Interview with Tim Murray, stand-up comedian

"I would tell anyone considering going to make sure you have Lactaids with you because if you’re anything like me you will be eating cheese crepes at midnight every night and honey your stomach is gonna be MAD at you!! I would also tell them to make sure you have money to burn."

Interview with Tim Murray, stand-up comedian

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

Hi reader! First of all congrats on reading something. Reading is so hard and something I always tell myself I am going to do but instead I rewatch episodes of The Real Housewives, so good on you! I’m Tim Murray. I’m a stand-up comedian, improviser, and gay homosexual. I lived in NYC for seven years and moved to LA a few years ago but I spend most of my year traveling doing comedy. When I am home I am teaching improv in rehab and mental health facilities all over Los Angeles.  

How would you describe your show?

Witches is a stand-up comedy show with original songs about my favorite pop culture witches! The show is a tribute to LGBTQIA people and how we discover our magic once we find our coven. It's part stand-up, part musical improv (at times), part musical theatre and part drag wrapped up into an undeniably unique comedy show. I guarantee you have never seen anything like it. But if I had to compare it to something it would be like a Bo Burnam musical comedy show but way gayer. 

What is your favourite part of your show?

I wrote a song for the often disliked character Doctor Dillamond from the musical Wicked. I give him his own big solo and I wear a ridiculous goat mask during it. I won’t spoil what the song is about, but most people who see the show lose their minds for that song and I freaking love doing it. Either Doctor Dillamond’s Lament or improvising a song based on an audience member's story. That is obviously different every night and musical improv is one of my favorite things to do. 

If your show had a theme song, what would it be and why?

It would be the opening song of the show "I Wanna Be Witches." I wrote this song about a little gay boy who tries to pass as straight with his friends but every time they try to make him be a masculine superhero he keeps suggesting different ways that Wolverine or athlete could be a divorceè who does vengeance spells and wears a fierce wig. 

What is one thing you hope audiences will take away from your show?

Me on their shoulders. I want them to carry me out every night crowd-surfing style! In all seriousness I want the audience to leave feeling like they laughed their butts off for 55 minutes and were gut punched with a powerful cry at the end. I want audiences to leave feeling grateful for the coven they belong to and to never take it for granted. My goal for the show is to help young Timmy (me) heal by the last moment and I hope the audience feel that for themselves as well. I know people have a lot of options of how they spend their time so I have done my best to make this show VERY worth their while. I want them to feel healed. 

If you could add a surprise celebrity cameo to your show, who would it be and why?

This is easy: Idina Menzel! I saw Idina in the musical Wicked when I was 18 and it was one of the best days of my life. I do this show painted green and in wicked witch drag as an homage to the greatest witch of all time. I am obsessed with Wicked and I think a lot of people think the show is all about Wicked - it’s not. It’s more of a Bo Burnam style comedy show with some Wicked references, but nonetheless she is by far the person I would love to have involved. And I think there are only 4 people on Earth I would really flip my lid to meet: Idina, Neve Campbell, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Marcel the Shell with shoes on. 

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

Edinburgh in August is my favorite place in the world and I want to be part of the legacy of Edinburgh Fringe. I want to feel the energy of all those people from all over the world stumbling around from show to show and being filled up by art, beer and laughter. I want to be one of the things that makes people feel filled up and energized by something that took them away from the horror of their daily lives! 

What differentiates it from other festivals?

Edinburgh Fringe is like the Meryl Streep of festivals: in a class all its own. Edinburgh Festival Fringe feels like it is meant for independent artists to showcase their work and really give them a fair shot with kind treatment and an amazing opportunity for audiences. Several years ago I did a musical in the New York Fringe Festival (which I also love…) and the speakers literally didn’t work on our opening night. Like they were crackling so bad we couldn’t hear ANYTHING. It was so mortifyingly bad that I now think its hilarious. I don’t think that would ever happen in Edinburgh. Edinburgh Fringe is a finely tuned and oiled machine. 

What is one thing you would change about the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

I am sure everyone will say the same thing for this question: remove the problematic Greyfriar’s Bobby statue! Kidding!! I love that little guy. I think we all would change the PRICES. Being and independent artist is already nearly impossible but the way housing and operating expenses have gone up really makes it ten times harder. I wish there was a better way to make this more accessible and feasible for people to share their art. Also free crepes for creators. Hello!

How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career?

I grew up a chubby, closeted gay kid with absolutely no talent but a desire to take in as much pop culture as possible. Feeling like a total outsider gave me time to study comedy and art to really create the performer and writer I am today. I spent so much time hearing the comedy cadence of Lisa Kudrow, the writing of David Sedaris and the singing of Patti LuPone that it created this monster you are currently interviewing. I studied improv at UCB and learned stand-up from the school of hard knocks. 

