Avital Ash - On The Mic

Title of Show:         Katy Berry: Diamond Goddess Crystal Pussy
Venue:                 Just The Tonic - The Bottle Room
Time:                  2:10pm
Dates:                 3rd - 27th August (except 14th & 22nd August)
Photograph:            Mindy Tucker
Links:                 Profile and Social Media


Tell me about your 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show.

My show is called Diamond Goddess Crystal Pussy, which is not at all difficult to remember, right? It’s a combination of hilarious (mortifying) true stories, improvised songs inspired by audience chats, musical theater, freestyle rapping, and magical surprises! The premise is that I, Katy Berry, have recently discovered that my mom had a one night-stand with Poseidon and he is my actual father. Suddenly I realize why I never fit in on Long Island, (my hometown). It’s not because I was a total weirdo, but because I was repressing divine urges! Empowered by the truth, I now want to help other people uncover their own hidden magic, while also brewing up a ritual that will eradicate my human side forever by the end of the show.


How does it feel to be playing the Fringe for the first time?

NUTS. I have played with other shows as a cast member, but this is my solo debut. I’ve had to ask everyone for donations to come, so if I need to fundraise for a life-saving medical procedure between now and fringe, I’m dead. Also, the reviews will be strictly about me this time, so if I don’t get 5 stars I may develop another mental disorder. I also feel incredibly determined, excited, and ready. This show is 100% me. It’s colorful, honest, goofy, earnest, embarrassing… for better or worse this show feels right in my bones, so I’m going into the lion’s den head held high. That’s all you can really do, right? To thine own self be true.


Why did you decide to perform at the Fringe?

Last year I got to see more shows than ever and I was deeply inspired by the artists who struck out on their own. Their work was so good and engaging. One person holding an audience’s attention for an hour is no small feat. It’s magic. It’s undeniably skillful. Especially when technology is reducing our attention spans to that of goldfish. I had always relied on an invitation from Baby Wants Candy to perform at Fringe, but as an improviser, I am an insatiable adrenaline junky. The scarier and more vulnerable something is, the more I want to conquer it. That’s why my cabaret show costumes have been progressively smaller over the years. The more I fret about my body, the more I will end up performing in a bikini. So, I had done fringe in the warm bosom of an already-successful show. But this year I wanted to take the hairy coo by the horns and prove that I could do it on my own. If there isn’t the potential to fail miserably, what’s the point? I don’t want to coast through my career, I want to skydive through it. The audience can feel that, too. The thing about shows with improvised elements is we are going through it together. There is no phoning-in. When something feels magical, it’s because it is. And it was earned. So, yeah. I decided to do Fringe because I like to emotionally sky-dive with strangers.


If you were not a performer what would you be doing?

I’ve always wanted to be a makeup artist but I have a tremor so I would probably take someone’s eye out. But I can do my own face, which is why DGCP has an over-the-top look. I love painting and color, so applying that big sparkly blue eye everyday is how I get my arts and crafts fix. Aside from visual art, I also love editing film, because that’s another form of storytelling. When you get footage and piece together the timing of jokes and reactions and pregnant emotional pauses, it’s so powerful. Can you believe the Academy Awards tried to cut out the editing category? Blasphemy. All I know is I could never do another 9-5 again. I need a flexible job where I can cuss freely. My dad was a construction worker and the F word is firmly rooted in my lexicon.

How do you prepare for a performance?

I eat a crunchy bar and drink a coffee until I’m shaking (more than usual), then pee twice – once for real and once just for nerves. Then I listen to “Do it Anyway” by Ben Folds Five or something raunchy by Cardi B, depending on what kind of mental push I need. Then I look in the mirror and say something like “Katy you’re a goddamn lioness” before I run on stage. Also I need to get lots of sleep because 1. I’m an extroverted introvert, which means all my energy is left on the stage and afterward I am depleted. I need alone time to recharge before each performance. And 2. when I freestyle rap my brain needs to be operating at tip-top capacity so I can snag those words out of the air.

Best/worst advice you have been given ahead of your debut show?

