5. Katy Brand - You, me, Jesus and Will Smith
Sofie speaks to Katy Brand about revenge, christianity, psychopaths and grandfathers, hypervigilance and about leaving parties without saying goodbye.
Transcription by Zac Hilliker
Sofie: It’s episode 5 of the MohPod. It’s a podcast that I run. I’m Sofie Hagen. I’m your host, and I’m…I’m trying to figure out how to do life. How to…adult. How to function. How to…be alive. How to be a person. And, I talk to people about…just that really. In this episode it’s Katy Brand. And she’s so great. And I’ll let you hear her thoughts in a bit. It was a lovely conversation. I’m still learning how to be an interviewer on a podcast, but…Katy was so accommodating and intelligent and so open about…her own struggles that, it ended…being a really good episode. I’m going on tour of the UK, with my standup show, Shimmer Shatter, and I’m very excited. These are the places I’ll be visiting, and I’m just gonna kind of guess how to pronounce these places. I’m going to Newport, New Castle, Froom, Selby, Wrexham, Lemington Spa, Hollow, Crawley, Aberdeen, Elgin, Lincoln, Alsbury, Briston, Brighton, Guildford, Maidenhead, Oxford, and Liverpool. How did I do? Was it alright? Is that how you pronounce those places? Jesus Christ. I’m working on something that I’ll reveal to you…now. You’re gonna be informed of this a bit early cause I‘m not really done with it yet, but, I’m in touch with all of the venues in order to try and make them ummm…like angst safe, anxiety safe…in lack of better word. That means that if anyone wants to come and see me on my tour, but has certain things they struggle with, they can email and we’ll sort something out. Like for example if you want to sit somewhere specific, or if you want to go in and find your seat before the audience comes in, or if you have any questions, or I don’t know, maybe you need to stand in the back or be near the exit, or…Whatever it is you need, we’ll figure out a way of sorting it. I’m also working on making all of the toilets gender neutral, which ummm…disappointingly harder than I thought it would be…but, I’m in touch with all of the venues, and we’re making it happen. We’re trying our best. So soon I’ll announce a list of which places will be anxiety safe and uhh, gender neutral. But more on that later. You can find tickets and information on sofiehagen.com. That is S-O-F-I-E-H-A-G-E-N. And you can sign up for my newsletter as well, which is sofiehagen.com/newsletter. And I’ll…I’ll do all the big announcements there so you won’t miss out on anything. If you’re enjoying this podcast, all I want from you is that you go to iTunes and give it a 5-star rating, and if you want you can leave a little comment. It all helps a lot. And, it means an awful lot to me, so thank you. Now, let’s meet the very inspiring Katy Brand.
Sofie: Umm, I usually start this podcast by talking about how we met. We’ve never like properly actually met. We met when you came to the Soho Theatre to see my show last year.
Katy: Yes, cause you greet all of your audience, don’t you? So I literally said “Hi” and you said “Hi” and then you had other many other people behind me to say hi to, so I went and got my chair. So yes, that was it.
Sofie: It’s always so awkward. Cause they, I mean…only half of the people see it. And then people will be like “Is this Sofie Hagen’s show?”
Sofie: And, you know, I don’t have any…cause I get so “Oh. Yes it is. Feel free to sit down. I’ll get her for you.”
Katy: [Laughing] They think you’re venue staff.
Katy: Why do you…is that a conscious decision that you greet everyone as they come in…what…why…have you always done that in your gigs?
Sofie: Yeah, I started last Edinburgh. I quite like it. It kind of takes…I don’t like that moment when you’re like hiding, and then you’re like revealing yourself.
Sofie: I kinda like to take that off immediately. I don’t know. I feel like it might…lower their expectations, or…
Katy: Well, I think it gives it less of a…that sort of sense of…yeah, as you say sort of exploding onto the stage. It kind of just gently easing in.
Katy: Which can be…makes it all more familiar, doesn’t it? A bit warmer from the beginning.
Sofie: Yeah, and then I get used to being in the room and talking as well. So I’m not just standing in the back being very quiet. Yeah. I don’t know, but it’s nice.
Katy: Yeah. Yeah, but that is essentially how we met. And actually I wanted. I remember wanting to come to see your show because I was starting to think about…doing Edinburgh this year, and doing a show about sort of being a teenager and my life and things. And I realized I hadn’t seen a lot of…uhhh, sort of the standup that was out there for the past couple of years. I felt really out of the loop, and everyone was talking about your show. And, it sort of felt thematically there were similarities, so I thought I really ought to see what the really best examples of this sort of style of doing things are. So that was why…and then I couldn’t get a ticket, could I? So I…And then I think I introduced myself really charmlessly on Facebook, by basically saying “Hi! I wanna come and see your show. I’m really disorganized. Can you get me a ticket, now?”
Katy: [Laughing] And you were very nice about it. So yeah
Sofie: No, I really wanted to see your show, but it was sold out.
Katy: Well, I mean. I can…I can…
Sofie: Oh, now it’s my turn to go…
Katy: Yeah, I can sort it out! Don’t worry! Yeah, Don’t worry! I can sort it out if you want to, just let me know. We’ll figure it out.
Sofie: So how’s it been? How…How…what’s your angle on you…you were a Christian. That’s the show.
Sofie: So how…
Katy: In a nutshell, yes. [Laughs]
Sofie: [Laughs] Well, I don’t need to see it.
Katy: I try and uhh… Yeah, I try and spin it out for the full hour.
Sofie: What were you like as a teenager?
Katy: Uhhh, Awful.
Katy: Yeah. Very obnoxious. Very sort of driven. Quite anxious. Ambitious. Kind of wanting to always be…always on a sort of a bit of a mission. I always had a sort of task or something I was aiming for, something that I was sort of intending to do. Umm…and so yeah. I made life quite difficult for myself, I think.
Katy: Cause I was always trying to power forward with sort of crazy, you know, ambitio…trying to lay foundations for the things I wanted to do for the future. I was very focused on what was gonna happen, and trying to be strategic. I mean I never really…I didn’t…I didn’t…I wasn’t a very relaxed teenager. Ummm…and I think I’m still trying to get rid of the remnants of that even now and just sort of relax into things and enjoy them.
Sofie: Yeah? What kind of…what kind of goals and stuff, cause I had…like my goals as a teenager would like…to take down my school. Like, stuff like…
Katy: Not so much…
Sofie: Like to get the principal fired and stuff like that.
Katy: [Laughs] You wanted to wreak revenge on people?
Sofie: Yeah, she was awful.
Katy: Oh really?
Sofie: It’s still kind of in the back of my head, like “One day…”
Katy: Oh, no, I’m quite vengeful.
Katy: Yes, yes. I can sort of remember people that I uhhh…but yes, that you sort of have scores to settle and things that still eat away at you. Someone once described me as being quite Sicilian, which I found a bit surprising.
Katy: Yees, but I was like, “Well, I think you meant, kind of, bearing a long-term grudge.” [Laughs] Like the mafia or something. [Laughs] I don’t really bear grudges. I don’t really bear grudges. I do tend to let things go eventually, but there’s a small number of people that sort of still weigh on my mind. Definitely.
Katy: Yeah, but I try…I play a very long game. A very very long game. There’s um…uhhh…yeah, there’s a vicar in my show that is kind of a combination of different people, but one of the people was a vicar that really didn’t like me and was really nasty to me when I was a teenager. And it’s like I’ve waited “Twenty years!!” [Laughs] And now here I am at the Edinburgh Fringe…taking my revenge!
Sofie: Do you have fantasies, like daytime fantasies about the revenge…you know. Like winner…winning an Oscar going…
Katy: Oh, of course.
Sofie: This is…
Katy: Yeah, of course.
Sofie: “Fuck you.”
Katy: Yeah, I once bet a friend of mine at school £40 that I would win an Oscar by the time I’m 50.
Sofie: So now you have insentiment to do that.
Katy: Yes, I’ve got 13 years left.
Katy: I’m powering through, and I still sort of…I still imagine at my Oscar speech will just be, you know, “You know what. You know who you are! You owe me £40!”
Sofie: There’s a Danish comedian who uh…who won an award, and he said….he dedicated the award to his uhh….what do you call that. Like, the teacher who tells you…the career…
Katy: Careers advice.
Sofie: Yeah. In like school who said to him that he shouldn’t be…he shouldn’t try to be a comedian. He’s like “Look at me now!”
Katy: Like that old Bob Monkhouse joke, isn’t it. They laughed at me when I said I’d be a comedian. Well, they’re not laughing now.
Sofie: Oh, wow. So you’re…so when you had all these goals for your future as a teenager. Was…like what you are now, was that your goal?
Katy: I think so, yeah. I think while being a comedian…being in comedy, in the world of comedy, or performing in some way was definitely a big part of my teenage goals, and uhh…you know used to watch the British Comedy Awards, and…and all of the kind of stuff like that, and I knew who everyone was, and I was very into that whole sort of…world. Observing it from afar, and things like that. Although, you know, obviously when I was a teenager you had to work quite hard. I mean, as I…When I say kind of observing it and into it, I just mean, you know…article…the only things really could get are articles in the Sunday Times culture section. Every sort of maybe once a month they’d feature a comedian. It’s not like now on the internet where you can literally stalk people. Umm…so, yeah I think being part of the world of comedy was definitely a big ambition of mine. And what’s weird actually for me now is that, kind of although I love the world of comedy and I still wanna be part of it and I still am part of it, uhh…uhh…that…moving on into different part…different ypes of uhh…performing or writing or directing or anything really that aren’t necessarily to do with comedy. I definitely feel that pull, but it’s like the teenage me is on my back and won’t let it go. Like, kind of…I’m not….you know, I sort of feel like I need to tell her to shut up sometimes.
Katy: That maybe her ambitions aren’t necessarily my ambitions now as a 37-year-old woman. I might’ve changed them a bit, but there’s a sort of weird battle between the two, of like you know, my teenage self going “You, B. You always wanted to do this in comedy. You wanted to do that, duh duh duh,” and sort of the me now going “Yeah, but maybe not. Maybe I just wanna write a collection of uhhh, quite whimsical short stories. I don’t know. Maybe that’s what I want to do now. Maybe that’s what 37-year-old me wants to do.” But trying to sort of shake her off, and go “Leave me alone.”
Sofie: Does it feel like…
Katy: I’ve got my own things to do.
Sofie: Does it feel like giving up? If she’s like “This is what you need to be,” and then you don’t do it, do you feel like, oh, is it because you couldn’t?
Katy: Yes, exactly. Exactly that, and I uhh…
Sofie: And you have to go, “No, it’s a choice.”
Katy: Yes, exactly, and I think that’s…that’s a sort of…when you’re…I was always quite persistent, uhh…and quite tenacious and, and determined as a teenager, so yes. There’s a sense of setting yourself a goal and not allowing yourself to decide you didn’t….not really that interested in that goal any more. Definitely, that’s uh…
Sofie: That’s a difficult one.
Katy: That’s the thing. Yeah, yeah. Definitely.
Sofie: So you….was that the same with Christianity?
Sofie: I don’t want you to give anything away from your show.
Katy: Oh, no, it’s fine. Yeah, definitely. I mean I sort of talk about a little, briefly in the show that even when I had doubts, even when…there was sort of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Even when people in my church, church leadership, were definitely acting like they didn’t really want me around anymore. Even when I felt like I didn’t wanna really be around anymore, I was still going regularly. And that went on for quite a long time…before, you know, I really just decided I wasn’t into it, and sort of…it sort of fell away really. I…It wasn’t so much that I flounced out and refused to come back. Just other stuff came and engulfed me and took me over. And that was my new obsession, so yeah.
Sofie: Do you need to be the best? Is that part of it? The ambition? Is it just for you personally, or do you just need to be the best, either that you can be, or the best of people.
Katy: Well, interestingly, I think…I remember, I remember my dad making a distinction to me that I didn’t really understand at the time where he said…his observation was that I wasn’t necessarily very competitive, but I was determined. And I think that’s quite a subtle but quite important difference, and I definitely think that’s the case. So, no. I don’t ever feel like I need to be the best, and I’m quite….all of my sort of flaws and terrible things that make the inside of my own brain sort of a difficult place to be sometimes…the one thing I’m glad of is That I’m, at least I’m not competitive. Like it really doesn’t bother me what other people are doing. Umm…I don’t ever feel especially jealous of people’s success or glad when someone of some sort of perceived rival is having a bad time. It doesn’t…it doesn’t really impact. I just have my goal, and I sort of almost, sort of….dare myself to do it, and that is hard enough as we’ve just said, you know, to try and sometimes decide you’re not going to pursue something just because you decided you would 3 years ago. Ummm…so no. Not…not the best. I don’t…I’m ever interested in being the best of the group. I just want to do the thing that I said I’d do, and then do it to what I think is the best possible way…but that in itself can be a bit….uhhh, not limiting, but…restrictive.
Sofie: Yeah, you don’t feel….you don’t feel like a relaxed person when you’re like…
Katy: No, and you don’t…and sometimes, you know, it can really impact on being spontaneous or…being sort of free with things, and even the worst thing I think, which is what I try and work on, is that it actually impacts on being creative, I think.
Sofie: Oh! How so?
Katy: Well, because if you’re…if you have set yourself a very particular goal, and you’ve decided the route to that goal is one way, you know. You can get, or at least I get sort of tunnel vision sometimes, and I can tune out or ignore thin….incoming information that would actually make the route perhaps a little but more meandering, but more creative and maybe ultimately better. So, that’s what I’m trying to work on is to not be quite so sort of…to set myself sort of rigid straight line goals to things, and it’s gotta be the fastest route to that thing and tune everything else out. Cause you miss out on a lot of stuff.
Sofie: Is it like…I feel like I can relate if this rings true to you. Like….exercise bikes? It feel…it hurts my head, cause it’s doing the work but you’re not getting anywhere. And that annoys me. I don’t know if that…
Katy: Yeah, I know what you mean. I know what you mean, and I like forward, uhh…I always like forward motion and travel. I always like to be going somewhere, on my way somewhere whether figuratively or literally. I remember being a on a sleeper train once, and that was…I really enjoyed that because it was like I could uhh…I was moving forward without having to do anything. [Laughs] And I would sort of fall asleep for half an hour and then wake up and we were at a station, and we were somewhere else. And then fall asleep again and we’d be somewhere else, and then wake up, and we were miles away from where we started, and I hadn’t really done anything, and yet I’d moved from A to B.
Sofie: And we’re doing two things at once. Oh! When I…my first sleeper train, I was like this is incredible.
Sofie: I’m wasting so much time when I’m just sleeping….standing still.
Katy: [Laughing] You can get to somewhere! Exactly!
Sofie: So what do you do about obstacles?
Katy: Uhh, just power through them…I think like some sort of rugby player, yeah. Hunker down…
Sofie: Does it annoy you or are you like motivated?
