Episode 42- Aatif Nawaz

Episode 42- Aatif Nawaz

Transcribed by Patricia Ash-Vildosola


Sofie: Hello, my name is Sofie Hagen, and you are listening to the Made Of Human Podcast, MOHpod for short. It’s a show where I speak to nice people about life: how to do it, how to be a proper human, and well, if they don’t know how to do it, we will just feel less alone together. This week, I am speaking to Aatif Nawaz, and I will let you listen to our chat in just a bit.

First, I am going on tour. I’m a comedian, if you didn’t know. I’m a stand-up comedian, and a decent one, thank you, and I’m going on tour with my brand new show called Dead Baby Frog. It’s going to be this autumn, and I’m will be in — Oh, I mean, also, I usually say this because I want you to come and see this because you’re the best people. And I will mispronounce all the words, but we’ve added a Welsh date, and I have no idea how to pronounce this, so look out for that. So, this autumn, I will be in: Peterborough, Winchester, Liverpool, Fareham, Conventry, Swindon, Leeds, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Norwich, Kendall, Milton Keynes, Bath, Aldershot, Maidenhead, Newcastle, Newport, Leicester, Manchester, Oxford, Bristol, Hull, Bromsgrove, Stockton, Cambridge, Colchester, New Milton, Redding, Whitehaven, Abe-ist with? A-bear-ist-with Aberystwth, Northampton… I’m so sorry, Aberystwth… Northampton, and Canterbury. And then I’m taking it to Denmark: Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, and Esbjerg. I’m also taking the show to the Edinburgh in August, where I will be at the Bedlam Theatre at 2pm every single day of the Fringe, and in June and July, I’m doing tiny previews in London.

Now, on sofiehagen.com, you can find tickets for all of this. All of these things, regardless of where you are, that’s where you need to go. On my website, you can sign up for my newsletter, so you will never miss out if I announce any kind of show. And I say that- The reason I’m being so weird about that is because I always feel like I’m advertising for all my stuff way too much, like I’m all over Twitter and Facebook and podcasting like, “Watch my show! Watch my show!” And I swear to you, on the day after I’ve done the show the last time, I could have done the show maybe 200 times and spoken about it everywhere, the day after I do it for the very last time I get 10 emails from people saying, “Oh, are you doing a show soon? When can I come and see you?” And you just kind of want to go, “How do I make sure that the people who want to see me know where I’m gigging?” And the best way is a newsletter, because everyone checks their emails. So, sign up for that.

Before I let you listen to the episode, we will do this week’s Acts of Disobedience. It’s a new thing, if you haven’t heard it before. It’s a new thing where I celebrate people being disobedient to a systematic oppression of some sort. This week I, not even on purpose, I tweeted two or three things were basically saying — Well, my first point was that Islam isn’t the bad thing and it’s not Islam’s fault that the terrorists are Muslim. They can’t say it’s in the name of Islam, because it’s not. I semi-defended, I guess, religion in general, but also Islam. And, oh, God, then I tweeted something about how… I tweeted “All terrorists are men.” I did feel like in that’s implicit that no, I know there were four people at some point who weren’t… You’re all intelligent people. I don’t need to justify it, I think. When people were talking about- When people talk about terror, and they go, “Oh, I wonder who did it?” they never imagine women. Right? They just don’t. Even if it is, that’s not your go-to place, because we just automatically assume terrorists are men because violence is just such a male thing. I’m not saying, “Oh, all men are,” but that’s how we raise kids! You know, little bots play war and stuff and we teach them to be strong and fighty, so of course, OF COURSE- My point just was that masculinity is toxic. We teach men to deal with their emotions with violence.

Anyways, all of that was retweeted by just trolls from everywhere, including freaking Piers Morgan. Piers Morgan, that human garbage can, and anyways the internet is exploding. I’m not reading any… If you tweeted me, I’m so sorry. I’m not reading any tweets. I’m not looking at any comments on Facebook.

So, here’s the thing: I know stupid people and I love my friends who are stupid. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to be stupid because you can’t help it if you’re stupid. It’s not your fault. Oh, sorry. Stupid is probably a bad word to use because that’s probably a bit degrading and there’s probably a better word, but you know people are just unintelligent. It’s not a bad thing. You can’t help that you’ve been given the amount of brain power. Some people just don’t get it. And that’s fine. It’s not a bad thing, being stupid. But what I hate is that these people think — these people who comment — they’re so — but they think that they’re more intelligent than me. That’s annoying.

My tweet was something like, “If I punched you in the face in the name of Leonardo Dicaprio, would you assume that Leonardo Dicaprio was a bad person?” Something like that. And then people kept writing, “Uh, well, if Leo wrote a book about how you should punch people in the face…” As if that wasn’t my fucking point! As if my point wasn’t that it doesn’t say in the Quran that they should do terror, hence it’s the same as if I punched you in the face in the name of Leonardo Dicaprio. It’s the point, and they go, “Well, actually…” And you just want to go like, “Fuck you!”

Anyways. So. That’s a new segment. I just had a weird week. It’s a funny thing when you get a lot of abuse, which is what it is. It’s threatening messages and it’s tweets and it’s like an extreme volume of tweets and comments on Facebook, and it’s so much of it. And people are aware, you know, colleagues and friends and stuff can see it’s happening, and I mean… It’s happening to such a big extent, and there are wrong things to say and there are good things to say. I don’t expect anyone to know this. Like the good thing to say — The wrong thing to say is, “I saw that guy who called you a fat cunt. I’m sorry about that.” Because I don’t read what they say. So I don’t need people to bring it to me and say, “Oh, look at this,” because I’m aware that they’re saying bad things, but I’m not giving them the satisfaction of me reading it. So those people who bring my attention to specific — That’s a bad thing. Don’t tag me in anything, don’t… I just don’t want to see it. And then there are people who go, “Just take a few days off twitter. Maybe just post some pictures of dogs. Just do some nice things.” Is also bad. Then there’s a good thing, and only two people have said this to me. No, three people now. That’s, “Keep going.” There is a guy I dated who messaged me immediately and said, “Don’t stop. Please don’t stop.” And that is the best thing. That is the whole point of this: is keep fucking going. And when they’re trying to make you silent, which is what they’re doing by sending you abuse — They don’t want you to — They don’t even want you to feel bad. They don’t want you to feel bad. They don’t want you to explain yourself. They don’t want to have a debate. They want you to be quiet. So shout louder, so like, scream.

Which brings me to this week’s Acts of Disobedience. This one is a woman called Kate, and this is what she wrote: “I went to eat lunch in a small restaurant. I sat down, and halfway through the meal, a group of four people sat at the next table. The group was two couples, I think. One couple was an older woman and an older man who was angry, loud, and complaining about his life. Every time his wife said anything, he argued with her. He was repeatedly and loudly calling her names, swearing at her, calling her stupid. The other couple did nothing apart from look at me as if they were embarrassed. I got up and said to him, quite loudly, although I was shaking, ‘Don’t talk to her like that. That’s horrible.’ He was quite shocked and said, ‘Mind your own business,’ and started to say something else. I put my hand up and repeated myself, talking over him, saying, ‘No, no you must never talk to her like that,’ then walked to the front of the restaurant to pay. I wondered if I seemed like a crazy person, but the waitress apologized to me.”

I am receiving so many of your Acts of Disobedience and I have tears in my eyes reading every single one of them because it feels so revolutionary, and I am — It feels condescending to say proud, but I am proud as fuck and I- this is so strong and so good. Keep doing it. You can send them in on madeofhumanpodcast.com. There’s a button called Acts of Disobedience, and you can be anonymous if you want. Also on madeofhumanpodcast.com you can buy a Made of Human t-shirt. And you can keep sending them to me-not at the moment, because I don’t read my tweets, but- Post them on the Made of Human Facebook page, I don’t think the trolls have discovered that one yet.

Anyways, I’ve spoken for way longer than I thought I would. I guess I had to get all of this Internet abuse thing off of my chest. Also, I recorded this episode with Aasif Nawaz yesterday at the Phoenix Scientists Club, and so this was a few days, if you’re listening to this in the future, well, of course you are because right now no one’s listening apart from me. You could be listening to this in a year’s time, and this is recorded four days after the terror attack in London. It’s also recorded during Ramadan, so Aasif was fasting while we were doing it, and then it’s also happened whilst I was in the middle of the biggest shitstorm of my career so far in terms of TwTwitter losing its mind. So, that’s some context for the time in which this has been recorded, but this is genuinely in the top five of my favourite episodes because I was blown away. Aatif is amazing. So please enjoy this episode with the incredible Aatif Nawaz.

Aatif: What’s your podcast called?

Sofie: [laughter] It’s called Made of Human Podcast.

Aatif: Ok, that’s you then.

Sofie: What do you mean?

Aatif: No, because I scan all the podcasts on iTunes, because you know I have a podcast, too, right?

Sofie: No, I just found out. Yes.

Aatif: So it’s like I’m really bad, I’m so number-focused. Where am I in the charts now? One week, I was like — Number 8 is the best I’ve done in the UK comedy ones. And then one week it was 27 or something. I saw yours and I was like, “Ok.”

Sofie: Was it over or under?

Aatif: Over.

Sofie: Oh, so, like, closer to 1 —

Aatif: Yeah, yeah, yeah, so I was like 27, yours was, like, 19 or something like that.

Sofie: Oh, nice. Nice.

Aatif: And then there was the Guilty Feminist, which I’m always close to, which is quite cool, and then the American ones like Marc Maron that still get downloaded a lot in the UK-

Sofie: And the Buxton, Buxton’s one.

Aatif: I’ve beaten Bill Burr 4 weeks in a row, so that’s nice. [laughter]

Sofie: That’s really good. Congratulations!

Aatif: All these Muslim podcast people who’ve never heard a podcast listening to mine, giving me false numbers, but yeah, it’s all good.

Sofie: Is that what’s happening? Are you getting a lot of, um…

Aatif: I have a massive fanbase in the Muslim community because I’ve been doing, like, Islamic TV for years and years, so they just follow everything. If you notice, the first comedy show I did, they’d never seen that many Muslims turn up to the Fringe Festival at the Caves every night.

Sofie: Was that when we met? Was that that year?

Aatif: Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Sofie: Muslims Do It 5 Times A Day, was that the one? Try and tell people who might not know you, all of my atheists, tell them who you are.

Aatif: I’m Aatif Nawaz, I’m a stand-up comic. I’ve been doing stand-up for this is 10 years now. This year is ten years!

Sofie: Congratulations.

Aatif: Thank you! I don’t know if I should congratulate myself based on where I am career-wise, but yeah. I’m a practicing Muslim, you know, I kind of came back to — Well, I say came back to my faith — I fully kind of engaged my faith maybe four or five years ago. It was really bizarre, really, because I didn’t really — It was one of those things where you didn’t really — I was born Muslim. I happened to be born in a certain part of a certain family that was Muslim, and so I just went to prayer on Friday, and I did this, and I recited the stuff, and I never really properly engaged until sort of my mid-twenties when I started to read more and I met people who gave me more information and kind of guided me.

I was very lucky because the people I met that were — not my teachers, but the people who guided me — they weren’t like, “You MUST do this! You must do this and this is the day and you got to — “ It wasn’t like that. It was very much like, “Well, look, this is what some people think, and this is what other people think. You go make your choice.” And I kind of always gravitate to this phrase in Islam: “Let there be no compulsion in Islam,” which is beautiful. It means you can’t compel anybody to do anything. People do things in their own time or not at all. You can’t compel anybody, there’s no judgement, judgement is for God. You reserve that. So, it’s really good. There’s nice little life lessons in there.

Just simple things in my life started to get better. I used to have killer road rage, man. I’m the worst person on the road. I get so angry and I’ll just swear my head off. And that started to fade a little bit, more and more of the time, just fade away I’ve noticed. That’s one weird thing.

It’s informed my comedy as well, because I mean… When you start to really engage with the Muslim lifestyle, the community, then you see the kind of — There’s a lot of double standards and injustices and stuff and you feel obliged to step in and, like, say something and be in a position where, especially if you’re an entertainer or someone who has a following you’re obliged to say something and acknowledge these things, which is annoying, because I’ll be honest with you: all I really want to do is tell jokes. Right? That’s all I want to do: tell jokes, entertain people. But every now and again you end up becoming a spokesman. I like to start everything I say by saying, “I’m not an Islamic scholar.” I’m still learning. I’m still reading.

I was reading some really cool stuff yesterday, like a verse from the Quran which was about people who don’t believe in Islam, the disbelievers. It was really interesting because it was from the perspective of, “Look, listen, don’t persecute me for my belief.” People assume that everybody just wants everybody to convert to Islam, like from the time frame it’s like,” You’re persecuting me for my belief, why don’t you believe what you believe and I believe what I believe?” Which is such a nice laissez faire attitude to the whole thing, which people don’t really… I don’t think people engage with that a lot. They kind of gravitate to all these kind of hard-hitting, aggressive, you know, out-of-context things. So, that’s like a mini look inside my Islamic head right now, and it’s Ramadan and I’m fasting and I’m a bit all over the place, so apologies.

Sofie: Well, first of all… Oh, I’m going to fuck this up. Ramadan… Ubaidah?

Aatif: You nailed it. Yeah, it’s all good. It doesn’t matter. In Islam, it’s all about the intention, anyway. I used to get really wound up when people say my name wrong, then somebody was like, “Well, listen. Why do you care? They addressed you. A name is just a label. They’re just trying to get ahold of you, so just don’t worry about it.”

Sofie: That’s niiice.

Aatif: Well, if they’re trying. It’s really nice, that. If you meet a Muslim person and you mispronounce Ramadan Mubarak, I would be shocked if somebody turned around and said, “WHAT?! How could you say it like that?! [laughter] You disrespect me, you disrespect my family, my faith!” Most of the time Muslims will be, “Oh, that’s so sweet! She’s making an effort.” It might be the opposite. They might patronize you a little bit: “Oh, my! Good! You can say those words! Wow! Aren’t you a talented little white girl?” They might — You know what I mean? They might go the other way, but they’ll never be, like, it will never be offensive.

Sofie: Because I do… My friend, she converted, and so she says, “Asalamalakim,” and I say, “Alaikum salam,” but I always feel… I don’t know. Not a fraud, but you know when you’re on a bus and you’re going, “Alaikum salam,” I don’t know you have that feeling, I don’t know —

Aatif: It’s nice! There’s nothing! What you’re saying, in Arabic, is “Peace be with you.” That’s it. You know?

Sofie: You’re right. They’d stare more if I said it in English.

Aatif: Islam is all about the intention, but it’s just like basic courtesy. If I go visit one of my Sikh friends, and their Sikh dad is there, I have no issue saying “Sat sri akaal” to him, which is the Sikh greeting. And some people are like, “Well, that’s a religious Sikh greeting. You’re saying — “ No, no! I didn’t just convert to Sikhism, I just thought I’d show politeness to this person, you know? It’s not a big deal, I don’t think.

Sofie: Was there a specific moment when you returning or engaging into your faith? Was there a specific thing that happened, or a specific thought or a feeling where you thought, “Well, maybe this is something that…”

Aatif: I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. I mean, there were moments specifically… A couple of years ago, I was under a lot of pressure, kind of, in my personal life. I really, really struggled, and I had an impossible task ahead of me, and without going into the specifics of it, it was related to money, and I was just really worried about it. I was exceptionally worried about it, and I just remember thinking I was in a hopeless position, there was no way I could dig myself out of this hole. I remember making a really sincere prayer. I mean, I’d go pray. After you’ve completed the physical prayer ritual, you make an actual prayer, and then that prayer is… You can say whatever you want. And usually it’s, you know, God protect my family, and my mom, and my dad, and my wife, and my sister, and my brother, and all that kind of stuff, and, well, peace and everything. It’s not that it’s generic, it’s just that you get into the habit… It’s not empty, either, but you’re not all the way invested.

But I remember being all the way invested and saying to God, “Look, listen, I need this sum of money. I don’t want it to just fall to me from the sky, just something, anything.” And it was an impossible sum of money at the time for me. You wouldn’t believe it. I remember making this sincere prayer, and it wasn’t for me, it was for somebody that needed it. It wasn’t for myself. It was to appease somebody else, and I just… It happened. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, over time this phone call happened, and this show happened, and I got booked for this tour, and I got booked on this TV show, and all of a sudden I got cast in this, and it all kind of happened in sequence. I was telling another one of my Muslim friends, “I can’t believe it.”

So, I believe in the power of prayer. Even if you aren’t a religious person, it’s an affirmation, isn’t it? It’s saying something out loud. “I really want this. How am I going to make it happen?” And even if you don’t believe in God or you don’t believe in prayer or whatever, it’s just that physical manifestation of — By saying something out loud, you make it more possible for yourself. And all these little things, it’s not like they’re ticking boxes in my head, but they always reaffirm my faith a little bit. And now it’s just something — It’s become more something… If I feel restless, I’ll go pray if I haven’t completed the 5 prayers, you know? And I still have days where I don’t always finish them or do all 5, I’ll feel restless, sitting in bed, lying awake, and thinking about things and working things out. I find more peace in prayer. I really like it.

Sofie: Can I ask you about some just, like, really basic questions?

Aatif: Yeah, sure. Again, I am not a scholar, but very happy to — [laughter]

Sofie: In your experience… So, the whole — So, you pray 5 times a day, is it sunrise, sunset, and then when is it in the middle?

Aatif: In between. The prayers are: fajr, dhuhr, asa, maghrib, and isha’a. So, one is at sunset, one is after sunset, one is sunrise, one is — There’s no kind of timeline, based on where my understanding is, it’s not, like, based on positions of the sun or anything like that. There’s 5 times that you pray, and they kind of move with the lunar calendar kind of thing. So, you get an up-to-date timetable from your local mosque or nowadays you can go online and it will give you a timetable, and it’s different prayer times, different geographical areas, but it is 5 times. I used to, like, when I started I was looking for loopholes, like what if I did all 5 together? And my friends were like, “Listen, I’m really sorry to break this to you, but if you want to do it properly, you gotta do it those times, man.” But, it’s up to you. If you don’t wake up, you don’t wake up. Once you get into that routine, you feel very —

My dad is in his early 80s, and he still does all 5 of his prayers. He wakes up. He drives to the mosque most of the time to go do his prayers, and it blows my mind, because he’s you know, early 80s, but he’s got all this energy in him to go and do all this stuff. He’s very, very energetic. I sincerely believe the prayer is a big part of that.

Sofie: Yeah! Why, uh… But why? So, it’s Ramadan now, the holy month, and it started, was it two weeks ago?

Aatif: At the time of recording, this is day 11.

Sofie: Ok, we’re recording day 11. [laughter] You did, like, a really big sigh.

Aatif: Yeah, you know what? I’m not — The thig is, it’s very spiritually fulfilling, but it is physically exhausting, right, because you can’t eat and drink for all this time, then you have to cram your eating and drinking in a very small amount of time, and you’re not supposed to be excessive, but you can’t help it! You know what I mean? You can’t. My family… it’s very hard because of the timings to do group iftars, or go and break your fast with your family or friends or any of that kind of stuff. When you do, it tends to be a really big thing, and the more I’ve — The more time I’ve been spending with the Muslim charities, they really get about, you know, let’s not try and waste food, let’s try not to buy excess to support those people and help those people and not iftar for those who can’t afford iftar. There’s so many positive social things to do where it’s enough to make you feel quite guilty for overindulging at the time of eating. But I’m knackered, man. I’m knackered. I was up at, like, 2:30, 3:00. I prayed, at 3 I prayed, and I tried to go to bed, and I just couldn’t. I googled wrestling results, [and I woke up at, like, 11. No I didn’t. I woke up at 9, because my wife told me there was an egg on our balcony.

Sofie: What?

Aatif: Yeah. I don’t know where that came from. There’s an egg on our balcony. I think it’s from a pigeon or something. But it’s a giant egg, so I feel bad for the poor pigeon that had to lay that! [laughter] Because it’s a massive egg. It’s just in the middle of our balcony. It’s not like somebody tried to egg us or anything, it’s like a big solid egg. It’s on our balcony, and she went, “Hey, look, there’s an egg on our balcony,” and I was like, “Oh, ok.” [laughter] And at that point, I’m thinking, it would have been there 2 hours. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what you’re supposed to do, like, do you call the RSPCA? There’s an egg on my balcony. And my wife just joked, “Can we eat it?” [both laugh] I don’t know if we can. I don’t feel comfortable eating it. I don’t know what they do to eggs. But, yeah, there’s an egg. The long and short of it is there’s an egg on my balcony.

Sofie: That’s amazing. Like, how big? Ostrich?

Aatif: No, it’s not an ostrich size. It’s like the size of a supermarket egg, but, like, a large supermarket egg. But it’s right there in the middle of my balcony. I don’t know what’s going on.

Sofie: Is there anything about that in the Quran? Is it a sign?

Aatif: I don’t know. I’m going to ask somebody today. I don’t think it is a sign of anything. I don’t really personally believe in signs. I feel you have a set of principles, you live by them, you try and be a good person when you’re faced with a dilemma, but I think the egg on the balcony, I feel like I can handle that one without divine intervention or anything. [laughter]

Sofie: I didn’t mean to make it sound like a woooooo, like —

Aatif: But that’s ok! You can! The thing is, it’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with having a sense of humour about it, man. I mean, some people get so sensitive, like, “You cannot joke about my faith.” And the thing is, I mean, it’s not nice to make mean spirited jokes about our faith, but most of the time people don’t make mean spirited things. It’s like a throwaway thing, and you take it as such and move on. It’s not a big deal.

Sofie: I did, well, a pilot for a documentary in Denmark, which was me and this Muslim singer called Waqas and it was about, you know, learning about each others’ culture in that way of — It was basically going to be me and him just speaking to a bunch of scholars and imams, so it was kind of learning about it from a — And the question they wanted to pose was can we make fun, not of this, but with this. We interviewed an imam, and we were sitting in the mosque, and I was, like, asking him, “Would I be able to joke about this if it wasn’t mean spirited and if it came from a place of understanding?” And he basically said no. I’d asked my friend who’s Muslim, and I asked her — I don’t remember why I came to that, but I asked if animals came into — Because there’s a Danish song called, it’s a really old, like a really proper folky song called “Can You Bring Your Dog Into Heaven?” It’s this song where this old homeless guy singing [Sofie sings in Danish] and I was just thinking about that song, and I asked my friend, “Is there anything in Islam about animals and heaven?” And she said, “No.” And I had some kind of line about that, just a little joke or something. I told this imam, and he looked very stern, he looked very serious for a while, and I thought, “Oh, no, I don’t want to have offended him. I hope I haven’t offended him.” Then he smiled and he gave me a high five. [Aatif belly laughs] And I was like, “Aww, this is beautiful!”

Aatif: That’s amazing. A high five from an imam. I don’t think that even I’ve had that. I’ve had a few hearty handshakes, but never a high five.

Sofie: Yeah, well, I was, everyone was impressed. [Bakas?] did this thing, like, open-mouthed, like what is happening?

Aatif: This is a wide misconception about — I do this as well, right? I do this as well. I do these jokes in my stand-up, sometimes I feel bad about telling them, which is, I mean, I always follow — It’s just my luck, when I’m doing a comedy club like top secret or backyard or whatever, I’ll always end up following an act who’s overly atheist fundamentalist-type, you know what I mean? Or something really pushing some kind of religious boundary, and I’ll always have to follow them. I remember, actually, in Edinburgh, I was doing Just The Tonic’s midnight show and just before me was an act who does an impression of Jesus Christ. He comes out all dressed as Jesus Christ. I forget the act’s name now. I’m so, so sorry I forget his name. But he comes out dressed as Jesus Christ. Oh! Can’t Heckle Christ.

Sofie: Oh, yeah, I’ve heard about that.

Aatif: Do you know Can’t Heckle Christ?

Sofie: Yeah, it’s like this whole show where you can’t heckle him.

Aatif: So, audiences, he just invites them to heckle him and then he has things to say back to them. It’s really funny, probably massively blasphemous. I mean, I don’t know. I’m not an expert, but I found it really funny, and I was just sitting there thinking, “Oh, my God, now I’m going to go in there and I’ve got a bunch of Muslim jokes to tell, and how am I going to do that after this geezer?” And I always open in those situations with a joke, something like, “That was lovely. Did you enjoy the last act? I really enjoyed the last act, because I’m a Muslim, and we have a wonderful sense of humour.” And I’ll do it with a very straight, aggressive face, and they’ll crack up and they’ll lose their minds. But Muslims do have a sense of humour, even the Prophet, peace be upon him, Prophet Muhammed, he would laugh and encourage the companions to laugh. There was this story that Nabil Abdul Rashid was telling me about the Prophet, I can’t remember word for word, but he laughed so hard you could see his back teeth, is the example. So, people who are very serious, people who don’t like to laugh, and it’s nonsense. Even if you go to countries with massive Muslim majorities like Pakistan — Pakistan is the one that I relate to most because I am of that origin — they’ve got a massive history of culture and entertainment, and humour and comedy, and things like that, and it’s very sophisticated as well. I mean, stand-up as we know it, the western idea of stand-up comedy is something that is developing now, staged comedy performances have always been a huge part of our cultures. I try to bring that idea the most that I can to most of my stand-up. To be honest, I just want to do club-style stand-up comedy like, “Hey, who’s going to help me fold a fitted shirt?” some nonsense that Jerry Seinfeld would do back in the 90s. Oh, God, please take — Leave that out! That sounds awful!

