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Sex, drugs, and laughter

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Eleanor Conway
Commedienne Eleanor Conway tackles her very colorful life in her stand-up show Walk of Shame.

WHAT better way to mark the new year than watching a comedy show about sex, drugs, and hard-partying? This is Eleanor Conway’s proposition as she comes to Manila with her show Walk of Shame: Sex, Drugs and the Modern Addict on Jan. 19 in Johnny B. Good, Makati City.

The London-based comedian’s former life as a “ferocious clubber and party girl,” as her Web site describes it, has taken her to quite a number of places, not all of them good.

Walk of Shame is about the extremes I’ve gone to in life and the places it’s taken me,” Ms. Conway said according to a press release.

(“Walk of Shame” is an informal phrase to describe the act of walking back home on the day after an unplanned casual sexual encounter, typically dressed in the same clothes as the previous evening, according to a definition provided by Dictionary.com.)

And it really was a life of extremes as she found herself — a former music journalist — working as a porn star and, at one point, working for the Chinese Triad.

“My story does center around my running away from myself to Asia for six years, so it’s really amazing that I’m at a point where I can bring the show to the place where it all began, it’s really full circle for me,” Ms. Conway said of the Manila show in an e-mail interview with BusinessWorld on Jan. 6.




She explained that writing the show — which took an entire year — and finding humor in the situations and experiences she had became a form of therapy for her once she quit drinking and substance abuse.

The result is a touring one-hour stand-up comedy show full of “dark storytelling humor with a modern twist,” as she puts it, which took her through the UK and much of Europe last year after premiering at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

“The success of the show meant that a new future has been created for me. I’m a touring comic now, which I wasn’t when I got sober, so it’s a really beautiful circle. Very satisfying,” she said in a release.

Now known for her high-energy, confessional comedy style (à la Tiffany Haddish, an American comedian Ms. Conway calls her “idol”), expect Ms. Conway to talk about the darker parts of her life alongside effective Tinder dating which she remarked in one of the show’s promotional videos was “easier when she was drunk than sober.”

“Nothing scares me now. And comedy is something I really wanted to do. I just needed the confidence to put myself out there and invest in life in an authentic way,” she told BusinessWorld.

“I like to think that makes me more individual and unique. The challenge is bringing the humanity and common ground into the more ‘unusual’ bits in order that it can relate to a wider audience,” she explained while adding usually after the show, audience reactions would include the mandatory laughter alongside hugs and tears.

Ms. Conway, a Second City alumni, has been performing since 2010. She presented her show Comedy Rumble at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2012/13, and co-runs and hosts an interactive comedy night, and has hosted one of the stages at the Glastonbury Festival.

“The reason we got Eleanor for the show is not only because we want to highlight female comics but also because I admire how she managed to turn around her life and find humor in those experiences,” said Dilip Budhrani, founder of Prime i Events, the show’s promoter in the Philippines.

Eleanor Conway’s Walk of Shame: Sex, Drugs and the Modern Addict will be held on Jan. 19, 8:30 p.m. at Johnny B. Good (the former Hard Rock Café) in Glorietta 3, Makati City. Ticket prices are P2,000 for VIP (reserved seating) and P1,500 for Standard (free seating) and include wine and cheese tasting and a performance by the band Part 3. Doors open at 6 p.m. and close at 7:45 p.m.

For ticket reservations and for more information, call 0920-971-7055 and 0917-570-3057. — Zsarlene B. Chua