Katy: Uhhhh, no, it doesn’t annoy me. No, I don’t find obstacles annoying in the sense that I don’t feel that, uhh, they shouldn’t be there, or that…I never feel like I’ve got obstacles that other people don’t have to overcome or anything like that. It’s not like, “Oh God! They don’t have to put up with this. Why should I have to?” Uhh, but…I just try to find my way around them. Obstacles have never hugely bothered me. Umm…I think there are some things that are demonstrably unfair and that does wind me up. Or things that are unjust or, umm….or, you know, if…uhh…if there are people in the way of things and I feel like they’re being unfair or prejudiced in some way. That is annoying, but it’s not like I feel like oh I’ve got more obstacles than anyone else, particularly, or…or I for some reason shouldn’t have to encounter them. But I just tend to sort of brace and push. That’s my uhh…that’s my…[Laughs] Yeah, that’s how you describe child birth isn’t? I just realized. [Laughs]
Sofie: [Laughing] Brace and push.
Katy: Yeah, I brace and push, and then rip my body apart trying to get what I want. [Laughs]
Sofie: Perfect, well it seems to be working.
Katy: Well, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.
Sofie: So but, between…this is…this is…it was really interesting to me when I….like….cause I saw a lot about you on YouTube and most of what you do is…not as you yourself, like I guess that’s how you explain acting.
Katy: Yeah, yeah. That’s it. [Laughs]
Sofie: What’s…cause…I was really attracted to standup because it was, like me. I didn’t have to…I didn’t feel. I didn’t think. I had to perform. I was like I can just talk. Whatevs. But how does that work as an actor…? Like, becoming someone else. How does that coincide with like, your relationship to your own personality? Does that make sense?
Katy: Umm…well, first of all, just to say, I have really done very little, almost none…of the kind of acting where you really would have to go deep deep into a character. I’ve never done a kind of 6-month run of a play in which I’m playing a very intense dramatic role that I have to inhabit…that isn’t the kind of acting I’ve done, so I have very limited experience of what that’s like. Umm…in terms of the kind of performing I used to do, uhhh, mostly in terms of sketches. Uhh…I would get quite into, I mean there were times when I was doing a live sketch show where there were certain characters that I would get completely lost in, and I would be just in that moment as that character, which I loved. There were other moments where it never happened, and I always threw off those characters first or just didn’t like doing them. But two or three of the characters that I did invent, I was really…it would be quite eerie in the middle of a performance if it was going well, where I would feel like I’d melted into the character and I couldn’t really feel the walls of myself at all. Ummm…and I always really enjoyed those gigs. I found them very, ummm, calming actually. And afterwards I’d always feel….just very sort of loose and calm and, you know, not in need of any particular company or…or anything really. So, uhhh, yeah, that was nice. Umm…and in terms of those sort of more…the acting roles I’ve done, things that’ve written by other people…I tend to get cast in sort of comic roles that are just sort of fun to do, and you just sort of find a voice, find a way of holding yourself and…just, you know, try and bring, or even think of someone that it reminds you of, and sort of almost start to try to mimic them. But in terms of how I relate it to my own personality, I don’t….I’ve never…that’s never been a real tension for me with acting, but I think that’s because I don’t really do the kind of acting where that sort of thing…you know, I’m not Mark Rylance. I just used to tit around in wigs. [Laughs]
Sofie: My psychologist once said, completely out of the blue. I hadn’t asked her. She just said “You’d be a good actor because children from dysfunctional families are used to keeping, like a shield up, or having like a mask on to pretend that everything’s going…” I mean I’m making this sound like I had it way worse than I did, but I was very good as a child. Like I would never cry, because that would upset people. So she knew that I had these…I’m not really sure she was right, if she was right about it. I don’t know if I turned out to be a good actor, but it was a really interesting point. She’s like “You…” and she also said I would love to do it because I would love that escape. So for me acting has always sounded like…an escape, like you get to be someone else. But I guess if you’re, if you’re ok with being who you are, but….everyone has doubt, don’t they?
Katy: Yeah, I think so.
Katy: And I think, I think you’ve done…you’ve done work on this yourself, and I found that really interesting and something I’ve been thinking about myself, about the idea of being an introverted performer. Which I think I’ve only realized recently that I am quite an introverted person. Because my…I’ve always made I think a wrong assumption that I must be an extrovert because I could perform or I could go on stage or…I’m…I feel kind of quite, ummm, comfortable socially most of the time, or…or that sort of thing. And ummm…but that sort of sense of yourself as being an introvert and not necessarily wanting to have everyone looking at you, yet somehow you still find yourself doing it every day. That is a kind of sort of a weird…that is a weird…uhh dynamic to have within yourself that you’ve explored I think as well, haven’t you.
Sofie: Yeah, and I think for me it’s being able to control it, like, “Ok, you get an hour where you can look at me and I can talk to you, but then afterwards I can just go home.”
Katy: Mmmm, yeah!
Sofie: And I can just be alone, cause you’ve had…I’ve had the hour. Every single day where I get to be this…and I can control everything I say, like normal conversations with people tend to freak me out. Like, it’s very…anxiety ridden whenever I have to just keep like small talk with someone. But on stage I will have prepared…like the ideal situation would be if I always could stop time when I met someone, and then I could go, “Ok…ok, what are you gonna say? What won’t sound stupid?” And then as long as I need it, and then I could start the conversation, and then I could seem like a person who had everything together.
Katy: Umm…what…has that always been the case for you? Is that more…is that recent or can you remember when that started?
Sofie: I think it’s always, I think I’ve always been like that. I think it’s always been about…my focus has always been on other people. Like, my grandfather was a bit of an asshole, a psychopath. So as a true psychopath he made everything about him, so I kind of functioned as his, uhh, like shadow. So it would be very…I would always have to like affirm his actions or feelings. It was always “Your grandfather’s sad.” And then I was like, “Oh, now I’m sad too.”
Katy: Yes, right.
Sofie: To show him that I love you. Oh, so now I have to smile because you said I love you. Stuff like that. Not a nice man. But…so it was always kind of….it was always about other people’s feelings. So when I talk to someone, everything is going on in my head. I’m going “Ok, who am I? And what are they thinking? And what do I want them to think? And what shouldn’t they think? What will they be thinking right now when I say this?” I mean, do ever get jealous of people who just seem really cool?
Katy: Yeah! Well, I mean what you’re describing I think is called hypervigilance, which is…
Katy: Yeah, which I…have you heard that?
Katy: That word before?
Katy: Well, yeah, children can start to become hypervigilant as children and then you end with a kind of, uh, an overriding sense of what every….you‘re just, as the word described, hypervigilant of everyone around you. You’re examining and analyzing, you’re hyperaware of everything, every vibration you can feel people through the floorboards almost, you know. You go into a room and you can sense people immediately, and it’s quite exhausting. Umm…but uhh…
Sofie: Wow! I didn’t know that word. She used to describe…my psychologist. She told me this story of…I can’t pronounce this…narcisissssis?
Katy: Narcissists, yeah.
Sofie: Narcissists, ok. Uh, and she said that he had this, umm…like this echo. This little thing that followed him around, and then obviously the story ends with him looking at himself in the lake, and he falls so much in love with himself that he falls into the lake and dies.
