Priya Hall: The new Welsh comedy wonder

The fabulously talented stand-up comic from Wales is fast making a name for herself on the live circuit with laughter-filled performances

Priya Hall

Asjad Nazir

AN exciting star lighting up the UK comedy sky is sparkling new talent Priya Hall. The fabulously talented stand-up comic from Wales is fast making a name for herself on the live circuit with laughter-filled performances.

Having also appeared on radio and television, the one-to-watch comic will hit a higher gear this year with her debut solo show, Grandmother’s Daughter, which is a joyful tribute to one Welsh lady and the struggles of another to live up to her impossible standards. Priya has promised an abundance of candid tales, heartfelt storytelling, a healthy dose of queer joy and more jokes about sperm than she intended.

Eastern Eye caught up with her ahead of a performance at Soho Theatre in London this month to find out more about the rising talent everybody will be hearing a lot more about.

What first connected you to comedy? 

It’s hard to pinpoint when I first connected with comedy because I think it has always been a part of my life. My mum loved shows like Goodness Gracious Me and The Young Ones, so we perpetually had some form of comedy on the telly growing up.

And then, a little later, when I was around 11, she introduced me to Eddie Murphy’s Raw and Delirious (which is less than appropriate for an 11-yearold). Then we started going to live comedy fairly frequently and I became obsessed.

What do you most remember about your first stand-up gig?

I recollect feeling euphoric during and after my first gig. It was a little local gig for new acts and new material. So it was a really supportive environment. Although I was undoubtedly terrible, I knew immediately that I was going to keep doing it.

 What has been your most memorable experience as a stand-up comedian?

At one gig an audience member admitted to an affair when I was doing a bit of crowd work with him, and I’ll never forget the way the vibe shifted in that room. None of the people he was with knew about the affair and everyone in the room (including complete strangers) lost their minds.

How much are you looking forward to performing at the Soho Theatre?

I simply cannot wait to perform at the Soho Theatre. It’s such an iconic space for stand-up and the audiences are notoriously dreamy, so I’m over the moon to be doing it.

  What can we expect from your show?

My show is essentially a lot of storytelling which I use as a vehicle to massively overshare about my life and the lives of everyone around me (sorry to those people). It’s fun, queer and full of heart.

 Do you ever get nervous before going out on stage?

Yes, I do. But getting nervous makes me really sleepy. This presents itself in lots of yawning and me lying down in inconvenient places, which doesn’t read as nervous and can confuse people in green rooms. There are so many photos of me having pre-show naps purely out of nerves before I go on stage.

 Do you ever feel like you’re revealing too much during your routine?

Literally, constantly. I would describe my writing process as horribly oversharing on stage and then trying to pull it back to a point where I’m not basically giving out my national insurance number and PIN onstage. It’s a real problem.

Who is your current comedy hero?

Rhod Gilbert. I used to go to his local live shows when I was just a child and I think he’s a comic genius. I saw his first gig back after his recent illness and the way he came out flying from such a difficult time was amazing to see. I think he’s just undeniable.

Who is the funniest person you know in real life?

My girlfriend, but she’s also a comedian, so that’s not fair. Aside from her, my nana. She has lived a wild life and everything that comes out of her mouth is bananas.

 Has being funny ever helped you in real life?

Being funny did me so many favours when I was working in a call centre. It’s hard to be salty about council tax when you’re having a giggle.

Have you made a New Year’s resolution? 

Mine will be to finally train my cat to walk on a harness so I can take him for little walks around the park. But that’s more of a commitment for him though, really.

What inspires you as a comedian?

Gossip. I find humour in people and live for gossip, so every time my nana drops some family lore, or my friend tells me about some shenanigans I find it so funny. Let’s hope, wish and pray the gossip never ends.

Priya Hall: Grandmother’s Daughter is on at Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE, from Monday, January 29-Wednesday, January 31.