Stand Up Spotlight: making an impression with Fran Kissling

To say that Fran Kissling’s stand up is unique would be like saying the Pope is a tiny bit catholic. In fact, I’m not being cliched when I claim that it’s not like anything I’ve seen before. With a wide legged stance, mad stare, and a thoroughly confused expression, Fran’s on stage persona is so unexpected that you, the audience member, become totally intrigued by where her set is going to go next. But the most striking thing about Fran is that she delivers her whole set in panicked, shouted chunks.

Fran’s road to comedy started in improv, but she decided to take a stand up course  after five years to try something new. “I started out doing a 12 week stand-up course with Jill Edwards to explore a different side of comedy. This was for the experience as opposed to wanting to do stand-up gigs. However, I enjoyed it so much I ended up signing up for the advanced course and here I am taking part in stand-up shows. It’s addictive and at this point I couldn’t imagine not doing stand-up comedy.”

Despite performing stand up for just a year, Fran is no shrinking violet on stage and delivers polished, persona-driven performances with the ease of a serious character actor. In fact her character is the type of thing you’d expect to see on character-driven comedy shows like “Charlie Brooker’s weekly wipe” or the “The Mash Report”- it’s well thought out, decidedly odd and, most of all,  brilliantly funny.

Fran’s idea to create a quirky onstage persona came from her improv background:

“In improvised comedy, I have always gravitated towards being weird, so playing an odd character is something I feel comfortable with.”

And though she maybe loud and in your face onstage, the onstage version of her is the polar opposite of her in real life:

“Because I’m naturally soft-spoken I thought it would be fun to go in the other direction.”

Not only has Fran created a fantastic character which is funny on it’s own, but her mix of one-liners are clever and original, using any topic from the music industry to relationships for inspiration – “I was once in a relationship with a Buddhist monk. The worst thing about being with a Buddhist monk was that relationship counsellors thought everything was my fault.” She’s also keen to use her Swiss heritage to both educate and cause humour at their expense. “Switzerland hasn’t been invaded for 500 years. We’re small, rich and in the middle of Europe. What is wrong with us? No one ever votes for us on Eurovision.”

All in all Fran Kissling is a rare gem in the comedy world, whose out of the box thinking has earned her material and performances that you won’t easily forget.

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