“You’ve gotta have an angle,” she says matter-of-factly. “So I billed myself as Britain’s only goth, lesbian, transsexual comedian. It started as a bit of a
joke – basically making fun of the idea of pigeonholing. Pigeonholing is something that’s pretty meaningless. Once you get down to it, you’re just better
off calling me by my name.”
And that’s before her confessional, autobiographical style of stand up even begins to touch on her struggle with drink and drug addiction and failed suicide attempts. A 20 minute chat on the phone dispels all fears of a Neil-from-the-Young-Ones type misery guts bringing the vibe down. Bethany’s
formula works. She’s chirpy, charming, and wonderfully chatty, even apologising at one point for forgetting to breathe while talking too much and nearly hyperventilating. She does that on stage sometimes too, she explains.
“I talk about all sorts of stuff in the stage show,” she says. “It all depends on the audience and how I feel. I don’t always mention that I’m a lesbian, or a
goth. I don’t really say the things I do it to be cathartic, or shock, because I can’t really make it into a joke until I’ve dealt with it. All the stuff I talk
about on stage I’m completely comfortable with sharing with a room full of strangers.
“It’s all about trying to get to the absolute truth of something. Writing and performing is about trying to find the one thing you’d never tell another human being. It’s then you find you’re not the only person who thinks like that.”
Bethany is taking to the Liverpool stage this weekend (Friday and Saturday, November 20 and 21) as part of an all-gay line up at the Slaughterhouse to tie in with the ongoing Homotopia festival.
“It’s really nice, as a gay act, to be on a bill with other people like you,” she says. “Promoters tend to avoid it like it’s a theme night if there’s more
than one woman or gay act on in a night. And gay audiences are already on board, so you don’t have to worry as much about what they’ll make of it.
“People are a lot more open-minded than I expected when I started,” she adds, explaining that the only remotely homophobic heckle she’s ever had was a drunk man who insisted on repeatedly shouting “lesbians can’t have sex” at her.
“At first I was terrified about doing stuff about being lesbian or trans, and when I mentioned it, I was so panicked that the audience noticed. But I learned
90% of people really don’t care about any of this stuff. All they care about is whether you’re funny.”
Bethany’s been on the circuit for 5 years and has recently set up a new night in her home town of Manchester, Comedy Centro at Bar Centro.
“It’s the best job I’ve ever had. I got fired from 14 day jobs in a year at one point. And that goes some way to explain that’s what I do – I’m absolutely
terrible when it comes to 9-to-5 jobs. All the stuff that’s happened in my life, in my day to day existence, the things that crop up – people say there’s no
other thing I could do.
“I love performing in Liverpool because there’s a different feel, it’s really unique,” she says. Savvy regional press interview move, as is slipping in the
fact her mum is from the city and she spent a lot of time with relatives in Kirkby as a kid.
“It can be difficult, because if Liverpool audiences don’t like you, they really don’t like you. More than anything else Liverpool’s well known for its natural banter. If you try and get talking to the audience you’ve got to worry they might be funnier than you.”
Completing the line up of Capital of ‘Homo’ Comedy this weekend will be MC Jonathan Mayor, described as “a Christmas tree exploding over the campest
Bollywood star you know”, headliner, Phoenix Nights star Janice Connolly as Mrs Barbara Nice, and If.Comedy best newcomer nominee Zoe Lyons.
Tickets (£10 Friday, £12 Saturday) can be purchased online on www.thecapitalofcomedy.com, by calling 0151 728 9898 or in person at The
Slaughterhouse Pub, Fenwick Street, Liverpool.