Interview with sketch comedians O'Shea & O'Gaukroger

Comedy duo O'Shea & O'Gaukroger are bringing their show 'We're Dead Serious' to the Camden Fringe as part of a UK tour performing at Ace & Eights Saloon Bar at 7:45pm on Saturday 15th August 2015.

Wendy from Female Arts caught up with Marina (O'Shea) and Tess (O'Gaukroger) to talk about soggy underwear, bus drivers and women in comedy.

What makes ‘We're Dead Serious’ unique?

Marina: It’s a culmination of a year’s touring, mixing our experience from stand up gigs to music festival appearances to plain ol’ sketch. It also involves Tess taking her trousers off, Australian gummy bears and recorded personal phone calls between us both…

What do you hope the audience will take away from the show?

Marina: A new found appreciation for gummy bears - we have been told a few times people will never look at them in the same way again - and wet pants from laughing.

Tess: Please make sure that you do actually take your wet pants away with you though, venues seem to have a real problem with unwanted, soggy undergarments left after the show and our reputation for it is beginning to precede us.

What made you want to bring ‘We're Dead Serious’ to the Camden Fringe (and not Edinburgh)?

Tess: Distance. Edinburgh is a really, really long way away. It doesn’t look that far on google maps but trust us, IT’S FAR. Lack of haggis nearby is also important to factor in when booking tours.

Can you tell us more about your comedy short films ‘Crack’ and ‘Two Birds, One Pint’? Do you have a preference between performing comedy live and acting to camera?

Marina: ‘Crack’ was a piece written a year before it was filmed, and was actually shelved as we weren’t sure it was good enough to be a filmed piece. On a whim, we decided to shoot it as a side project on the day we were scheduled to shoot another short – and we still can’t believe it’s gone on to do as well as it has! Three film festival screenings, including one at the BAFTA recognised London Short Film Festival. And to think it was almost binned… ‘Two Birds One Pint’ is actually based on mucking around backstage at a music festival we were compering. Two days in and we looked like Cousin It’s long lost sisters , yet we were having to meet all these beautiful musicians, all fresh and cool – so we started ‘peacocking’ at them backstage. We still regularly ‘peacock’ to this day.

Tess: But performing live is like nothing else; there’s not one show we’ve done which is the same as another. Having audience involvement means you never know what you’re going to get; there’s something totally exhilarating about that. Acting to camera we know what we’re going to get- the only uncertainty is whether it will make others laugh as much as us! In live performance, you find that out instantly.

How did you get into sketch comedy? And how does the comedy scene compare in London to Bristol?

Marina: Sketch comedy got into me. Unknowingly, I’d been doing it for years. I was spotted by a male comedy duo, who wanted to expand into a group. They met with me and told me there was this thing called sketch comedy that you could make money from. I spat my tea out. Then apologised, and miraculously they offered me a spot in their comedy show anyway. I worked alongside another girl in the group, and realised I much preferred not having to act up to our male counterparts, or always be cast in the female role. I enjoyed the writing of our own work too; something I’d never done before. And then I saw Tess, playing a male role in a play...

Tess: I was poached by Marina. I’ve got no idea how I got here. Bristol’s comedy scene is blossoming and it’s a great city, but you can’t beat London for the number of great sketch comics per square mile.

Do you think there is gender equality in comedy? If not, why?

Marina: Yes, no. Sometimes, maybe. Labels are a pain. We never think of ourselves as a female duo, or purposefully write about being women in comedy. Or write solely about comic things that only women would find funny or relate to. Instead, we’re people. That’s the first step towards equality – taking it yourself. We identify as people doing comedy, not women.

You have completed several UK tours…what’s the worst part of being on tour?

Marina: Tess. She’s a right dick.


Marina: Guilty. Also, sat navs that decide you need to turn into the middle of a field off the M5, and driving 7 hours to do 20 minutes of material (you’ve got to really love this job to do that).

Who inspires you?

Marina: My mother for comedy, and bus drivers for happiness. Also Tess. Because I look up to her. A lot. When she’s talking.

Tess: I’m inspirational from all angles. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are big idols of mine, because their writing is sharp and playful, and they involve themselves in all aspects of their projects.

What are your plans for the future?

Marina. Taking over your TV’s. It’s been too long since good, fun sketch was on TV. We’re slowing down our live gigging, to focus on getting a pilot ready for TV. So. Watch. This. Space. (Or maybe your TV).

(c) Wendy Thomson @topgirls for Female Arts / O'Shea and O'Gaukroger 2015

You can find O'Shea and O'Gaukroger at:

Author's review: