From Facts to Fiction by Val Troy

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Val Troy Artist's Exemption

Val Troy

Val Troy on her seismic shift from accountant to comedy writer . . .

Accountants are boring, right? Well…hold that thought.

Let’s get the confessions out of the way – I am an accountant, and I suppose I always will be, I don’t think there’s a way to shake it off, it’s ingrained in my DNA at this point. And to be fair, debits and credits are great but they’re no craic. That logic underpinned my reason to pivot away from balance sheets towards comedy. Perhaps “pivot” is an understatement, “seismic shift” might be more appropriate.

Regardless, I navigated my way to Writers Ink, www.writing.ie online writing group in 2021 to begin my journey of telling stories with words instead of numbers. Writers Ink is moderated by best-selling crime author Sam Blake, aka Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin and journalist Maria McHale. They preside over a community of aspiring and emerging writers equipping us with the skillset we need to explore and one day prosper in the publishing industry. Fiction is heavily frowned upon in the world of finance but the world of commercial women’s fiction embraces it enthusiastically and I’m more than ready to lean in.

And it’s in Writers Ink that I met my comedic other half, Orla Doherty. As comedy writers, it’s unsurprising that we bonded so quickly and we have set ourselves a mission – a mission to find people that share our sense of humour.

We are each working on individual writing projects. I’m currently editing my debut rom com What Could Possibly Go Wrong? about a perennially single accountant on the lookout for love. (I can’t imagine where the inspiration comes from.) Orla is finalising her memoir I’m not Bipolar, I’m Irish which charts her colourful life dealing with, amongst other things, LGBTQ+ and mental health issues through the prism of comedy.

We have co-written a sitcom screenplay, Men Oh! Pause which was longlisted in the Female Pilot Club’s screenwriting competition. We are both represented by talent & literary agency WGM Atlantic for our book and TV projects and we can’t wait to bring them to life.

Orla and I laugh – a lot, but we felt that we needed a challenge. As a former elite athlete, Orla is very competitive, a trait that lends itself well to our comedy writing partnership. We challenge each other, we push the boundaries. One of us pushes the boundaries much farther than the other (Orla, I’m looking at you) and together we set about creating our comedy partnership which we call ChatterBoxx. Our tagline is “Better Together” and that is an understatement.

Just over a year ago, it occurred to me that the best way to confirm whether my comedy writing was funny or not was to make my standup comedy debut in Hysteria Comedy, a cosy inclusive comedy club that is incredibly supportive of debut acts like me. I loved every second on stage and haven’t looked back. Orla is no stranger to standup comedy having run a comedy club in Portmarnock before Covid. Joanne McNally headlined there before her breakthrough success in recent years.

One thing led to another as they say and now Orla and I, as ChatterBoxx, are the Irish producers of Funny Women, the leading female comedy community. Funny Women was established 20 years ago, its purpose is to include women in the comedy industry in a supported way, through live events, workshops and the annual Funny Women Awards. The Hall of Fame of comedians who have performed at the awards through the years is formidable, including Sarah Millican, Katherine Ryan, Sarah Pascoe, Roisin Conaty, Diane Morgan and more.

Having produced and co-hosted the largest Irish Funny Women events to date last year we are back. Our next show, on 20th May 2024 will return to our spiritual home, the main room, Whelans in Wexford St in Dublin. It will be headlined by the amazing Emma Doran. The lineup includes DirtBird Sue Collins and Aoife Dooley is making her comedy comeback. Also on the bill is Cork comedian Sinead Quinlan and having brought the house down at our first show, author and broadcaster Barbara Scully returns to share more hilarious stories.

Barbara will join our cheeky Loose Women type panel discussion moderated by beauty & lifestyle influencer Maria McKenzie aka No Spring Chicken on social media. And the night will be topped & tailed by music from Jessica Smith who sang vocals for Kodaline and opened for The Chainsmokers & Rita Ora in Dublin’s RDS in the past.

As writers, it is a privilege for us to have two authors in our lineup. Barbara’s book, Wise Up is part memoir and part non-fiction about power, wisdom and the older woman and talks about the opportunities that open up in life for women as they age. Orla and I practice what Barbara preaches and that book has inspired our re-invention in our early 50s to become comedy writers.

Aoife is the author and illustrator of the Frankie’s World children’s series of graphic novels which have an autistic protagonist at its heart. I love the acknowledgement in the first book, it’s ‘For anyone and everyone who feels like they don’t fit in.’ Publisher Scholastic has snapped up her new project, a two-book deal for The Squid Squad, the first to be published in May 2025.

Tickets for the Funny Woman show are on sale at the link below and we would really appreciate your support. Funny Women is a not-for-profit organisation that relies on volunteers, freelancers and income from sponsors, workshops and events. Lynne Parker founded Funny Women twenty years ago and thanks to all that support it is still going strong.

My seismic shift from facts to fiction continues but without a doubt, joining Writers Ink was a milestone moment along the way. My next pit stop is Whelans, Wexford St and I hope to see you there.

(c) Val Troy

Tickets for Funny Women Live in Dublin – https://www.whelanslive.com/event/funny-women/

Instagram: @we_are_chatterboxx

Website: www.valtroy.com

About the author

Val Troy is a Dublin-based comedy writer and she is currently finalising her debut women’s commercial fiction novel. Val collaborates with fellow comedy writer Orla Doherty under the name ChatterBoxx. Together, they have co-written comedy/drama screenplays, the first of which was longlisted in Female Pilot Club’s screenwriting competition. ChatterBoxx now runs the Dublin Chapter of Funny Women and they produce sold-out all-female standup comedy shows in the main room, Whelans Wexford St. Dublin. She is represented by WGM Atlantic.

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