Kayleigh Jones' new show, I Fed My Dad to a Pelican, is a debut hour that tells the bizarre true story of how she found out another man was her dad and why, after finding her real dad, she fed him to a pelican.
After selling out at the Camden Fringe Festival earlier this year, this storytelling hour infused with original songs is heading to the Women in Comedy Festival with a tale of identity, unconventional mothers, and how joining cults won't help you find yourself.
When did you realise this was a story you could turn into a show?
I think it was the look on people's faces whenever I told them the story. The reaction was usually 'WTF? That's mad. You're mad.' And that's when I thought 'there's a show in this'.
I have always enjoyed finding comedy in the darker life experiences. Laughing at pain is my go-to coping mechanism. Also, I did some research and, so far, it appears I am the only person in the world to have fed their dad to a pelican, so I'm making history here.
Feeding your dad to a pelican is quite a strong decision to make. What's the most impulsive decision you've ever made?
With a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, being impulsive comes with the territory. I have a catalogue of impulsive decisions including driving to the beach instead of going to work, reckless spending sprees, and stand-up comedy. But joining a cult and then escaping eight days later is probably the most memorable.
How did you find the process of turning real-life drama into a comedy show?
Exciting, liberating, and ever so slightly traumatising.
Many comedians exaggerate the truth for comedy, did you find yourself doing this?
I didn't have to with this story. If anything, I had to tone it down for fear of it being too ridiculous. I'm lucky that the characters in this story are so dysfunctional and flawed that they offer the perfect ingredients for comedy, but the worst ingredients for me turning out to be a well-rounded human.
What was your inspiration for combining music and comedy?
I come from a musical theatre background, and singing is something I have always done, much to the annoyance of anyone who lives with me. In 2017, I received a ridiculously sexist casting call for the role of 'Mum' in a commercial and it inspired me to write a song called The Female Casting Call. I posted it online and it was well received, so I entered the Musical Comedy Awards where I made it to the final.
You found your real dad. What's your top tip for finding someone?
Look in the last place you saw them. And, if you've never seen them before, make sure they don't have a really common name like Brian Jones, which is my dad's name. Seriously, try googling that.