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5th October 2023

Honest, rude and totally original – Rachel Fairburn dazzles with ‘Showgirl’ tour

The comedian Rachel Fairburn promises the ‘funniest’ show audiences can get tickets to. In a conversation with the Mancunion, she talks about her Manchester routes and what she wants to get out of her latest tour
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Honest, rude and totally original – Rachel Fairburn dazzles with ‘Showgirl’ tour
Credit: Drew Forsyth

After Showgirl kicked off in Manchester on September 9th, Rachel Fairburn is off to a stunning start to her UK tour. Bold, witty, and a bundle of warmth, The Mancunion sat down with Fairburn to talk about the exciting new direction of her comedy career.

The conversation began with learning more about Rachel, a Manc now living in London, but who hasn’t forgotten her roots in the North. A tea-lover, rock ‘n’ roll fan, and a woman with her own Wikipedia page, Fairburn comes across exactly as you would expect: all smiles and humble about her recognition.

“Well, the Wikipedia page does need jazzing up a bit,” Fairburn laughs over Zoom – which certainly her Showgirl tour is in the perfect position to do. And this tour is definitely one Fairburn is tremendously excited about.

“It is my biggest one yet,” she explains. “The opportunity to finally say it to the audiences and give them what I have been working on feels great.”

You may recognise Rachel Fairburn’s name from the podcast ‘All Killa No Filla’ which she co-hosts with Kiri Pritchard-McLean. The hit podcast has recently reached its 100th episode, talking all about serial killers, true crime and the grisly story behind it all.

“When we discuss a topic on the podcast, I am meticulous in researching the material and ensuring we have all the facts right. I want to tell the story properly,” she explains.

True crime is a delicate thing and no laughing matter at all. But that’s the niche of Fairburn, her unique selling point; she is able to tease out the delicate pockets of humour in the macabre. True crime as a genre has come under fire for its disregard for the victims, but Fairburn emphasises respect for victims and begins the podcast with a disclaimer that the focus is on understanding the environment of their subjects that led to their crimes.

The research and preparation Fairburn dedicates to her craft is evident in her career’s history. Whether it be Edinburgh Fringe or BBC Radio shows, Fairburn shows evidence of delivering stories of all kinds – from everyday to the supernatural. Does it all come naturally?

“Well, it is not easy learning something that you have written and perfected, so that is the hard part of this.” The Showgirl Tour is one Rachel has written and rewritten, primed and prepared to perform to audiences of more than 30 shows.

“Another not-too-glamorous aspect is the travel – I am not looking forward to the travel at all!”

But it will hopefully be worth trudging up and down the country during the rainy season, with Fairburn’s easy humour brightening the U.K. a little this winter.

“If you like listening to a fellow working-class Northerner like me then come along! There’s going to be dogs (who can hate dogs?) and being childfree as a woman in the 21st Century. And also, a little bit of Dry January.”

Unlike the podcast, Fairburn gets her inspiration for the show comes from her everyday experiences. “My humour comes from all the annoying things I get asked about in my life!” Fairburn explains.

Aside from the Dry January, Fairburn presents herself as well-spoken and charming, with just the right kick of relatability. By being Manchester’s very own born and bred, her opening show at the iconic Manchester Opera House was no small feat at all.

“Victoria Wood was the last Manchester-born female comedian to perform at Manchester Opera House. I am so honoured and humbled to be the next one after her. I can’t believe it.”

The late female comedian Victoria Wood made her mark in comedy at a time when women were not as common as male comedians. Wood was exceptional; she propelled herself into a highly successful career, making her a household name for many over the latter half of the last century.

“When I was younger, I used to work in the corner of the street, down from the Opera House, selling tickets to other people’s shows. Now, someone else is selling tickets to my show. So surreal.”

“On a less serious note, I just want to make people laugh and laugh loads. With recent events, such as the cost of living crisis, comedy can be lost in the moment. If people have paid tickets to see me, I can guarantee it will be the funniest show they have seen yet.”

Fairburn and the late Victoria Wood are the only Manchester-born women to perform at such a coveted venue. It is a full circle moment, and a heartwarming success story of a Northern rising star making her mark on the comedy scene.

After Wood’s passing,  Fairburn hopes to make an impact with her tour.

“Often working-class people are boxed into categories, such as not being the type to go university or college. I want to break down those labels completely with my comedy. I mean not all Mancunians are characters from Shameless.”

Rachel Fairburn is just what U.K. comedy needs right now; fresh, unapologetic and authentic.

With her easy humour flowing out on her Showgirl Tour, Fairburn lights the way for a new generation of comedians. Showgirl is one to watch.

Catch Rachel Fairburn’s new ‘Showgirl’ tour at venues across the UK until November 26 2023. For tickets, please visit rachelfairburn.com


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