Sofie: But then she said notice the echo, cause the echo just lives. Every time he says “I’m so beautiful,” the echo goes “Yeah, you’re so beautiful.” So when he dies, the echo is nothing. Cause it’s always just an echo, and she said, “You’ve lived as the echo for so long. You need to stop being the echo.” And that was, maybe that was what she tried to say. Hypervigilant, but in a…
Katy: Yeah. Well, I think that’s more about kind of just always being aware of other people’s emotions and other people’s emotional states, and that can be very exhausting. Um…and sort of…but I think…I read an interesting thing about being introverts and extroverts that I’d never really read before. And I never understood before, which started to make me understand myself a bit better, about this thing of introverts generate their own energy. Uhh, and so you generate the energy within yourself, and…and when you go out, you have just that…you don’t really draw energy from other people. So if you’re in a room with a lot of extroverts, extroverts like being around other people because they draw energy from other people. So if you’re an introvert, and you’ve spent quite a long time…it can be quite hard work creating the energy from within yourself. Umm…if you’re in a room full of extroverts who need your energy from you, you can be quite reluctant to give it out, because you know it’s gonna take quite a long time to build it up again. So if you’re feeling a bit low, or just sort of not…you don’t feel like you’ve got a lot in you, you’ll avoid going out because people are gonna sort of take it from you ,and then you’re gonna have to sort of start again. And…and I definitely related to that in some respects. But in other times, if you’re felling happy and buoyant and everything’s going well and the sun’s shining and it’s nice, and you think “Yeah, I wanna be around people, and I wanna…And I don’t mind if people wanna take some energy from me and I’ll take some from them.” And, you know, it doesn’t have to be quite so rigid and so black and white, but. This sense of drawing on your own pool of energy that you’ve made for yourself that you….you can’t just fling about, and you’re also not necessarily drawing the energy from other people, because that isn’t how you particularly get your energy. Um…and that just rang so true with me that I really…it really brought me up short actually. It made me think “God. That is. I think that’s the most familiar description that I’ve come across that really meant something to me.” And it explained why sometimes, you know, everyone sometimes they wanna go to parties and sometimes they don’t. But the thing of people saying, “Well, you can’t possibly be introverted because you go on stage.” It’s like, what you’re saying about your hour a day that you want to control. It’s almost like you will generate just enough energy for an hour, and then….you know that you can control that hour and that you won’t have to give up any of the energy after that hour, because you’re not obliged to do that. There’s an end to it. You can say, “Right, I’ll gathered enough energy of my own for that hour. I’ll give it out, and then I’ll go. And that’s the end of it. And no one can come and get any more of me, because I’ve done it.” And I think that’s…that’s quite an odd…and I don’t mean you’re odd. I mean I think I sort of have a similar feeling myself. I don’t necessarily feed off the audience. It doesn’t umm…It doesn’t replenish me necessarily. It’s lovely to have a great audience, and you come out and you feel excited and confident, and like, you know. You feel like you’ve done a good job and they’ve enjoyed it. And I love all of that stuff, but I don’t bounce out of shows going “Wow! Let’s party!” Like if I’ve had a good show, I tend to just want to go off on my own. And I think that’s sort of the weird thing of being introverted as a performer is that you’re just…you’ve got your ball of energy. You’ll give it out, see how it goes, hope it goes well, and then leave. [Laughs] Uhhh, which is just umm…yeah, which is just made me rethink how I perform. What I need from a performance. What I want to give. What I want to receive. All of that sort of stuff. How much I can handle. All that stuff is definitely going on.
Sofie: I…Can you relate to this? Last night, as I was doing my show, they moved the front row a lot closer to the stage, so the people in the front row use the stage to have their feet up…and…it threw me. I felt so anxious about that.
Sofie: I was so conscious of their feet being on the stage. It was almost like…
Katy: Being invaded.
Sofie: Yeah. It was like they were on my turf. It felt threatening, but it’s just feet! That was the first time I realized that. I was like “Oh. Ok. I need people to not have their feet on the stage.”
Sofie: I just can’t deal with that.
Katy: So are you gonna tell people not to?
Sofie: Well, I’m gonna have to.
Sofie: Cause it really freaked me out. I just felt like…”uh…and he’s gonna…it’s a threatening move. He wants to show me that he’s in control. I need to be in control. I’m not in control right now.”
Katy: Oh, really?
Sofie: It was so horrifying.
Sofie: I wanted to ask you, have you read Susan Kane’s book, “Quiet”?
Sofie: [Gasp] That changed everything for me!
Katy: Oh, really? I’ll have a look at that.
Sofie: Yeah! It’s about that. It’s about introversion and like…and apparently there’s also…you can be ambivert.
Katy: Oh, can you?
Sofie: That’s when you…cause it’s all like a spectrum, so ambivert is like 50/50 basically.
Sofie: Which is a very good thing to say when people start going, “Oh, I don’t know if this is real.”
Katy: Well, that is interesting cause I never necessarily feel like I’m on or the other, but if there’s one in the middle…I’ll take it.
Sofie: [Laughs] I think there’s…as you say, there are times when you’re more…you know, feel a bit more extrovert and introvert. How….did that change a lot for you when you realized you were an introvert?
Katy: It’s quite recent, really. I just…I’d always sort of wondered, and then I just pushed away, cause I thought it’s ridiculous. I can’t possibly be. I’m quite confident socially. I’m not…I don’t sort of feel nervous during live TV or live radio. In fact I like it. I like pressure. I really thrive on pressure. I put myself out there, uhh…in terms of performance and profile and all of that sort of stuff. So, it’s quite a recent thing. Very recent. I mean, in the last year, so it’s just…it’s just…I guess…it hasn’t like changed much. It hadn’t made me go “Oh my God. I have to rethink everything!” I guess what it’s done is just made…allowed myself to let myself off the hook a bit.
Katy: So that if, you know, I really am dreading going to a party or a particularly social gathering and I can’t work out why, instead of forcing myself to go and then not having a nice time, and then feeling sort of a bit knackered and going home and going, “Ugh. Shouldn’t have done that.” Umm…I tend to just let myself off, and I just say “Well, then don’t. Don’t go.” Umm…I haven’t generated energy today for one reason or another to go out and do that. So that’s fine. We’ll just stay at home. It’s no big deal. Uhh…and also that sort of sense that realizing that most people, you know, aren’t that whether you go or not to a party.
Sofie: Oh, yeah.
Katy: And that was a huge kind of realization for me in terms of, you know….you know, just sort of letting your ego go in that way, and…obviously, you know, if it’s a really close friend, you don’t just not turn up to a best mate’s wedding or something. But most of the time, people’s birthday parties…if they’ve got a decent number of people there, they’re not really bothered whether you’re there or not. Uhhh, and that was a really nice realization for me, as well. That it’s fine not to go. And it’s fine, and most people will be absolutely cool about it, and then everyone’s happy. Everyone’s fine.
Sofie: And have you tried be, like after a long night at this party. Lots of fun stuff happened. And the next day someone says, “Oh, you should have been there!” And you’re like “I was there!” Well, why am I even going? Why am I even going? [Laughs]
Katy: [Laughs] Umm, no I don’t really. If I…I have…When I’ve gone out on big nights and enjoyed myself, I’ve really been sort of full on. And in the past I’ve had many many big nights. My sort of quieter times have come more recently, I think. And I’ve been a bit less sociable, but no no. I’ve never had that. Although I was…I am a terror for ghosting.
Sofie: Oh yeah!
Katy: Do you know doing that thing?
Sofie: Ohhhh, yeah!
Katy: Where you just leave and you don’t say goodbye to anyone, but again I sort of realized, people don’t necessarily want to say….like people don’t really care that much.
Sofie: Yeah, and you’ll never leave if you start saying goodbye.
Katy: Yeah exactly. But it’s like people kinda saying…you know, particularly at your own wedding or your parties, you spend the first half saying hello to everyone and the second half saying goodbye to everyone. I sort of feel like…maybe I’m doing the host a favor by not being an extra person to say goodbye to. So I’ll just go.
Sofie: No one cares. People just go “Oh when did you leave?” And then they say, “Oh I’m sorry I didn’t get to chat to you more.”
Katy: Yeah exactly.
Sofie: I did it last night. I did it twice last night where I was like “Oh, I have a phone call. Hold on. I’ll be right back.” And then I left.
Sofie: And then texted “Oh shit. I lost you. Sorry.”
Katy: I think just releasing yourself from that and realizing people aren’t that bothered.