What is your favourite thing about performing for a live audience?

The palpable connection between audience and performer. I love feeling the energy of a crowd and the high I get from performing is like nothing else in the world. Performing live makes me feel like I can do anything and I really come alive in front of an audience. I’m like Tinkerbell coming to life with applause except gayer and dantier. I’m a size 0 and if anyone tells you otherwise they are LYING. 

What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you while performing?

In Orlando Florida an exorbitantly drunk gay guy in the front row stood up and yelled “I’m watching porn on my phone right now”. When I leaned in to verbally sit him down (crowd work is my secret weapon) my microphone completely stopped working. I couldn’t even use my voice to stop this interrupting audience member because the tech was not working. I made the audience sing “My Heart Will Go On” while someone changed the batteries in my mic. When I finally got a working microphone the porn watcher was passed out asleep in the front row! Even picturing his drooling face is making me laugh right now. 

What's the most challenging or unconventional venue you've ever performed in, and how did it impact the overall experience?

I recently did a roast for a gay couple in West Hollywood in their living room at 1pm. It was just me in front of forty of their closest friends who were all insanely gorgeous, ripped and wealthy looking. I did my set on a little speaker and mic that they had rented. Half the audience was in their living room and the other half were in the outside area of the house watching. The gays I was roasting were so sweet but everything about doing roast jokes to stone cold sober hot gay guys in the middle of the broad daylight was interesting to say the least. Also comedy just needs the audience to be packed in and this audience was more spread out than a plate of gouda. Which they also had. 

Is there a piece of feedback you've received from an audience member or critic after a performance that’s stuck with you?

People often tell me I’d be funnier if I wasn’t so so so hot. They say it’s hard to laugh at someone who looks like the birth child of Thor and Ryan Gosling. No, but actually my boyfriend gives me the best critiques and the thing that is always on my mind is to lean in to the audience. In stand-up, if they smell your fear or think for even a second that you’re not in control or not confident the party is over. So I always try to stay physically on my toes and lean toward the audience to let them know I am excited to be there and that they are in good hands. 

What is your favourite thing to do in Edinburgh when you're not performing? How do you relax and look after your mental health?

I like to see other shows. Sometimes I will exercise or just walk around but my favorite thing to do is see other people’s work. I always feel so inspired and invigorated by watching what other people have been able to achieve. 

Is there a show you’re excited to see when you’re up there?

I am very excited about my friend Chris Grace’s show Chris Grace: as Scarlett Johansson. I saw it in LA and it is so funny and unique and of course Baby Wants Candy! Also Nalini Sharma’s show Until Death. I saw it in LA as well and it is so hilarious and probably my favorite clowning show I have ever seen. I have yet to catch Patti Harrison’s new show or Sophie Santos or Katy Berry but they are all hilarious comedians so I am very excited to see them! I am also psyched for Jennifer Lopez to perform th— uh-oh… I just got word that J. Lo is not doing Fringe this year so that’s a bummer but I am still excited for the others. 

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone thinking about taking a show up to Edinburgh? If you’ve never been before, what would you say has been (potentially) the most useful?

I have never done my own solo show at Edinburgh Fringe but I did participate as part of the cast of Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody in 2018 and 2019. I would tell anyone considering going to make sure you have Lactaids with you because if you’re anything like me you will be eating cheese crepes at midnight every night and honey your stomach is gonna be MAD at you!! I would also tell them to make sure you have money to burn. Fringe is so unbelievably expensive but also you get to be in Scotland and have the literal time of your life so it is worth it if you can afford to chance losing money. Also I would let them know that they need to learn how to talk to strangers. That is something I am deeply bad at but the fringe teaches you to believe in yourself and to bark at strangers to come see your show. I did that with a bachelorette party in 2019 and I ended up chatting with the girls for a while and I am still friends with them! 

When and where can people see your show?

I am doing two previews in London on Saturday July 29th at 8pm at King’s Head Theatre and at The Macready Theater in Rugby England Sunday July 30th at 7pm. Then I head to THE Edinburgh Fringe for my run of shows August 2nd-28th at 9:20 pm at Underbelly Bristo Square. 

And where can people find you online?

People can follow me on Instagram, Tiktok and Youtube at @TMurray06. I am @TMurray2006 on Twitter (which I don’t use as often) because my @TMurray06 account was disabled for posting a Sound of Music meme LOL. Rodgers AND Hammerstein both came for me. 


Tim Murray debut comedy show ‘Witches!’ is at the Underbelly – Dairy Room – Bristo Square at 9.20pm from 2nd – 28th August (not 14th) for tickets go to www.edfringe.com

Header Image Credit: Provided

Author

Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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