Sofie: No, I don’t think it does.

Aatif: It just came out awful. Anyway, or leave it in, I don’t care. Jerry Seinfeld is totally overrated.

Sofie: I don’t think he listens to it, to be fair.

Aatif: Well, he’s missing out if he doesn’t. I bet he does. I bet he does. But I just wish I could do that kind of comedy, but I can’t. It’s my whole world, you know? Every time something awful happens in the world, my first thought is “Please, please don’t be Muslim” and it’s Islamic-related or it’s a Muslim person. I feel the need to stress the fact that I’m making you laugh, just remember I’m a Muslim person making you laugh, because there’s enough of the negative image I’ve got a chance to be, “Yay, laugh! See, I’m entertaining you! You want a picture! I’m Muslim, remember that. Just remember that Muslims do this, too.” Obviously, it’s not just me. There’s loads of us, like the guy who brought us together, Taz Ilyas, he’s fantastic at doing just that, I mean, Imran Yusuf, and recently Bilal Zafar, and Nabil Abdul Rashid I mentioned. There’s so many amazing Muslim stand-up comedy acts out there in the UK that have that religious aspect to their — not religious aspect, but they address the whole Islam situation in their stand-up comedy. I think that’s super important.

Sofie: Definitely. So, how… How did you react when — Where were you Saturday night when the attacks happened?

Aatif: So, you want like an alibi? Is that what — ? [laughter] Is that what you’re doing here? It sounded like that. Where were you on the night in question?

Sofie: We’re actually not doing a podcast. I’m from the police. [laughter] This is the way we’re doing it.

Aatif: I don’t mean to make light of it. I was actually having a really nice evening, having an iftar with my family —

Sofie: Which is when you break fast?

Aatif: Which is when you break fast. I keep just using terminologies. So, where was I? It was Saturday night, right? I was at my parents’ house. I think the Champion’s League Final had just happened, and so I was watching that with my dad. My dad went to the mosque to pray. I stayed at home to pray so I could hang out with my mum and my sister, and she’d made chicken chaslik, which is one of my favorite things to eat in the world, and we ate that. She made homemade fried chicken as well, in case anyone was wondering. So, we just sat there, we were eating, we were chatting, and everything was fine. Then my wife got a text message like, “Oh my God, something’s happened in London Bridge.” She works in London Bridge. I mean, not that night, but she does . She got a text, and it was somebody in Pakistan or something. I mean, the thing is, with Ramadan, you’re so detached from news and current affairs because you’re thinking about faith. I mean, I know there’s this general election that’s going to happen because that’s thrown in my face everywhere I go. I’ve made up my mind. I don’t need any more — Anyway. You don’t really look at the BBC website or Guardian or whatever your news source is. So, all these messages started pouring in, and then we just looked and it was horrible. It just put us into a complete negative frame of mind. I can’t help myself. I end up scanning social media and seeing a lot of negative stuff. I put a post just on my Facebook, because even — I noticed that even my very close friends are starting to say things that worry me, like, “There are Muslims who believe — “ I have to keep spelling out all these things. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, you know? But they’re all repressed, they don’t talk about sex — I’m like, “Are you crazy? There’s 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. How do you think that happened? Do you think it was all conversions? No, they know about sex, I promise you. They’re not repressed.”

There’s all these bizarre things that come out of it, and I felt the need to just say something. I put it on my Facebook, and I didn’t know it would get shared the way it got shared.

Sofie: What did you say in the…

Aatif: Word for word? I can tell you. I can just look it up and tell you. I was disappointed with, like — Normally when you put something on social media, and everybody can say what they say, right, but you want to get likes and shares. I put up a video, I think on Friday which is just a funny video and I went, “Oh, I hope this gets loads of views and likes and shares.” And it got, like 90,000 views and I was really happy, and Saturday morning I posted on Facebook, “Oh, this got 90,000 views. I’m very excited.” Now, this has 760 likes as I look at it just on my Facebook profile.

Sofie: So that’s been retweets of a photo of the screenshot.

Aatif: I mean, yeah, people have screenshotted it and shared it. It’s been shared like 417 times. Normally it’s like, “Yaaay! I’ve been shared and liked so many times!” It’s an empty win, you know what I mean?

Sofie: Yeah, I know what you mean.

Aatif: I posted this at half past midnight on the 4th of June, Saturday night, “Awful news in London tonight, hope the police hunt down these pathetic people before anybody starts any witch hunts. Remember it’s Ramadan. Muslims are in mosques praying for forgiveness and mercy. Muslims are with their families enjoying meals and praying after a long day of fasting. Muslims are helping the needy, supporting charities, and fundraising. Any pathetic excuse for a human being who has the time to take innocent lives doesn’t sound very Muslim to me. Stay safe, London.”

So, that’s it. It was just a very simple — It was just to remind — It’s a holy month for Muslims, and the first 10 days of Ramadan are about asking for God’s mercy and forgiveness, right, seeking forgiveness, being introspective. It’s not about protesting or whatever, you know? It’s supposed to be about introspection. The whole month is a celebration.

I can’t do stand-up during Ramadan. I’ve done it before. I just really struggle, because A, I don’t have as much energy, I don’t feel I’m super coherent, and I’m just not on my game and I want to be as good as I possibly can every time that I get onstage. I know a lot of Muslim comics do it, and they do it well, but I really struggle with it. So, what I tend to do is I go back — I do more stuff on TV and I spend some time fundraising for some charities a lot. I usually pick one charity every year and I support them for the month of Ramadan. This year, incidentally, I’ve picked a charity called Interpal who support the Palestinians that have been affected by the occupation. That’s just one thing. Another channel, I usually do stuff for Islam Channel. On all 30 days of Ramadan on the Islam Channel they have a live kind of telethon-type thing and it’s for a different charity and millions of pounds are raised every year. Millions and millions of pounds are raised to support so many different charities.

Sofie: This is kind of Ramadan, isn’t it? To give to charity?

Aatif: Yeah! Giving! It’s about giving to charity, and it’s part of that show, like, people will keep calling in and they’ll ask the people on screen to make prayers or tell the people who are watching the show to make prayers for or remember this person, or this person is going for a job interview, or this person’s got exams, or this person’s just lost somebody or had a bereavement, or this person, and it can be anything, and people just call in. It’s a big part of our faith, giving and charity and being generous and sharing the wealth and being a bit more egalitarian.

The guy who did that on Saturday night, it was so contrary to everything that Muslims are trying to do in Ramadan. It was so contrary that — And, you know, and the thing is, it’s not really for me to say if he was Muslim or not. Judgement is for God. If he was still alive, I would wish that the police would punish him to the furthest extent that they possibly could under the law, right? Because that’s what you do. As a Muslim, you’re taught to respect the law of the land which you live in as well. That person has done none of the things he’s required to do. I can’t conceive of a world where I would identify with this person. Do you know what I mean?

I mean, Paul Chowdhry put a video up the other day, and he’s not Muslim, but he put a really interesting video, where he talked about, it wasn’t about Islam, it was just talking about fighting and the basic principle of fighting is a fight — These people call themselves “freedom fighters” — A fight is between two people who look each other eye-to-eye, right? Or there’s — A fair fight is looking at each other, and you’re going to fight, right? It’s not stabbing random people who have no idea — Women and children with — It’s just — I can’t explain it. I was so upset about it that I was totally — And it’s when you do that transition, you know when you’re totally at peace and you’re very happy, and you’ve just eaten after a long — So you’re feeling good, and then you feel that. And I was distraught. I was totally distraught.

I was so excited about Sunday morning, there was Pakistan vs. India in the cricket, which is like, you know, one of my favourite things in the world to watch is the India vs. Pakistan cricket match. It only happens once every two years nowadays. So, so excited about that, waiting for it, waiting for it, and then this just kind of took all the steam out of me. I was still excited for the match, but I was still at the back of my mind thinking about it, and all these… My phone is ding, ding, ding, ding, ding with all these notifications and stuff. And you can turn them off, but then something else will come and it’s just — It really upset me.

I was talking to my wife the other day about it, and I was — I don’t know how to stop it. I mean, people keep coming on TV, we need to do this, we need to do that, we need to do this, and I know what sounds unfair, but I don’t know how to stop it. I just don’t. People will say, “What we need to do is educate, and then what we need is to go into the community, we need to do this and do that.” I don’t know! I don’t know, because the Muslim people I know, and I know a lot of Muslims. I’ve worked in Islamic media for a very long time. They’re nothing like that! There’s not a single view — There’s never a time when I’ve been in a situation with one, any of my Muslim friends and they said something and I’m like, “Dude, you can’t — What are you saying?” And sometimes it will be more of a cultural sexist thing that I’ll be like, “Dude, come on.” And the thing is, my wife, she’s a staunch feminist, so nobody’s going to get away with saying nonsense around her, anyway. But the idea is, like, I’ve never had anybody say anything that’s made me think, “Oh my God, we need to do something about people like that.” I don’t even know —

I watched that documentary. Did you watch the documentary on Netflix The Jihadis Next Door?

Sofie: No?

Aatif: I think it was originally run on Channel 4, but it was on Netflix. The Jihadis Next Door, I think that’s what it’s called. And it was one of the guys who did the attack on Saturday was on that documentary. I don’t think in a massive part, I think he was just barely featured.

Sofie: Oh, I hadn’t heard about that.

Aatif: Yeah, I saw it in a newspaper yesterday that he was featured. So, obviously, the British government must have had some indication that this guy is, you know, this guy’s out there, and apparently, they’re watching loads of these people at any given time. I don’t know how difficult their job is, so I don’t want to say, “You should have done better.” That’s for the politicians to do. But I feel like if they knew that this guy is capable of this stuff, and the guys that are on that show, it’s so clear — The show is done beautifully, the documentary. It really gives you an insight into how twisted their ideology is and how it became so twisted. They say to the guy, he had his passport confiscated, they say to him something like, “If you had your passport, would you go to Syria or to join ISIL?” He’s like, “Yeah, probably.” And he’s like, “Why?” And he’s like, “Because then I could live under Islamic Law.” He’s like, “What would that be like?” And he’s like, “Well, then I could just live there. It would be about me collecting my JSA, my Job-Seeker’s Allowance without me having to sign on every week.”

I was like, “Dude. Did you really just say — Have you ever thought through what you just said? Have you ever thought it through?” I mean, the fallacy of that whole thing… It depresses me.

Honestly, all I want to do with my time, all I want to do, is write jokes, right? And be happy, and find a way to make other people happy, and develop my career, because I have goals, man. I want to get on Live at the Apollo, I want to get on, like, Comedy Store Featured Act, something Imran Yusuf does on a Friday, you know. I’d like to do those gigs as well. I want to do the big massive arena tours that Paul Chowdhry’s doing. I’m really grateful to know all these people, but I have goals to be on their level, and I’m not there. I feel like every minute that I’m not spending — Every minute that I’m spending reflecting on this stuff rather than the comedy, which is what I really want, it just — It feels like, not wasted time, but just a poor use of resources.

Sofie: Yeah, I know exactly what you — [inaudible] You’re also very dehydrated.

Aatif: Why can’t you all just go away and love each other? Yeah, I’m probably dehydrated.

Sofie: Maybe it’s just that. Maybe it’s not the world.

Aatif: Only six and a half hours to go.

Sofie: Oh, wow. Well, I — Because I’m, because I talk about feminism and fatphobia and all of those things, and I’ve just been answering emails today from Danish media who are like, “What do you have to say for yourself?” Because all these Danish, atheist, sexist pricks like Danish comedians who — [Danish Comedian Name] — I’m just going to say their name — has just shared my status, because I wrote one status about how this isn’t about religion at all. I wrote one about how again it has nothing to do with Islam, and then I wrote one about how most terrorist are men, and it’s probably, like, a problem within masculinity.

Aatif: Sure.

Sofie: And those three tweets were just — Today, Piers Morgan retweeted one of them and it was… It’s just been a mess. But the Danish media wrote me, being really aggressive, like professional journalists from the Danish version of ITV were just like, “What do you have to say for yourself?” And I would answer things like, “I’m a comedian!” I became a comedian because I wanted to, because I love jokes and I love being onstage, I love —

Aatif: Being subversive.

Sofie: I just love being onstage, I don’t want — I never planned on — And people said that I wrote the tweets just to get attention. Like, I never wanted attention.

Aatif: You’re just a big Westlife fan. [laughter] That’s what you are.

Sofie: That’s all I’ve ever been!

Aatif: The thing is, it’s so annoying when people take things unbelievably seriously. There’s another couple of comics who, in the wake of the recent attack in Manchester and in London, they put political stuff out there. And it’s always been an overwhelmingly negative reaction. It’s almost like, because you’re a stand-up comic, you don’t know anything about the serious world. You know how to tell — Why don’t you go into your little pub, mate, and tell jokes. This is the box that certain people want to put you in, because your opinion isn’t valid, you know? You’re just a funny person. That’s it. At best, you’re just a funny person. They might not even like your humour. I’ve seen people, incredibly talented people get some real rubbish to deal with online. But that’s just like the world of social media. People are going to get to you. Having said that, ultimately, all they’re doing is building your profile. Because they tweet, you, you know?

Sofie: Oh, I’ve sold some — Because I’m selling my last show. I’m just getting — I don’t read the tweets, but I can see, like, oh, Piers Morgan retweeted, oh God. And then I can just see the emails, oh, someone just bought your show. Keep going! Thank you, Piers!

Aatif: Yeah, exactly! He’s trying to be all, “Oh, look at this one,” but what he’s actually doing is, “Look at THIS one! [Sofie laughs] Look at her! Oh, interesting! A comedian, oh, Denmark. You know what would be good on Netflix? A Danish comedy special. That would go down well.” It’s very difficult to see things that way, because you’re dealing with the emotion- because you’re a person, you know. I’m a very emotional person, so even when I get any kind of negative feedback, I think about it, you know. I can’t just be like one of those water-off-a-duck’s-back type people. I wish I could be more like Leo Kearse, you know that guy’s so brutal and brute, and he’s just, you know. He’s just nothing fazes Leo, he’s a big, butch grrrrrrr man. But I’m not like that at all. I like Leo. I like loads of comics who have different views to me. It doesn’t matter if they vote for the Tories or if they dislike certain aspects of my faith. That’s fine. I can still appreciate their work. I can still like aspects of their personality or spending time with them. But I just don’t like it. If I get a negative — I’ll think about it. I’ll sit there and think about it.

Somebody told me, Omid Djalili, to name-drop somebody famous, he said, “All you’ve got to do is just block and delete. Block and delete, block and delete, block and delete. If you keep getting negative stuff, just block and delete. You have enough of a following that losing 10, 15 losers every now and again is not going to hurt you.” But I find it hard. I want to reach out to that person and send them a message and be like, “Listen, why? Why? Let’s have a chat about this. Why don’t you meet me at Costa? And I’ll buy you coffee and we can talk about this.” But it’s probably an eleven-year-old kid who’s just got a new phone and feels like swearing.

Sofie: I think that if you really wanted to change these people’s opinions, I think you’re right. That would be what you wanted to do. But there’s a thing called self care, which is — That would take up your whole life. Don’t block them. Always mute. Because most of them just want attention, so if they see that you’ve blocked them, they feel like they’ve hurt you and they feel like they’ve won. So, mute them.

Aatif: But if you block them, they’re not in your world any more, right?

Sofie: That’s true.

Aatif: That’ll do. I don’t care what they’re thinking or feeling.

Sofie: That is such a good person. I’m like, “No one has to know.” [Aatif laughs] But then also, I mean, I’ve been trolled a lot, and I’ve reached the point now where their words don’t, really don’t matter.

Aatif: You get desensitised.

Sofie: Oh, completely. I don’t care. I really don’t care.

Aatif: Do you feel comfortable hanging up on a cold caller immediately?

Sofie: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Aatif: Like, immediately, like the minute you work out — Like the second you work out —

Sofie: The second I find out that it’s not a charity, that it’s some — I mean, if it’s like a phone company or a newspaper, then I’ll say, “Oh, no, sorry,” and then I’ll hang up immediately. If it’s one of those weird, like, you’ve been in a car accident things?

Aatif: Oh, yeah, PPI, like insurance things?

Sofie: Because I didn’t know that was a thing. For ages, I would have these long debates where I don’t understand — So, them I just hang up because that feels weird. Because I don’t have a car.

Aatif: But even then I feel terr — Sometimes…

Sofie: That’s nice of you, but I think once it’s happened as much as it has…

Aatif: Yeah. You get desensitized, right? You feel comfortable after a while just being, “Sorry, mate, I’ve done this a million times before. Good-bye.”

Sofie: What makes me really happy is that I’m not reading their comments at all, and I just love that they’re standing there unseen. And it makes me happy just posting the happiest photos of me smiling and hanging out.

Aatif: We do that in the toilets.

Sofie: Yeah. [she laughs]

Aatif: That’s really funny.

Sofie: And I know it’s really obnoxious to comics and stuff, but I will say things like, “Oh, I wish I could care, but I just woke up in this four-star hotel because I’m being paid to do comedy [laughter]. So I don’t really have time to care about all of your negativity?” Because you know Gabourey Sidibe, she played Precious. She got a lot of hate after I think the Oscars for what she was wearing, and she posted a photo of her in her private plane saying, “I can’t care: I’m too busy being flown on my private plane being a millionaire.”

Aatif: I have mixed thoughts about all of that. Because A.) Why are you only in a four-star hotel? What’s wrong with the fives? You need to talk to your agent, man, talk that stuff out. This is nonsense. We’re talking about someone who’s going to have a Netflix special off the back of a Piers Morgan tweet!

You know what, it’s really nice when you get to do these fancy things. I did this comedy tour in December last year and they put us up in beautiful hotels. Some of them had spas. So you’d always want to get there a bit early and stuff, like, soak in the Jacuzzi. I can’t swim, but I like to just paddle around the pool.

Sofie: Just keep afloat.

Aatif: Just keep afloat. I get some floats and stuff. But it’s just a really nice part of that thing. So, even if somebody has really negative —

Again, it’s the Muslim side of me, which is this phrase I always use: “Alhamdulillah,” thank you, God, every time I feel blessed, like really blessed. I could be anywhere. I could be in a refugee camp right now somewhere in the world. That could have been the life that God chose for me. He chose to give me this, this life of — it’s not luxury, I mean, I work hard. As a stand-up comedian, I promise you, I work very hard… for ten minutes a night. When you get these nice little perks the gratitude for it is amazing. Never take it for granted is what I always say.

Sofie: It’s also a weird thing about being a comedian where I’ve so often been in really fancy hotels having to sneak in a bag of carrots that I bought in Tesco’s because I have no money. Where you’re like, “Wow, I’m being flown this place. I know this gig pays a lot in three months. But right now I can’t pay rent.”

Aatif: Dude! Listen, do you know about tray charge?

Sofie: Yeah.

Aatif: That’s the worst thing ever! You get back to your hotel room — I did something cool, The Scottish Curry Awards this year, right?

Sofie: Curry!

Aatif: Yes. Scottish Curry Awards. It’s a thing. I know. It’s a really weird thing. [Sofie laughs] It’s like this massive awards thing in Glasgow. So, they flew me out to Glasgow and they put me up in the really fancy hotel. The name escapes me, but it’s right opposite the BBC Scotland building. Really super fancy. Now, I finished this show, I didn’t really get a chance to eat or drink too much, as you do, because I was hosting the whole thing. I felt like Chris Rock at the MTV Awards. I did the monologue at the beginning and this or that. “You think your curry’s good, but my curry’s — “ It was very much —

Sofie: Doing awards is the best. I did the International Shopping Mall Awards.

Aatif: Oh, that sounds fun!

Sofie: It was so much fun.

Aatif: What won? What was the best one? Best mall?

Sofie: They had — They had a lot of separate…

Aatif: What were the categories, though?

Sofie: There was best design, there was best…accessibility thing? So there was, like, I think there was a mall in Prague or something that had —

Aatif: Loads of ramps everywhere.

Sofie: You could push a button or something, and it would say, “You’re here now, you can go straight ahead, there’ll be, like, Boots.”

Aatif: Ah, ok, for visually impaired people. Amazing!

Sofie: So, they had all these different… [Sofie laughs] But, I’ll tell you this, the person in charge of this, it was not her first language, so she had sent out an email where she meant to say, “If you win an award, we need to know how many people will be onstage so we can take a photo of you.” What she said was, “When you win the award…”

Aatif: Oh no! Oh nooo!

Sofie: So, everyone in the room thought they were — And you could see — It was so much fun in the beginning, because people were out for — Everyone had paid their own flights and stuff to come from, like, South Africa to be at these awards. And everyone thought they were going to win. I got a message saying, “Rush it. Rush it! Keep going.” And I was like, “Oh, what’s happening?” I just had to go, “And the winner is doo and the winner is dah,” because people were starting to —

Aatif: Oh, my God!

Sofie: There was almost a riot at the International Shopping Centre Awards.

Aatif: Wow. That’s awful! You got to be careful, man, with the categories. I finished the show and went back to the fancy hotel room. I know it was fancy because it had both Sky Sports and BT Sports. Which is, you know, it’s the dream. I wish I could afford that at home, but I can’t.

Sofie: Or a hair dryer that you can plug in.

Aatif: Yeah, no, they’re always just stuck to that thing. I don’t travel without my own hair dryer, because I find them too strong, and my one is, like, it’s got enough settings to — Today in London it’s so windy that I don’t need a hair dryer, but anyway.

All I wanted was a Coke, right? That’s all I wanted. A Diet Coke, actually. I called the thing, “Is the bar open? Can I come down and grab a Coke?” And they’re like, “No, the bar is closed, but if you want, we can deliver it to your room.” I was like, “That sounds great! How much is that?” And they’re like, “That will be 1.50 or something.” I was like, “Great, ok, no problem.” “And the tray charge is 7 pounds. Bye.” As he hung up. I was like, “Wait! Wait! Wait! Wai- What do you mean?! What do you mean, 7 pounds tray charge!?” So, that’s a tray charge. Come on, man! This is the thing. You have to think about it. Like, how thirsty am I? How drinkable is the tap water in the hotel room right now? Because it’s a tenner, and I’m not making that much.

Looks fancy to the world, look at this guy in his shiny suit. The truth is, I have only two shiny suits that I’m just recycling at these big corporate events. Oh, look at him, he looks so healthy and he’s lost weight. Because I can’t afford food! This is it, right? I’m trying to be as thrifty as possible, and any extra cash that I have, I like to try and get something nice for my wife or whatever, because why not? From Scotland. And it’s not like I go there once a year for Edinburgh Festival anyway, but yeah, there I was in Glasgow. In the end, I worked out that if I bought 4 cans of Coke, I think it was bottles of Coke, and a couple of packets of crisps it would kind of even it out. Not even it out, but it felt a little bit more like — It felt a little bit less like I was being totally screwed. But that’s it. Tray charge is the worst thing ever.

Sofie: And then you have tip as well.

Aatif: I did not tip that day. Maybe I should have. I feel bad. Sorry to the guys at whatever hotel that was. I forget the name. Maybe it was Park Plaza? I don’t know. Yeah, tray charge is the worst.

Sofie: I feel like it’s the most accessible conversation I’ve ever had in this podcast. A lot of people will be like, “Oh, yeah, I totally hate it when you have to stay at fancy hotels. You know when you do an awards show and — “ [laughter]

Aatif: I know, right?! I know we sound like “those” kind of people, but it’s like — To qualify, these aren’t the Oscars or the BAFTAs. We’re talking very specifically about the Scottish Curry Awards and the National —

Sofie: The National Coffee Awards or something.

Aatif: Really, did you do that?

Sofie: Or the Coffee Bean Awards or something like that. It was so specific. Anyway, I think one of them is — When people go, “Oooh,” like, this isn’t — Well, I don’t know about you, but this isn’t how I grew up. I grew up very poor. So when I go, “Oh, my God, look at this fucking hotel!” I’m not going, “Oh ho! Look at me!” I’m going, ”I’m like you guys, but this is happening to me, and it’s insane!”

Aatif: I kind of had that life before stand-up. I had a really good job, right? I was making decent money, I mean even my family, we’re not super-rich or anything like that, but we did well. Dad was very successful. He did well and he had lots to provide for us. I decided to give that all up, to start again from scratch, effectively. I had nothing. I had just some money in my savings account and a dream to be this stand-up comic/actor/… that was it, really. It was just stand-up comic and actor. The dream of one day hosting the Scottish Curry Awards! By the way, I should say it was a really fun night, in case they’re listening.

Sofie: If they’re listening, I’m available for all [laughter] curry awards.

Aatif: We could do it together.

Sofie: Oh! Like a double act!

Aatif: Yeah, totally! They do an English Curry Awards, as well.

Sofie: I’m going to get in touch with the Danish Curry Awards.