Katy: That was a huge relief for me actually.
Sofie: I think it’s important to know, uh…cause I feel like not a lot…not enough people know about introversion and extroversion. Like remember…have you heard about the spoons theory, or the spoons analogy I guess you call it about mental health?
Katy: I don’t think so.
Sofie: There was a woman who made a blog post about. She was trying to describe to her friend how her…it was either depression or anxiety or something along those lines, how that worked for her. It’s called the spoon theory because she was in a…or analogy, cause she was in a restaurant and then she took some spoons from all of the tables and said “Each morning when I wake up, I’ll have a certain number of spoons for whatever reason. And I have 10 spoons. Then I know if I get in the shower that takes a spoon. If I make breakfast, that’s another spoon. Getting dressed is a spoon. And then maybe once I’m done, I won’t have any spoons left, and then I can’t leave the house.” And I’ve heard so many people use the spoons analogy to, just to go, “Oh I can’t make it today. Not enough spoons.”
Sofie: And then people go “Oh! Ok. Get it.”
Katy: Oh, wow! That’s pretty interesting.
Sofie: And I feel like that…that could….that should happen for introversion as well. You could just go, “Oh no. There’s too many people.”
Katy: Yeah yeag.
Katy: And they go “Gotcha.”
Katy: Yeah, or just sort of saying, you know, I’m just very very tired. I think if you feel a kind of sense of duty towards people, umm…you know it can really force you to do things you don’t really fancy doing, and they….uhh, and then everyone sort of ends up the worse off for it. But yeah I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had serious mental health problems or anything like that. I wouldn’t presume to say that, cause in all honesty I haven’t. It’s just more a case of, umm…having a slightly, uhh…strange mix of things in my personality, and as we were saying earlier, assumptions about myself back from when I was a teenager, that don’t really apply anymore. It’s like I need to do a sort of software update. You know when you haven’t done one for ages cause you keep clicking ignore and then the computer starts to run slowly and it won’t load things. That’s what I feel like, that in the last few years, you know…lots of things have happened to me. Lots of very dramatic things have happened to me in the last 4 or 5 years. Um…and I need a software update. I’m not necessarily the same person I was back then. And, you know, I can be a bit we fear change, you know, just sort of I like things to sort of smoothly run on a kind of linear continuum, uh, where things build and build and then kind of come to some sort of conclusion. And so this sort of…lots of unexpected things have happened in my life in the last few years, and I…and that’s ok. I think I just need to understand that’s fine. And you reboot, and you find if your…you find out what your new tools are in a way. Umm…and that’s just…I mean that’s just getting older apart from anything else, but yeah…sort of letting go of the person I was for the first 30 years of my life and finding who I’m gonna be for the next 30 years of my life is, uhh…I’m sort of just at the beginning of that now.
Sofie: Wow! Is that…how…do you know…how…how are you gonna do that?
Katy: I have no idea! No fucking clue! [Laughs] I guess it starts with you know doing an Edinburgh show about being a teenager, throwing off all of that weird teenage Christian stuff that I got myself into, entirely decided I would do…did intensely from sort of the ages of 13 to 20. I mean it was my whole teenage years…uhh, and maybe that…maybe, you know….it was such a weird sudden decision for me to last autumn to suddenly go “Ooh! I think I’m gonna do Edinburgh!” After like, 11 years and saying I wouldn’t do it again, and I didn’t want to do it again. Suddenly it was like, “Oh! I’ve had an idea! Oh! Oh, I’m gonna do it. Oh, I wanna perform in a totally different way to I ever have before. Let’s do it.” And here I am, doing it. And…umm…it…the fact that it’s about being a teenager and my sort of teenage self, I guess that’s all part of the process of shaking it off…uhhh, looking at it a bit. You know, sharing it, laughing at it, owning it to some extent, and then putting it back in its box, and sort of saying “Well, that’s dealt with. Let’s…let’s do the next thing.”
Sofie: Is it you meeting your…the teenage voice in your head, “Ok, you’ve been making so much noise for so long. Now let’s fucking do this.”
Sofie: And then giving her an hour every day.
Katy: I think that’s a really…that’s a very interesting way of putting it. Very very interesting way of putting it, and I think there might well be something in that…that will gradually come to light as I sort of process this month over the next few months. Yeah.
Sofie: Cause I felt with my, cause my last shows were about my teenager years as well, and I…I…like, I felt like I was really…I’m really over it now. It feels like, you know, I was happy with the show, but if I…people mentioned if I should do like do two…do it twice in Edinburgh this year…
Katy: Right, yeah.
Sofie: …but I’m so done. So done.
Katy: I hear you.
Sofie: I’m not tired of it. I still love the show but…you know, that’s it, you know.
Katy: And do you feel better for it?
Sofie: Yeahhh, I feel like I do. I feel like I’ve…
Katy: Do you feel like there’s a kind of lightness?
Sofie: Yeah, I’ve closed the box. I’ve close the box and stored it…put it away. I don’t need to look at it anymore. Uh, and I…and I feel every time, cause it was about being a West Life fan, and I follow the West Life people on Twitter, and every time they tweet, I feel so happy because I don’t feel that thing I felt when I was a teenager anymore. Like “Oh, I’m not screaming because Mark is tweeting about being in a bar.”
Sofie: And it’s really nice. And I feel…I’m often, and this is just in my own sick mind, I will…when Brian McFadden from West Life tweets, cause he follows me…cause he knows that I’m…that I did a show about him. And then I‘ll like, you know, tweet back at him, and then he will like Like it or retweet it or answer…and there’s such a perverse sense of joy in that to go “Oh, I’m an adult just interacting with another adult that I used to scream at.”…like into his face I would scream.
Katy: But in a way, I mean I think some people look at that and say, “Ohh! If you go back and tell your teenage self, you know, you’d be so excited!” And I get that when like similar things have happened to me, and I sort of think I don’t feel that actually. I don’t…I feel…it’s at those moments that I don’t feel close to my teenage self. I feel the most far away. I feel like a woman that has nothing to do with the teenager. Not that I’m rejecting the teenager or trying to stamp it out, but no I don’t feel…I feel unconnected at that point because I’m not doing any of the things that she would have done. Umm, and I feel glad for that. I feel, sort of…more…I just feel calmer and like yeah sure this is happening, but it feels much more natural. Ummm…So yeah, sort of that assumption that somehow those…the old you and the new you will fuse together at those very particular key moments is actually the opposite for me.
Sofie: Did you…do you have any…cause I…my idea of me as a teenager was very, you know…I was obnoxious and horrible until like 15, 16…then I grew up like immediately and I was such an adult and I was so clever. Then I found my old diaries recently and I was like “Oh God! Well that never happened.” Do you…do you have anything…do you have diaries or anything from your teenage years, or are you basing it on like memories?