Phyllis Diller said never take advice from people who aren’t doing the damn thing themselves and I agree. You must, must, must trust your own instincts. And that’s a really difficult thing to do for some people, especially young women. Because we are all taught to cut off our limbs to fit into society’s boxes. It has been a journey for me to find my creative voice – emphasis on MY – not the voice everyone wanted me to have, or rather, didn’t want. Once I found my voice, I realized it was my duty to guard and protect it. If we don’t do that as artists, we become one big instagram echo chamber. Part of protecting your voice is not taking anyone’s advice that doesn’t sit right, even if it’s scary, untrodden territory. Hell, ESPECIALLY if it’s scary untrodden territory!

What are you looking forward to most about being in Edinburgh?

Eating scones that are slathered with a mountain of jam and clotted cream. We don’t have clotted cream in the states because everything is pasteurized to death. I ordered some on Amazon but it arrived curdled for obvious reasons. I’m also excited to see my family. My little brother has never traveled outside of the U.S., and I got him to buy a one-way plane ticket. Seeing the castles, the history, the culture, it’s going to blow his mind. I can’t wait to witness that transformation.

Who or what are you inspired by?

Artists who go against the grain. Molly Shannon, John Waters and Divine, Grace Jones. So much of storytelling is derivative. I mean, humans retell the same stories over and over. But I like people who tell them in the weirdest, most specific way possible. Take Molly Shannon for example. When I was little, watching SNL in my bed at night on a tiny 12″ TV, and she was sniffing her armpits and flashing her underpants and having passionate romantic kisses with trees as Mary Katherine Gallagher, I was astonished because it was the weirdest character I’d ever seen but also hauntingly familiar. I mean, I was a young gal who wanted to be a performer and yes, I made out with all kinds of inanimate objects! The lips on my JTT poster were whited-out cuz I sucked the ink off them. I made out with my wall THAT hard. So, I like artists who tell the same stories, but find ways to be as freakishly specific as possible.

Tell us something your agent doesn’t want us to know.

I don’t have an agent in the UK yet. Come and get me! As for my US representative, I do impressions of them for my students who want to know what it’s like working in ‘the industry.’ So beware.

What is the best advice you have been given so far and by who?

My high school English teacher, Tom Brennan, helped me through some tough years. He even got me to write my first play! I used to freak out about what other people thought of me, and one day he stopped, looked me dead in the eye, and in his gravelly baritone said “Katy, repeat after me:   Fuck ’em.”  I used that mantra for years to work through my stage fright. I still use it!

Outside of performing what are your passions?

I am a screenwriter by trade and I love writing. I have a coming-of-age film about my time working at a movie theater that I’m currently looking to direct in 2024, which is nuts but thrilling. I also teach screenwriting at the New York Film Academy and when I see the students’ writing improve, it gets me so excited. Also, I have this secret dream to own an ice cream shop when I’m in my 60s. You know, during that ‘second life’ time? I love ice cream. I love eating it. Serving it. Dreaming of flavors that don’t exist. Have you all tried Mary’s Milk Bar in Edinburgh? Man, that’s the dream right there.

What do you want to get our of performing at the Fringe?

Some good reviews that I can laminate and present to my dog, Hilde, so I can make my daughter proud. It would be cool to get more opportunities to perform abroad. Otherwise, I’m doing this to push what I’m capable of and keep growing. You never know what skills will come back into play way down the line. Or what experiences find their way into a future script. So I try not to have many ‘career’ goals for Fringe, but to just absorb as many experiences and memories as I can, and their purpose will become clear one day.

What other shows are y0u excited to see and why?

I want to see some circus, some weird experimental dance, and I have a few NY friends doing their own debuts so I’d love to support them! Namely Lane Kwederis: Sex Job, Chris Grace as Scarlett Johanssen, and Tim Murray is Witches!

Sum up your show in five words.

Hilarious, heartfelt, with face-melting riffs.

Why should we see your show? 

You should see Diamond Goddess Crystal Pussy because I made dang sure there’s not a single boring moment in the show. You’ll be fully entertained or I’ll eat my hat! Plus, I truly believe you’ll exit the theater feeling better about your life. 



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