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Ambitious plans from female comedy group


By Margaret Chrystall


HEARD the one about the three female comedians who decided to start their own comedy night?

Braw Bricht Comedy has already evolved since the first ideas to start it came to Hazel Urquhart, Annie Gilfillan and Jenny Johnstone.

All three are regulars at existing comedy nights around the city.

And as Hazel explained: “We really just wanted to start an all-female run night that was really inclusive and gave whoever wanted it a platform to perform comedy.

“Maybe people could host a night if they would like to, or have a shot at headlining, but we wanted them to feel part of a team.”

Already the three have broadened out the night from its original format.

“We started off having exclusively female comedians and then after a week we realised if we wanted to do that in Inverness, it would probably be the same group every week!” Hazel said.

“So we have guys along as well. We want it to feel like an inclusive night.”

In Inverness, the city has a growing comedy scene where women play an important part.

Braw Bricht Comedy - from left - guest comedian Emma Johnston, Braw Bricht's Annie Gilfillan, Hazel Urquhart, Jenny Johnstone and guest comedian Jacqueline Barclay.
Braw Bricht Comedy - from left - guest comedian Emma Johnston, Braw Bricht's Annie Gilfillan, Hazel Urquhart, Jenny Johnstone and guest comedian Jacqueline Barclay.

But what does it feel like to be a female stand up in a world where males dominate?

Hazel said: “There are definitely far fewer female comedians in Inverness than there are in the rest of the country.

“Sometimes you feel as if you are in the minority or the token female who has been asked up.

“And there are just so many hilarious women in the Highlands that we didn’t really think they were getting as much time and opportunity as they could.

“We just wanted – not through any big rivalry – to make a more female-friendly night which could complement the other nights in Inverness and maybe create something new and different – and a whole new atmosphere.”

As well as opening out to include guys at the Braw Bricht Comedy nights – Hazel, Annie and Jenny have another development they want to add.

Hazel said: “We’ve had some spoken word performances in the past months and we want to try and eventually have some comedy sketches too – to give a platform to anyone who wants to be creative.

“Also we want to create somewhere for people to come and get positive feedback and where we can be creative together. That's why we thought of starting a writing evening.

“It’s something that a few comedians in Inverness have spoken about for a while, having some kind of group where we can discuss our ongoing ideas and give each other creative feedback.

“We also thought it would be a good way to get people involved who were a bit nervous of coming along for the first time to do stand up.

“They could have some fun writing together, work on a joke and maybe perform it at the end of the night or be on stage with a one-minute slot.

“We thought that could help bring people into the comedy scene too.”

There is another big plan the female stand ups have – to share the laughs across the whole area.

“Later in the year we hope to bring Braw Bricht Comedy around the Highlands and islands going to different national heritage sites and bothies,” Hazel revealed. “Hopefully with that it will also inspire more people to take a chance, give it a go and get involved somehow. I think it would be nice to create a creative network in the Highlands.”

Braw Bricht Comedy runs on Thursday, May 2 – and regularly on the first Thursday of each month in Inverness venue Encore Une Fois from 8pm. You can also catch Hazel Urquhart and Jenny Johnstone on North Highland Radio every Tuesday night (10pm to midnight).



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