Andrew Doherty is a comedian and writer based in Manchester. He has previously appeared at the Fringe as part of the Durham Revue and as part of sketch duo Megan from HR with Ambika Mod. His new show ‘Gay Witch Sex Cult’ has been scooping up awards at places like the Vault Festival and Brighton Fringe. We spoke to Andrew about the folk horror influences in the show, his experiences with Megan from HR, and bonding with friendly Americans. 

Can you tell us about ‘Gay Witch Sex Cult?’

‘Gay Witch Sex Cult’ is a queer folk horror comedy, all about Kaelan Trough, a narcissistic gay man celebrating the gender reveal of his as yet unborn child. As the evening goes on, the party takes an unnerving turn due to the interference of a sinister cult.

The show’s inspired by folk horror. What is about that subgenre that appeals to you?

It terrifies me! There’s something so unnerving about the smaller, quieter places in our world and what may be contained within, and there have been some amazing attempts to capture that feeling on film and onstage. I’m trying to both parody that idea, but also in a small way pay tribute to it- there’s such a long history of excellent folk horror stories to draw on.

For those unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe your comedy style and approach to performance?

It’s very very silly, lots of stupidity, and lots of high-grade narcissism. I’ve always loved the Rik Mayall-like tradition of characters who are blissfully convinced they’re just a little bit better than everyone else, only for their flaws to to quickly come into play.

‘Gay Witch Sex Cult’ is your debut solo show. What are your hopes and expectations for the month?

I want to be alive and have some speech capacity by the end of the month

You’ve performed at the Fringe before as part of Megan from HR. What for you are the best and worst things about the Fringe?

We only did one Fringe, and it was a fairly rough experience. Lots of highs but a lot of lows as well. I think the high point for me was getting and winning over new audiences- we had no name, no huge press, but we regularly got audiences of 80-100 who really enjoyed the show.

The low point was when we got a review that compared our show to ‘choking on quicksand’. I assume in the suffocation part of choking on quicksand there is some form of euphoric high due present due to the oxygen deprivation. But I don’t think they were talking about that bit. I think they thought it was bad.

Have you had any really memorable Fringe experiences, good or bad, either as performer or as an audience member?

I was in the Durham Revue, and attended Fringe with them for three consecutive years. In our first year I met a friendly American woman called Anne whilst flyering and she came to our show. I then met her both years after, and each year we caught up on what had happened in the year and she came to see our show. I would say i think about Anne bi-weekly

Beside ‘Gay Witch Sex Cult’, can we expect to see you performing elsewhere during August?

I’m doing a few mixed bill nights, but at the minute focusing on ‘Gay Witch Sex Cult’. What more do you want from me?!?!?!

Are there any other acts at the Fringe that you would recommend audiences see?

There are literally so many. I saw Sarah Roberts do a preview of her show ‘Silkworm’ and it was so so funny, and I’ve heard such good things about Alex Franklin’s show ‘Gurl Code’ and Lil Wenker’s ‘Bangtail‘, so check those out! Also Aidan Pittman’s debut show ‘Dr. Dolittle Kills a Man‘ is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in my life, so you must go see that.

Gay Witch Sex Cult‘ is at Pleasance Courtyard – Attic from Wed 31 Jul to Sun 25 Aug 2024 (except Mon 12)