Kelly Convey hails from Chatham, Kent, and still has the gold chains and extra-large earrings to prove it. The performance I attended was graced by a fan of Convey, who had seen her perform at last year’s Fringe – and for him, at least, loveable rogue that he was, she’s a comedian best enjoyed very much under the influence of several stiff drinks. But she dealt with his heckling (even the heckle in which he said he wasn’t heckling) deftly, and it was always clear who was in control, without anybody, in the end, being anything less than civilised.
It’s a broad stand-up set, encompassing all the salient points in Convey’s life, and in that of her family, up to this point. She hasn’t always done comedy, at least not at a professional level, and so a lot of her anecdotes come from her experiences elsewhere. I could relate to what she was saying about going to university in central London and finding out so much about the different cultures from the international students who come to study. After graduation, she worked for Fox Television (which drew a ‘boo’ from the front row, before it was hastily clarified that there is a difference between the Fox News Channel and the Fox Broadcasting Company’s light entertainment division), where – to summarise – the gift of the gab was key. The leap from a corporate office job to stand up comedy was therefore not all that big after all.
The show’s title, Telephone Voice, seems to derive from the kind of accents large companies perceive to be preferred by their customers. I noticed it when I had a corporate day job – everyone in the customer services department were very well-spoken. There were certain situations in which Convey would put on a supposedly posher accent than her natural speaking voice, and it’s pleasing that she’s come to realise that one’s identity is better embraced than repressed.
I get the feeling she’s itching to come back next year, given the detailed introduction to herself and what she’s been up to. And why not? She certainly more than holds her own with an audience, with whom she enjoys a warm rapport. She even tells us she has no problems to report with regard to being a ‘female comedian’ – as part of her executive role at Fox she once met Harvey Weinstein, and in hindsight is irritated (for comedic purposes, you understand) that she wasn’t even eyeballed let alone touched.
Happy to go off script, and sharp enough to pick up immediately where she left off, this is an assured performance from someone clearly very capable – it looks like it’s onwards and upwards for this (proud to be) working-class comedian.
Review by Chris Omaweng
Kelly Convey ‘Chatham girl done good’ brings us her debut hour which travels back in time to her errant teenage years, through her high-flying twenties as an executive, right up to the life-changing decision to become a comedian in her thirties. If you’d met 15-year-old Kelly, you would’ve sworn down on your nan’s grave that she’d never be where she is today. Leicester Comedy Festival Mercury Comedian of the Year 2017 nominee. So You Think You’re Funny? 2016 finalist.
Kelly Convey: Telephone Voice