We told you that prank TV was not dead, with new show Girls Go Trolling keeping the spirit alive! We caught up with Stephanie O’Keefe and Narin Oz to talk about the show and their video homage to Ab Fab, a Funny Women exclusive!
Funny Women: What gave you the idea for Girls Go Trolling?Stephanie O’Keefe: I love news satire and adored watching reporter creations like Dennis Pennis, but also the more sketchy stuff, like the clips Dave Allen used to feature. So, after deciding that I was decent enough in comedy improv groups, at the start of 2013 I created my reporter character Stephanie Trolls, who I took onto the streets to meet real people like my comedy idols had. My Stephanie Trolls videos landed me a recurring role in Dom Joly’s ITV Show Fool Britannia, and the videos were featured by Funny Women and The British Comedy Guide. They were then spotted by The Metro website who commissioned me to make a series of trolling reports for them. These Metro trolling videos were seen by the Sky 1 TV Show Whatsup! who then asked me to present a number of trolling reports at events for them. Which all gave me the momentum to push a trolling series to a broadcaster. And when I met Narin Oz I knew I’d found a funny woman with balls like mine, and she introduced me to Verona Rose and then we three women made three videos together, which I then used to pitch my all-girl-trolling series to Channel 4 Online, and to the production company who took my concept on.
FW: Who are your band of trolls?
SO: Narin Oz and I met on set of a TV comedy pilot we’d both been cast for, and we instantly became great friends and then also comedy writing partners. Narin is an actress, writer and stand-up performer, who stars in the movie Hooligan Legacy, released 30th of May. Her hit Edinburgh show Addicted To Love was featured by BBC 2’s Edinburgh television review show, and showcased her amazing clown training, and where she locked her intimate audiences into her car with her! Narin brought me Verona Rose, who is an actress who has appeared in Eastenders, countless adverts and music videos. And Annie Mcgrath is a comedienne who performs live regularly in the duo Twins with Jack Barry.
FW: Have you had any pranks go horribly wrong?
SO: Gosh yes! Otherwise I wouldn’t be trying hard enough! A great prank has to have the wow factor, and this can be a risky business. So, inspired by Dave Allen, I went and trolled my fellow Catholics back in 2013, you know when we were all celebrating that we had got a new Pope even though the other one was still alive? Well strangely one or two of the more devout there celebrating at Westminster Cathedral got rather outraged by my own liberal Catholic sentiments reflected in my silly pranks. One in particular where I ate my long list of sins, like the Eucharist, but then the Holy Spirit made me throw them up… well that landed me in trouble with a gang of celebrators watching. My cameraman and I tried to leg it, and we were chased from Westminster Cathedral all the way to St James Park! At least now I have back up…Right Narin?Narin? Narin? She fell asleep, she’s heard my Catholic Prank goes wrong before…
FW: What is it that allows you to pull off these pranks?
SO: I love being silly and to have others laughing at me, and I really enjoy comedy improv performing. Narin will tell you that I am a clown in real life anyway. Particularly when I try to flirt! Narin has studied and taken clown training so she can explain better than me.
Narin Oz: My hero has always been Andy Kaufman, he was for me the original prankster/entertainer and carried them off with artistry. The quote that really sticks with me from him is: “What’s real? What’s not? That’s what I do in my act, test how other people deal with reality”. For him the most important thing was to bring joy to people. Then Sasha Baron Cohen (Ali G) came along and I changed my hero. He’s FIT.
In 2014 I did a show in Edinburgh called Narin Oz: Addicted To Love which was a live physical comedy show in my car where I climbed all over it and tricked the audience inside pretending that I fall in love with one of them. Then I came home went back to my boring job and saw lots of pranks online going viral, making lots and lots of money, I thought to myself – oh, what I did was a prank show.
Clowning is all about staying in the shit, finding the game, being sensitive and open, focusses on connecting/being with the audience. The clown is the biggest joke. I wanted to bring that essence into the prank world interacting with members of public, playing in the shit toying with each others stupidity. Pranks pulls out stupidity, can sometimes highlight and can expose funny social behaviours. I enjoy fusing all forms of comedy to create new, fresh ideas. Furthermore I still don’t know what a clown is.
FW: Tell us a little about this video exclusive!
NO: Ain’t it exciting that Ab Fab is finally on the big screen?! I texted Stephanie when I found out: “M8 WE SHULD DO A SKETCH AS THEM – AS A HOMAGE INIT”. I see Stephanie turning into Patsy by the day. I won’t be surprised if she ends up living above OddBins like Patsy does. I love you Steph!
Stephanie and I love Ab Fab, they are our heroes. My real hero actually is Rik Mayall. James Spader is also fit. I also like Bill Murray. I grew up watching Bottom and Ab Fab which explains why I am like this. Steph did too.
SO: Trying to make out the Irish girl likes her drink, too obvious mate. I see you turning into Eddie by the day Narin, but she has a better dress sense! I would go as far as to say my Joanna Lumley girl crush has only increased over the years, Wolf of Wall Street OMG!
She won’t have that same feeling watching my homage, I was method acting though (with a real hangover). I bloody love Ab Fab, and yes, that may be because like Narin alludes, that their homage to boozing may make me feel better about mine…
Fab Ab video exclusive
FW: What’s next for you?
NO: Im buying a budgie next week! Also I play a funny character called Crysta in a feature film called Hooligan Legacy, starring Terry Dwyer which is out on DVD and Blu-Ray on 30th May.
SO: I’m going on a booze detox! And I’m pitching other TV ideas and writing a sitcom that’s a bit like Plebs, but fronted by funny women.
We can’t wait! Thanks Stephanie and Narin!