soho Theatre, and we’ll be at the Fringe performing at Monkey Barrel every weekend in August. We host The LOL Word along with Chloe Petts and Jodie Mitchell, and the lineups are looking incredible- come along!
What is your favorite song to perform together?
It kind of depends on the audience, but we always love performing our one about women’s bathrooms, and our one about bullying. That's all we’ll tell you, no #spoilers.
See Shelf: Hair at the Pleasance during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 3-28 August. For more information and tickets visit www.edfringe.com or www.pleasance.co.uk