Aatif: You know that feeling of achievement? It’s like I’ve done, I’ve achieved something in this career. If you’ve got a job, and a regular job, and I’m not saying there’s no sense of achievement, there’s lots of — With the corporate world, for example, there’s a very clear ladder. If I do this and I do that, eventually I’ll get to be an assistant manager, or a senior manager, or a director, or a partner, or whatever. There’s this corporate ladder that you have but in this industry, the world of entertainment, or stand-up in particular, there’s no ladder! There’s no surefire right way to do — Ok, there’s things that you should be doing, like you’ve got to gig and you’ve got to go to as many of these, but there’s no guarantee of anything. I’ve seen some incredibly talented stand-up comics who’ve never made it beyond the club circuit. And it’s a shame, because you look at them and you think, “Oh, my God, you’re amazing! You’re one of the best comedians I’ve ever seen!” Equally, I’ve seen less talented comics make it big, but that’s not the point. There’s so many factors at play that — And there’s no hard and fast rule for how you negotiate this whole world, so when you get some semblance of success in this world, you get excited! And I think you’re entitled to it. I’m not going to feel bad about staying in a fancy hotel, refusing to pay the tray charge. Hate tray charge. HATE, hate tray charge.

Sofie: To get back — before we — This is so good. This is so good. I had two things about Islam that I really wanted to say, because at one point you said, “I don’t know how to stop this. I don’t know what to do.” I think you’re kind of already doing it in terms of you’re representing? And you are out there on stage in front of everything —

Aatif: Well, that’s what I can do.

Sofie: From, like, ten to I don’t know how many thousands of people you eventually have gigged to. I think that is a really important thing. Were you ever afraid of speaking about Islam onstage?

Aatif: No. The first show I took to Edinburgh was called “Muslims Do It Five Times A Day.” I had no idea what I was doing in Edinburgh, by the way. I was just kind of working it out as I was there. I didn’t know anybody.

Sofie: Was it in 2015 or was it ’14?

Aatif: 2015. I didn’t really know anybody. I knew, like, I mean, Taz was one of the only people I knew there, and he was so nice. He brought me into his friend circle. He brought me to dinner, and you were there, and Evelyn was there, and Kate Lucas, and there were so many of these people who are now my friends. It was really nice to get some advice, like, “What should I do? I literally have no idea.” And Bobby Mair, like, he was fantastic, he gave me the best advice ever, which was to hand out a million flyers, because that’s how you’re going to get people into your show. I just got very lucky.

But in that show, I talked about — It was about my life as a Muslim. And it was also kind of joking about it. I did this section about my top 5 fatwahs of all time, you know, Islamic rulings. There’s some really stupid ones. And I made the point: look, it’s ok to think they’re stupid. And they are! I don’t want to give them all away, because I haven’t done this bit for a while. Maybe I should bring it back. One of the fatwahs is: If you’re starving, it’s ok for you to eat your wife. [laughter] Yeah. I know! That’s an actual fatwah. I told the people who made it and which part of the world it was from.

Sofie: So, a fatwah is not — — Does it say that in the Quran?

Aatif: No.

Sofie: So, a fatwah, what is that?

Aatif: Some kind of scholar or person of authority in Islam will say, “This is a fatwah.”

Sofie: So, then, not necessarily endorsed by Allah.

Aatif: No! Not at all. This is just man-made rules that they decide to just create. Like, Ayahtollah Khomeini put one on Salman Rushdie for writing his Satanic Verses book. That’s not endorsed. There’s a lot of Muslims who don’t find him — who don’t like him. I’ve actually never read the Satanic Verses. It looks a bit complex and dull. I don’t know anything about the guy.

I feel like there are other things that we should be focusing on that are more important. And right now, Islam has a massive PR problem. MASSIVE PR problem. And this is something we need to address. Let’s do cool — And there’s people that do, you know, immediately. There’s a Muslim charity that, after the Manchester attack, held a candlelit vigil, they put together a fund, they raised God knows how much money immediately for the We Love Manchester Fund thing. Muslims responding immediately to make sure there’s not all this hate out there.

In comedy, I absolutely incorporate Islam. I wish I didn’t have to. Honestly, I wish I didn’t feel obliged to. I wish I could just joke about whatever I wanted, but at some point in one of my comedy shows, I will talk about Islam. I tell jokes, I’m not going to — It’s not going to be, “Right, just give me two seconds, guys, so I can give you a little UN-style speech.” It’s going to be jokes, it’s going to be an anecdote, it’s going to be something, because that’s all I know how to do is tell jokes, to be honest. Or write jokes. I was really amazed, because over the course of 20 something, this is the year that you won, right?

Sofie: Yeah. I had no idea what I was doing either.

Aatif: You looked like you did. I saw your show, I’m pretty sure you knew what you were doing. Because I remember trying to find your venue.

Sofie: Oh, it was awful.

Aatif: It was the annex of something. The Coat Room’s Annex? Was that what it was? I was trying to find it.

Sofie: Yeah, they changed venues 5 times.

Aatif: Yeah! It was on your poster. I thought you were doing 5 shows a day! So, I was looking for your thing, and I couldn’t find the venue. It was in the middle of nowhere! And I go in. There’s nowhere to sit down. I have to go up into the balcony, because there’s 200 people sitting, watching your show. They found you in the middle of nowhere. And apparently, this was just a regular thing. So, I’m pretty sure you knew what you were doing.

Over the course of the 24? 25 shows? I think I did 25 shows. I think nearly 2,000 people in total had come to see it. And it was a show nobody had heard of. I’d been mis-listed in the guide because of the Freestival thing. I thought I was going to get nobody, but in the end, the power of the title, and the good reviews, and word of mouth, and so many people came to see it. It was amazing. I’m still — That goodwill is still with me now. Last year, I was in the Newsroom which is not very central. You’ve got to go across the bridge, right? Basically, towards the shopping centre and that.

Sofie: It’s basically in Narnia.

Aatif: But even there, I had it full every night pretty much. Give or take a couple of days, I had it full every night. And that’s a lot of people: “Yeah, we came to see Muslims Do It Five Times A Day last year.”

Sofie: So, is your audience primarily Muslim?

Aatif: I wouldn’t say primarily Muslim, but there’s always a chunk. There’s always like 20–30% of them that’s Muslim. Almost always.

Sofie: Only! That’s pretty cool, then, isn’t it?

Aatif: There’s people that will come and see my comedy that have never been to any comedy show before. I will be their gateway stand-up.

Sofie: I get that. Like, in Denmark, I get that. People will say that they’ve never watched any other comedy.

Aatif: There you go!

Sofie: It’s pretty fucking cool.

Aatif: It’s a privilege. It’s a privilege, as well. It’s a lot of pressure! Like, “Oh, wait, hold on. So, you’ve never seen Richard Pryor, or Chris Rock, or Dave Chapelle — ?”

Sofie: Good. Don’t.

Aatif: “ — Or Bill Burr, or — “

Sofie: Don’t do that. [Aatif laughs] This is the best thing you’ll see. Don’t watch anything else.

Aatif: Because you’re the gateway. You’re the marijuana. [Sofie laughs] Just stay away from the cocaine.

Sofie: But that’s why I like doing this, because I like… you know. I know my listeners would love you, but I wouldn’t know where they would have necessarily heard of you from. They’re not into stand-up, you know? So, this is so great that they can…

I had one more question. Oh, time is running out. Two more. Ok, I have two more questions. One is, and it’s a bit… When something like that happens that happened on Saturday, what are your thoughts — Does that change your perception of your own safety?

Aatif: It probably should. It doesn’t, because I a chill guy. Generally, I’m quite a chilled out, very relaxed… I’m not really an aggressive thought person. You have to get me into a very specific set of circumstances to feel aggressive or whatever —

Sofie: On the road. When you’re on the road.

Aatif: Yeah, when I’m on the road. If you cut me off on the road — ! Oh, ah, good Muslim, good Muslim. I probably should feel a little bit, because I know there’s a lot of people that just the views that the kind of liberal, left-wing people are starting to have in the UK is quite frightening, but I’m still quite defiant. I have that defiance in me. It’s like, “No, I’m going to go and do my thing.” I’m not going to trim my beard. I’m not keeping a religious beard, I’m just, I was a bit lazy and now it’s just a thing. I’ll do everything that I want to do, and I’ll go wherever I want to go, and I’m not going to worry about these kinds of things, because I believe that whenever I’m meant to die, God has preordained that already. So, if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. That’s not to excuse stupid behavior, that’s to excuse fear of a calamity or some kind of natural event happening. I want to live my life. I want to go to gigs. I want to go and perform, get onstage, get on TV, go pray, go to the mosque, go spend time with my wife, go to nice restaurants, go to theatres, go see other gigs. I just want to enjoy my life, and I’m not going to let anybody stop me doing that.

Sofie: That’s good. When… I feel like I know the answer to this, or just assume the answer to this, but just in case, because the thing that comes up is that — The thing that I’ve been hearing because of my tweets and stuff was a lot of people at least claim that in the Quran — I feel stupid to even ask — It says in the Quran to “kill the infidels and to oppress women and all these things.” Is there anything in the Quran that even insinuates that these things are ok?

Aatif: Again, I’m not a scholar, so I’m not going to say… I’m not going to say that I’m an expert on the Quran and no it definitely doesn’t and this is what Islam is about. I think, like any faith, that it’s something that is open to interpretation. But I think what you can say is that —

Let’s break it down to one at a time, so respecting women or considering women. So, at least two that I can think of off the top of my head Muslim majority countries have had female heads of state, which I don’t think that the US, which is the supposed land of liberation has ever had. They probably should have done. They had a very good chance, but they didn’t go in that direction. We had Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, and I don’t remember the lady’s name in Bangladesh. I mean, India has had a female prime minister as well. And I know that’s not a Muslim majority state, but because of its population, it’s like 300 million Muslims or something in the country. That’s just a small example of how women — Sometimes women are held back in Islamic majority countries, but it’s often cultural rather than religious. The wife of the Prophet would often lead a congregation, a male congregation of prayers. This is the legacy of Islam, and some people subvert that. It’s all very political and social.

Just in my life, I have never expected a woman not to be able to do anything that I can do or not be appropriate doing it, you know? My wife, she doesn’t wear a hijab, she doesn’t feel the need to dress in the Islamic — I don’t want to say uniform, but you know what I mean, right? It’s fine if people want to — For me, it’s her choice — I hate that there’s these committees that talk about what’s acceptable and what’s not. If it’s the woman, let her decide. It’s totally her call! It’s just the same — She’s not telling you what you should wear! You don’t need to tell her what she should wear or how she needs to do — She is perfectly capable of making up her mind. The Muslim world has worked to do, but also does get a bad rap for that, and it’s certainly not something that is grounded in Islam.

Now. Hating the infidel. One of the things — “Hating the infidel” is a phrase — Next year’s comedy show at the Fringe. [Sofie laughs]

So, from what I gather, this is all from what I gather. A.) You’re supposed to respect the rules of the country in which you live. If you want to like in an Islamic caliphate thing, there’s loads of countries that will have you at the moment. You can go and live there. But, if you’ve living in the UK, for example, or in Denmark, or in France, you have to respect the law of the land. Now, within that framework of law, you can lobby, you can protest, you can write your MP. There’s so many things that you can do within the frame of law. But Islamicly, you are supposed to respect that law. You are supposed to respect that law, and that makes it inexcusable to hate for the sake of hating.

I think what you need to do is — If you’re a Muslim person and you use it as a framework to live your life in the most positive — It’s about community. It’s about looking after people. It’s about being friendly, you know? Sharing a good thing so that there’s more good out there. I can’t give you specific instances, sadly, but I know that anyone that’s ever taught me anything about religion has left a very positive mark on me. And it’s always unconditional. This is the other thing as well, which I really like, it’s unconditional. It’s not like, “Well, this is it and now you must.” It’s “This is it, now it’s your call.” I like that.

Sofie: That’s lovely. So, I’ll ask you the last question, and then we’ll get to plug your show. What time is your show?

Aatif: Oh, my God. 11:15 pm.

Sofie: Ooo! That’s late! Ok, well, I can see it, then.

Aatif: At the Newsroom. Again.

Sofie: We’ve plugged it now. But we’ll plug it again in a minute. So, the last question is, and I ask everyone this: Imagine you’re holding yourself as a baby. You were just born, and you get to hold yourself as a baby. Now, babies are screaming and crying because they were just born, and everything’s terrifying. This is very new and scary. Everything’s scary, and they’re crying and screaming because it’s scary. Now, you know that there’s going to be moments in this baby’s life that are going to be scary. You know, but that’s just what life is. But you can say — You now know what’s going to happen to the point where you’re at now in your life, so you can say something to this baby. You can’t change anything. You can’t make it do something different. But you can say something to it about the world that it’s going to live in and its life. You can say anything you want. What would you say to yourself as a baby?

Aatif: That’s abstract, man. I’ve got to be honest here: I really struggle with hypotheticals. I guess I would say, “You’re gonna have a fun life, man. You’re gonna have fun. Don’t worry. Nothing is always 100% fun. Things are always bumpy. But generally, you are going to have some of the privileges that some of the people in the world don’t have. So, wherever you are in your life, remember to always be grateful.” I think that’s what I’d say.

Sofie: That’s so lovely.

Aatif: But again, I struggle with hypotheticals.

Sofie: Fair enough. [Aatif laughs] I think you nailed it. Absolutely nailed it. Now, what’s your show called?

Aatif: Ok, it’s called, “The Last Laugh.”

Sofie: The Last Love?

Aatif: The Last LAUGH.

Sofie: The Last LAFF. Ok, sorry, that’s my fault.

Aatif: The Last LAUGH. I’ll do it in an American accent. I think it might be the last time I do Edinburgh for a while. It’s a real strain, just because you’re thinking about it all year. I like the idea of being able to write a new hour every year and then do things with that hour and perform it and stuff and that becomes like my thing, but last year I was very lucky to get some very strong reviews, the year before that, “Muslims Do It Five Times A Day,” kind of put me on the map, and this year, “The Last Laugh.” A.) It’s the last show at the Newsroom, I think, so it’s the last, probably the last laugh you’ll have that night. And it might be my last comedy show there for a while. It’s weird, after all these years, I still don’t have management in the comedy world. I think a lot of people just assume that he probably does, because I gig a lot.

Sofie: I would assume you did.

Aatif: I gig a lot. I get booked for some really nice tours.

Sofie: Yeah, TV and stuff. From what I’ve heard, you hosted the Scottish Curry Awards.

Aatif: I know, right? Not everybody gets to do that.

Sofie: Someone would have wanted 12% of that!

Aatif: Just me and my friend Mani who hosted it last year. This is it! But then, part of me thought, “Well, you don’t really want — “ The thing is, the goals that I have, I do want representation to get them, because I can’t get on Live! At the Apollo by myself. Maybe I could, but it’s harder. It’s easier if somebody, you know — I certainly believe that I’m capable, and I certainly believe I am doing all the work that needs to be done. So, I’m hoping this year, at the very least, I’ll snag someone to manage me and guide me and explain to me the things that I’m not doing. Because it’s another part of knowledge, isn’t it, gaining knowledge. And take a reasonable cut from my vast fortune. They can also cover the tray charge.

So, yeah, The Last Laugh is 11:15 at the Newsroom. Everybody’s welcome. It’s free. It’s part of the Laughing Horse Free Festival, so it’s just donations and stuff.

Sofie: What’s your show about?

Aatif: It’s about my struggles in the industry, basically. So, it’s about kind of the gigs I did and where I had to go and the things I had to do to get to a point — Because it’s my 10 year anniversary, basically. It’s a chronology, almost, of starting. There’s little stories in there about performing to 3 people but it still being amazing fun, and there’s other stories about meetings that I’ve had at big corporations and — I don’t care, I don’t care if they listen to this, but, like, Channel 4 and the way they sold me a total lie, and ITV, who basically stole my concept, and some of the really negative experiences that I’ve had, but how they all ultimately led to me getting to a place where I’m actually quite satisfied and motivated, and so I have the last laugh.

Sofie: You just spoiled the ending!

Aatif: Well… it’s the journey, innit?

Sofie: We still want to know what happens.

Aatif: You know Frodo’s going to get rid of the ring, you want to know how he does it, right?

Sofie: What?! You ruined that as well!

Aatif: Did I spoil The Deerhunter for you? That’s what I was talking about. [both laugh]

Sofie: What’s your Twitter? Facebook?

Aatif: I’m @aatifnawaz in everything, so it’s just my name with two As. A-A-T-I-F. Aatif Nawaz on everything.

Sofie: Aatif Nawaz. Am I saying it right?

Aatif: It’s just a label, innit?

Sofie: It fucking is. [both laugh] Is there anything else you want to say?

Aatif: Thanks for having me, man. It’s always nice to be on a podcast. That’s rated above mine most weeks. Most weeks.

Sofie: Well, after this one…

Aatif: I’d have you, I’d —

Sofie: Oh! Your podcast.

Aatif: My podcast? Well, it’s called Aatificial Intelligence, because that’s my name. It’s clever, isn’t it? [Sofie laughs]

Sofie: So, go subscribe to that. And give that a 5 star rating and then listen to that.

Aatif: You could do one or the other. I don’t mind. It’s just 20 minutes of me rambling, basically. Well, it’s not rambling. It’s just 20 minutes every week, every Wednesday about what is going on with my life and what is on my mind. It doesn’t have a firm structure. I do it just for me. It’s for my — It’s not something I want to, like, I don’t have this idea to take over the world, or to get into the world of podcasting. It was just something that I wanted to put out that was a bit more personal. I don’t feel the pressure to be super funny or anything like that, though I’m told that it often is. The last one was a bit emotional because it was after Manchester, the Manchester attacks, but, and I suppose this week will be as well, but generally it’s just 20 minutes inside my mind, whatever is going on.

Sofie: Are you going to mention me in the next one?

Aatif: I will. I’ll mention that I did this.

Sofie: Go download it now.

Aatif: So, you should hear this. It’s going to be my Listen Of The Week.

Sofie: Ooh! Well, it comes out tomorrow.

Aatif: Amazing!

Sofie: I’m going to stop this, because I’m running over. I’m running —

Aatif: I’m sorry!

Sofie: It’s not your fault! I just want to talk to you forever. Thank you so much for doing this.

Aatif: My pleasure. Thank you for having me, Sofie.


Sofie: Thank you so much for listening. I hope you loved it. I loved it. I loved it so much. One of my favorite episodes. Please share it with people, especially people who don’t know Islam, I think. And I don’t know if anyone in our liberal bubble of the world don’t know Islam, but —

People like Aatif — Fuck. It’s so beautiful.

Anyways, thank you for listening. The rest — You can turn it off if you don’t care about me and the podcast. If you just wanted to listen, that’s fine. Turn it off now. From now on, it’s only for hardcore MOHpod fans. Hardcore MOHpod listeners: the people that I’m doing this for, the people that I love. Doing this podcast is my hobby, and it’s my favorite thing to do. I get to make all the decisions. I struggle with authority. Surprise! And I spend hours editing it, and doing the interviews, and emailing people, and trying to spread the word, and creating the website, and blah, blah, blah. So, hours and hours and hours. This is our podcast, like, us, the listeners and my podcast. It’s our thing. So, I cannot explain to you how much I appreciate your efforts to help out. It just gives me hope.

So, if you want to be part of that, if you want to be part of the MOHpod listeners, these are the things you can do: you can share the MOHpod on social media like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, whatever, just a post every once in a while. Tag it; we’re on Facebook and Twitter and all of that. Maybe do a guerilla approach and find a friend that you know would like it, and message them and say, “Hey, we haven’t spoken for a while,” or “Hey, I hope you are well. I was just thinking, I’m listening to this podcast, and it made me think of you because I think you’d enjoy it. So, let me know what you think.” That would be a — That’s a nice thing, isn’t it? I do that all the time with other podcasts. Leave a 5 star review on iTunes. That really helps. I don’t know why. It’s something about an algorithm or something, but it does help. And go to Patreon.com/mohpod, M-O-H-P-O-D, and you can donate however much you feel like giving. It is a free podcast. You don’t have to do anything. Give what you feel like it’s worth.

If you give me more than $5 per episode, you get a special thank you at the end of the podcast, which is me butchering your name, and it’s going to happen right now, because this week I would like to thank Kathy Plaxlebower, Robert Knowles, Eve Wingreth, Victoria Greer, Mani Byles, Olivia Hove, Zoe Cumberland, Joe C, Helen Galiad, Karen Threth — oh, fuck — Threthaway, Threthaway? I’m going to go with Threthaway. Russell Hughes, Edith Sigo Larrsen, Lucy, Inga Elingson, Imogen Wierson, Maddy Sell, Justine Hughes — JustinE Hughes, uh-oh, Andrea Papilon, Pa-pill-on, Caleb Milkwaugh, oh, no: Manex Gerst — Manix Gerstsach, Manix Geistsach, uh-oh, what have I just said? Jessica Stoolfire, Meg Jane Young, Emma Chan, Sylvia Novek, Georgia Brown, Cathy Bewbridge, Claire Emma Walton, Andy Wargen, Geraldo Ashenkronen, Claire, Danny Beckett, Fiona Richardson, Rachel Grey-Soothacat, Pilar Herald-Van Dyke, Emmie, Eleanor, Sarah Ferrera Ikeshied, Cherie Dunfie, and Daniel Ruthfersherd. Shied. I said Ike Shied and Ruthfershied the same way with two very different words. Sorry to Sarah and Daniel.

Thank you so much for donating and helping out! It means that I can keep doing it, and it means so much.

I want to thank Bailey Lenart for my jingle, and I want to thank Linda Brinkhaus for my logo, and Phoenix Artist Club and Peter Dunbar for letting me record my episodes there. I will speak to you next week. Bye!


Transcript by: Patricia Ash-Vildosola


Episode 16- Dane Baptiste

Episode 16 – Dane Baptiste

Transcription by Zac Hilliker

[Music playing]

Sofie:  This is the MohPod, The Made of Human Podcast!  I am Sofie Hagen, and it’s my podcast, and this is episode is with Dane Baptiste…and…Oh my God!  Oh…my God!  I…to be honest with you, I didn’t know what to expect.  I mean, I’ve met Dane quite a few times.  We’ve gigged together. Umm. I think we’ve even been on, like, nights out together. Not like big party things, but like with other comedians and social situations and stuff, but, I didn’t really know what to expect when I, when I asked him to come and do the podcast, and, I mean, I…I had to sit for a good 2 hours in silence afterwards and just think.  I kept wanting to pause him and just try and swallow everything he just told me…to, to, to kinda get a grip on everything.  He’s like a machine.  It’s…He’s so intelligent, and uh and and, articulate, and and and um….I’m not saying that I’m surprised he’s intelligent. Not at all.  I just don’t think I knew how passionate he was about these things.  And that’s on my, you know….I’m to blame for that.  I should have, uhhh, I should have known.  I feel bad that I haven’t…I don’t know.  Uhh, been more invested in Dane Baptiste’s personality, I guess?  Uh, I wanna hang out with him forever now, and I wish we could have kept talking for hours, but I…I needed to.  I needed some time to, to think it over, so there will definitely be an episode 2 if he, if he wants to that at some point, but umm… Yeah. Look forward to that.  It’s, it’s intense.  It’s really intense, but…I’m so excited about it, like so excited. So, do…do look forward to that.  Just a quick few admin things.  I wanna thank you soooo, so much…you know what, in general.  I wanna thank you for donating, you know, money per episode over patreon.com.  You’re my favorite people.  It means…more than you can imagine. More than you can imagine. And I know I don’t e-mail all of you back, because I am, tremendously busy.  But whenever I get an email that saying that some of you have decided to give, like $5, or $10 per episode, it warms my heart, and I am so incredibly proud and happy.  So thank you, and thank you for coming to all of my live shows and telling me afterwards that you love the podcast.  Thank you for the emails.  I’m trying to get back to them, but I’m…I’m sorry that I’m being short when I’m emailing you back, but there’s a lot of them, and I’m not complaining.  It’s wonderful, and I love reading them, and I read them over and over again, but…you know, ugh. It means so much! It means so much, and I have to say, I love the people who email me. I can see myself…like, I could…I always think oh those words coulda been written by me had I not been me.  So, umm…so thank you. It means a lot.  I feel like this podcast is…is really going places in terms of reaching people who needs to be reached.  So I’m very grateful for that. Thank you.  All of your support means a lot. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram.  Uhh, iTunes. Patreon. All of that. It’s…I am extremely grateful. So, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Uhh…I will be doing shows, uhh.  I mean, go to my website. SofieHagen.com. I’m doing shows all over the place.  I’m in Dubai in January if anyone’s around.  Ummm…My Denmark tour is in February, so I start on the 4th in Copenhagen.  Then I’m going to Aalborg, Aarhus, and Odense.  And uhhh….yeah. Uh, sign up for my newsletter, sofiehagen.com/newsletter.  That’s just a general, like, admin-y thing.  Umm, cause, I guess also…I imagine you’re just going “Yeah, yeah, yeah! Fuck that! Just let me hear the podcast.” And I….I get that. I get that.  But maybe…maybe you should be thinking, “Am I…Am I donating money to this podcast? Should I be donating money to this podcast?”  And you know what, if the right answer is “No, I shouldn’t.”  Then fine.  That’s fine. Absolutely fine.  I completely respect that.  I have the best peo…the best people…the best listeners…the best…I’m hesitant to say fans cause that sounds like I’m, an idol, so I don’t use the word fans.  It’s weird, but listeners or people.  I have the best people. People bring me presents after my gigs. I…I’ll never get used to that. Like, a woman knitted me a cock.  Like, I got a knitted cock, or or, or whatever…what’s that other word?  Croo….croo…croo-shet…crow-shet…crow-shetted?  I sy knitted. That’s the only word that I can pronounce. So, I love you all , and I know you’re gonna love and enjoy this episode with Dane Baptiste. He is…I mean, what a…what a man! Holy shit! I am blown away, and I uhhh, hope you will be blown away too!  So, sit down. Focus. Listen. And enjoy, Dane Baptiste.