Katy: I have, uhh…what I have and that I take on stage for the show is…I have a youth bible, which I was given by the youth worker at my church, that I covered in stickers and words from magazines that I thought were cool, and there’s things in there that I’ve underlined and stuff, although it was all a bit half-hearted. [Chuckles] Umm…and I’ve got a leavers book that lots of people wrote in, you know, I’m sure lots of people have done something similar on the last day of the last…on the last day of term of their last year at school, you know, people would write messages. I’ve got all of those, and I have kept a lot of stuff. Uhh, I have not kept diaries that I wrote in. Uh, I think even back in my sort of early 20s my sense of self-preservation and they were gone. I threw those fuckers away. Or burnt them or something, I mean. I was never a big diary writer, though. I tried. I tried to keep a journal on several occasions. I tried to write in it, but my problem was always, and this is something I’ve really had to learn in terms of writing as well, umm. I was always self-editing. I was…I would never manage to write in a diary…uhh…I never managed to genuinely write as if no one was gonna to read it. There was always a sort of element of performance in what I was writing. And so I knew it was sort of fake, or at least that I was always, uhh…allowing for the possibility that someone would find it, and therefore even if it was honest to a degree, it was curated, and it was sort of managed and controlled, and edited, and it was the version of me that would appear honest but wasn’t…entirely honest. So that it would be presentable and manageable if someone found it. Umm…and so I think in the end I would lose interest in writing it because I knew it wasn’t real, and also I didn’t really want anyone to read it. I didn’t really want anyone to find it. I wasn’t getting anything out of it, because I wasn’t really putting my deepest thoughts down. So it sort of all just felt like a bit of a waste of time. So I think I…I think the artifice of them is what embarrassed me. And I want…It was so clear how artificial they were and how…sort of stage-managed they were that I just…I just thought, “Get rid of it. It’s awful. It’s not the really me. It’s not a good enough fake me. It’s some sort of awful unsatisfactory combination of the two, and it’s just actually ultimately more embarrassing than anything else.” So I got rid of them. But I used to write long long letters to Michael Jackson, who I was completely in love with.
Sofie: No way.
Katy: Yes, before I…before I turned to Jesus, he was my obsession. So yeah, there were notebooks. Long long long letters to Michael Jackson.
Sofie: Wow, what did you write to Michael Jackson?
Katy: Oh, you know. Pretty bog standard stuff. Just uhh, how I was a different kind of fan. I’d look after him. I…uhhhh…this was a long time ago, but can I just say, this isn’t in the days where people really knew what may or may not have been going on that at the Neverland Valley Ranch? Umm…[Laughs] But, yeah, just….just my thoughts about things. Perhaps in a way I was more honest with Michael Jackson in my letters than I was to myself in my own diary. I don’t know.
Sofie: Cause you knew he would understand.
Katy: I knew he would understand. I also knew he would never read it.
Sofie: That’s really interesting that you trusted more that it wouldn’t be read when you send it to Michael Jackson than when you kept it in a locked diary under your bed.
Sofie: I would write letters to Malcolm X when I was 9.
Katy: Malcolm X!?
Sofie: He was dead. I know that now.
Katy: Ok. [Laughs] What…
Sofie: But I would write these Danish letters to Malcolm X.
Katy: What about your life did you feel you needed to share with Malcolm X.
Sofie: No, I just wanted him to visit. So, most of the letters were just “Hello, Malcolm…”
Sofie: ‘I really like you cause Will Smith said that you’re really good in the Fresh Prince, so I would like for you to visit me in sdfadsgdk in Denmark. If you’re nearby that would be great.”
Katy: Or alive. [Laughs]
Sofie: Didn’t even cross my mind.
Katy: Wow, what did you do when you found out that he was dead and how he died? Or were you long past that phase.
Sofie: I think, yeah. I think at that point I wasn’t writing letters…it’s not like I’m…”Oh yeah, that was last week, and I’m still.” [Laughs] Still sending them, still having plans..”
Katy: Still writing to Malcolm X. Was it…was it…a desire to impress Will Smith or was it really about Malcolm X?
Sofie: I think Will Smith really opened my eyes to Malcolm X, and I was like “I see, I see what you mean. I see, I see how you like him.” I was such a fan of Will S…I was such a fan of Will Smith!
Katy: Were you?
Sofie: I wrote him letters as well.
Katy: Did you?
Sofie: Yeah, I would use his full name to prove that I knew him.
Katy: And uhhh…
Sofie: “Hello William.”
Katy: Do you….and that was from the Fresh Prince?
Sofie: Yes. That’s what was sad. I was such a fan. It’s a really good show.
Katy: Yeah, it is a good show.
Sofie: I saw it recently, and I was like, “You know what? I’m ok with that having raised me.”
Sofie: That was really good.
Katy: What did you like about it?
Sofie: Um….I think it must have been like the serious moments. Like those when they…Oh God. Do you remember the scene with his dad? When his dad leaves?
Katy: I don’t know if I watched it as closely as you did.
Sofie: Ohh! There’s this scene, and then Will says to his uncle…and he’s very…his dad just came back in his life for a very short time, then he left again. And Will is like “Oh, I’m fine. I’ll be fine without him. Go to hell! I don’t need you!” And then he breaks down, he goes, “How come he don’t love me man? How come he don’t love me man?” Oh, God! Everyone’s crying. Everyone’s crying. It’s amazing.
Katy: God, I’ve never seen that bit.
Sofie: Oh my God! I’ll send it to you.
Katy: Did you like the stability of the family setup even though it was wasn’t a nuclear family as such?
Sofie: No, I don’t really know if it was that. I think I just…and I really loved that it was like a lot of like trash talking. I loved that they were really mean to each other. I think I learned a lot from that. There was these rap battles in Edinburgh a few years ago where two comedians would do like, I mean, the rap wasn’t the most…the element of it. There were like…you know you do rhyming trash talking of each other. I turned out to be like terrifyingly good at that.
Sofie: And I think…I think I learned that from Fresh Prince. I really….really dig…every word hurt.
Katy: I would…yeah. If you’re saying that Will Smith taught you everything you know about rap…I…I would…I…yeah, I mean that’s good. That’s a good place to start, Sofie. [Laughs] I just wanna say there are other rappers out there that are equally if not better than Will Smith.
Sofie: But he was also so clean, like when you notice his lyrics…it’s so clean. He was like parents don’t understand, and I was a very, I was very convinced I would never drink. I would never smoke. I would never party. I would never have sex. Like, all of that was disgusting and just for sluts…like, you know, teenage me said that.
Katy: I can entirely…the teenage me can entirely relate. I had to become a fundamentalist Christian to find an excuse for extremely judgmental opinions. [Laughs]
Sofie: You found someone who agreed, and it was Jesus.
Katy: Yeah, exactly!
Sofie: I found Will Smith.
Sofie: The four of us would have had a great time.
Katy: We would have been an absolutely amazing double date.
Sofie: You, me, Jesus…
Katy: You, me, Jesus, and Will Smith. We’d go to like TGI Fridays and like share sides.
Sofie: Yeah, and then when the waiter’s like, “Do you want any drinks?” We’d be like, “No. We’re not dirty people who drink alcohol.”
Sofie: Who drinks alcohol?
Katy: [Laughing] “We like to remain true to ourselves.” We’d all just have iced tea, wouldn’t we? We’d just have a nice jug of iced tea to share.
Katy: And uh, yeah.
Sofie: And they’d be really cool, and they would love us and think we were so great.
Sofie: In all the stories I wrote about West Life, they would never drink at all. Like a lot of it was like, I remember one of the….the conversation between some girl who happened to look a lot like me, called Sofia…and then they would talk to like Mark or whoever the West Lifer was, and he would say “Oh, everyone thinks that we’re drinking and smoking and partying and having sex, but I don’t like any of that. I just want to watch TV with someone and tell them that they’re beautiful, and not even kiss cause I also think kissing is disgusting.”
Katy: Mark said that?
Sofie: Oh yeah, in my….
Katy: Oh, in your…in your stories…
Sofie: Oh, yeah yeah yeah…oh God, not in real life.
Katy: Not in real life.
Sofie: No, God no. I mean, when then later found out that he doesn’t like to kiss girls, but…
Sofie: You know…
Katy: I was going make a reference to that but I wasn’t sure if that was a known fact or not.
Katy: But it is. It’s out.
Sofie: Oh it is. Yeah
Katy: It’s done.
Sofie: It wasn’t my little….I’m not the only one he told.
Sofie: And I remember finding out that mark was gay and I texted the friend I was the fan of them with, but you know, she got over it like years ago…and I still texted her and be like, “Isn’t it just funny that…” and she was like, “No, I don’t care anymore.”
