Jane's last Stand

Scottish comic Mackay quits

Controversial Scottish stand-up Jane Mackay, one of the founders of The Stand comedy clubs, has announced her retirement from comedy.

Mackay, 50, has been in the business for 12 years, and helped form The Stand with Tommy Sheppard, who had been her life partner since 1985.

In 2005, they ended their personal relationship, which was blamed on her diagnosis as a manic depressive.

She has now been sold her stake in the club, and retired from performing. A heavy smoker, she said the smoking ban introduced in Scotland last year was a major factor influencing her decision.

She said: ‘Twelve years ago I remember myself and Frankie Boyle near to tears sheltering from a thunderstorm in a public phone box. We were late for a gig, couldn’t turn up dripping and had no taxi money because we were earning £10 per performance.

‘After years of that I’m grateful the growth of my former business has enabled me to retire. The club’s initial objectives have been more than met and if wheel there be, it has turned more than full circle: in 1998 the industry saw our Perrier boycott as insane subversion. By 2006 the award had gone and a Stand show won its successor!'

‘Despite the usual rumours, which I’m glad to leave behind, Tommy and I had no differences in principle. After ten years it all got too much – work life, and I was wearing two hats as manager and performer, personal life and social life.

‘At 50, this manic depressive old monkey need no longer perform. Other then smoking, I don’t know what I’ll be doing next, but I do know The Stand is still in excellent hands – not just Tommy’s but our other board members including Kenny O’Brien, Eva Mackay, Fred MacAulay and Miles Jupp.

Tommy Sheppard added: ‘We all wish Jane well in whatever she chooses to do next. The Stand would not have existed without her. Those of us who remain will make sure her legacy is protected.’

Published: 6 Jun 2007

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