50 Pounds Please! – A SAD STORY

When I lived in Hackney our corner shop was run by this sweet Indian couple. Whenever I would buy something I would go to the counter and hand it over and he would go “that is 50 pounds please” and I’d go “50 pounds? for a pack of gum??” and we would both laugh good naturedly. He would do it every time regardless of what little thing I bought, it became our ‘thing’. He had a wife that never spoke, but she would smile benignly at the back.

One day I went up to the counter and he said, “helloo!” and laughed and I said “helloo!” back and laughed too and then I said “can I get some condoms?” And he stopped laughing and stared at me and his wife stopped smiling benignly and also stared at me and she had great sadness in her eyes.

He reached for the condoms and handed them over and said quietly “that’s 4.99 please.” and I went, “what’s that? 50 pounds??” and laughed loudly and he looked at me gravely and went “4.99”

I never went into that shop again.

I’ll Play Hard to Get… If it’s easy – A SONG

Play it cool, don’t let on you like them yadayada. Such good advice, so hard to follow…

Sales People Phobia – A VLOG

I have a confession. Having to buy a phone or laptop or anything like that TERRIFIES ME. Because once I’m cornered by a Salesman I am powerless to resist, and will buy ANYTHING he is selling me…


Fall Girl in the Edinburgh Festival – AN ARTICLE

Have you ever been scammed? You must have. No? Ever thought you’d made a really good deal only to find out it’s quite the opposite? Or worse still, have a vague inkling that something isn’t right, that you may be part of a con, but in the face of smiling, cajoling strangers you find yourself going along with it anyway?

This is one of the themes of our show Fall Girl (currently showing at the Gilded Balloon at 1.45). We arrived into Edinburgh a few days ago and in the lead up to the show have been asking people round the city to share with us times when they have been scammed. Lots of people have been scammed. Some people haven’t but I am convinced THEY ARE HIDING SOMETHING.

I would like to tell you I am an utterly original writer and the idea of falling for a con is complete fiction because I am a terribly savvy, street-wise kind of lady, but this would be a fib of epic proportions. But they do say write what you know, and sadly, this I know.

I’ve been ‘had’ often, and I come from a large family and together we are one big gullible target. My sister, who emailed all her bank details when ‘her bank’ emailed her it would be shut down if she didn’t, my mum who ended paying a fortune to have her drive tarmacked by a stranger who was ‘just passing’. Or my cousin who lost his phone and was overjoyed when someone answered it.

“Thank god!” he said, “I thought it had been stolen! Can I meet you to get it?”

“Well,” said the man on the other end, “I’m going away but if you ring me in 2 weeks, I’ll give it to you then.”

In 2 weeks my cousin rang but couldn’t get through. I’ll leave it a few days he thought. A friend told him this was a bad idea so he rang his phone company. He had been hit with a £8,000 phone bill and the phone company refused to cover any of it because who could be that gullible?

I would like to share more about my family’s tragic propensity for getting scammed but I can’t for legal reasons.

And me? Well some of it has seeped into the show. When I was 18 I got ‘scouted’. Yes! I thought! I may be only 5’5 and a little chubby but perhaps I am ‘that face!’ They took my photo and said they’d get in touch if head office approved. A few weeks later Head office approved! Yes!

“Do you want to be a model?” the guy said over the phone.

“No” I admitted, “but I do want to be an actress” (so he didn’t feel bad)

“That’s great! Tons of models go into acting!”


“All you have to do is pay the modelling costs but you’ll get it back as soon as you get your first job no probs”


“Rosie, listen to me, are you the kind of gal who never likes to try anything new? As an actress, you have to be willing to jump into things, be spontaneous am I right? Or am I right?”


I lost £300. They never called again.

Rosie is scammed again...
Rosie is scammed again…

Fall Girl is showing at the Gilded Balloon until August 25th at 1.45pm


Fall Girl – AN ARTICLE

Last year, after months of rewrites and nerves being stretched and tested, my short comedy piece, ‘Never Better’ won The Sitcom Trials: So You Think You Write Funny? at the Gilded Balloon.

The piece centred on a character I created called Hayley. Hayley is gullible, insecure and eager to please. In awkward situations she panics and makes rash decisions with catastrophic results.

I am performing a comedy show, Fall Girl, about Hayley at the Gilded Balloon for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

The idea for the character came 3 years ago when a disastrous one night stand left me reeling and I decided to make a comedy sketch out of it (as you do.)

It was a pretty masochistic exercise but ultimately, empowering. In my early twenties, most of my romantic exploits ended in eye-gouging humiliation. While reading Hadley Freeman’s book Be Awesome, I was pleased to see that this was not a singularly Rosie Holt experience. Freeman noted that many women internalise the message to “appeal to all, especially men, and male validation is the only validation that really matters” and that sometimes it makes them act in a way that can be interpreted as a bit mental.

So where on TV were all the crazy, insecure, needy BUT intelligent and strong women?

Please don’t say Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction.

Comedy history is populated with flawed, self-loathing and insecure men – Basil Fawlty, David Brent, Blackadder (First Series) to name but a few. With Dennis Kelly’s & Sharon Horgan’s marvellous Pulling being one of a handful of exceptions (this was pre-Girls) complicated and comically flawed women were harder to find.
In my youth (and still remaining today, like a bad smell) there was a rash of calm, sarcastic, ‘grown-up’ women on TV, presented as foil to lovable flawed men. These women rolled their eyes and went “oh those men! They are so annoying yet great!” They offered wise platitudes and nodded their heads in a knowing way.

WHO WERE THESE WOMEN? I didn’t know any women like that apart from my Year7 Maths Teacher.

Comedy is all about presenting people’s flaws. It’s reassuring. It makes us laugh with relief.

It is not very reassuring for women when they see a comedy with a flawed loveable man but a straight dependable woman. Like that horrible, horrible poster for ‘Grown-ups 2’ (starring Adam Sandler, continuing to wreak punishment on those who thought he was great in The Wedding Singer.) If you haven’t seen it, google it. Now. It’s frightful. All the men in the poster are having fun while the women look disapproving and roll their eyes. “Silly men!”


Now with Girls and Drifters, women in comedy are changing (thank god). Yet it continues to trouble me that there remains a very prescriptive idea of how we should portray women in comedy, especially ‘flawed’ women. Miranda may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but is it really misogynist? Really?! Because she’s clumsy? Wasn’t Mr Bean clumsy? I didn’t see any journalist adopting an earnest tone to claim the Mr Bean was bad for men’s image.

I read an article in a feminist magazine recently that made my blood boil. It criticised Drifters, it criticised Miranda, saying when were we going to portray women in the right way. But what’s wrong with showing that women like men can be childish, clumsy and indecisive. Why do we have to attack it just because they are not having dark demeaning sex by the credits? Can’t we be a bit more inclusive? Can’t we have a range of different women in comedy like we have a range of different men?

So yeah, see my show about a well-meaning, insecure, gullible girl who also likes weird sex. Come see that.

Fall Girl is showing at The Gilded Balloon Teviot in August 2014 at 13:45.
Follow Rosie on twitter @RosieisaHolt

Lament of an Ill-Fitting Bra – A POEM

I was in huge distress
(The girl in M&S
Did not know what was best)
She suggested Bs
And suggested Ds
For fluctuating breasts

I left deflated
My boobs felt fated
To be oppressed for evermore
By a steely cage
That squeezed in rage
And left them sad and sore

Men will never know!
The lady woe!
Of an evil nasty bra!
When it doesn’t fit
You feel so shit!
I hate you incommodious Bra!


LANA DEL RAY’s Born To Die – Lyrics reimagined as if she was singing about her love for Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Not too much of a stretch as all her songs are about submissive women to troubled men…

Feet don’t fail me now
Take me to the finish line
You are chasing me with a big chainsaw,
The Leatherface I adore
Pursues me from behind.

Walking through an empty house
Is it by mistake or design?
I feel so alone with your cannibal clan
Don’t let them gobble me, tell them it is not fine
Cos I’m your girlfriend honey

Don’t make me sad, don’t make me cry
Sometimes love is not enough and the road gets tough
I don’t know why
Kill all my friends,
Make human pie
The road is long, we carry on
Try to have fun in the meantime

Come and take a walk on the wild side
Let me kiss you hard in the pouring rain
You like your girls insane
Choose your last kill
This is the last time
Cause you and I, we were born to die

A trip to a (slightly underwhelming) Wonder of the World. – A STORY OF MY HOLIDAY

On holiday in Turkey with my boyfriend Tom recently, I insisted we go on a day trip to see one of the Seventh wonders of the world. I mean, I argued, how often do we get a chance to see one of the Seven Wonders? There are only 7! Just 7! In the whole world!

