The Scotsman Sessions #234: Ray Bradshaw

Welcome to the award-winning Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on, with introductions from our critics. Here, comedian Ray Bradshaw outlines the perils of mixing heavy drinking and pre-school singalongs

Ray Bradshaw has bittersweet memories of his last comedy club gig. The stand-up was in Adelaide, on, it would transpire, the Saturday before the UK's initial lockdown. He was delivering his set before travelling home with his wife and baby son, Alex, who were waiting at the back of the room.

Predictably, he couldn't finish without his offspring interrupting, drawing focus from the stage. So he brought his son up for the final two minutes, whereupon “he was pulling faces and blowing raspberries while I was talking, it was like being heckled,” he recalls. “The audience loved it.”

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Reminded of the incident by Facebook recently though, Bradshaw realised: “Oh my God, he's done as many gigs as I have over the last year! That is bleak.”

Ray BradshawRay Bradshaw
Ray Bradshaw

Since then, like all comics, the Glaswegian has adapted to survive, performing Zoom shows, outdoor shows, even hosting a quiz for the Scottish Football Association from his bedroom, with 4,500 people playing. “The amount of gigs I've done that I would never have touched two years ago is unreal,” he marvels.

His first Zoom gig came the night after the football quiz engagement, and thus was facilitated by £20,000-worth of the SFA's equipment, giving him somewhat inflated expectations of what might be achievable online.

At the other extreme though, when his family returned from Australia, they couldn't find baby formula in supermarkets “for love or money.” So he made three online purchases, all arriving separately but within the space of him recording a single episode of the BBC Radio Scotland storytelling show The Good, The Bad and The Unexpected. Appropriately enough, the interruptions remained in the broadcast programme.

A stay-at-home-dad, most of Bradshaw's current material – as with his Scotsman Sessions video – revolves around fatherhood. Alex points at Holly Willoughby on television and says “Mummy” but ventures “Daddy” for pictures of ex-Celtic striker John Hartson. But that's at least an improvement on his initial confusion of his father with Humpty Dumpty. “Even at home he's slagging me off,” Bradshaw laments.

You can find Ray Bradshaw tweeting at @comedyray and on Facebook at @raybradshawcomedy

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