Sofie: “You gotta care a bit!” And I really made her try and….like during the show I kept emailing her going, “I’m doing this show now, and now I just met Mark, and Brian just followed me back because of this show, and I…like isn’t this incredible!?” And she was like “I’m a mother of two. I don’t give a shit anymore!”
Sofie: I was like, “Come on, Sarah! Come on!”
Katy: Is there anyone you’re really into now? Do you have like a new…do you always have some sort of….even if it’s a sort of mature, sort of grown up version. Like do you always have a sort of little far away crush bubbling?
Sofie: Uhh, I think…I can have it in like my daydreams, but I’m not very aware that it’s fake. Like I wouldn’t….Like I’d have like daydreams where I’d imagine…but I know that I’ve made up the personalities, and I know that I’m channeling stuff through the daydream. So I’m dealing with that in another way. Like a lot of my daydreams are the moment…like where I’m far away on like a desert island…so like the best daydream is me and uh…one of the…one of the cast members of Hamilton, the musical.
Katy: A particular cast member?
Sofie: Hercules Mulligan.
Katy: Right, ok.
Sofie: Obvs. Obvs. And, you know, plane crashes. We’re the only two who survive. We have to swim to a little island where we’re staying obviously for like weeks and weeks. You know, we have to survive on whatever we can find, and it’s very traumatic, but you know we get through it by him singing songs from Hamilton, The Musical…obvs.
Sofie: You know.
Katy: This sounds like an excellent reality TV show. [Sofie laughing in background] I think you should go down in a small plane with different people that you feel that you would like to spend some time with. It could be very long form. It could go on for weeks…each series could go on for weeks and weeks and weeks. A lot of times nothing much would happen…
Katy: Uhh…wow. And is it…do you…is it romantic or is just hanging out?
Sofie: I think it’s, I mean, that shows how dead I am inside now…it’s like a really good friendship.
Sofie: It’s just…you know financial security…
Katy: I’ve never heard someone so casually and sort of almost, uhhh…pleasantly just say they’re dead inside. Is that true, Sofie?
Sofie: I say it a lot.
Katy: Is that true.
Sofie: No, but I…like…you know, I think…ok, I think this…I think this is the reason…I think I’m very good at daydreaming. I daydream a lot, like I really….I get really into it to the extent where the few times I’ve had people from my real life in my daydreams, it’s affected the way I treat them. So I can, I can make myself fall in love with people. I can make myself…and then I’ll get like truly heartbroken. Just like, like I’ll wake up really sad like, “Why was…? Oh yeah, he broke up with me last night in my daydream.” And…it just gets so….it’s safer to just be their friend.
Sofie: Cause even in my daydreams, they’ll end up like cheating or leaving or something, cause it has to be realistic.
Katy: And is that you trying to control things that might upset you?
Sofie: I think it’s uhh…
Katy: Do you sort of…do you rehearse your reactions to things? Cause I sometimes do that. I think about things that might happen…
Katy: …with people in real life, and I sort of rehearse my reaction to what it might be.
Sofie: Do you then follow-up on it? Do you then actually do it, or do you just abort script the second it happens?
Katy: Ummm…I’m usually tougher in my own head then I am in real life, so I’ll tend to…not exactly crumble, but sort of, try and find a way through, or…I think I end up being too nice often. I think in my own head I’m much more, sort of….it’s not like I sort of have rows in my head that then don’t come to pass, but there have been times where I’ve really stuck to my guns and really not let the person, umm, sort of get away with something that I think is a bit shoddy. And I have felt such a surge of adrenaline. I’ve been shaking afterwards, physically shaking. But feel better for it. I think I don’t do that enough. I’m trying to do that more as I get older, because…it’s not like I’m sort of averse to conflict. It’s just, uhhh…I just think I’m quite obsessed with…I’m quite preoccupied with being fair, giving people a fair hearing. And if you give most people a fair hearing, usually what they’ll say is quite convincing, and you sort of want to believe them, and you want to, you know…and sometimes in a way if you feel like someone’s really wronged you, maybe it’s not a good idea to give them a fair hearing? I sort of started to realize for my own sanity maybe you should just go in there yelling, and then sort of work it out later. Umm…so yeah, I uhh…I don’t know. But as I’ve got older, I’ve definitely…I’m definitely trying more to just stick to what…the kind of…the version of it in my head where I come out feeling like I’ve resolved something, that I haven’t let someone just get away with it and get away with it and get away with it because they’ve sounded very convincing when they’re explaining themselves. So I’ve been braver about that, I think. Definitely.
Sofie: Do…I think a lot of what has helped me with that in that aspect is being able to recognize things in people. So there are things that I would react to in that way when, you know like, 5 years ago someone would say something, and I’d be like, “Oh, I’m sorry. I totally get it.” Where now I’m like, “Oh, but that’s always the excuse.” Or “Oh, but this guy is a narcissist or sociopath, and that’s just…you know that I’m gonna react this way when you say it like that.” And they’ll be like, “Oh wait.” “No. No no no. No. This is a game for you.” And then you can let yourself be angry.
Katy: But I think if you’re trying…if you’re the sort of person who’s always trying to make the other person feel comfortable, you’ll tend to constantly undercut yourself in order for that to happen. And I…the times where I have really stuck to my guns or just sat looking at someone unblinking and unmoved as they kind of tried to talk their way out of something, I have experienced supreme physical discomfort, but I’ve sort of dug in. And actually I feel sort of better for it afterwards. But yeah, just…just…it’s almost a selfish thing, actually, to let the person sort of talk their way out of it and allow yourself to be convinced, and just sort of resolve it in a way that never quite feels satisfactory. I think in a way it sort of feels like, “Oh, I won’t have to experience that discomfort of, you know. I…it’s easier for me to just let it go. I’ll just cope with my feelings about it on my own, and I won’t have to have this sort of awful sort of tension.” I can’t bear…I hate sort of having people around that are like enemies.
Sofie: Ohhhh. Yeahhh.
Katy: Or like people that, you know, if you see them at a party it will be really awkward. Like that used to just make me shudder like you’re shuddering now, and I’d always rather they didn’t know that what I was feeling, and I just dealt with it on my own, and I was the only one that knew. And then we wouldn’t ever have to have an awkward confrontation or…
Sofie: Oh, God yeah.
Katy: But that…I have to say in terms of getting older, I’ve just started to accept that as you get older, especially in a business like this in terms of comedy or entertainment, which is just so difficult and ruthless and cut-throat, the idea that you can sort of bumble through for years and years and years, you know…and not, not have some issues with people, people have issues with you just seems ridiculous. Actually it seems to be a worse way to go through it than to just accept that some people are just really gonna fuck you off or fuck you over. And you are gonna fuck some people off and fuck them over one way or another, and just grow up and deal with it. And that…that is definitely a realization that I’ve had in the last few years. And uhh…yes, I don’t go to parties anymore.
Sofie: Just full of people who….
Katy: Just full of people who hate me and I hate them! No not really. [Laughs]
Sofie: There was a person who came to my show, uhh, a few says ago who I…I seem to remember we’ve had like…beef for a while, and then she was there, and I just became so like…”Oh my..” I couldn’t react cause I had no idea she was gonna be there, and it was when I was saying goodbye at the end, and I was like, “Oh my God! Hello! Oh! Thank you for coming! I wanna come see your show too! You’re so great! Good seeing you!” I was like, “What are you doing? You could’ve just been casual about this.”
Katy: Yeah yeah yeah. And what’s the beef? Do you not like her or do you think she doesn’t like you.
Sofie: No she doesn’t like me, uh, because I meddled. I interfered with her life. I gave her some advice.
Sofie: You’re only hearing my side of the story now. I was just so nice and so sweet, and she overreacted…
Katy: Just trying to be reasonable, yeah, because you care too much.
Sofie: But there was like a Twitter argument. It was really nothing.
Katy: Oh, I see. I see.
Sofie: You know you just go, “Ok that person….or we have a thing.” You know, which is almost better than when you forget you have something, and then someone just ignores you, and you’re like, “Wh…Oh yeahhh!”
Sofie: “[Gasp] Oh yeah.”
Katy: Or if you’ve been around for a sort of long enough…you have residual feelings, uhhh….and you can’t remember what the original problem was. There are definitely people…there are a few people that I know always react slightly badly to me in terms of performing or my work and stuff, and I can sort of remember what the problem is, but I don’t think they can. I just think they’re having a sort of…they have an instinctive reaction to me now and they can’t remember what the original problem was. [Laughs]
Sofie: That’s the best, though. That’s the best. I ran…there was uhh…there was something that happened. There was like a weird gossip thing that was really fun, and an old friend of mine got in touch, and he was like, “Oh my God! Did you see?” And I was, “Yes! Whoa, it’s amazing!” We chatted for like half an hour, and then I was like, “Wait a minute! No, I hate you! I just remembered what you did. Go away now.”
Katy: Yeah, yeah!
Sofie: And it was so nice, that half hour. I was like, “Oh, I love him! Why haven’t we spoken?……Oh yeah.”
Katy: But I think, you know, enabling people to grow and change and allowing yourself to grow and change is part of that as well, and that’s another thing. Not holding…even though I have been described as Sicilian, as I said, I’m really trying not to be. I’m trying to let things go a little bit more, or at least, sort of going back to what I was saying a few minutes ago, to confront things in the moment, and then let them go. That’s…that’s the best thing to do, I think, rather than let sort of things fester and grow over time and let these sort of silly resentments happen that just are completely unnecessary and just tired. So I’m trying to be a bit more, you know…in as much as I am allowing myself to throw off my former self, uhh…I definitely want to apply that to other people as well, and not have the…you know, there’s a small number of people, less than 10, who I will never forgive, but other than that, I think, you know, nothing’s ever that bad.
Sofie: And you’re still wishing for the revenge.
Sofie: You’re still imagining it.
Katy: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. [Laughs]
Sofie: So, uhh…I always ask this…ask like this final thing. When…Say…ok, so you’re now seeing yourself as a baby. You as a baby came out. Really determined to get out of the womb, and you know when babies….I always feel like I really relate to them, and it’s so bright. It’s so loud. There are people there, and they’re like screaming because they were inside this nice, comfortable womb. And now they’re outside and everything’s awful, which is quite a good, you know, symbol of what life can be sometimes, what it can feel…”Whoa, this is too, much!” But you get to tell little terrified you, little terrified baby you. You get to tell them, “Hey! It’s ok. Things are gonna happen. There will be shitty things, but that’s life. But you’ll develop some tools to deal with that.” What would that speech be to the baby? What’s the tools that you’ll…that you’ve developed to handle things? That you can comfort yourself as a baby with.
Katy: Hmm…that’s interesting. I…I mean I guess in terms of my own personality, I think…in terms of advice, I’d just want to say, “You don’t have to be so impatient, you know. You just need to…I’m more and more I believe that there are rhythms in the universe. And I don’t mean that in the sort of too much of a kind of oogly boogly mystical way, but…I think relaxing into the rhythm and the flow is something that I was never…I have never been good at, and that’s something I’m really working on, just allowing things to take place and take their natural course, and just relax into them. Let the flow happen. Don’t be in such a rush all the time. You don’t need to be in a panic all the time. You don’t need to grab at everything. You don’t need to hold something tightly in your fist, uhhh, because if you let it go, it will be gone forever. You know, you can just hold things in the palm of your hand and see what happens, and I think that is definitely something that I’m still now, not just me as a baby, that I would tell myself now. Umm, you know, just unclench your fist for a minute. Just relax. And…just…let’s just allow things to take place. It doesn’t mean you can’t guide it. It doesn’t mean you can’t, you know, make judicious decisions or try to make wise choices, but just…just get into the current and you can lie flat for a bit and just let it carry you, and that’s fine. You don’t need to control everything.
Sofie: So would you tell the baby that everything’s gonna be fine?
Katy: I guess that’s just a very long-winded way of sort of saying…yeah. [Laughs] I mean, the thing is, you know, it’s always hard for me to along with that “everything’s gonna be fine’ because sometimes everything isn’t fine. Sometimes things happen and they’re the worst possible thing that can happen. And I’ve seen some of that stuff happen in the last few years, so I can’t quite get behind “everything’s gonna be fine,”
Katy: …but I think…I think more and more that I see more and more the difference between reality and perception and that…my sort of anxieties about the world and about life…I can be looking at a fact or a real situation, and somebody else can be looking at that exact same situation, and they’re quite calm and all right with it, and I’m busy trying to sort of control it and organize it and guide it and push it…and, and I don’t necessarily need to. I don’t necessarily need to feel that anxious. I perceive it in a different way to them, and they are happier for the way they’re perceiving it. And the facts are unaltered. And so that’s what I’m trying to do, is to try to change my perceptions of things a bit more so that I can be just generally calmer and just more chilled and just let things take place, just not feel so much that…I read a very interesting quote the other day where…it was in a book where someone was trying to…I can’t remember which book. I feel like it’s quite a well-known recent book, so I feel a bit stupid that I can’t remember it, but…it was something like…a character said “If I do everything right, then nothing can go wrong, or if it does go wrong, it can’t be my fault.” And that…that really resonated with me in terms of this sort of sense of duty and this sense of, you know, needing to count. Make everything alright. Sorting everything out. You know, actually, ultimately, it’s a kind of…it’s…it’s a selfish act because you’re trying to constantly get rid of blame. You’re trying to constantly get rid of any kind of finger that might point at you. Whereas if you just…sometimes things will go wrong and it may be your fault. Uhh…and you’re just gonna have to accept that because it’s part of life. You can’t constantly just error trap everything all the time. Umm…and so that really spoke to me, so I think, yeah. That’s…that’s definitely something I’m working on. That’s something I’d say to myself as a baby, I think. That would be the main thing. “Don’t try to control everything. Sometimes you just have to let it go.”
Sofie: Cool. Thank you so much for doing this.
Katy: Not at all. Thank you!
Sofie: Hey, thanks for listening to the very end. I have two quick things. Aww, I made…I made a very cringe-worthy video. For my Patreon profile. If you don’t know Patreon, it’s a website where you can sign up and support your favorite podcasts financially. Uh, you have to pick an amount, say for example, $5 per episode, and then you can type in your credit card information, and then you never have to worry about it again. It just automatically deducts that amount per month. It’s incredible. And you have to make, as someone who does the podcast, you have to make this video where you, like, you know, sell your products, so I recorded this little speech thing, and put it on my profile. It’s sooo…uhh..I hate it. I think it ended up being ok, but it’s just watching yourself talk to a camera, is just so…bluhh… Anyways, if you wanna see it, it’s at patreon.com/mohpod, that’s P-A-T-R-E-O-N .com, / M-O-H-P-O-D. And also, if you wanna donate, that would be incredible appreciated. Oh, and another thing you can do is just tell your friends. Tell your friends about the podcast. That means a lot as well. Join the Facebook group called “The Made of Human Podcast with Sofie Hagen” and let me know who you’d like to see on the MohPod as guests, and it’s @podmoh on Twitter if you wanna suggest any guests there. Ok, I think that’s it. Thanks for listening to me ramble, and until next week. Take care!