So we travelled in a mini bus with a dementedly cheery tour guide who would say things like, “and to your left, you can see a traditional Turkish bush!”

Finally we arrived at the Great Temple of Artemis, a Seventh wonder of the world. As we got off the bus two old and grey dogs limped up to greet us followed by a depressed-looking man playing a recorder. The tour guide skipped out, “And here is the 7th wonder of the world! She announced, directing our gaze towards a swamp.

The Great Temple of Artemis is now a not-so-great pillar in a swamp with a nest and a heron on top. Our tour guide, half-crazed with excitement (or despair, I couldn’t tell) announced we had, “half an hour!” To which everyone looked bemused at what we supposed to do other than look sadly at the Heron and his pillar.

It turned out we could waste some minutes trying to dodge a persistent and desperate postcard seller who would trail after everyone holding up his cards like a battering ram. Tom and I sought refuge back in the bus but he found us, staring at us mournfully from the other side of the window. I shrugged and smiled and shook my head, to which he responded by pointing meaningfully at his cards, then back at me. When this failed, he got out some coins, pointed at them, and then back at the cards. Presumably he was hoping I’d suddenly go, “ohhh! You mean I can BUY THOSE POSTCARDS?!” and leap out of my seat, run out the bus with a cry of, “sold!” and purchase the whole lot.

Our tour guide then announced we were going to a “Traditional Turkish Gold Centre!” which turned out to be a glorified jewellery shop. At this point Tom was getting very agitated and was no doubt imagining being back at the Hotel reading his thriller and dealing with imaginary fears rather than the very real threat of unhinged tour guides. Instead we went to a “Turkish Mosque!” (remarkably unremarkable)and a shop that sold, “traditional Turkish plates!” Then the tour guide dropped us back at our hotel and went away, presumably to go weep and howl in the depths of a dark, “traditional Turkish” forest somewhere at the futility of life.

So my advice would be, going to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World is all well and good, but check the small print. If it’s one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World it could be less of a wonder and more of a whimper. But at least you might get a few postcards out of it.

An Actor Abroad (an entry from a journal of a very eccentric acting tour.)

We rattle along the roads; our merry band of actors. Set, costumes and personal luggage all sandwiched together, all creaking and wobbling dangerously, with the director at the helm. We eat the food we stole from a hotel breakfast buffet that morning and hold out for fake promises of toilet stops. The only toilet stop we were allowed yesterday was in the dark, in a hedge, like a dog.

I will always associate Germany with this van.

After hours on the road, we arrive. Is it a school or a theatre? We are rarely privy to such information but we all hope for a theatre; we are actors after all, and it can be disheartening to perform to an audience forced to be there.

We clamber out. We blink and stretch our legs, before picking up a piece of set and being shuttled in. We travel up five flights of stairs where a disillusioned teacher and 200 or so bemused children await. There isn’t much time so the magic of theatre is the first to be sacrificed; audience members wander in as the actors are putting up the set, some frantically trying to warm up their vocal cords with a voice exercise while simultaneously nailing in an archway that threatens to fall.

Half hour till play starts.

Actors rush around in crushed costumes with half eaten sandwiches, “where’s that wretched knife?” “Does it matter that this has a stain on it?” One stands mutinously in the corner, refusing to get worked up muttering, “You wouldn’t get this at the National” But then it’s the 5 minute call and he is possessed like a puppet; straightening his costume and running through his lines.

The lights go up and the play begins. Performing in Germany means performing to continual murmuring throughout; the audience trying to decipher and translate the action unfolding before them. A little cruel perhaps to spring a Shakespeare on a foreign audience, but the people come and there are certain scenes they always love. When, as some poor sod lies dying, giving it his all, he is bound by the script to announce, “I am slain” the audience always find it hysterical. With hours of indecipherable iambic pentameter, this startlingly clear line can come as a bit of a joyous shock.

The end of the play, with all its death and tragedy, is quite the funniest thing they’ve ever seen. They leave happy. When the show is done there is no time for a rest or a sit down as we have to take down the set, load up the van and travel to the next venue. A few people congratulate us as we pass, but embarrassed that we don’t understand the language we become uncharacteristically humble and smile with our heads down and eyes to the floor. Anyway, our time is up. We have briefly been allowed out into the light, to do our little dance, but we must be put away now. I sympathise with imprisoned performing monkeys.

So it is back to our cursed van for another 6 hours until we reach another theatre. But then we emerge, and fired up with the delirium of temporary freedom, we act our hearts out.