[Music playing]

Sofie: Are you, ummm…do you…I’ve heard a few podcast episodes with you, but it’s always the ones where you have to be really funny and stuff.

Dane: Yeah.

Sofie: Are you used to talking about….your emotion….your facial expression!

Dane: Yeah.  I try to get funny, but it…someone will ask me something that’s kind of existential, and I wanna answer.  Uhhh, cause you know, you have to make observations, so you just get bombarded with a premise, and it becomes me rambling.  So, I have an apology in advance for any rambling I do.

Sofie: I think rambling is encouraged here.

Dane: Good

Sofie: I think that’s exactly what I…

Dane: Maybe I’ve finally found my niche.

Sofie: [Laughs] Where are you at the moment in terms of…life?  Like what state of mind are you in at the moment?

Dane: Ummm…I would say…uh, pensive…

Sofie: I don’t even know what that means.

Dane: Contemplative.  Just uhh…

Sofie: Yeah?

Dane: I’m just thinking, I’m thinking about a lot of my next moves.

Sofie: Yeah?

Dane: And uhh, also uhh, a lot of speculation, uhhhh, socially.  So there’s some curiosity, some excitement, some dread, but then, in a way I’ve always also sort of been a kind of a cautious optimistic, so I hope for the best, but I prepare for the worst.  Which is pretty close to where we are socially and politically.  So yeah, just getting ready. And umm…but I suppose, yeah, I try and be a lot…uhhh, I rationalize it a lot in that, you know, this is not, this is nothing new…seen it before.  You kinda find that creativity prospers under these conditions as well.  

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: So you know…

Sofie: You mean like the political climate.

Dane: Yeahhh, political climate, social one as well.  So you tend like, yeah, buff diamonds tend to be found with this pressure, this heat.

Sofie: Did you see it coming?

Dane: Yeahhhh.

Sofie: Yeah?

Dane: I did see it coming.  Ummm…it, more specific examples, uhhh…with the U.S. election.  I…I was surprised that uhh, that Trump continued his, uhh, candidacy up until the election.  I was surprised, I thought at some point he’s just be like “Ehhh.  I don’t care.”

Sofie: Yeahhh.

Dane: “I’m rich. I don’t care.”  I thought, I thought he would’ve, you know…his ego would’ve kicked in and been like “I don’t need this.  I’m rich.”

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: “And they’re talking about me this way.”  But, yeah man, that was…

Sofie: So you’re more surprised about him and not the fact that people voted for him.

Dane: Yeah, I’m more surprised by him.  Because…I mean, I know…I’m well aware of the ego that he has, but I feel like, I don’t think he still understands the gravity of the situation he’s in.

Sofie: I think that as the most uplifting tweet on that whole… and during that whole thing, was someone saying, “Guys, it’s really hard to be the president. He’s not gonna…It’s so boring. It’s so much paperwork.”

Dane: So much paperwork! So much paperwork. So much diplomacy. Ummm…you know, being the lightning rod for any of the issues that are involved, and for somebody that has been on the other, more corrupt and, you know, more prosperous side of capitalism, why he’d wanna do that, it just doesn’t make any sense. Like, you’ve been able to enjoy all of the fruits of, you know, politocracy where you can, you know, lie about your taxes and lie about your income, and, you know…you can’t…you’re gonna have that kind of….it’s gonna be more transparent if you do that while you’re in office. So…at best you might get a Watergate scandal, but I think, you know, at worst…I mean, this guy could be the Nero to, like, America’s Rome.  I think that’s the stage we’re at, and I feel people, uhh…I’ve been watching South Park recently, and I think, yeah, it’s this…this fascination we have with nostalgia is gonna, yeah…it’s gonna, unmm yeah…

Sofie: Do you mean when people say good ole days?

Dane: Yeah! Good ole days!  Yeah! It’s just this whole thing.  Which is a weird thing to hear people discuss that in Western Europe where we’re a bit more secular, and, you know, fundamentalist Judaic Christianity doesn’t really breed as much as it does in the states, that people are like “I wanna go back to how it was.”  But that’s, uhh…it’s uhhh, counter, uhhh, intuitive idea against evolution.  You can’t go back.  That means you’re regressing, so we can’t go back.  We have to evolve.  Otherwise, you become extinct.

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: And, you know, I think people that have been yearning for this nostalgia, you know, maybe they should start thinking about extinction.  Cause that’s what’s next if you’re not prepared to adapt and change

Sofie: Yeah. Absolutely.

Dane: So, yeah, it’s a….it’s a very strange thing.  The theory I have about it is that, we’re human beings.  If you are an evolutionist then we do…uhhh originate from the primordial soup, and we’ve been like single-cell organisms and we’ve followed this whole evolutionary chain, is that we’re gonna share traits with a lot of our different stages of development, which mean, you know, some human beings have some tendencies to be like, scavengers or be like rodents, or…but one thing we have to do is we have to change survive, and think we’ve got to a stage…maybe as homo sapiens as a whole that we’ve just become very vain, and that we think because we have consciousness, this is where existence ends.

Sofie: Yeahhhh! This is where it ends!

Dane: Because we’re conscious of existence…

Sofie: We’re done!

Dane: Yeah, we’re done. We’re done.

Sofie: We’re the perfect way we could ever be.

Dane: Yeah, the perfect way….exactly!  That’s the point where we’ve gotten to.  We’ve gotten this weird, kind of, uhhh, vanity about it in that we are supposed to understand that evolution is, you know, borderline scientific fact, but then we can’t deal with the fact that, you know…there’s gonna be something after us.

Sofie: But doesn’t that also work on like a minor spectrum where we as, like individual people go, “Oh, I’ll never be more intelligent than I am now.  I have all of the answers right now.”

Dane: Exactly, yeah yeah.

Sofie: “I’m the oldest I’ll ever be.”

Dane: “I am the oldest I will ever be.”  Yeah yeah.  And it’s….it’s….yeah.  It’s a weird thing…concept for people to grasp. That there’s…there’s no such thing as the present.  You’ve never been able to capture it.  Like, if you reduce it metrically to a nanosecond…there is no such thing as the present.  It’s always ongoing.

Sofie: That’s terrifying.

Dane: Yeah.

Sofie: That’s absolutely terrifying.

Dane: Yeah, yeah. But…

Sofie: You say it with such calm, as if you didn’t just…

Dane: Yeah!  Because…because it’s…

Sofie: …break, the world.

Dane: Yeah, but I say it with calm because it’s something that’s out of my control.  So there’s no need for me to try to grasp something that I can’t control, and this is….so, if you’re a creationist in that respect, then is that these are forces which are divine and are bigger than you. That you should…that’s what you should be in marvel of, and maybe you should respect it a lot more, as opposed to worrying about controlling the definition of your creator or the definition of the divine, just…it’s bigger than you anyway.  It’d be a lot…You’d be a lot more disappointed if, the uhhh, if the divine was something that you could conceptualize as a human being.  Then that would kind of defeat the purpose of it being divine in the first place if you was able to work it out like that.  So, things like, you know, existence and time, they’re all of the mind, and, you know, is….they’re linked but at the same times they’re very opposite ends of the spectrum and stuff. So…yeah I guess that’s my mind where it is right now, is kind of pondering existence and…

Sofie: Wow.

Dane: And I guess it comes from, you know, now embracing comedy as a career is that, it only works if you don’t take yourself and take things too seriously.

Sofie: Yeah?

Dane: And that’s the thing is that, you know, even if I do sometimes contextualize my thoughts in terms of being a young man or being a black man or a heterosexual man…it’s that, you know…you also…you’re not the best black guy to ever live.  Greater, stronger men who may have been more actively involved in civil rights or….or emancipation have lived before you.  Umm, so I shouldn’t take myself too seriously, and at the same time you’re conflict by the fact that….it’s likely you’re composed of the same atoms because nothing is created or destroyed.  You’re composed of the same thing.  Umm, and that’s the thing, yeah, and I guess when you start to leave yourself open to that kind of thinking, you see why there is an intersect between evolutionist and creation theory, because…what I’m describing is, you know, the laws of physics where nothing can be created or destroyed.  Your body will be composed of dead matter, and that’s come together, and it’s carbon.  Which technically is…you’re describing reincarnation to creationists.  So they all…there’s all…It’s all the same, so you just can’t shit too seriously man.  So I guess that’s it.  Yeah. I’m just watching the world burn.

Sofie: [Laughs] But are you…but you should know you’re analyzing it burning.  Like while you’re watching it burn, you have your analytical glasses on.

Dane: Yeah.  Cause I guess…I guess…I suppose in comedy or if you’re some kind of creative, you’re chronicling your time here.  So that’s what I’m doing.

Sofie: Yeah!

Dane: You know, I guess this is the part I saw, which I guess I’ll be able to relate to somebody at some point, or pass that on to successive generations or successive organisms or whatever it is.  So it’s just me watching and observing, and…and maybe learning, maybe learning stuff, and maybe, you know…maybe parts of me are like, “You know, some of this is familiar.”

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: But like I said, it’s taken place on a smaller scale.  Maybe I saw like anarchy and saw systems of racism trying to reprise themselves when I was in primary school, and you just seeing it again.  You see how it unfolds, and so…I guess I can be a bit more relaxed about it.

Sofie: Do you feel, uhhh, you said there had been better…better people in the struggle against racism.  Do you feel like a responsibility, cause now you’re a public figure.

Dane: Yeah.

Sofie: Do you feel like you should be fighting against it in a more activist way, or…do you know what I mean?

Dane: Yeah.  I mean, I look it as though, you know, they will probably become a time when I can be more actively involved.  And I feel like I’m gaining more profile, but probably not at level whereby I can necessarily affect things by what I say, as much as I’d like to, so, ummm…I think it is, uhhh…when you think there’s nothing that you can do, you do what you can.

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: So, you know, I guess in me is that I have to be a coherent mouthpiece and be a…and provide like a positive perspective or positive aesthetic, but at the same time, you know, some people aren’t gonna like me no matter what I do.  And I kinda like that.

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: Cause it means I’m not lost about myself.  And, I say if you’re lucky, if you’re upsetting some people, you’re supposed to be…

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: Cause you’re challenging the way they think, and you’re waking them from that cognitive dissonance, so they should be scared!  So in that way, maybe sometimes if you are antagonizing people it’s a good thing.

Sofie: Yeah!

Dane: So, I’m, I’m…

Sofie: Do you get people telling that they don’t…that they’re not into you?

Dane: Ummm…Sometimes, yeah.  I get stuff…Umm…I’ve had, you know, trolls online and stuff as well.

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: But again, it’s like…I find things a lot easier to uhh, rationalize and deal with, but I just thinking of them in terms…as in such a…as much as an infantile way as possible.  Cause I just think a lot the things…and you know, there’s theories like, you know, psycho…psychology theories that suggest that your formative years are from naught to 7. So what kind of person you are by then is the kind of person you’re gonna be…and…and not necessarily meaning you wouldn’t change, but it’s maybe your approach to dealing with certain social situations will be the same. And, you, know, I remember when I was 7 and older, it used to be people that are anonymous who used to scroll stuff onto like school desks, they’d write, or they’d put a swastika on a school desk, or they’d write something on the toilet cubicle.  And you wouldn’t know who they were, but you would assume, well, they were never somebody you would give the time of day to, cause you think “Well, if you’ve got the time to sit in a public toilet and write that, then you’ve got so many issues that I can’t even bother to deal with.” Like, no one else…everyone else is transient when it comes to like, a toilet on a train, so the fact that you’ve taken this time and…you know…your first thought, or my first thought is, “It smells of other people’s feces in here.  Let me do what I need to do and leave as soon as possible.”  This person has taken enough to be like, “Oh my God.  Let me, errrr!”  And so, you never gave them the time of day. You never gave them any more thought about that, but it’s just that because we live in the here and now where, supposedly if something is produced digitally, then it has some level of “adadation.”  And that’s who they are, is trolls are the same people who used to write on the back of buses, on back of a chair on public transport, or in a park where you see something offensive, and be like, “Who’s got time to do that in a park?” You know…that’s just who they are, but it’s just that…people…they just…this tribe has now migrated online, like most other ones, and we’ve just got this idea that they’re any more dangerous, and they’re not really.  So, ummm…yeah, I do get backlash from people as well.  It’s just that I’ve had enough experience so you can…I actually…I actually prefer…racism.  Extroverted racism to racism posing as pseudo-intellectualism.

Sofie: Ohhhh. Yeah.

Dane: That’s even…that’s much worse. Or denial. Even denial of racism. That’s even worse.  I find that a lot more offensive. It’s like, you know.  I…I don’t have to experience sexual assault as a woman for me to know that it exists.

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: I didn’t…I don’t need to be presented necessarily with statistical evidence for me to know that it exists.  Like, you should have, enough emotional intelligence to know that that kind of thing exists.

Sofie: Are people denying that racism exists?

Dane: I mean, that was a big part of…like when I first started doing comedy in the UK, there was a lot of…you’d hear a lot of mutterings of “Oh, what’s with that race stuff?  Why are we talking about race?  That’s not really an issue in the UK.”  It was…

Sofie: What!?

Dane: That was always a conversation, and I think most, uhhh…I think most acts of color would be able to verify that, but a lot of the time people are like, “We haven’t got race as an issue in the UK like it is in the states. Race is not a big thing, and race is not a big deal.  Why are you always going on about race?  …..race-based material.”  And it was a lot of denial about the existence of it, and, you know…it’s kinda like….it’s so funny that, you know, you can show these people the X-Files, and they’d be like, “Well, there might be some truth in that.”  But racism and everyone’s like, “We need to see more evidence.”

Sofie: [Laughing]

Dane: Which is weird, so…

Sofie: But I guess a lot of the problem…I feel like I’ve heard about like liberalism at the moment is that we’re all in this bubble, and we all…you know, like we didn’t think that Brexit would actually happen because all of our friends on Facebook would never vote for Brexit.  So I get that you can be a bit…like I get shocked when I meet people who feel that way, but we know it’s real.  Like you can’t not know it’s real…

Dane: To be honest…yeah…there is…I mean, I guess the uhhh, liberal caucus of sorts is dealing with a lot of backlash from people being like…everyone’s being like, “You were so stupid. You were so naïve. You didn’t know that this is what the world was like.”  And that’s true to an extent, but at the same time, like most people, you’re only able to form your perception based on the stimuli that you see, so I would argue…and I’ve argued this many times with people, is that, there came a point at the turn of the century where people got to see some, uhhh…some caricatured versions of themselves that shed their aesthetic, and we all thought, “Oh! Well, you know, I’m seeing some gay people on TV, cause Will & Grade, or you know, or Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and…which means now, you know, it’s fine.  And people are making songs about, you know, homosexual relationships.  Katy Perry’s got a song about kissing a girl, and she liked it! Yuh!”  So, everyone started rejoicing at this idea that we’d now had this new dawn of liberalism, however…the issue is that aesthetic is not the same as, uhhh, you know, political paradigms, or social paradigms, or economic ones, because while Katy Perry was reaching chart success with that song, when the issue of homosexual marriage came up, then she wasn’t around.  And, you know, there’s this whole, and you know…it’s the same kind of thing where…it’s nice for everybody to have, you know, box braids and everyone to enjoy hip hop now, and everyone’s allowed to enjoy twerking, but then no one really wants to comment and make songs about the fact that most…60% of women are victims of sexual assault before they’re 19, and, you know, and that…obviously, we still are being apolog…very apologists, and you know…just…a lot of people kinda like, “Well, you know, it’s a lot more black people on TV now through the reality shows and stuff like that.”  And everyone’s like, “It’s fine now, and you can make money.” But, it’s like, well the economy has expanded and that’s why everyone is doing ok.  And then…and that all coincided with like new label taking power in the UK, and people being able to go to university.  And everyone was fed this lie that everything’s ok now.  And, it’s just…a weird thing again where people feel that is things expand they have to contract, and these people…you might not hear them, doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared.  And, yeah, I just think we got to this point where people started resting on their laurels.  And, you know, and it’s….it just shows you. It’s actually strangely linked to economics, cause soon as the economy contracted and we had, you know, crisis, 2002, 2008…then you start to seeing the rise of right-wing groups again.  And people…you know…when people could afford to employ a Polish person, it was fine.  Now that they can’t afford to employ one, they need to do work themselves…all of a sudden, Polish people are a problem. And then, so…

Sofie: And there’s that thing of giving a bit…and then…and then feeling that that’s enough.

Dane: Yes. Yeah yeah.

Sofie: No no. We have…

Dane: Good point. That’s a great point.

Sofie: “We have a woman on a panel show.  What more do you want?  You got a vote. What else do you want?”

Dane: That’s a great point.  That’s a really good point.  That’s a great point, Sofie.  Cause, this is a argument with some of see, my contemporaries of color, is that having more doesn’t mean it’s equal.  But this is…this is the response.  People are like, “Well, it’s better than it has been.”  Doesn’t mean it’s good.  You know…it’s like, you know…you’re not…”I’m raped and beaten.”  “Oh, he didn’t beat me today, but I was still raped.”  Doesn’t make anything ok.  

Sofie: Yeah, that’s not how it works.

Dane: You’re still being abused, so…

Sofie: Yeah, like one woman on a panel show…there’s still 50% of us in the population.

Dane: Well, exactly, yeah.  More than them in the population, and that’s the uhh…that’s part of the entire paradox of, you know, of contemporary life, is that some men have this inept fear of a gynocracy, where if women ruled the world…”But if they ruled the world then, wars! And blah blah blah!”  Yeah, but there’s already wars, so…I don’t know what your point is that wars, so if there wasn’t, then we’d have pax humana cause we don’t. Cause we have wars, and we have perpetual wars.  Anyway, “The violence and the emotion. Blah blah…”  But we still have ongoing violence and…usually they are the recipients of violence before anybody else, especially at times of war, and yet, you know…

Sofie: Yeah, look at the world now. How much worse could it get?

Dane: Yeah, how much worse could it get?  But then it’s…at the same time it’s, “Well, women!  And then feminists just wanna punish men!”  Well if women lived to just punish men, they could just kill you as soon as you come out of the womb.  And that would be the end of it.  So, very clearly there is not this concerted effort for them to destroy the patriarchy because at every point in life…a man has cried for a woman’s love and care, and in most cases, you are reciprocated with that love, so if they wanted to kill us, they could.  They could’ve done that a long time ago very easily.  So, us trying to have a hand in terms of using Abra…religion to control birth, or, you know, being anti-abortion…if they want us dead, we’d be dead.  So very clearly they don’t want us dead.  So again, it’s one of those things…once I’m aware of that, like, the idea of, you know, a whole…all feminists…it doesn’t scare me, or it doesn’t worry me at all, because, you know…you notice, my mom’s a woman, so I seem to be doing fine.  It’s not really an issue.  It doesn’t really affect you, but umm…

Sofie: You think one of the reasons that men are afraid of feminists was because they know, uhh…how much it has to do with men, and how much is has to do with men….you know, feminism being about men being allowed to show emotion, and men should be allowed to be, like…to cry.

Dane: Yeah.

Sofie: And, you know, you know how we teach men to be real men!

Dane: Yeah!

Sofie: Do you think there’s a lot of it that comes from men being fucking terrified at the idea that suddenly it’s gonna be ok to just show emotion and not having to be so tough?

Dane: I think….I don’t think that that’s necessarily all of it.  Because, I said…I mean if a man….if you have some level of awareness, you know as a man, up to a certain point you’re always crying for a woman anyway.  Because you do that as the only way you can communicate with your mother in the first place.  Because, every man receives their primary education from a woman.  You learn how to nurse, and you learn how to be warm. And most of that comes from the fact that you have to cry in order for you to receive those things, for you to be gratified. This is what you learn. Ummm…But I think, so far as, uhhh, men so much fear of feminism.  It’s umm…again it’s something that’s reinforced to them and suggested to them…not just by this man alone.  Because, like I said, when you think about it, feminism is not…it’s sort of…womanhood.  It’s feminism, which means we’re talking about, maybe, the feminine hemisphere of the brain…

Sofie: Exactly.

Dane: …as opposed to just…which is more of an idea as opposed to, you know, distinction by gender.  In the same as way that, you know, if I say a black person. Technically we’re a socially created species, because for example, Ramesh is Sri Lankan.  He is darker than like my mother, my sister, my father, but he would be considered Asian and they’d be considered black.  So, it’s not really down to your melanation of your skin.  Also, there are some black people who have never been to Africa, never been born in Africa, so it’s more against, due to mentalities cause they’re socially created.  And umm, because there are some people…I know for a fact, there are some black people that, if there was a movement, an active movement for black people to assert some power, they would be opposed to it.  You know…Ben Carson is not gonna be part of the black revolution.  We know this for a fact.  You know…He’s not gonna be a part of it.  He’s gonna fight against it.  Don King is not someone who is gonna be a part of any revolution that takes place amongst, you know, the diaspora.  So, it’s a mentality, and it’s the same thing with women, as well, is that there are just some people who are profiting from the subjugation of women, and it’s kind of like…another paradox was when, “Women can be gold diggers, and if you get divorced from women, they take half your money.”  Well, where did they get the idea that a man’s value…or his masculinity is linked to his wealth. Who’s been suggesting that to them?  Who’s producing the advert time and time again that you have to have this disposable income to buy this materialism in order for men to like you?  Who’s been telling them that for years? So, if it was down…cause…you know, most of the time, women aren’t necessarily concerned with your income.  This is how we assert manhood.  You know?  This is why, you know, the patriarchy has created a society or social hierarchy based on wealth.  That’s is not something that women have created.  That’s something men have created, so how can we call women gold diggers, really?  Doesn’t really make any sense, so…But, I…it’s just…there are just some people that…or I guess there are certain positions of power which rely on the subjugation of women. Because, you know, technically speaking, in…when it comes to the exchanges of power, it starts in the womb anyway.  Because if you’re having a child, you are potentially raising an army, and that’s how people see it when it comes to things like, you know, theologically or politically, is that, you know…if people can have children and they educate their children how they want, then, that power’s sort of out of our hands, which means we risk losing power.  And that really what the opposition o feminism comes from, because…as a man…number 1, being that, you know, the feminine is the dominant hemisphere on this planet, and really the biggest amount of people in terms of the human race on the planet, then…even…we can stratify by feminism, but really feminism is the fact that it comes under humanism, because by you saying you’re opposed to women having equal rights means that you’re opposed to the majority of humanity having equal rights on this planet, which makes you a psychopath or a sociopath, at best.  So…and also, it’s like…for most people like, if….we’re able to do what we want and women can dictate how their own children are raised, and the fact that the feminine is not pre…is predisposed to nurture, cause it’s naturally maternal, then…there really is not gonna lead to any kind of…it’s really gonna be the opposite of war.  But it’s just that issue that people are afraid because, there is just tiers of power, and the idea of feminism takes away from that power, because obviously patriarchy, you know…patriarchy is linked to a lot of ideologies that are quite counterproductive to human life, like the man has to bring home the bacon, and he has to, go outside and work, and boh boh boh boh boh.  And all these things really, they work to kind of, just stratify the human race a lot more, and that’s what people are opposed to.  And I say…when I talk about feminism, not in terms of men and women and gender, it’s just that part of the hemisphere and that kind of thinking which is about, you know, emotional expression and creativity and not having to do just lateral thinking, you know.

Sofie: Were you ever at a point where you were opposed to it? I’m talking from a point of view where I was…I’m relatively new to feminism.  I was a massive misogynist when I lived in Denmark, because I had no idea.  Did you have…were you ever at that point?

Dane: Ummm….I wouldn’t say that I was opposed to it liberally, but in retrospect, it was subconsciously suggested to me that there are roles for men and women.

Sofie: Yeah. In the same way as we’re all racists. We’re all homophobic. We all have it in us.

Dane: Exactly, yea.  So I’d probably be like, “If I’m…I should go to work and make the money, and my wife can take care of the house, and she’s the nest maker.”  That was probably the mentality that I had, but for me, I was like, I thought I was being noble.  “It’s my job as a man to bring home the bacon, and you know, my wife cooks it, and we have a family and raise our children.”  But then at the same…but then it’s more like, I guess…even now, I kinda realize I was really just regurgitating stuff that’s been suggested to me.  Because, you know, I grew up in a household where, you know, my mother waited until she had kids, and then she went back, you know, to work and got herself a degree.  And…you know, even then as a kid, I guess I was emotionally intelligent enough to know that this doesn’t affect me at all.  This gives her some intrinsic reward, which I can only benefit from, and she’s…and also, if your mother, especially in a patriarchal society, is able to achieve, then really she’s putting herself in a higher percentile.  Which means, you’re coming from somebody who’s able to achieve despite what the world tells them, so…that kind of works for me more than…that kind of works for me.  And I suppose, you know, having a black consciousness that any instance of social rebellion that’s coming from my household, I’m like, I’m all for that anyway. So, I was always on board with that, you know.  And it’s…more time I…I probably spend with my mother of recent times, is you see her more for the woman she is other than just being a mother, so…you know, like, my mother…cause she was a nurse, and so she was a…she had even said that, you know, it was up until I got married, she said dad and I was on the pill and stuff like that, and I’m just like, you know, that’s so progressive and so good to hear that she was, you know, conscious about birth control and stuff.  Like, my mom, in past conversations, as far back as like maybe 10, 15 years ago, I didn’t even hear her talking about issues like female genital mutilation and…you know, it made me aware of it, it’s just like, so it’s really…it was really good, you, to have, you know, the first woman you encounter to be that progressive anyways.

Sofie: Yeah. She sounds really cool.

Dane: Yeah.  So, to hear her talk sometimes, you think, “Oh, she’s weird.”  But, at the same…but all mothers are like that, but really, in retrospect, given the background my mother had, like…you know, I always think that there is a zeitgeist of homophobia within, amongst black men, and…it’s not just a black male thing, like male not opposed to like gays, cause, you know, we buy clothing made by gays, we dance and listen to music made by gay men, black or white, so…there’s not really this opposition there.  Like I said, it’s this fear of a loss of masculinity rather than hating a person for who they are.  But at the same time I think to myself, that’s never been something that ever crept into my head.

Sofie: No.

Dane: But again, it’s the reason why I said…it’s because, my mother was always like…you know, I used to work at a record label, so the men at worked with in those days, working in the record label on the weekends, like, some of the men were ummm…well she would say crossdressers cause that was, you know, that was the term at the time.

Sofie: Croshdr…

Dane: Crossdressers.

Sofie: Oh, crossdressers!  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dane: Yeah. So, it was, then…in my time it would have been, you know, transvestite, or, you know…

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: Or, who…there’s even…who knows the label is now. It doesn’t even matter!  But, again it’s like, you know…

Sofie: Yeah.  My grandfather once referred to gay people as uhh, ummm….lady boys, not having understood anything at all.

Dane: Yeah, yeah.  Not understanding anything at all, but…yeah, it’s just…people, you know, I guess, it’s just what kind of level of perspicacity that you have that you can use, but ummm…I mean, yeah, it probably helps me a lot more that I was in an environment where…it was very matriarchal, but also very progressive.

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: But then my dad was home as well, and also my dad is very masculine, like, he works with his hands, he’s an auto mechanic, he was a security guard.  But at the same time, I know…if his mother calls him and needs anything, there in a flash.  So…so I guess that was easier for me to rationalize why feminism works, because I know that you can be very manly and still, you know, be submissive to a matriarchal influence.  And it doesn’t…it won’t threaten your masculinity, or it won’t threated your manhood.  You know, to be aware of your feminine side anyways, so….it’s been fine.

Sofie: So when you were 7 and you were done as a person…

Dane: Yeah.

Sofie: You’ve been….so how were you like as a 7-year-old?

Dane: Very similar to how I am now.  So, you could imagine how hard it was for people in primary school to deal with me, because I would just question everything.  Like, and any time someone was giving me convention like, “If somebody hits you, you tell the teacher.”  Then I would be like, “Yeah, but, if I just stay there and just be on the brunt of a unprovoked attack, then by the time I get to you, I might be concussed, maimed, killed, or worse. So it just makes sense for me to defend myself initially, and then make you aware of it.  But, you know, given that if I experience a threat, then I’m gonna have adrenaline, and it’s fight or flight, then I’m gonna defend myself.  I haven’t really got the time to rationalize and think, ‘I should go and tell the teacher.’”  But they’d be like, “Well, we’ve got rules in this school, and you can’t bluh bluh bluh!”  Well, I’m just talking to an idiot then.  

Sofie: [Laughing]

Dane: You’re an adult but you’re an idiot, and that is the kind of conversation I would have, you know…

Sofie: As a 7-year-old.

Dane: As a 7-year-old.  And which was why I would always get in trouble with every teacher, because if they said something, and I was definitely the person that if somebody tried to justify a rule…or like, a, I guess a structure of authority on nothing other than their rank, then I’d be like, I’m not having it, I’m not listening to you.  Because…in the case of my parents, for example, if they said to me “You can’t have this.” And I said “Why?” Then, it’s like I could look at them, and they’d be like “Because we don’t afford ourselves any disposable products, and our money goes towards taking care of you, and if we have child benefit, our child benefit goes taking care of you so you can do extracurricular activity.”  There is tangible evidence that they are serving me, you know, for the good, for my good, for my best interests. You saying it’s because I told you so because I’m a teacher….that’s not good enough for me, I’m afraid.

Sofie: Yeah, I’m gonna need…

Dane: Yeah, “Cause I’m…Cause I’m a teacher!”  Well, I’ve never seen a qualification….that suggests that you have….

Sofie: [Laughing] “Can I see your CV?”

Dane: …a superior attitude… Yeah, Cause, you know, technically a teacher…you know, you might not…you’re teaching me something where you may be below a particular threshold where you’d be that qualified to even do this job…practically…so, not to undermine you, but at the same time, you just saying it’s because I said so…well, you didn’t create me, so you don’t have that right to tell me that.  Because when I fini…leave these school walls, you are not responsible, nor do you have an integral part of my welfare, so you’re not taking care of me all the time, and you don’t take care of me unconditionally, so I can’t obey you unconditionally.

Sofie: Do you feel that about all authorities?

Dane: Yeah.

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: Yeah.  Completely.  Umm…yeah, it’s probably one of the worst parts of human existence is just, yeah, is the uhhh…

Sofie: The power hungriness.

Dane: That!  The power hungriness, yeah!  The love of power as opposed to the power of love. Yeah.

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: And this is what I mean about feminism, is the sad thing is that, you know…in ways, like a lot of ideologies whether it’s anti-racism or feminism is that there are some people that, given this, you know, thrown this, uhhh, bone of power by the powers that be, and being able to make part of the bourgeoisie, sometimes they are the people that, uhhh…perpetuate the systems more than the people that created it.  And it’s, it’s actually…I think Kanye West who actually said it.  He’s like, you know, racism now is like real estate.  So much has been invested into it that now it just pays for itself.  And what you don’t even necessarily…so, before, the idea when you think about racists…conjure the idea of working class white people, but…you know, now, you have in China, like, skin bleaching creams sell all the time, people are having eye-widening surgery…where, you know, you’re still an enorm…you’re still a population of 1.7 billion people who have images of themselves projected all the time.  But now with the free economy, the idea suggested to them is that Eurocentric features are directly linked to prosperity, so that’s why they have to look more European in order for them to be successful.  That’s what they tell themselves…like, when I went to Thailand, me and my friends, we went to a bar.  I’m the only person that gets left alone. No one’s approaching me. No prostitutes are coming near me, because my dark skin is that I’m poor. I don’t have any money. But, they look Arabic or they look white, they look like they’re rich, so they’re gonna get hassled. Works out perfect when you’re a tourist.  Being a black tourist is so nice.  You don’t have to do anything. Everyone leaves alone, cause everyone thinks that you’re broke, or that you live there, so it’s fine.  Everyone just leaves you alone.  But, yeah, it’s just…it just…yeah, it just goes to show that there are just some people that, like I said, just a love of power and this idea that we have to assert ourselves by rank that causes a lot of problems, and it’s…again, it’s like, yeah, people wrestle with their internal control.

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: And so that’s just how they try and control the external.

Sofie: Well, that’s what my mom would always point at…anyone that was any kind of…anything from like ticket inspectors, to police officers, to soldiers, and go, “Why are people choosing that?  Like, just give it an extra think…”  Why would….cause I bet…of course there are people who do it because they want to protect or whatever…but there are….and you can sense it…

Dane: Yes, you can.  You can sense it.

Sofie: You can sense whose there that fucking love that you can’t find your ticket.

Dane: Yeah. Exactly.

Sofie: Just a small think like that.

Dane: Because it’s a small thing of power.  And I’ve had some heated arguments, especially at that level, cause like “You’re not even brave enough or courageous enough to even be a police officer, and put yourself in physical mortal danger, and now you’re trying to assert some authority over a ticket. Come and get it if you’re big.

Sofie: [Laughing]

Dane: Come and get it!  Come and get it! Cause you’re not a man.  Don’t forget that.  You can see this ticket, but don’t forget.  You’re not a man.  You’re a weakling.  Just remember that.  And they know that themselves, and I’ll remind that all the time, and even…it’s like…

Sofie: [Laughing] That’s so harsh.

Dane: No, but, it’s…no!  But, that…but again…Why I would…

Sofie: No, I love it!

Dane: Reason why I would do it…Not to be harsh, but it’s cause, again, like I said, these things are formed in people’s psyches when they are very young.  I’ll make them regress back to that time, cause I know why you’re here.  Cause you were bullied, and now you think you can try to get some power back.  I didn’t bully you.  You need to address that somewhere else.

Sofie: Hoe many ticket inspectors have you sent into like…

Dane: Ahh, loads! When I first started doing comedy, like 3 or 4.

Sofie: …a spiraling depression.

Dane: But they’re probably already depressed!  Why should I…they’re projecting, man…like, how people have to inhibit the behavior of others.  And even, with people, and you say like they’re in society to protect people, I understand that, but it’s just whole thing…

Sofie: You’re saying there might be some of…there might be some with good intentions, is what I feel like I should be saying…

Dane: Of course! Of course!  But the thing is that the…

Sofie: I just don’t think I’ve met them.

Dane: Yeah. Yeah!  And the reason why is because what you can argue really is that you’re still…by the fact that you’re entering the profession of policing…you’re quantifying, uhhh, morality based on your salary like how much you can do it up to.  Cause you’re only in it to contracted hours.  Once your hours end and your shift ends, then your work for changing…that ends too.  And also, police…here’s the thing as well, and it’s…it’s…it’s more of a problem with the rest of society as opposed to these authoritarians, is that...  Police…the etymology of that word is policy…so you’re not…it’s not like…you’re not a justice, or you’re not a good person.  They’re not goodies.  They’re police.  And that means that they enforce policy, which means…they aren’t in a position where they like, “I believe these ideas are…these actions that we do, or this statement or statement is for the benefit of humanity.”  What they say is “This is a policy. These are laws, which are incentivized financially, and we just enforce these laws, or we enforce these policies.”  Because technically speaking, 34 years ago, homosexuality was illegal.  Which means, if you’re a police person, you were working to enforce something which morally wasn’t wrong, and that’s the issue is that, when people think of the police, people confuse morality for legality, and those aren’t the same things.  Cause you can write laws which suit you, because laws are manmade.  Those are manmade ideas.  Morality is uhhh…is an idea of more of common sense, where…actions that cause harm or loss to a human being, or inevitably by cause and effect lead to some kind of reprisal for you and harm and loss to you, which is why you do unto others, cause you don’t want done to you.  Cause there’s cause and effect. So…but that’s not the structure how police work.  And it’s a weird thing where, you know…everyone else, if they don’t do their job properly, they’re scrutinized.  Like if you’re a dentist, everyone’s like, “Well, you’ve got to do your job. Do your job! You’re a doctor.  You do your job and do your job within those hours. We’ll scrutinize you if you don’t do it.  And if there’s one issue of malpractice, well we need to question the whole NHS!”  But, with the police, it’s like, if one of them doesn’t do their job properly, there’s no “Well, we need to really question the structure of the police and how it works and laws and how it’s designed.”  And, you know, it’s just this, uhh….it’s just, I mean like I said, with most things, like it’s a noble idea, but when it becomes, uhh….it’s lead by structure, and especially when it’s uhh…structured within a capitalist paradigm, you’re always gonna have corruption every time, because there…I just think there are some things that you can’t use…quantitative methods to validate.  You can’t…you can’t…I don’t think you can do social work efficiently based on the amount hours worked, and how much overtime somebody works, and how much money they spend, because…the need to, uhhh…remedy whatever social ill you’re dealing with…can’t…they can’t all be quantified in the same way.  It’s the same way we talk about…no, it’s the same kind of movement you see about the institution of academia where you can’t have a standardized test for different species and organisms, because if we’re all tested on climbing a tree, then most of us are gonna fail.  You know, and it’s the same thing where, you know, if we’re all expected to follow laws in the same way we follow laws, then we’re all gonna fail.  Because, we…like I said…it’s like, stealing is wrong.  But then, it depends on the semantics of what we’re talking about…are we talking about stuff that doesn’t belong to us?  Cause then we have a bunch of MPs who have written it into laws that they can use expenses, but they’re misappropriating money, and then turn around and saying, “Well, there’s not enough to go around, money.  So we have to start withdrawing expenses.”  Well, maybe if you didn’t try to buy a moat, or spend £15 on a breakfast, then we wouldn’t necessarily need to have austerity.  But, it’s written into laws, because the lawmakers have made it valid for them.

Sofie: And there’s a big museum called the British museum that has a lot of stolen stuff in it.

Dane: It’s got a lot of stolen stuff in it!  The star of India is on the queen’s crown!  You know…and again, you know, you look at the queen.  “These benefit scrounges, and scrounges….who do they think they are!?”  Well, if you think about the money, the picture on it is an incentive to continue taking things, and living a life where you don’t have to work.  Where would they get that idea?  Every time they exchange…engage in commerce, they’re reminded, “Hey!  You can do nothing and get paid for it!”  Buy the queen’s picture any time.  So…you know it’s…it’s just think thing where, you know, we need to scrutinize these systems…

Sofie: But everything that you’re saying, which is so true…to people in power that would sound like, “Oh, that’s a lot of time and effort and money that would go into doing these things.”  And a lot of people would lose all their precious power.  And then we’d have to re…it’s…is it even possible to reach that level of…you know…

Dane: Well, let’s just go back to what we said in the beginning.  Well, it’s either evolve or die. Because we are arriving at a point where our previous financial systems haven’t worked.  Communism failed, but whether or not we understand it, capitalism is going to inevitably failed.  And people will be like, “Well, communism failed.  We’ve seen that with Keebler.” Yeah, but capitalism is an idea of the exploitation of labor and resources for capital.  However, resources are finite on this planet.  Whether or not you like it, oil is going to run out.  There are going to be…sooner or not there are not gonna be any diamonds…or, you know…fresh or clean water is going to run out at some point if you don’t…engage in practices of replacing it…we’re gonna run out of trees.  These things will run out, so capitalism is not something that can never fail.  And also, we know it can fail because we had these banks collapse, and then we said they were too big to fail, but that’s not how a free market works.  Also, the fact that, you know…the state bailed out these banks, or we have a Monopolies and Mergers Commission, or we have anti-trust laws in America, shows you that we are…socialism is involved in a free market, which means there is no pure capitalist market, and also in communist…economies, like North Korea for example,…well, King Jon Il just gave power to his son, so it’s dynastic, so really it’s really not communism.  It’s more like monarchy anyway.

Sofie: Yeahhh.

Dane: So, they’re not that different.  They’re all under the same umbrella of people that use their power in a corrupt way.  So, none of it is that different really, which is why again, like I said, it’s the same thing repeating over the time is that…

Sofie: Yeah, and the whole…I was shocked to hear about the voting….how people vote in this country and in America.  I think in Denmark the voting percentage is so…I think it’s like 80-90%, and I thought that was quite normal.  I expect it to be most people voting, but in America it was 50% and here it was something along the lines of the same.

Dane: Exactly, and we say 50% when…

Sofie: So that’s not democracy!

Dane: Exac….well…and isn’t that funny that…that…again, one of our badges of, uhhh, esteem, confident in the fact that we are coming from a democratic society, but two of the most major, most world-shaking political decisions involve less than half of the population.  And when you consider the prison population as well….if you consider the prison population, it’s even worse.

Sofie: Oh yeah…I was gonna go….I was trying to find out why people weren’t voting, and it’s…like when you….like in America where there were so long queues, that people just couldn’t because they had to go home and take care of their kids and go to work.  So, all of a sudden it’s only the rich people who can vote, and the well-off people, and the the the the…upper class.

Dane: And the free people, and the people that can afford to have care, and people that aren’t infirm.  So if you’re able to walk to a voting booth, then Obamacare doesn’t really matter to you that much, cause you can walk there.  Where if you’re infirm and you can’t walk to a voting booth, it’s a lot harder for you to get there.  And it’s very strange that, you know, all these other systems are supposed to become a lot more advanced in how you consume your food, and how you consume your news, how you consume your pornography, can come to you at a touch of a button, but the idea of probably one of the most important things you can vote or participate in, still is done in the same archaic way.  We have to get up and walk to a polling booth.

Sofie: But they don’t want poor people to vote, cause then they’ll lose power.

Dane: Exactly.

Sofie: They…and…and just…giving us, like, people the vote…it’s like giving us the illusion that we can have the choice, but we don’t have a choice, because more than half of the population trusts everything they watch on FOX News.  

Dane: Yep.

Sofie: And that…if you think that’s the truth, then what do you vote…what are you voting for.

Dane: Exactly, and also, most of the population are in a constant struggle to maintain their basic physiological needs, like…food, water, shelter, you know, heat, light.  Once those are the main things that you have to deal with, it’s very hard for you to transgress that stage of needs…and talk about your need for association and, uhhh, be able to be involved in these kind of bourgeoisie practices of, you know, being in politics, and, you know, creating new social structures.  You have no involvement in that.  That’s why, like most…protests, they take place at university campuses as well, because, the youth are probably the only people that even have the time, the strength, and the inclination to research, you know, political structures, and potentially rebel against them.  And like I said, it’s all part of design.  Cause there’s democratic….polling booths close.  That’s not democratic.  Because I walk in that shift, cause I’m a hard working person.  I’m a hardworking, decent, and God-fearing American.  So I work this night shift…but then I can’t be involved, because your polling booths close at this certain time of day.  So yeah, like I said, democracy alone, in itself, it’s just an idea.  But how it’s not executed to how we think it is.

Sofie: And in the UK…at least for me, I had to register to be able to vote, and it was this…and it had to be done months and months…and I didn’t know this, and it was difficult to find the website.

Dane: Oh, it’s soooo convoluted.

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: It’s even a process…it’s even…the process of being unemployed, and the stigma that people have of people that collect like, uhhh, income support, or job seekers allowance…it’s a job in itself.

Sofie: Yeah

Dane: It’s a job in itself.

Sofie: Yeah

Dane: And…people think that, you know, it’s a scrounge.  It’s a job in itself, and again…once you’re doing something like social care, or, you know, welfare, or health care assistance in a form of like a doll, that again, within a…with a capitalist framework means that…however much we lament it and the idea of scroungers…now there’s an economy around it, so we need it.  Because, if you have a job center, you have to employ staff, which means they have to get paid, and then they have to have pensions, and then they have to have security, and they have to have pensions.  They have to have resources. And the utilities. And design.  And building work.  And maintenance. And transport to and from. And uhhh…if the building is from a letting agent, it might be lease hold or free hold, so you have to pay that as well.  Then…you have all these other auxiliary things, which means that if tomorrow we were all gainfully employed, and we needed the job center, then everyone that works in job centers will lose their jobs, which means…

Sofie: But most…capitalism is just that of…if you have a capitalist society, nothing you buy…like no one means well.  They wouldn’t sell you the best couch in the world cause then you will never buy the next one…you know.  If you love your mascara, it won’t be a good…like they…they won’t…they don’t want the mascara to make you look perfect.  Cause if you look perfect…

Dane: No, no, cause then you’ve reached, you’re fulfilled.  Then you don’t need to repeat the process.

Sofie: Exactly.  And that…that’s the sa…I worked for the Danish refugee council, and on the first day of my job, the guy who runs it, the CEO said, “We are all working towards this not being a company anymore.  We’re all working towards this not existing. We’re all working towards us losing our jobs, and you need to be ok with that.”

Dane: Exactly, but it’s the same about charity.  I ad reference this in my show is that…if you work for a charity that’s in cancer research, your first thing should be “I really hope that I get very redundant tomorrow.”  

Sofie: Yeah, exactly.

Dane: That’s what you should be doing, because if you’re thinking about having a career, then it means you want a world where cancer continues to thrive.

Sofie: Yeah

Dane: Like, anyone that works in anything, whether it’s UNICEF or Red Cross, you should be like, “The best thing…the best thing that could happen at work is if they were like, ‘Guys, world peace.  Don’t even need you.”

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: That would be the best thing.  Like, is it…cause I remember, again, going back to when I was like 7.  There was a episode of “Saved by the Bell” where Kelly’s dad loses his job cause world peace breaks out, so she can’t afford to go to the prom, and it’s like, “I can’t go with you Zack. It’s really sad.”  I’m like, “How the fuck is this sad? Who is this selfish bitch, Kelly Kapowski?  You are no longer…I like Lisa now.”

Sofie: [Laughing]

Dane: “I like Lisa now. I like Jesse too, but then she did ‘Showgirls.’”  I still like Elizabeth Berkley, but ‘Showgirls’ was a bad decision. I see the reasoning behind it, but…Yeah, I just. I remember seeing the episode, and I was thinking, “Who gives a fuck if your dad doesn’t work?  It’s world peace!”

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: It’s like the best thing that could happen!  “Well my dad can’t work in the secret services.  World peace is really hard.”  It’s not really hard. It’s good for everybody else.  Well, fine. Fuck you and your dad, Kelly.

Sofie: Yeah, I think we’re good.

Dane: Yeah, fuck you, and fuck your dad, Kelly Kapowski.  Which I can say several times, cause she’s a fictional character. So fuck you Kelly, again.

Sofie: [Laughing]

Dane: There

Sofie: That was very important.  It’s uhh…it’s important to know that we’re…cause that’s a thing that’s the biggest illusion that we think we’re cared for.  We think they want us to…we think they’re doing us a favor, when there’s, you know, Black Friday, which was this weekend.  “Oh my God. They’re giving us all of these things for cheap.”

Dane: Exactly

Sofie: And you wouldn’t have bought any of it if you hadn’t…

Dane: It’s thing…that’s the thing about power, is that it’s not just a question of people asserting it over you.  It’s how much you give away. And ummm…it’s like, for example, when we do look at issues of police brutality, people are like, “Well, they’re policemen.  They have a badge, and they’ve taken an oath.  They must be…if they’re policemen, they’d obviously got the job because…”  But then,

Sofie: [Sarcastic laugh]

Dane: who’s the biggest…the biggest serial killer in the UK, what was he?  He’s a doctor.

Sofie: Who’s that..wh, wha…?

Dane: Harold Shipman.  

Sofie: Oh, really!?

Dane: He’s a doctor.

Sofie: Oh, God. I didn’t know that.

Dane: Yeah, he’s got like 233 bodies on him.  

Sofie: Haaaaa!

Dane: And we don’t even know how many there were.  But the point was, he was a doctor.  And that’s the biggest serial killer.  All the other guys might have been truckers, and all these jobs we’ve got sorted, but the person that has the most bodies on him…was someone that took a Hippocratic oath to protect life, and he took them.  So based on that merit, just because someone has a badge, you’re just gonna give over power and be like, “Well, if he has a badge, I gotta listen to him.”  But you…in most other, you know, recesses of your life, you won’t just give power over to people just because they say, “Well, this is who I am.”

Sofie: Well, I…I remember being….19, 20, and realizing that police are human beings that aren’t…

Dane: Of course they are!

Sofie: You know, when…when…like meeting…getting in an argument with one and realizing that he wasn’t gonna necessarily follow the law.

Dane: Yeah.

Sofie: And you…I mean…which is…not what you’ve been taught, or not what you were meant to believe, or not what you…

Dane: Yeah.

Sofie: …had hoped was true.

Dane: Exactly, cause who, who polices the police?

Sofie: Yeah, it’s striking.

Dane: Yeah, yeah.

Sofie: And, apparently…I don’t know how, how…how bad it is in the UK, but when we hear about America with…

Dane: It’s bad, yeah, but…

Sofie: Oh, God. That is, I mean…

Dane: Amer…but in America, it’s always been bad.  But this is our thing about America and how the police force…is that, I think the talk show host, Montell Williams, I saw him in an interview, and he was saying like, you know, like a bigger, maybe 30% of like domestic violence complaints are about policemen.  Cause the thing is what we don’t think about police as well is that, you know, not just that they have just the predisposition to go and hurt people and hide behind a badge…but they’re exposed to violence all the time.  Now we all know that most of the time when you deal with most other people that are, uhhh, perpetuators of violent crime, they’ve been brought up in an environment where violence is normal to them. And, you know, as they say “Hurt people hurt people.”  So they would’ve experienced early childhood trauma or early trauma that’s affected their psyche.  It’s like we don’t think the police are any different.  They…they’ve…police in America probably see horrible stuff.

Sofie: Yeah

Dane: To the point where their brains become twisted where, it’s like, you know, “For me to survive…

Sofie: Yeah.

Dane: “I have to commit these acts of violence, or, you know…”

Sofie: 30%

Dane: Or, or just lost perspective.  But you think about your, like, your policemen…you think of your day.  If you’re a homicide detective, and you see…or you work in like, you know, special victims unit, you know, and you’re seeing all this sexual assault, and all this crime, all this pain and suffering.  You come home and your wife’s like, “Dinner’s cold!”  You might flip out!  But, it’s just, again, because like you said.  It’s this idea that we put these people on pedestals, and are given power over, that you think that policemen can’t be human beings.  Not just that they’re just subject to corruption.  Let’s not just put it down to corruption alone.  But they’re subject to stress, or they’re subject to post-traumatic stress disorder.  You know, and how that manifests…that, you know…

Sofie: And then they live in a country where mental house is not taken care of.

Dane: Where they…where, you know, really on a policemen’s salary they probably can’t get access to the best.

Sofie: Yeah. Oh yeah.

Dane: Which again comes back to the fact that if we are going to trust these people with our safety and well-being to protect and serve, then can we be monetizing their access to healthcare?  Cause more than anybody else, it’s like, you know….”Well, teachers want more money.  This is ridiculous!”  But they’re teaching your children, so if they want NFL player money, they should be getting it.  Cause if they go into their job with a negative disposition…if not directly, indirectly you’ll be affected.  And, this is what I mean is, and this is a weird thing about humanity, that these things are linked.  It’s all well and good to be like, “Well, these teachers are greedy,” or, you know…”McDonald’s people. They want £15 an hour.  Who do they think they are!?”  They’re people that serve your food, so if they all decide, “You know what?  We’re gonna cover this food in whatever we feel like covering it in,” then, trust me, between ISIS and McDonald’s staff…the people you want to be worried more about are McDonald’s staff.  Because if they decided to get at you, they could get you, and you wouldn’t even know. So, it’s…it’s just…it’s just a weird thing to see how all these things are linked.  Where we give our power over, and ummm…yeah, and that’s…this is what I mean.  It’s like it’s very easy to, uhhh…I guess to make these observations, cause it is…like I said, it is humanity, and…and all these…and everything we talk about whether it’s Islam or police or law enforcement or politics.  These are just ideas that we’ve had as a part of our experience and our existence.  And at some point, like I said, there will be, you know, the next stage in evolution whether it is a species that’s linked to us or a new species entirely.  That will look back and be like, “You know these guys used to have like other people that were police?”  And they’ll laugh their heads off about it and be like, “How archaic!”  But it’s just this vanity that we have where people think we equate our evolution to our technological advance, and it’s not the same thing.  Our technology and the gap between inventions and innovation is increasing, but evolution doesn’t happen at the same pace. That’s a very much slower process.  So…you know you think to yourself, “Ahhh, like people used to watch people being burned at the stake!” You know, “That’s barbaric!”  But people watch women box.  And it’s like…the women that you see boxing…they’re not dressed like they’re going out for a fight.  You watch wrestling and it’s like, “You’re not dressed in a way that someone who’s gonna fight.  Your hair’s been recently coifed and permed and dyed, and you’re wearing makeup.  Those aren’t effective tools to have…like, even if the mascara is waterproof, those aren’t effective tools to have…if you’re gonna be in a fight or you’re gonna put yourself in physical danger. But obviously there’s some part of men that shows some links to sexuality to violence, so how far along have we moved really?

Sofie: Oh, there’s so much that they’re gonna be so much they’re gonna be looking back at…

Dane: Yeah!

Sofie: …things we do that makes no sense.

Dane: Exactly, but if you look at the, like I said, cause…cause…you know, evolution takes place over millennia. Like, it takes so long, that when this next species arrives, they will look at, you know, our space and our experience, cause in, in, in terms of time… [Unintelligible]…seem like a big gap.  And they’ll be like, “So there’s practice of, you know, forcing women to be sexual but also be violent beings, went on for…”  And be like, “What the hell was wrong with these people?”  Like, we think it’s not like that anymore, but in the, in the, in the grander scheme of things, there won’t be an enormous gap between there.  And they’ll be thinking what the hell is wrong with us. And that’s the thing, I think that’s…I guess that’s why I kind of rationalize a lot of these things, cause they will pass.  And these are just ideas, and, and it’s just because this is…we are, I guess, at the forefront of the experience as human beings or Homo sapiens, we don’t…we aren’t aware of our successor.  We don’t have no precedent to what happens when capitalism doesn’t work anymore. So essentially, maybe we’re maybe on the frontier of, you know…I gotta say it man, a new world order.  It’s where we are. We’re getting to that point where a new world order is coming, and it’s...  I don’t know what connotations that gives some people, but whether or not…but what, how it exists can’t continue, and if you are, you’re an evolutionist, and you will be aware that something has to change.  And at the same time, if you’re a creationist, then you know, most of your texts will tell, when things start to get to this pitch of people, when the…value of human life just becomes something that’s very easily quantified, then things have to change. Because it means that we are, uhhh…becoming anchored within our mortal coil, and we’re not, uhhh…we’re forgetting that we are consciousness or we are soul or spirit, so…something definitely has to change.

Sofie: Does that make you wanna, like, not have kids and not raise kids?

Dane: Ummm…

Sofie: Or is that another thing?

Dane: I worry about it, but then at the same time, I think, you know…my personal opinion is that…as a parent, I’m a guardian, and I can’t own life, cause it’s bigger than me, so it transpires that I’m supposed to have children, then I should have children.  Ummm…But again, I’m a guardian.  I don’t own that person.  I can guide you to a certain point into how you conduct your life for it to be easier and for you to be, uhhh, and effective part of this social species of human being, but…it comes to a point where you are, when you become sentient, and you become conscious and you have your own dream and ideas and desires.  Then, it’s not for me to tell you, because, like I said, I’m a guardian, like mother, father, uncle…which a job title, they aren’t people.  Those can be found anywhere, so…you know, I said they are…greater men have gone before me, and maybe greater people are to come after me, so it’s not for me to say whether I should have children, cause…but, you know, it might suit to have a kid at some point, but…yeah, I mean, I don’t mind having children.  That’s the idea of being here, because again, it means I’m a part of this whole evolutionary process because I’m gonna be removing the mistakes I’ve had or I’ve made or my flaws, with my offspring.  That’s how…that’s how evolution works, in that all of my mistakes are gonna be corrected with this kid.  And so, yeah, and then…yeah, and they smash through the world, man.  They come from somewhere we don’t know, and…that’s something that you have to respect.  It’s creation, isn’t it?  So, you know.  It’s the womb, man. It’s power.  So that’s not for me to say, really!  It’s what my….person bearing my child wants, really. So, her womb, her choice.  Basically.

Sofie: I feel like everyone listening….dead excited to see you do standup now.

Dane: I hope so, yeah yeah!

Sofie: Like if they’re not already list….if they’re not already seeing it.

Dane: I hope so, yeah.

Sofie: So what do you wanna…cause we don’t have time to do much more.  Uhh, so, I just wanna…I wanna give you the, ummm, possibility of plugging.

Dane: Oh, plugging, yeah.  So yeah, ummm, thank you very much for listening, and thank you for having me, Sofie.  I wanna say my show “Sunny D” is a sitcom, which is on the BBC iplayer at the moment.  Also, on the BBC1 on Sunday at 11:50, and umm…yeah.  And it’s good to watch the show, cause the show is kinda me starting to arrive at that point where, you know…I just don’t know if…a 9-5 means much in terms of the scale of infinity, so…yeah just to get more of a visual idea of what…of what I was doing, then it’s sort of a show worth watching.  And it’s also very funny as well.  And ummm, yeah.  So, yeah, just keep supporting live comedy…and uhhh, yeah, and if you guys ever wanna come to a gig, just kind me online on danebaptiste.co.uk,

Sofie: Perfect. Thank you so much for doing this.

Dane: No, thank you for having man. It’s been fun.

[Music playing]

Sofie: That was Dane Baptiste. Are you ok?  Do you need…?  You need some time to think.  I’ll make this very short.  Thank you for listening.  What a guy!  Am I right?  What a…what a guy. Umm…I’m not sure what just happened.  Right?  I love him so much.  What a…wow!  Anyways, thank you for listening.  Thank you for helping me out with this podcast.  It means an awful lot. Umm, and ummm, thank you for coming and seeing my live shows!  If you wanna know where and when they are, sign up for my newsletter, sofiehagen.com/newsletter.  Or go to my website, sofiehagen.com.  And, uhhh, Yeah, I’ll speak to you soon. Ummm…turn off…why not…why not sit down and close your eyes and uhhh…turn off all sound.  Uhhh, and and….breathe in through the nose…hold your breath and out through the mouth. Then do that a few times, and focus on, like, touch.  Focus on your feet touching the floor….you know, the breath on your lips. On, uhhh, your hands on your knees, and just…give yourself some me time.  And by that I don’t mean masturbate, but also….masturbate! That’s a good thing, isn’t it?  I’m gonna stop talking about masturbation now…uhhh, into your ears.  I’m sorry about that, your ears, uhhh... [Laughs] I will speak to you next week. Bye!

[Music playing]

Episode 15- Miranda Kane

Episode 15 – Miranda Kane

Transcription by Zac Hilliker

[Music playing]

Sofie:  Thank you for listening to the MohPod, the Made of Human Podcast.  I am Sofie Hagen. I’m your host, and I am in Liverpool, and I am recording this in my hotel room, and I’ve just had ribs. Lots and lots of ribs.  And, I’ve had the best thing to come out of your wonderful country of the United Kingdom, which is eton mess.  It’s the best thing in the entire world, and I could probably eat like a ton of eton mess in a day!

So, I’m in a fairly good mood.  I had a minor breakdown last night because, uh, I had my show at the Phoenix in London, which is called Sofie Hagen is Alone with Other People, and there were tickets out for the 10th of January, Jan-U-ary, Jan….Jan…Jan 10th, and you can go and get tickets for that on the Phoenix Artist’s Club website.  But after the show, which was wonderful, and a lot of my friends came and did new material and stuff, one of the comedians suggested we went to another place.  And we were having such a great time, and I thought “Yes, let’s go, and and have fun and whatever,” but then this other place was this awful, I mean… It was one of those places where you would have to know it was there.  So you go through like a dark alley, and then into like a door, and then you have to like knock 3 times on a wooden door, and a leprechaun comes out, and you have to answer the secret password, and it was awful.  And then it’s just full of people! So many people!  And we were like, just ran into this tiny little room.  It was loud music, and people kept on saying, “Oh, and have you seen over there? There’s that celebrity from that thing!” And it was just, I hated it!  I hated it!  And I ended up being so anxious and so, feeling so horrible that I just started shouting at the guy who brought us… He’d done nothing wrong.  It’s not his fault that I have anxiety, and I just started shouting at him, being like “I WILL NEVER TRUST ANYTHING YOU TELL ME EVER AGAIN!”  [Giggles]  It’s just not the best way of behaving…

So!  Today I am slightly…only slightly hungover, uh, and uh, but I’m ready to do my show tonight in Liverpool, and I will try and um, and see if I can put this online before I go to my gig in about an hour.

So! That was just me, you knowing my state of mind at the moment.  The guest in this episode, Episode 15 of the MohPod, is Miranda Kane.  I imagine you don’t know who she is, and that’s not anything to say about her.  She’s not like a massive name.  She has a….her radio show is about to go out. I think it‘s her first radio show, and she’s done some shows in Edinburgh in which she talked about being a fat sex worker, or a plus-sized sex worker, or whatever, BBW, or whatever you wanna call it.  And we talked quite a bit about that.  She is soooo lovely, and I’m sure you’re gonna fall as much in love with her as I did. Um, we’ve been friends for years. Uh, I feel like telling you something about her, and I think this is a… I think this says something good about her.  But, I’m afraid you’re going to think badly of… But, please…promise me to hear me out on this.  So we were friends maybe 3 or 4 years ago. 3 years ago.  And I had been seeing a guy a tiny bit, and then I had stopped seeing him, and I was kind of friends with her, but not like the closest of friends.  Anyways, her and him like made out, and I lost it!  I’m not good at jealousy and stuff, and um, oh my God I was… I shouted at him.  I shouted at her.  And I ended up meeting with her to talk things through, and we met at this cheap, uh, restaurant, and uh, we just got bottles and bottles of wine, and we talked it out, and we agreed that no man should come between a friendship, and fuck that guy, and we’re better than him, and all of that that….like all full, you know, chick lit, uh, woman power, whatever it is. And it was um, I’m so bad with jealousy that I think that I couldn’t have done that with a lot of women.  I would’ve found it very hard, which is a bad thing, but Miranda is so cool, and so fucking tough.  And we sent him a photo of us having wine together, and he just, he wrote back a message, and he just said “I’m moving to Libya.”  We won.  I feel like we won.

Anyways! Uh.  She’s amazing, and I love her, and I think you can tell that we’re good friends, and um, we do talk about uh…it’s a controversial topic, isn’t it? Sex work.  But I, uh, she opened my eyes, I think.  And not that I wasn’t, I didn’t have any preconceived opinions.  I didn’t really know what to, what to believe or what to think, but uh, she, she made points, and I’m pretty…Yeah!  I’m pro sex work.  I’m pro sex work, and I think we should all be.  Ok?  Ok. [Giggles]  And if you have questions, listen to this episode because Miranda will probably answer most of them, and um, go and see her show, and and, catch her on Twitter, and um…Yeah, look her up, and make sure you check her out.  Uh, I uh, I’ve already rambled quite a bit.  I will just quickly say that, there is still a fewww, uh, very few tickets left for my Soho Theatre run in December, so go to sohotheatre.com to come and see my new show.  There is a discount code, uh, called shimmer16, s-h-i-m-m-e-r 16, and uh, it gives you £2 off because they’re too expensive, and I do apologize for that.  Not my fault.  Someone else’s fault, and we’re not allowed to blame them.  Anyways!  I also have a Patreon account, and I’ve heard a lot of people be very upset about podcasters asking for money.  I want you to know that it is your choice.  I’m not…I’m not, well I am begging, but I’m not demanding anything.  I love doing this and I will keep doing it.  I am talking from the perspective of someone who, uh [Giggles]  I’m at that point right now where whenever I pay with my credit card, I hold my breath because I don’t know when they’re gonna block it.  Because it’s uh, being a comedian is nice, and I am full-time, and I do this for a living, but sometimes you will be working for 3 months and won’t get paid til the end of next year for the work that you’ve been doing for those 3 months, so uh, it does help a lot that I am able to, to go to my Patreon and to have you lovely people donate money, cause you are… I love you so much.  Every time I get an email saying someone has pledged to give a dollar per episode, $10 per episode, I am sooo… I’m so happy.  Like it makes me sooo… I mean. Just basically, like a lot of things has happened to this podcast in the last, um, like in the last weeks! A few weeks, I think!  Where suddenly more and more people know about it and uh, they come up to me and tell me that their friend recommended it to them, and it makes me so happy, because I genuinely feel like… I feel like this is a really good product, like I feel like it’s a really good podcast, and it means so much to me that you share it with your friends, and you tweet about it, and that you… all the reviews on iTunes make me soooo happy!  And I think we’re gonna, let’s take this far.  Right?  The more listeners it gets, the more more it gets, the the, the bigger guests we can get on, the…you know.  People from all over the world, you know.  I’m so, I’m so happy about this.  And I am absolutely rambling.  I really am.  And uh, I’m not sorry.  Not sorry. [Giggles]  It’s my podcast.  Anyways, thank you.  Thank you for listening.  I will now let you listen to my conversation with the uh, oh, wonderful Miranda Kane.

[Music playing]

Sofie: It just won’t work for some reason.

Miranda: [Laughing]

Sofie: How, um?  So you said you moved.

Miranda: Yeah.

Sofie: Stressful?

Miranda: It was…yeah. So it was...It was um.  I think it’s because I’ve just spent a year sort of being a bit of um, mmm.

Sofie: Recluse?

Miranda: Recluse!

Sofie: I got it right? I just guessed that word.

Miranda: You did!  Well done! [Laughing]  I love these podcasts.  I was listening to them, all of them, and then like half of it is talking to your mates and half of it is “Sofie Hagen learns new words.”

Sofie: I just had one with Dan Schreiber where I tried to say S-P-U, I was trying to say S-P-U for once, no U-S-P. Oh shit.

Miranda: Ohhhh

Sofie: I’m such an idiot, and it’s Dan Schreiber. He’s really clever.  I was like “oh no.”

Miranda: [Laughing] Don’t worry, you got me now, so the pressure is off!  It’s fine.

Sofie: So you were an recluse.

Miranda: An...Ahhhh…a recluse.  Oh, so close!

Sofie: Oh, God.  Let’s start this over.

[Both laughing]

Sofie: So you moved out of London to what?

Miranda: Yeah, I moved down to Dorset into like sort of very small-towny Dorset, ‘cause my mum, ummm, she’s getting old a bit, and she’s, she was getting ill, and she had a load of operations, and she just doesn’t know anyone, it’s just like…  And it’s just so sad to see your parents lonely, you know.  And because, so I was like, “Ahh! I’ll get her out.  I’ll get her, you know, like doing her passions again.  She wants to go to a quoir, and she wants to do art classes.”  And it was just a year of trying to get her out, and different things were coming up, and she was making different excuses.  And it was just like, “If you don’t go, I’m gonna move back.  If you don’t go, I’m gonna move back,” because I’m feeling stagnant, and I’m feeling “an recluse.”  [Both laugh]  And so I was just, I was just trying to get her, you know, just making sure she was back in her fit state and back in her, back healthy, and then I was just like, and then I found this flat with a flatmate, and it was just so perfect.  Back where I used to live, and I was just like, I either move now right before Edinburgh or the next time I get to move will be in October when it’ll be cold and horrible.  So I was just like let’s just do it.  So… [Chuckles]

Sofie: Oh, wow. So you just moved back.

Miranda: Yeah, yeahhh.

Sofie: Does it feel great?

Miranda: Ohhhh, it feels really nice, you know!  Like, even just getting texts from people going “Oh, there’s a thing happening tonight,” and being able to go out and….you know, random nights out, and it’s, it’s, it’s a lot. It is nice, but it’s also nice to sort of look back and think, well I, you know, I tried. But it, it, it just didn’t work out, but like I also learned a lot of stuff about myself.  You know.  Back down south…like mainly, how much I fucking wanted to move to London!  Uhhhh!! [Chuckles]  As fast as my little legs could carry me!

Sofie: It’s often the feeling that when you go back, you’re like “Oh yeahh, I left…”

Miranda: “I left for a reason!”  Oh, my God!

Sofie: What a great choice!

Miranda: Yeah! [Laughs] I’m so proud of myself.  Well done, me.

[Both chuckling]

Sofie: I think my mom loves being alone.

Miranda: Really?

Sofie: She lovvves it! She loves it!  She prefer, like she…it was quite fun, this… I just went home for like 20 days…

Miranda: Yeahhh.

Sofie: …and living in mom’s flat.  Which I loved, because she’s, you know, she works until 4 or 5, so I have the whole day just to myself in a flat with a kitchen without any housemates is amazing.

Miranda: [laughing]

Sofie: And then, uh, like around the last couple of days, my mom was just like, “I’m really tired even though it’s 8 PM.  I’m so tired.”

Miranda: Yeahhh.

Sofie: And we talked a bit, cause she was like, “It’s weird because I’ve had my 8 hours of sleep and everything.”  And I said, “Oh, do you think it’s because you’re an introvert, because you, like, introverted people need to be alone to get energy, so…but there’s been people around you at work, and then you come home, and then I’m in the living room…”

Miranda: Yeahhh.

Sofie: “So you never get to be alone.” And she was like, “That’s it!”  Of course that’s it, so she need..like she’s an introvert, she needs to be alone to be….energized.

Miranda: But that’s such a weird energy to have. You wouldn’t have thought like a mother and daughter would have that.  But, or, like…

Sofie: Yeahhh.

Miranda: I feel it with my mom, because I feel like we don’t know each other very well, and…

Sofie: You don’t know your…

Miranda: Nooo. Nooo, cause I didn’t live with my mum when…

Sofie: Ohhh, ok.

Miranda: When my parents split up, I lived with my dad.

Sofie: Oh, ok.

Miranda: So that for me was also like, let’s try to get to know this woman. [Laughs]  Who plopped me out! [Laughs]  So, like, you know, I hadn’t know her since we, like, since they divorced, and I was like 9 years old.

Sofie: Ohhhhh.

Miranda: So I can feel that off of her.  We know that we can only spend a couple of hours together…

Sofie: Riiight.

Miranda: And then it’s like, “Right. Now we’re arguing,” and I’m off.  But like, if you’ve grown up with your mum, and, you’ve lived with her, then for me that sounds like a surprising… the old introvert energy thing…

Sofie: That’s interesting.  Well, I don’t actually know any… I’ve never had a theory about whether or not that… I imagine it’s just people, like, all sorts of people will take away some energy, but, also me and my mom, we never just… That sounds negative.  We never just have fun.

Miranda: Yeahhh.

Sofie: Like, it’s always deep conversations about feelings, and we’re analyzing situations. It gets very very deep.  We never just, you know, put on a film and just chill out.  That’s not how we work.

Miranda: Oh-ho-ho!

Sofie: That’s not what we do.  It always gets… and I love it. It’s great. We talk about really serious topics, so I get how that’s… and also I might be taking more energy because I’ve been alone all day, so I’m like “I’m ready!”

Miranda: Ohhhh, like a little puppy!  Like “Yes! You’re home!”

Sofie: And she’s like “I just wanna sit down.”

Miranda: Yeassss.  That would make sense.

Sofie: Yeah. But at the end, I was like, “I also need my own bed.”

Miranda: Yeah. [Giggles]

Sofie: I totally get it. I get it.  It is so lovely having someone cleaning up the kitchen after you.

[Both laughing]

Miranda: Ohhh, that’s a Mother’s Day card in itself, like, “I’m so pleased you’re cleaning up the kitchen after me. Love you! Mean it!”  

Sofie: So do you just…do you see yourself and your mom and/or your dad, like how do you…do you..

Miranda: I…yeah.  I definitely see myself in my dad.  Ummm. He was the, uhh…see, he gets to be called assertive, and I get to be called aggressive.

Sofie: Ok, so he was bossy and naggy.

Miranda: Yeahhh. Ha! And so am I!  And he was very independent.  He was very much like, he set up… like he was a manager of loads of big companies, like big entertainment companies, and ummm…it was very much his way or the highway. And sometimes everyone was like, “Yeah, ok.  That is a great idea.  That’s how we should do this.”  And then when it came to people saying “No, we can’t do it that way,” then he’d be like, “Right. Well, fuck you. I’m off, and I’m gonna do something else.”  

Sofie: Nice.

Miranda: Yeahh. Exactly.

Sofie: Yeah. I see, I see that in you.

Miranda: Yeah. [Laughing] No! Isn’t it awful?  

Sofie: I think it’s fuckin great.

Miranda: I like it now. I’ve come to embrace it, and go, yeah ok, but when I didn’t know that was part of me and I felt ostracized and a bit, like, “Oh, my God! Why, why can’t I fit in?  Why do I, I have to be the one taking over?”  And it’s like, you know, because this is you. This is part of you.  You know? So…

Sofie: One of the things I like a lot about you is your effectiveness.

Miranda: Oh, thank you!

Sofie: But I like that you can, like, there’s a feeling of, there’s no bullshit, you know.  I don’t need to go…I don’t need to do…sorry, I’m so sorry.  I don’t mean to be British about it, “Excuse me, I’m so sorry, but could I possibly…”  Like with you, I can kinda go “BLAH! Question,” and you go “BOOM! Answer.”  There’s no…

Miranda: Oh, yeah. I love that.  I love that. Like when people can just go “Right. Miranda, this needs to be done.” I’m like, “Puhhh, right. Let’s do this!”

Sofie: Yeah, cause you…cause we…one of our relations, I guess, is that we both… You’re the venue manager of the venue where I…in which I did my gigs in Edinburgh.

Miranda: Oh! Yes! Yeah!

Sofie: And they do rooms under the free Fringe thing, which won’t make sense to most people who, unless they’re in comedy and stuff.

Miranda: Yeahh

Sofie: You’re such an eff…such a good venue manager, because you’re not, like…You’re, yeah, efficient, I guess.

Miranda: Yeahhh.  Cause I’m just like there’s no point…

Sofie: You’re a good leader because you listen.

Miranda: Oh, thank you.

Sofie: Like, you’re not…you get that with a lot of leader types, which you know…the people wanting power because, that turns them on.  Just the fact that they’re in charge.

Miranda: Yeahhh.

Sofie: But youuu, seem to be turned on by in working.

Miranda: Yes!  Ohhhh, God, yeah!

Sofie: Is that right?

Miranda: Yeah, because I’m just like “Right. This is the best thing we can do.” So like, beforehand I’ll try and contact people, and say “Right. If you can bring up to Edinburgh your posters, make them laminated, get them in an A3, because when we get there, it’s gonna be absolutely horrendous for people to find their way out of the place.”  I’m all for, if anyone’s got any suggestions for, you know, letting us know how to get people around, you know, “du du du du du duhhh.”  Ummm. And then, but then the trick is, is to say, “Now it’s started.  I did my thing at the beginning. Remember that. Now it started, and…your, your on your own,” you know?

Sofie: Yeahhh. Yeah, I’m not good at that.  “Miranda, where’s the door?”

[Both laughing]

Sofie: “Miranda! Miranda, I’m lost at the door! Do I knock, or do I ring the doorbell?  Why aren’t you answering your phone? It’s 3 AM, and I need your answer now!”

[Both laughing]

Sofie: I’m so bad at that.

Miranda: That’s fine!  That’s stuff I can sort out!  But when people are coming up going, “I don’t know why audiences, um, aren’t coming to my show.”

Sofie: Oh, God. That’s not…

Miranda: That’s not me! That’s not…That’s…nooo.

Sofie: “Miranda, this punchline doesn’t work!”

