AUSTRALIAN Bec Hill has now established herself as a regular face at the Happyness Comedy Festival — and that is just fine by her.
"For me it feels like an incredible working holiday," Hill said.
"Not that it isn’t hard work — I always end up exhausted at the end of it, especially because I have to get up early to do the kids’ comedy shows — but most of us stay in the same hotel so there’s a real community vibe.
"Doing the kids’s shows is really fun. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I feed off their energy. Performing for them is very similar to performing for a drunk adult audience. You have to keep stuff going and keep them interested. They also love joining in. If you ask them a rhetorical question, they will answer it."
Like a drunk audience, a children’s audience is not afraid to say exactly what they think or come out with some unpredictable answers.
Hill recalled doing a children’s show and asking what the kids’ thought of when someone mentioned Australia. As well as the stock answers of kangaroos, Sydney Harbour Bridge and koalas, one piped up with the Wikipedia-entry style statement that Australia is "a country of six states and three territories."
"I’m Australian and I had to look it up," she laughed.
Drawn to the UK by "one of your fine Scottish men", Adelaide-raised Hill never expected to stay in Britain, but even for someone who won a nationwide televised comedy competition while still in her teens, Britain is more fertile ground for a professional comedy career.
"People in Australia are happy, so they don’t need comedy," she explained.
"It’s a bit of a cliché, but they’d rather be out at the beach or having a barbie than sitting in a theatre. When I started doing comedy in Australia, I was lucky if I got a gig a month, but in London you could literally do a show a night. If you say you’ve been doing comedy for three years in Australia, that’s probably the equivalent of three months over here in terms of gigs."
Like many comedians, Hill has taken to twitter and Time Out placed @bechillcomedian on its list of the Top Five Comedians on Twitter.
"I usually tweet puns. I don’t tend to use them in my act, so it gave me a bit of an outlet for them," she explained.
Eventually Hill and writing partner Gavin J. Innes amassed so may puns, that she decided to unleash them on the public on one night of live pun-ishment.
"We thought we’d do a one-off night, do all of our pun material and get it out of our systems," she said.
"We didn’t think anyone would come, but it completely sold out and then we got all these other comedians getting in touch saying they’d got a bunch of puns too and wanted to come along. It’s now turned into this regular night at the West End and we’ll be doing it in Inverness too."
Among the mirth-makers scheduled to join her at the Happyness Festival’s own Pun Run on Saturday will be Gordon Southern, Michael Redmond, Hari Sriskantha and Ray Bradshaw with more to be announced on the night.
• Bec Hill presents her free Family Fun shows at Falcon Square, Inverness, at 4pm on Saturday and 1pm on Sunday and co-hosts Kids Comedy witb Patrick Monahan at Eden Court at 11.30am on Saturday. She can also be seen at the Pun Run at Hootananny’s Mad Hatters Bar at 6pm on Saturday.