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Bailey Swilley: Gimme a Sign!


Bailey Swilley: Gimme a Sign!

The Three Sisters

139 Cowgate
The Wee Room: AUG 1-11 at 10:45 (60 min) - Pay What You Can Tickets - from £2.50

Bailey Swilley: Gimme a Sign!

In this vulnerable yet irreverent debut, Bailey Swilley shares how she got through the darkest time in her life—the death of her father—with the help of family, pop culture and an unhealthy obsession with looking for ghosts. Come for the sweet stuff, stay for the weird facts about celebs!

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News and Reviews for this Show

Bailey Swilley Explores Family, Grief and Ghosts

June 24, 2024   POW! Showbiz

Bailey Swilley Explores Family, Grief and Ghosts

Bailey Swilley, a New York City-based writer and performer is bringing her one-hour autobiographical comedy, GIMME A SIGN!, to the 2024 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Inspired by the aftermath of her father’s unexpected passing, the show combines standup and storytelling. Let’s dive into her creative process and what audiences can expect from her show.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind “GIMME A SIGN!”
When my father unexpectedly passed away, I began to convince myself that the signs were all there leading up to his death. And then, I was sure that he would show himself to me through various “messages” from the beyond (dimes, feathers, dreams). I found myself constantly searching for him through everything I did, trying to feel closer to his presence without… his actual presence. Basically, I thought my life was going to be like Ghost Dad—that 1990 movie starring that one comedian whose name rhymes with Schmill Schmosby.

Your show combines standup and storytelling. How do you balance humour with the more serious aspects of grief and loss in your performance?
It really is that: A balance. When my dad passed, we spent the week prior to his death in the hospital, surrounded by family and friends. Not only was it the longest and most surreal week of my life, but with every dark moment of despair, there was always an accompanying moment of silliness or strangeness that I held onto, for both my spirit and selfishly, my comedy writing. I cannot really explain it, but there really is humor in everything.
I’ve also found that when it comes to big life events—weddings, births, funerals—a different side of people comes out. You begin to see your family and friends in a new way and often, the ways they show up make for very good stories and jokes later. Sorry, friends and family!

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What has been the most challenging part of transforming your personal experiences with grief into a comedy show?
Sometimes, in the midst of rehearsing, memorizing, and performing, I can forget that this all actually happened. That these stories are real memories I had to process, and every now and then, the emotions hit me again—sometimes live, onstage. Accepting and living in those feelings is a challenge but at the same time, it’s honest.

“GIMME A SIGN!” explores family dynamics and the search for signs from above. Can you share any particularly memorable or funny incidents that made it into the show?
Leading up to the first performance of the show, I went to see a psychic in the West Village. I wanted to know if my dad knew I was going to be talking about him in this show and if he… approved? She kept pulling card after card and making all these wrong guesses about why I was there.
“You have a sister?” No.
“You’re an only child!” Nope.
“Your parents are both living, right?” Absolutely not.
Finally, she just threw her hands up and said “Just tell me what’s going on.”
Gotta love that raw New York honesty.

Your show was recommended by The New York Times during its run in New York. How did that recognition impact you and your work?
I am so grateful to Sean McCarthy for making it an NYT pick! That moment felt validating and certainly brought in some audience members that would not otherwise have had an awareness of the show. Unfortunately, COVID-19 hit NYC about a week and a half after the run, so further plans to perform it were put on pause. And now four years later, here we are!

How has your experience as a performer in New York City’s vibrant comedy scene influenced your work and your approach to comedy?
New York has a constant rotation of new performers, comedians and storytellers who I am always learning from. They’ve also encouraged me to just be truthful and let go of shame—nothing is too personal or too gross to share, for better or for worse.

What do you hope audiences take away from “GIMME A SIGN!” after seeing it at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?
To be honest, I hope they call their family members and best friends and tell them they love them. To be even more honest, I hope they follow me on Instagram and tell me they love ME.

What are your plans for “GIMME A SIGN!” after its run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe? Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
I want to perform this show at more festivals! Additionally, I have another piece I am working on called YOU’LL REGRET IT, a comedy about not having children, that will be focusing on more post-Edinburgh. We need more discussions around being kid-free

Bailey Swilley: Gimme a Sign! will be at The Laughing Horse @ The Three Sisters, The Wee Room 1st – 12th August. Tickets are available here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/bailey-swilley-gimme-a-sign
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Press & Media for this Show

Bailey Swilley: Gimme a Sign!