Miranda: [laughing]

Sofie: “Write my show!”

Miranda: “Why aren’t they laughing?  Why aren’t they putting any money in the bucket?”  Here’s a link of how to do a good bucket speech.  I’m not gonna stand there, and go…

Sofie: Just you standing there is a good…I can’t. I’m really sorry I didn’t see your show. Not as in…No, not as in I’m apologizing, but I am sad that I didn’t see your show.  Cause it’s the third year in a row that I’ve wanted to see it, and I didn’t.  And it was the last Sat…and I planned on doing it on the last Saturday, but you know, the Fringe, and it was the last Saturday.  And I was like “I can’t believe I’m missing this again.”

Miranda: [laughing]

Sofie: I can’t believe it. Again.

Miranda: It’s fine.  It is…it was…

Sofie: You’ve done it for 3 years?

Miranda: Yeahhh.  But it’s…this year was just a slog

Sofie: Really?

Miranda: This year was the first year…it was such, ummm.  I’ve been calling it, like, like, the trousers of destiny.

[Both laughing]

Miranda: ‘Cause Terry Pratcher has a thing.  There’s a writer called Terry Pratcher, and he has this thing called the “Trousers of Time,” where you can go down one route…it, like, there could be this snapshot in your life.  And you look at it and you think, “God! If this’d happened.  If I’d had crossed the road at that moment, that would’ve happened in my life. Because I stayed on this…”  It’s like sliding doors, but that’s a terrible film, so I use “Trousers of Time.” And, so this at Edinburgh was my “Trousers of Destiny!” I was like…so, coin operate girl. I reeeally enjoyed doing it.  And It’s done a lot for me, like I’ve done it in like, loads of different places, and Australia was amazing, and but I’ve done what I’ve wanted to do with it, in that I always wanted it to be, go on radio. I wanted it to be an audio thing.  And writing, slaving away, was an amazing experience, and performing and doing it.  That, to me was that story done.

Sofie: Ok. Yeah. I get that.

Miranda: And what I wanted to do was sorta say to the world, “But I don’t just talk about ______.  I can be funny as well!  Look at this!”  And so I did that with the phone show, which was the one with the telephone number.

Sofie: Yeah.  Where you found out that there was no reception in the venue.

Miranda: Yeah! [Laughing]

Sofie: I love that.  That’s such an Edinburgh thing, of going “I have everything planned.  I have the first. I have the concept. Oh! Uh oh!”

Miranda: Oh! Ohhhhh, noooo!

Sofie: So did you manage to do…so you…I’ve, I’ve…uh, I wanna get back to the sex work, because I’ve heard that this is the only thing that you can talk about…?

Miranda: Yeah! [Laughing]

Sofie: Yeah. Uhh, so we will… [Laughing]…get into that.  Uh, so you, the laugh that you had.  So you went into a show where you took random phone calls during the show…

Miranda: Yeah! Yeah!

Sofie: And there was no reception.  Oh, so funny.

Miranda: It was soooo, like…I just…but it was so seat of the pants, and so Edinburgh, and that was why I was so pleased with myself, because I sort of got this sort of like mass ball of vague ideas, and in the end we hooked it up to the Wi-Fi, so I could call people.

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: And in that… that worked really well, actually, because I could take their messages and I’d record their phone messages.  I worked out how to get the phone messages from my phone onto the computer, edit it down, du du duhh.  Put it into Skype. I was like “Boom. Boom. Pewm. Pewm.  I’m all over this techno nonsense!”  Uhh, and then we could call them back in the show, listen to their voicemail if it was funny, call them back in the show, offer our advice, and it was a real lesson in talking to the audience. And in my mind, I was like, “That’s sooo….that’s actually so pertinent to what I’ve been feeling for this past year.”  Feeling alone, and not feeling like I can talk to people, and here I am in a room with people, and not only that.  I’m talking to them and we’re coming up with little things that we can talk to this stranger on the phone. But not only that, I’ve got all these strangers calling me.  They’re quite happy to call me.  I’m not alone. I’m not, you know. I don’t have to me a homey.  I can put my phone number out there, and I can do something.  I can talk to people.  And I don’t have to, you now, sit in the corner, like, feeling there’s no one else out there, when actually there’s all these other people out there.  And one of the big moments of it was when I was sort of feeling a bit harassed and a bit put down, and I was having this….  It was right in the middle of the festival.  I was so tired. I was so, like, I just didn’t know what I was gonna do that night, and I’d had these horrible messages left, and I just burst into tears like 5 minutes into the show.  There was not one person in that audience who didn’t come up to me afterwards.  There wasn’t one person who didn’t either, like, put some money in my hand, give me a hug, you know, say “That was so brave.”  I had, like, there were more people queuing up to give me their stories of how they’d been harassed and how they had felt bullied and uncomfortable, and how they felt vulnerable when they’d put on Facebook they were going somewhere and some asshole had said, “Oh, I’ll see you there, bitch.”  So, and like that…It was like, this is like such a full circle thing, like…so it was a real, you know.  I felt really good, and everyone after it was like “Oh, are you alright?”  And I was like, these, these…it’s just bloody brilliant!  Like, what happened was amazing!

Sofie: So would people that were at….like people that you’d put out your phone number, then they would be assholes to you.

Miranda: Yeahhhh.  Yeah, saying “Ohhh, I‘m gonna come to your show tonight. I’m gonna. Fuck, you know. You better be fucking brilliant.  You’re gonna….you’re.”  They commented on what I’d been wearing that day.

Sofie: Oh my God!

Miranda: That was why it was sooo…that was what, the thing that really got me.

Sofie: Ohhhhh. Whoa!

Miranda: Cause they described the dress that I was wearing. And that was before the show.  I’d just been wandering around.  So they…

Sofie: That is…who does that!?  

Miranda: Yeah.  Exactly!  That’s why…

Sofie: I mean, I know who does, cause I get them too, but you just…you just.  Were they left, like voice messages?

Miranda: It was text messages.

Sofie: Yeah.  Cause that’s the thing. They wouldn’t leave their voice.  That’s the thing.  They’re always cowards who wouldn’t even…you know.

Miranda: Yeahh.  So it’s just like…it’s just…

Sofie: Oh, my God.  I’m sorry that happened.

Miranda: No, no! It’s fine, but it’s given me a real sort of understanding of what, like, what people like you go through when you’re getting trolls.

Sofie: Yeah, yeah yeah.

Miranda: And, you know, all these celebrities. You think, “Oh, poor you! Cry me a river! You’re getting trolled, and you feel a bit bullied.”  But it’s like…but actually, you’re gonna be in a public place later, and you’re gonna be vulnerable.

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: And you don’t know who’s waitin.

Sofie: I spoke to a comedian who had a lot of it…and I don’t say who because I’m not sure if it was said in confidence, but…there would be trolls going to their shows, and then afterwards going…putting up like videos they’d taken of the show, and then put it on YouTube and go, “Look at how bad this person…” Like, and that’s really…you know they’ve been in the audience.  That is terrifying!

Miranda: That is…that is petrifying.

Sofie: But they’re not in the show.   And I like the point of people who ruin the show, they’re…They’re the nice guys…

Miranda: Yeahhhh.

Sofie: The people who…oh, yeah…that’s… that’s the goodness.  The people who relate to it.

Miranda: Yeahhh!

Sofie: It is great.  It’s great.  You’re showing that and talking about it, and.

Miranda: Well, it’s brilliant, and I really want to explore. Like, I’m gonna try and write it up in a big sort of proper post or something, so I’m, I’m working on that at the moment, so.  So yeah, it was like…but it’s like for me, like you saying that you wanted to come see Coin Operator Girl…I felt just so, sort of stagnant doing…

Sofie: Yeah, I get that.

Miranda: …that, that show, when…

Sofie: It’s done.

Miranda: …this exciting thing…yessss!  Exactly!

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: It was… And I was only doing it, cause I thought that, umm, “Slaving Away” was gonna be, umm, broadcasting, umm, over August.  They were like, “Oh yeah! We’re gonna…we’re gonna do a big publicity push!”  So I was like, “Oh.  Well I’ll do ‘Coin Operator Girl’ again so that I can say ‘Go and listen to this! My magnum opus!”  And, they were just like, “Oh no. It’s been pushed back til October.”  So…[Long sigh]…oh my God. So, I just have to do the whole slog, and I just felt like I was…I was so trying not to, but I was phoning it in…

Sofie: Yeahhhh.

Miranda: …every day, and it was just like…

Sofie: You’ve done 3 years in a row.

Miranda: Yeahhh.

Sofie: So…because that’s not just you having gotten there 3 years in a row.  It was the first time you thought of it was 3 years ago, you know. It’s not…cause the reason why I wanted to see it was…uh, because I feel like knowing you, I feel like I should’ve seen the show in order to know you or to know you…it’s like a bit of you.

Miranda: Yeahhh.

Sofie: It’s weird knowing you without ever having seen “The show.”

Miranda: [Laughing] But I quite like that.  Like, to me,

Sofie: Yeah?

Miranda: that’s…that’s really nice, that we’re friends, and like, all the people that I know that haven’t seen the show, like…I like that we have that, that respect where you don’t have to come see my work.  We have that respect for each other.

Sofie: Oh, no. I do need you to go and see my work…

Miranda: [Laughing]

Sofie: Just so you know…I mean otherwise…this is…this is over. [Laughs]

Miranda: Bullshit! Bullshit!

Sofie: I have a list, uhhh….

Miranda: [Laughing]

Sofie: …of people who didn’t come to see it.

Miranda: Uhhhhh [laughing] All the YouTube playings…

Sofie: Well, I’m just, I’m just curious, because….uhhh…it’s….I remember seeing before…We didn’t know each other 3 years ago, did we?

Miranda: No. Nooo.

Sofie: Must’ve met you after, but I remember seeing it in Edinburgh…like seeing posters or flyers, or hearing about it.  So I kinda knew about the show before I knew you.  I just never got around to seeing it.  I’m more angry with myself.

Miranda: [giggles]

Sofie: I’m like, “You should’ve…you wanted to.  You should’ve seen it.”

Miranda: But I think, but I think like, I’m gonna do some more stuff, like I haven’t abandoned sex work Miranda Kane at all.  Like, there’s so much more that I want to explore. Ummm.  But I think now that I’m a bit more experienced and a bit more mature in how I’m gonna go about it…ummm, then I feel a lot more confident with projects that I’m thinking of…at the moment.  And, a lot more of what I’m trying to do is about the decriminalization of sex work.  So, like, for me, “Coin Operator Girl” was a lovely way of saying “Hey! Look. Look. This is funny. This is fun. All it is is sex.  Do you know what guys, just chill out about it.  Let’s have a laugh.  That it’s cool.  Here’s a little bit of a moment where I’m gonna tell you about why it’s shit that it’s not decriminalized, and…you know, so, so strap in. But now we’re back onto why…

Sofie: And now we’re laughing.

Miranda: Yeahh. Exactly. Umm…and that’s the bit that I’m sort of more focused on now, because there’s so many different things that are happening towards decriminalization of sex work, rather than just like, “Let’s talk about face sitting! Ayyyyy!”  You know, which I still will do, but…[Laughs]

Sofie: Can I ask a stupid question?

Miranda: Go for it!

Sofie: I…don’t know what the law is, in, the UK.

Miranda: OK. So the law at the moment is, that, it is currently illegal for….it’s currently legal to be a sex worker if you’re working by yourself.

Sofie: OK

Miranda: So you can do it in your own flat. I can do it…

Sofie: Yessss.

Miranda: Yeah, I know. Right!?  But if you want to work with someone else, then it becomes illegal.

Sofie: So like a brothel.

Miranda: Yeah.  

Sofie: Yeah

Miranda: Or, if you just want to work as a cooperative.

Sofie: Yes. Safety.

Miranda: As out of safety. So say if we wanted to hire our own flat, work out of there out of safety, ummmm, and say if we wanted to get….or say if I wanted to get a maid. So I wanted someone to take the phone calls, or someone to sort of, you know, clean up…then…then I can’t because…I can’t have anyone working with me, because it becomes a brothel.  But what a brothel is technically known as…a brothel, if you look under one of the regulations for what they class as a brothel, it’s two women working under one roof whether money has exchanged hands or not.

[Long pause]

Sofie: Oh.

Miranda: [laughing]

Sofie: Uh oh.

Miranda: [laughing]

Sofie: We have to make some changes….

Miranda: [laughing]

Sofie: Really?  That’s ridiculous.

Miranda: Welcome to the British law.  Welcome to the law of brothels.

Sofie: I guess I asked.

Miranda: It’s…it’s…it’s exactly…It’s totally ridiculous. So, it makes it totally unsafe for workers, for sex workers, um, to work alone.

Sofie: That seems like it’s uh…that seems to be….it feels like a law made to make women unsafe.

Miranda: Yes.

Sofie: Cause it’s not like…so men can just walk in and do whatever, basically.

Miranda: Yeah. Yeah.

Sofie: So it’s not illegal to go and see a sex worker…

Miranda: Uhh…it’s not illegal to buy sex, no.  That’s the Swedish model, which is what they’ve got currently in Northern Ireland and Sweden.  Umm, so what we’re…so it’s alllll these different…the whole world is filled with all these different models of prohibition…apart from New Zealand, which is where sex workers can work together.

Sofie: Ok.

Miranda: Umm.  And something that is really interesting is I was talking to a friend….Sorry.

Sofie: No. Go on!

Miranda: I’m gonna blind you with just words and horror. Sorry.

Sofie: It’s fine. I’m ok with words. I know a few of them.

Miranda: You know them!!

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: Ummm…So …it’s really interesting because when I talk to people about where places where sex work is decriminalized, a lot of them go “Oh yeah! Amsterdam! You know, but that’s a bit sleazy.” And I’m like, but, cause it’s not decriminalized in Amsterdam.

Sofie: Ohhhhhh.

Miranda: So all these women that are working in the windows. That’s technically one flat, so they still can’t work together.

Sofie: Whoaaa.

Miranda: So they…And they have to sort of do that…you know…because it’s the red light district, la la la.  Umm…however, that also brings in a shit ton of money into Amsterdam. You know, so, well done sex workers! You’re fucking bringing up the economy. You know!  Umm…

Sofie: Despite your own lack of safety.

Miranda: Despite your own lack of safety.  And despite the government not…

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: …helping you.  Or giving you any kind of, you know, like, whether you want to say exit strategies or any kind of, you know.  They’re probably absolutely fine working. But it would just be nicer to know that, you know, if people saw it as sleazy that they didn’t have that stigma. Do you know what I mean?

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: Cause that’s what everyone, that’s what the problem is. It’s the stigma of being a sex worker.

Sofie: Yeah?

Miranda: That’s what kills.  Cause they think, “Oh these women are working by themselves. I can do whatever I want.”  You know.  And it’s like, well no because it’s illegal to beat someone up, you fuck.

Sofie: Yeah

Miranda: So, umm, so the…yeah, so the…we…but in reality when I say that New Zealand is the model that we want to recreate, everyone always turns around and goes, “Oh! Well…they don’t have like some sort of huge sex problem.”  And we’re like, “Noooooo.”

Sofie: Ding! Ding! Ding!

Miranda: Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! Look at that!

Sofie: But there’s…so…the other side of this argument, and I don’t…it’s one of these things…I…one of these feminist issues where people are very pro or con.

Miranda: Verrry pro or con.

Sofie: It gets very heated, the discussions.

Miranda: Yeahhhh

Sofie: And the con, from what I understand… [Sigh] Oh, God!  It is….you know this better than me…they…so the other part of it.  They want to criminalize all of it, right?

Miranda: Yes. So they want…

Sofie: For it to be non-existent.

Miranda: ….the buying of sex illegal.

Sofie: Yeah. Ok.  So they don’t want to make it illegal to be…

Miranda: No, because they’re all like, “Oh, but we’ll protect the women! They’ll be fine!”  No they fucking won’t!  If you look at Sweden and you look at what it’s done to Sweden.  The sex work is still there. The sex workers are now out on the street because they’ve been evicted, because people know that the police are going to be looking where they’re working.

Sofie: Ohhhhh!

Miranda: And if someone comes up, then they arrest that person. And very often, they don’t arrest that person.  They arrest that person that they bring that woman in for questioning, and if that woman does end up getting arrested, then she has then got a criminal prosecution against her.  Boom boom boom!  She is now trapped working as a sex worker forever because she’s got a criminal record of being a prostitute.

Sofie: I mean, as a Danish person, I’m very happy to hear of the faults of Sweden. This makes me very happy.  Big brother made a mistake! HA! HA! HA!

Miranda: Good! I’m very happy to tell them all about it.  I have not finished.  There is an absolute wonderful, brilliant doctor. Umm, this guy did his doctorate on the sex workers of Sweden.  He stayed out there for 3 years. His name is Dr. Jay Levi, and he looks like Johnny Depp and talks like a god.

Sofie: Sounds like Johnny Depp, like John Levi.

Miranda: Ohhh. I know! I just wanna gobble him all up! And, uh, and he did this presentation at this sex worker conference…..cause we have those.  We all get together, and….

Sofie: Are you allowed to do that?

Miranda: [laughing]

Sofie: Do you have to arrive in separate little coffins and not speak?

Miranda: We just can’t…we just can’t have sex. [Laughs]  We can have a coffee.

Sofie: What a boring conference.

Miranda: Yeah, and just wearing a massive condom on us.  [Chuckles] But he was just saying how these women are working on the street, but then they’re….because the sex work has been pushed underground, so now they’re more susceptible to things like pimps and sex trafficking and umm…people taking advantage of them, the police taking advantage of them.

Sofie: Right.

Miranda: There are so many reports of where the police are like “We know what you’re doing, so now you have to give us sexual favors or you have to give us money.”  

Sofie: Ugh. Sweden.

Miranda: Exactly.

Sofie: We always knew it was there. Underneath.

Miranda: We always knew!

Sofie: Underneath that…shiny, shiny surface.

Miranda: [laughing] Your shiny, blonde haired, blue eyed surface.  And there’s this other thing where, because there’s no sex worker outreach, they can’t have…so here, we’ll have, umm, we have, uhh, the doctors, and G-U-M clinics, and if you say you’re a sex worker, they’re fine.  You get to see your own medical, you’re gonna get seen practitioner, and she’ll give you loads of free condoms, loads of free ummm lubricant. She’ll give you her number.  She’s always like, “If you need anything, let me know. Let’s make sure your Hep’s…your Hep injections are up to date. Let’s do this. Du du du. Du du duhh.”  And they’re absolutely lovely.  There is no…well, the ones that I’ve visited, at least.  There’s been no stigma, no anything.  They’ve been absolutely…all they wanna do is just make sure you’re safe and you’re alright, love.  And that’s lovely.  But in Sweden because there’s no sex worker outreach.  So the women, I think…it’s like at the top of Sweden is where there’s the only sex worker outreach project.  But the red light district is on the other side of town…and….is it?  Which one is the capital city of Sweden?  

Sofie: Stock…holm…?

Miranda: Stockholm! Let’s say Stockholm.

Sofie: [Laughing]

Miranda: Umm…I told you that….

Sofie: No one cares, Sweden!  

Miranda: …I’m really intelligent.

Sofie: No one cares.

Miranda: [laughing] No one cares. Fuck it.  So, like 3 miles away is basically. The women have to go from the red light district, walk 3 miles up to the sex work…cause they’re poor. They’re poor!  They’re dirt fucking poor!  They walk up to the sex worker outreach, and then they have to walk 3 miles back, just to get free condoms, because all of the shops in the sex worker area in the red light districts have said that they can’t even enter the shops.  They can’t go in there and buy condoms because they used to have to steal them.  So now they can’t buy condoms. They can’t get hold of any free condoms. The guys who are coming up in their cars are literally like drive-bys, like get in, get out, go!  Because they know police are gonna be watching, so they can’t haggle. They can’t negotiate. They can’t say “I’m not gonna do this. I’m not gonna do that.”  So Sweden, are basically…like, in effect…and this…and Dr. Jay Levi he’s just like, basically they’re just sitting on a HIV time bomb, because the sex workers can’t get to any of the protection that they need.  And that’s just, you know…so it’s like, if you don’t want to look at the sex workers and you think, “Ohhhh, you know. Boohoo to them.”  But if you wanna start looking at your general population.  Guys are still visiting them, ok?

Sofie: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Miranda: And some of them are gonna be absolute twats.

Sofie: And there’s very little focus on that, I feel.

Miranda: No.

Sofie: Rarely talk about that aspect of it.  Or, I guess, unless you go to the opposite.  Like the people wanting all of it to be criminalized.  Cause I guess, I imagine what people are afraid of is that if they say, “Oh, it’s all legal now,” that’s like saying it’s ok.

Miranda: Oh, they go into moral panic!

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: That’s all it is. It’s a moral thing. Um.

Sofie: What about the feminism part of it? Where…I guess they say….then you would say it’s ok to buy a woman’s body. Is that the…

Miranda: Yeah.  The whole thing is…

Sofie: There are like 3 angry feminists listening going, “You’re phrasing it wrong!”

Miranda: [Laughing] That’s fine. I’m absolute dine.  People have got their different opinions on it.  For me, it’s just this mental block, and I wish I could put it more eloquently, and I wish I could write papers on it, and I wish I could write a book on it, but I can’t because I just have this mental block.  I’m like, how is it ok to give men sexual favors for free, but not ok to charge them for it?  Like, when they fuck you around and they give you all this lip service, like, “Oh yeah! I’d love to take you out on a date!  Do you wanna come round to my place and I‘ll cook you dinner?”  And they’re immediately trying to buff one out on your tits, and you just think “I could be getting paid for this.”  

Sofie: [Laughing]

Miranda: Do you know what I mean?  Or it’s like, “Oh yeah, I’d love it if you could tie me up and put a collar on me and lead me around like a dog.”  I’m like…I just…I just wanted a kiss and a cuddle, but…

Sofie: Do you always go on, when you go on dates and you’ll go home and be like…loss of money I made, like I could have made….[Laughing]

Miranda: OH! Yes!!!

Sofie: You just cost me £500, mister!

Miranda: I just…I do!!  I think about that!  I think about it all the time, because in a way, and whether you think of it as a good or a bad thing…in a way, I’ve now got, ummm….well, no! It’s good that I’ve got more respect for myself, ya know, but whether I’ve, ya know, I’ve sort of put that into a monetary context…which I know loads of people are gonna go “Oh my God! Ok, so let’s get the psychopath book out.”

Sofie: [Laughing]

Miranda: But it’s like, but that’s a way that I can equate it.  I’m like, well yeah! You should be nice to me, and we should go out for a drink.

Sofie: Well, I got that with stand-up…

Miranda: Yes!!

Sofie: In a lot ways, the same thing.  But I got that with stand-up.  I got that…as soon as you know, oh this is what I now get paid to do a gig.

Miranda: Yeah! Yeah.

Sofie: You know, you feel, you know…someone says “Oh, do this gig for £5.”  You go….

Miranda: Nooo.

Sofie: No.  I know that my price is this, and I can’t…

Miranda: It’s exactly the same.  Sex work was like my school of study for comedy.  There are so many things that it’s got in common with each other.  Because, in comedy and in sex, not necessarily sex work…but you know, if someone just sort of just meets you on Tinder, and it’s just like…you know, the open mic scene is the Tinder, isn’t it? It’s…it’s…

Sofie: [Laughing]

Miranda: It’s just a hookup.  It’s just a quick 5 minutes!  You’re gonna entertain me, and we’re gonna be done with it.  And then on the other side of it, you’ve got the sex work.  You’ve got…Yeah, you’re gonna pay me £300 to lick my feet for a couple of hours. Do you know what I mean?  You’ve got the….yeah you’re gonna pay me like £15 a ticket because you’re gonna get an hour of quality standup.  Do you know what I mean?  It’s that, giving yourself that value I think works with a lot of things in life.  And I’m…and I would say that it works with sex and how you feel about yourself, and giving yourself a bit of confidence, and saying “No. I am worth more than just a quick bunk up for the night.”  But then also, you have your new material nights, so maybe, you are…

Sofie: Yeah, and some of the gigs are so much fun!

Miranda: Yesssss

Sofie: And so there are some charity gigs where you feel really good.

Miranda: [Laughing] When you feel like you just have to because, you know…

Sofie: You know what?  This made me feel better.

Miranda: [Laughing]

Sofie: I didn’t cum, but I am such a good person.

Miranda: [Laughing]

Sofie: No, but I…umm…Oh, what was I gonna say? Uhh.

Miranda: That wasn’t…What was…?

Sofie: It’s a drill.  They’re drilling next door and it sounds…very much, as in a basement, well….

Miranda: [Laughing]

Sofie: You know that better than me…

Miranda: Fair enough…

Sofie: I don’t wanna be an expert on you…but I do think it’s really….I…from stand-up I learned as well to get that respect…like it’s a self-respect thing, and I don’t think it necessarily just because for you it was sex work…it’s just when someone values you and tells you, oh this part of you, this thing you can do….you take that with you, and if you could….like some of the….just the texting, some of the flirting with men…or women…or anyone else.  With a person.  Just for the time you spend on someone, where you go…time.  You forget to value, just, your time!  

Miranda: Yeah!  It’s expensing….self!

Sofie: That you could be spending on yourself…

Miranda: Yes!  

Sofie: Ohh, self if so good!

