A stand-up comedian whose latest show sees her wildly misinterpret science, Ruth Hunter is wickedly talented and performing at the International Bar for the Dublin Fringe Festival.
BD: Tell us a little bit about your background in performance?
RH: I started doing stand-up comedy two years ago in Dublin. I came second in the Edinburgh based competition So You Think You’re Funny in August 2016 which was great, people really like doing well in that competition cos it’s really good and I liked it that I did so well. I always did drama and drama camps in and outside of school growing up although I had absolutely horrendous stage fright, I still do sometimes (ooh! honesty!). I also often make funny films with my friends some of which are knocking about on the internet at Firehouse Film Contest or else YouTube. The most recent thing I’ve made is The Ruth Hurts which is a surrealist chat show where I interview comedians, we have two episodes out with James Moran (whose show you should see at the Dublin Fringe) and another with Scottish comedian Fern Brady. We’ve three more to come out with comedians Martin Angolo, Emma Doran and another fringe performer Hannah Mamalis whose show you should also see because she’s incredible. I’m not so sure that anybody who’s done the show with me has really understood what they were letting themselves in for but I am grateful that they subjected themselves to the experiment. I’ve always been lucky enough to be surrounded by other creative and hilarious people who are so generous and inspiring. They often help and encourage me to make and do a lot of the dumb stuff that I make and do.
Describe in your own words what this show is about?
The show is a stand-up comedy performance with pictures! I am basically using an audience to try to figure out the nature of my identity, which I think is what all stand-ups are doing really, that is, gathering strangers in a room to witness their prolonged identity crisis. And as we all know, this takes about an hour. I try to use some ideas from quantum physics to help me solve the problem of figuring out who I really am but I don’t think I actually understand anything about quantum physics so this has turned out to not be that helpful. I also scrutinise the idea of how we use gender, sexuality and our profession to classify ourselves as humans. Ultimately, it’s about Who are we really? What is reality? What does it even mean to be ‘scientifically accurate’ anyway? Did I mention that there are pictures?
Where did the inspiration for the show come from?
The inspiration for the show was a slow accumulation of nonsense and cartoons that I think about on a day to day basis that I decided to say out loud to other people for money. The origins of creative ‘inspiration’ are generally a complete mystery and there are many theories on the topic. I guess my inspiration is a mixture of an early interest in absurdist comedy, a funny Dad, Catholic brainwashing and subsequent rebellion, pent-up aggression due to the inherent inequalities in our society and a general willingness to be open to public scrutiny that stems from an inherent need for approval from strangers.
Science Idiot by Ruth Hunter runs at the International Bar from Sep 18 – 23 running as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2017.