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From dour to cheerful, thanks to an audience

AL Kennedy is primarily known for writing incredibly bleak novels. So what’s she doing on stage, billing herself as “Alison Kennedy” and possibly making a run for next year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival? Her newfound discovery of standup:

A lifelong fan of comedy, Kennedy took up the microphone after the sudden break-up of a close friendship. “I had a pal for a number of years. We used to talk about comedy and enjoy comedy together – then we stopped speaking. So I had a lack of the sort of thing I’d normally used to cheer me up.”

For Kennedy, working on her routine became a weapon in her battle with depression. “If you’re in a very negative place, comedy gives you something to do,” she says. “You think about comedy rather than jumping out of the window.”

Her big influences are Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce, both of whom espoused her philosophy that “humour is a perfectly legitimate response to the horror of the world”.

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