How we met: Comedy duo Anna & Katy
Comedy partners and sketch surrealists Anna Crilly and Katy Wix talk about how they first met and their first impressions of each other.
Anna on Katy…
I first met Katy in a comedy club in Bristol. At the time I had a happy little life and a proper job in casting in Soho. I was however, creatively parched, and so decided along with my friend Jo to have a go at stand-up comedy.
If you ever described the symptoms of the nerves that go along with those first few gigs to a health care professional they would probably admit you to A & E, but of course the theory is that the roar of the audience’s laughter will cancel out all the nausea, vomiting dry mouth and prickly skin.
Neither Katy nor I particularly got to the bottom of that theory that night in Bristol. We had both taken a very conscious route with our styles of stand-up and neither one of our styles could be described as ‘pedestrian’. Katy had a joke about a drugs advisor that had come to her school to tell the kids to look out for drugs: ‘they’re mostly white’. Whilst I was doing stuff about an imaginary boyfriend who had no feet. It’s fairly safe to say we both split the room that night which to my mind means you’re doing something right, there’s no point in half pleasing everyone. I liked the cut of Katy’s jib and I liked how her material made me laugh so much and left others cold, and the fact that she wore too much mascara and didn’t seem to care.
I’d never really belonged to clubs as a kid as I didn’t really fit in that well. I was always a bit awkward but watching Wix that night made me feel like I belonged to something, and since that day nearly 10 years ago our little Crilly and Wix club is still going as strong as ever. We’ve matured together and grown up a lot together too. When we’re writing together we’re with each other every day for hours and hours. If we didn’t laugh so much it could be a fairly intense process but thankfully we can still send each other into silent fits of hysteria from laughing so much, there’s not many people lucky enough to say that’s what they do for a living, and certainly not with a best friend like Katy.
Katy on Anna…
In 2003 I found myself in a sweaty run down comedy club on the outskirts of Bristol city centre. This was the first time I laid eyes on Anna Crilly. I was just 23 at the time, broke and still living with my parents in South Wales but once a month I would save up enough money to make the voyage across the Severn Bridge to try and practice being any good at comedy at a night somewhere.
I sat at the back of the room, clutching my mother’s dog-walking jacket, which I’d stolen to form the basis of my new character, waiting to go on. Then Anna took to the stage and proceeded to do an impression of a jelly fish and I spat out my drink – from laughter rather than outrage – and it sealed the deal. I remember thinking how brilliantly imaginative and dead pan she was.She also did a whole routine about playing with potatoes as a child. I liked her straight away.
At the time it certainly felt that there weren’t many women doing surreal material and I was delighted when she rang me up a few months later and asked if I fancied writing with her. We met in a pub in London to chat about ideas for a possible show at the Edinburgh Fringe. I remember feeling so captivated by the way her brain worked and her creativity that I felt a bit in awe of her for the first few weeks.
It’s always a thrill when you meet someone who laughs at the same things as you do: as if you’re a tiny bit more accepted and understood. Most people assume that we grew up together or were university friends which I think is a real testament to the intimacy we’ve developed through working together for all these years, and how in-tune we’ve become. A double-act really is a relationship like no other… a bit like marriage but without the tax benefits perhaps.
Our first foray into sketch comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe nearly didn’t happen when a few months before I was involved in a serious car accident and it seemed unlikely that my bones would knit themselves back together in time. But Anna is also thankfully very caring and good in a crisis so we muddled through. I’m glad to say it’s all paid off. I’m very grateful to have her in my life.
Their new series ‘Anna & Katy’ will be airing on Channel 4 tonightTagged in: Anna & Katy, Stand-up comedy
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