Miranda: Oh my god! It’s like this little bath of self that you just want to put little bubbles of self in, with a little self bath bomb.

Sofie: You should want that, at least.  You shouldn’t be standing, like next to the tub of self and… [Laughs]

Miranda: [Laughing]

Sofie: I mean like, oh no. I just have to text him back, because maybe one day he’ll love me back.  I mean, it’s been 5 years.  At some point he should wanna…ya know….I’m so done with it.

Miranda: Ohhhh! Nooo!

Sofie: So how do you…I imagine people will have loads of questions…like people would want you to answer all of the basic questions.  You must have like a list of 10, the 10 the most normal questions that people ask you.

Miranda: Yeah. They ask, umm….there’s a really interesting, umm, thing online that I saw which was like the top questions not to ask a sex worker.  And it’s brilliant, because…and it’s all those that I I’m just like, I learn to deflect. So I do a Q&A in the show, and I deflect them, because I’m just like…

Sofie: Oh yeah?

Miranda: Yeah. Because it makes feel….so a lot of them will be like “How much did you earn? How much did you charge?”

Sofie: Right.

Miranda: Uhhh, what, uhh…like, yeah, “How much did you earn? How much did you charge?”  So it’s all the money stuff.  And I’m British, so I’m just like….just don’t!  “How many people did you see in a day?” As if it was like some sort of revolving door system, and I’m like, if I answer those questions.  If I answer too few…you’ll have a set figure in your mind, and if I answer below that, you’ll think there’s something wrong with me.  And if I answer more than that, then you think that I’ve got like….

Sofie: I wouldn’t pay that!

Miranda: Yeah!  Exactly! Go, wooo! Wooo!  Then you think I’m…I don’t know…earning too much, or you think that I’ve got a pussy the size of the black hole of Calcutta or something.  Do you know what I mean?

Sofie: Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Miranda: People start thinking, “Oh, you must be riddled!” And it’s like…

Sofie: Oh, wow!

Miranda: …actually I am way more safer…I can promise you that I am way more safer than anyone else in the room, apart from if anyone else in the room is another sex worker.  Do you know what I mean?

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: It’s just…It’s just so stupid where people have that sort of value on things.

Sofie: Yeah. I get that.

Miranda: And unfortunately they do go into the top 10, but it’s….what people ask, but people always ask…and those are very…and there’s sort of a lot of things on there that ummm…sex workers….who aren’t necessarily comedians, don’t like being asked, but if you’re a comedian, then yeah, I’ll go into what’s the funniest appointment?  What’s the weirdest request?  You know?  Was there a guy that you didn’t fancy?  Was there a guy that you did fancy?  And then the #1! Bing bing bing!  Was did you ever manage to have a relationship?

Sofie: Ohhhh. But did you?

Miranda: Yeah!! And it’s like….no but did you!? [Laughing]

Sofie: Would anyone ever want to…?

Miranda: Why would they want this, man?

Sofie: Can I…I have a question. Uhhh…Did you ever….Did you go to a website and test and stuff?

Miranda: Yeah.

Sofie: Oh ok.  In my head I had this nice fantasy where, like you open the door and it was someone you knew, and it would be like “Oh my god!”

Miranda: Oh no!

Sofie: “Dr. Blah blah! Or my old teacher, Mr. Duh!”

Miranda: Mr. Duh!  Well, no Mr. Duh, Dr. Blah blah.

Sofie: Well, that’s such a shame. That would have been such a good story.

Miranda: No, no, no!  I did have…

Sofie: “Dad!” I’m sorry.

Miranda: [Laughing]

Sofie: I had to say it. I’m sorry.

Miranda: Oh, Jesus!

Sofie: I had to say it. It came out.

Miranda: Oh, God!

Sofie: I used to have this weird fantasy that I, where…if I went home with a guy, and I would come downstairs in the morning and his parents would be like someone I knew. It would be like, like a teacher or something…cause I…

Miranda: That is a weird fantasy.

Sofie: This is how I…No, this is how much of an idiot I am…cause I would just love to have that bond with a teacher.  

Miranda: [gasps]

Sofie: So that like at school I could be like, “Oh, I’ve seen his house.”

Miranda: I love how your fantasy isn’t just to fuck the teacher!  Like, everyone else’s…

Sofie: Oh, no!

Miranda: …is just like, “Oh no, I wanna fuck his son.”

Sofie: I just want to be his friend.

Miranda: [Laughing] Be his friend?

Sofie: [Laughing] I just want to be the teacher’s friend!

[Both laughing]

Miranda: “I’m so needy!  And I so want acceptance from people that I respect that I will fuck your son to be your mate.”

Sofie: I will fuck your daughters and sons.  I will do the….just love me.

Miranda: [Laughing] Brilliant!

Sofie: So you use stock….do you…uhhh….in your stock responses, I guess, when you have the weirdest or the funniest…do you ever.  Do you ever just….you know when you tell a story on stage, and then at the end of it, you kinda forget how much of that was real? Or it doesn’t feel real anymore. It feels just like a story…

Miranda: Yeah. Yeahh.

Sofie: Do you have clients or experiences with clients….Do you call them clients?

Miranda: Yeah.

Sofie: Yeah. Alright.  I was about to say patients.

Miranda: [Laughing] Cause I have to be!

Sofie: Your clients, where you think “Oh, I’ve never told that story!” And maybe you want to keep it to yourself, or maybe you just haven’t ever…or are you like saving it, or?

Miranda: It’s a weird thing, because all of these memories are gonna be useful.

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: And they’re all something that I want to do something with, like especially with like Slaving Away…if that gets another series.  Then I’m like, “Aww, yeah.”  Ya know.  To me, it’s like, I’ve always said.  I’ve said to Nick, who is the producer.  I was like…He was…When we were thinking about the pilot, he was like, “Yeah, What if we like do 3 weirdest requests!? Let’s put those in.”  And I’m like “No, because what’s weird to me is gonna be, ya know, might be fairly average to you.”  And instead, I’m like let’s narrow it down to think about all these memories and all these guys.  So I have like this room of like…I have a wall of post-it notes with just like “the man who…,” “the man who…” like Friends…

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: Like the episode where…

Sofie: Do you take that down if you take a date home with you?

Miranda: [Laughing]  

Sofie: Like, “So, uhh, I’m gonna show you, uhhh, my past, and…”

Miranda: Like “Well this makes it easier!”

Sofie: “Pick a post-it note…”

Miranda: I’m like “Yeah, sooo, ummm.  So yeah, this is just my wall for my sitcom.  You may go down on me now.”

Sofie: “These are all the men I’ve fucked. Carry on” [laughing]

Miranda: Yeah! [Laughing]  And I’m just like…I’m like fucking why not!?  I’ve always had the belief that we’re so looked upon like, even when I was younger I couldn’t believe that men get away with fucking women so much and we…we’re like, supposed to be like…[singing:  One man, one love!]

Sofie: [Laughing]

Miranda: Like Nooooo!

Sofie: …Broke out Blue song.

Miranda: Yeah!

Sofie: [Singing: One man!  Duh, duh, duh.  One love! Never date again!  Duh duh! You’ve ruined me for everyone!]

Miranda: Yeah!  Like fuck that shit!!  I’m just like…look at my wall, you know.  Like…and it’s not even…and when guys go “Ooo, so who’ve you….like how many’ve you slept with?”  I’m like, “Right.  Can we just denote what sleeping with someone is? Have I put several butt plugs up someone else’s ass?  Yes!  Have I made someone crawl around on the floor wearing a…Yes!  Have I…?”  Do you know what I mean?  And it’s like…

Sofie: So, yes. I’ve made love with them all.

Miranda: Yes!  None…hardly any….but they’re like “But the penetration part…”  It’s like…I am allowed to fuck.

Sofie: Ohhh yeahhh…oh you know all those virgin lesbians who’ve never…never had sex…..penis and vagina.

Miranda: [Laughing] Exactly!

Sofie: Oh, that’s such a weird…it’s a weird fasci….it’s a weird obsession, with the number.

Miranda: It’s a weird obsession with the numbers, so they’ll either go for the numbers, uhhhh…and I’m like…when people are like…so what are….I’m like, well, think of it as a ball pool.  So when people say “Well, have you had any weird requests with a, ummm, someone who’s religious?”  Then I’m like, that’s a pink ball, so I can bring out all the pink balls.  Or if someone says “Have you had a weird request with someone who was old?”  And I’m like, those are the….blue balls…

Sofie: [Laughing]

Miranda: Oh, fuck. You know, so it’s like narrowing down the, the things, ummm, but the, the thing that people are obsessed with other than number, ummm, is…I just had it…the orgasms. The orgasms.

Sofie: Oh!

Miranda: And, it’s just like, yeah!

Sofie: Really?

Miranda: I know.  They’re just sort of sat in the audience.  I did a show in Manchester, and this guy was like “I’m really interested in the, uhhh, in the sort of, uhh, the way, uhh, that it’s still not decriminalized, and I’d really like to know a bit more about that, but also, did you cum?”

Sofie: [Laughing]

Miranda: I’m like… [Laughing]

Sofie: Oh…

Miranda: You know…You know that’s not ok to ask, but I’m a comedian, and I’m sorta of the rule of thumb that, fuck it, let’s make anything funny if I could…so I sort of take more of the piss out of them, and go “Hmm, hmm, hmm.  Did you cum?”  The little, leg rubbers.  And it’s like, why wouldn’t you?  You know?  I think of those people on a diet eating a steak and spitting it out, and it’s just like “Why?”  Wouldn’t you just go “Mmmmm, this is good, man!”

Sofie: Oh, God!

Miranda: People get obsessed by the weirdest of things!

Sofie: What about when you do your shows?  So they…uhh…Does anyone ask about the fat stuff?  Like when you do your show, do you mention?  I guess you mention that as a thing?

Miranda: Yeah.  And I mean it’s pretty obvious that I’m…I am…

Sofie: Oh yeah!  I don’t mean that “Have you told them you’re fat?”

Miranda: [laughing] Just in case.

Sofie: But do they have questions about that?

Miranda: They don’t, cause I think I sort of answer it within the narrative of the show, because I go into sort of how I was…I was always looked at as being ummm…different, and how everyone…like when I grew up, I was always told “Oh, you’ve got such a pretty face!”  “You’ve got such a good personality.”

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: Do you know what I mean?

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: It was always like…

Sofie: You’ve got pretty eyes.

Miranda: Pretty Eyes!!!  Wouldn’t it be….you know if you could just…just…lose

Sofie: You’d be sooo.

Miranda: So pretty!

Sofie: You could be so overall pretty!

Miranda: And it was that sort of thing, I was never seen as a sexual object. Never seen as anything that anyone would desire.  There was no…it was just, sort of common fact that I would grow up alone, you know. Like, and I would die before I was 30.  There were 3 things that I knew when I was 7.  I was gonna die before I was 30.  I was gonna grow up and never get married and no one would love me.  And that my parents didn’t love me.  Those were everything everyone told me.  Your parents can’t love you…they’re just feeding….look at you.  They can’t love you.

Sofie: You must be miserable.

Miranda: You must be miserable.  So I, ummm…So I just never thought about being a sexual object, and then sort of, the internet came along.  Ahhh daaa!!  And I found, like, there’s this big connotation now of what the term BBW means.

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: And a friend of mine called Naomi Griffith, she wrote a brilliant blog post about it. She was like, “I know what you think about it now, because it’s all associated with pornographic terms. It’s been overtaken by the porn industries…but back in the day when you were a 16, 17 year old girl, and you were the fattest person in your town, and you thought no one was ever gone love you, no one saw you as being sexy.  When you saw BBW on the internet, and you were like “What is this?  Big beautiful woman? What does that mean?” And you saw people being sexy, and you saw that you could also be sexy, and men would like you, and women would like you. And people would like your body!  And that’s…that’s like such a sort of….cause you’ve already got a pretty face, and a good personality, and nice heart, so all you really need is that bit of where people to like your body! So you’re like, “Oh, my G…”  And it has been taken over now…We have, ummm, we have loads of different ways of saying it, like body positivity…and we have things like fat admiration. We have…umm…lots of very lovely ways of saying it, but I, especially for Indulge Club, I still use the term BBW.

Sofie: Explain Indulge Club.

Miranda: uhh, it’s Club Indulge.

Sofie: Cause that’s another great thing you’re doing.

Miranda: Thank you!  It’s, It’s, we’re so proud of it…

Sofie: I mean, I haven’t been, cause I hate going out, but I feel like I should…

Miranda: No.  [Laughing]  That’s fine!

Sofie: Another thing I feel like I should do.

Miranda: Don’t worry about it!  It is a proper going out thing, so it’s absolutely fine.

Sofie: A club for fat people!

Miranda: Yeah!

Sofie: A night club for fat people.

Miranda: It’s a night club for fat people!  And it’s a night club for people who feel a bit self-conscious when they go out on normal club nights. And it’s just a club night where you can come in. You can wear whatever you want. We have fancy dress nights. We do karaoke.  You can wear something sexy.  If you think “I’d never be able to get away with that in Reflex,” or ya know, or in one of these little shitty clubs, ya know. Then you can get away with it here.  It’s absolutely fine! Go! Be sexy! Have a fun night out without thinking someone’s whispering about you, or someone’s looking at you, or someone’s laughing about you, or someone’s playing that fucking horrific pull a pig game, or anything like that.  This is a safe environment, and you can have a good night out, you know.  You might pull, and that’s fine as well!  And so I use, like, things like, BBW, plus size, body positivity…as many different terms as I can use, but I always feel like I’m pissing someone off.  There’s gonna be someone in a, you know, in a body positivity group who’s like, “Well, I can’t believe she’s using the term BBW. Doesn’t she know what that means?”  Yeah, I do! But I know what that meant to me 10 years ago when it was a big eye-opener, and it was a big, sort of, touchstone for me, and it was how I got my confidence, because body positivity and fat-tion and plus-sized bloggers weren’t around when I was 16.  Instead, that was all I had, and that was how I got to meet some of my best friends in the plus-sized scene, who’ve really inspired me and helped me do Club Indulge.  Do you know what I mean?

Sofie: Yeah!

Miranda: So, It’s that kind of “I know you think this word means that to you, but it means this to me!”

Sofie: Yeah.  It’s something more.

Miranda: Yeah! Exactly! So that was what I, you know…finding BBW on the internet was when I was like, Fuck, I can…I can be sexy.  And then I just…just went…mental!! [Laughing] I was just like, “SEX!  This is brilliant!” [Laughing]

Sofie: [laughing] I really hope you answered your first appointment like that!

Miranda: Yeah! [Laughing]

Sofie: Kicking down the door.  I gotta have this!  It’s like fucking hell!

Miranda: Like the Hulk! [Laughing]

Sofie: Like “I’m gonna tip this one!”

Miranda: He’d a prolly paid twice as much if I did. Shit!

Sofie: You started at…what age were you when you started?

Miranda: I was 23.

Sofie: 23.

Miranda: Yeah. Yeah. So, uhh, before that I’d had like a, a massive long-term relationship, but I’d sort of started like 6 months after id moved to London.  So I split up with my then fiancée, moved to London.  “New start! Yaay!”  And then, “I’m gonna do comedy and be an actress, and no one wants me! Oh God!” And then it was just like, finding these dating sites, and then going on to meet with load of guys, and sort of feeling…feeling…that was when I felt used.  That was when I felt like “I am an object of the patriarchy.”  That was when I felt really shit about myself, going out with these guys, and they’d never contact me, and I couldn’t understand why.  Because, the last guy that I went out on a date with, I ended up nearly marrying.  So going out on dates with guys who would just like, after my body, cause I was on these BBW dating sites, was a real new world, and then I was like “If I’m fucking doing this for free, I might as well get paid.”  And then I found out that I could….so I was….alright!  [Laughs]

Sofie: Do you think it stems a bit from…uhhh…your…like…businessy personality. Like your leader….like we were talking in the beginning how you got that, from your dad, of being really good business, like it seems very you that you would do something like that and think, “I could make money off of this.”

Miranda: Yeah! [Laughing]

Sofie: I could become my…I could become a business!  I’m not dependent on anyone.  I don’t have to follow anyone’s progress.

Miranda: I’ve never equated it to being Del Boy Trotter before, but yes!  Yes!!

Sofie: I see that being you, going fuck it!

Miranda: Fuck this shit! That was exactly my thought process! Fuck this shit! Why am I doing this for free, when like….and just….the way guys would treat you as well, was like they saw me as this luxury object, and it was their time to have some fun, and so they would be this…this lovely…for that hour, they would be like…they would treat you so much better than I would ever be treated on dates.  And it would be like, “Oh! I’m so pleased you made it! Come in. I wanna do this.”  I know exactly what we were doing beforehand.  And if I didn’t like it I could say no. You know, try someone else. So I knew what we were gonna be doing beforehand.  They were always like, you know, it’s their luxury to them. Do you know what I mean?  Like if you go to umm… like say, I don’t know, Alton Towers…for the day.  No, Ok. Somewhere not…that makes you doesn’t look like you’re gonna throw up.  Ok, so, say you buy yourself a bath bomb, ok.  And it’s passion fruit and…..candy floss flavor.  Don’t you think, “Do you know what? I’m gonna drop this bath bomb and I’m gonna really enjoy it.  I’m gonna get my book out.”

Sofie: Yeah.  It’s like a night at a hotel.

Miranda: Yeah!!

Sofie: Like, ohhh, I’m gonna get room service, and I’m gonna do the whole thing.

Miranda: Yeah.  You don’t go, “Well, fuck this room! This isn’t my room. This isn’t my room at home!”  You know?  You start off thinking “I’m gonna really to enjoy this.”  And they were so fun and care-free, because like, we knew we weren’t gonna see each other in the morning.  There was no pressure.  There’s that contract in place to go, “We’re never…Well, I’m not fast. You don’t call me.  You’re not fast. I don’t call you.”  There’s no pressure to impress each other.  You know.  Now I don’t have to worry about my wobbly bits, because you know about my wobbly bits.  And you like me because of my wobbly bits, and you know, that’s what you’re paying for really.  And, just that, that sort of no pressure, and like…it was…it was, so nice. That little bubble, and not a lot of people talk about it because a lot of people, like…people are always like, “Oh, sex work! It’s good for the money. I felt empowered! Du duh duh.”  And people don’t say “I felt, I felt turned on. I felt like I was being treated!  I felt like I was having some of the greatest sex that I’ve ever had!”  Do you know what I mean?  Because we’re all sort of so, like….activism and, duh duh duh.  And I’m like, “Well, let’s be a little bit clowny about it. Let’s get a little bit, you know.” It’s fine.

Sofie: I’m gonna. I’m gonna.  We don’t have a lot of time left.

Miranda: Sorry.

Sofie: No. Why?  You’re so British.  You’re sorry for time passing? [Laughing]

Miranda: I’m so sorry for the natural passing of time!

Sofie: No, I was just gonna say that, because we don’t have a lot of time, I’m gonna try and not feel bad about asking stupid questions.  So I’m just gonna ask the stupid questions.

Miranda: Go for it!

Sofie: And you can do your deflector stuff and be like “Idiot!” and storm out.

Miranda: [laughing]

Sofie: So were the guys…I mean, this is such an obvious “No” question, but when you see ….buyers of sex work on TV and stuff, they’re always portrayed in the same way.  Were they….did they all have something in common where you could go “Oh they are kinda the same type of guy” or were they completely…

Miranda: No.  They were all just, every different guy, every different color, every different race, every different nationality, every different age…just. There was nothing…the only thing that they had in common was they just…they were either. Well, that’s not even having something in common. You can’t start with “What they had in common was they were either…”

[Both laughing]

Miranda: They just wanted…they just wanted a bit of fun, or some intimacy or, they just…they just wanted to feel that for an hour. They wanted to try something new.  They’d say “I’ve had a fantasy of, you know, having, like, fucking a plus-size woman for ages.” You know? Or they’d have that sad story of “Oh, I’ve always fancied being with girls, but I was always afraid my mates took the piss out of me.” And I’m there making it rain like, “Yep. Your sob story is my rent, so go fuck yourself!”  Yeah?  I don’t care.  You were ashamed to tell your mates? Go fuck yourself!  And I will take your money happily. [Laughs]

Sofie: Well, now…we now know your hourly price was £2,000 since you lived in London at the time, so we know exactly what you needed to pay the rent.

Miranda: Yeah, exactly.  And that’s when I did have to have the revolving door system.  My fanny is knackered.  I’m literally…I can’t even sit down right now.

Sofie: Well, how long ago was it that you stopped?  Cause you’re not doing it anymore.

Miranda: No. No. I stopped when I was 30. I stopped 5 years ago.

Sofie: Yeah?

Miranda: Yeah.

Sofie: Because?

Miranda: Because…

Sofie: All the emotional damage that I can hear

Miranda: [sarcastically] The emotional damage, like…

Sofie: Yeah. I can hear how you’re so fucked up.

Miranda: Ummm…cuz things in any industry change, and there was more people…like when I first started, there was only about 12 plus-sized women in London.

Sofie: Wow! Whoa!

Miranda: If not the UK.  I can’t remember.  There were very….there was, like, a few of us, so we were, in demand.  And then I think the last time I looked when like things were just getting slower and slower and slower, and then it was just like, you look at all these horrific sites and they’re getting downhill.  There used to be really nice sites…like, this is blatantly, a lady you want to spend a night with.  And now it’s like, “Yeah, I’ll fuck you for a pound a minute! Bleh bleh bleh bleh!”  And it’s just gone so downhill.  You look at these horrific sites and how ladies advertise themselves, and I’m just like I don’t want to be part of that.  And there was something like 3,000 plus-sized women doing it, so I was sort of in a bit of a flooded market, and I didn’t like how sort of they were thinking that they needed to look at themselves. Do you know what I mean?  You’d always get the guys that would be like “Oh, well why are you charging that when this other girl is charging this?”  Because that’s my price.  “Yeah, but she’s charging that.” Well, then go and see her.

Sofie: Like, inflation in it.

Miranda: Go and see her then.  “But I wanna see you, and you should be charging that!”  But I couldn’t get to go to Tesco and say ask them to charge 50p for their oranges.  Can I have your £2 oranges… Do you know what I mean?

Sofie: Yeahh.

Miranda: Like, that is my…that is my price.  And I just saw the haggling, so. It was…it was the way the industry was going, but it was also that sort of that moment of like “I’m 30, and I moved to London because I wanted to do comedy and because I wanted to do more performance. Ad I’ve got these wonderful stories that I wanna tell.  I’ve got a reason to tell them, because I was seeing sort of like, you what was happening in Sweden.  And, I was like, I’ve got a reason…

Sofie: Fuck Sweden! I mean…

Miranda: Fuck them!

Sofie: I don’t think I’ve mentioned that enough.

Miranda: [laughing] No, we’ll never like them.

Sofie: Oh, Denmark. Fuck those guys.

Miranda: Denmark. I think Denmark’s alright.  I’ll have to check.

Sofie: I’m not really…uhh…I’m not really sure.  I was….cause I worked in the sex shop when I was 17….well, no I was 16 but I told them I was 18.

Miranda: [laughing]

Sofie: They never check. They knew. Uh…so, and I met a lot...I met a woman who was a professional…is it Japanese bondage?

Miranda: Oh, Yes.

Sofie: Which is almost performance art.  It’s not even sexual, even.  It’s almost art.  How to make knots…it’s like Boy Scout….Girl Scout art. And umm, so it kinda went…it was a bit…just knew a lot of people who were into that sort of thing.  I was very curious about it, so I was very passive...umm… involved in like the forums and…the internet and stuff…and umm….and so I, I…there was one Danish sex worker who was always on the news talking about it, and I saw…and I knew her a bit. I didn’t really….I don’t know how I lost contact with that whole thing, but she…I heard the things that people said about her. And it’s always this very difficult thing of, people are diluted if they’re pro, like no matter what people say…which is my struggle, like when I talk about fat positivity, my struggle is always people going…my thought is well, they’re gonna think “Of course you would say that fat is beautiful, cause you’re fat.”  You know, so it would be in your preference of things.  You know?

Miranda: Yeah

Sofie: And that…I can imagine that must be the most….the most damaging…the most horrible thing to hear is someone saying, “Well you don’t know what you think about your own situation.”

Miranda: Yeahh. Yeah!  But that’s like, all of us, isn’t it.  That’s like, feminism, and….we’re trying to talk about different people of different colors…and it’s that sort of…

Sofie: But it’s so deep within your psyche. It’s so deep within going “Oh no, you’re damaged!” and you can go, “No, no!”

Miranda: Yeah.  “I’m fine! I’m fine!”  “You’re damaged! You’ve got daddy issues.  You’re….you’ve got…you’re riddled….you know, you could never love.  You must never’ve had a relationship whilst you were working!”  And it’s like, you….do you wanna like just go out…just for a bit?  Take a walk.  Get off your computer and just come and talk to a person. Do you know what I mean?  And It’s….its sooo…it is annoying, but it’s like, but that’s what I think…that was when I thought, I can lend my voice to that. I’ve got the balls, and I’ve got the...like, assertion to say…to stand up and say, “This is what a sex worker looks like. We’re not gonna be roaming around in heels and leopard print. You know? That we are a normal.” That was one of the reasons why I wanted to do the show, like sort of, way back when.  Just sort of put it on an application form.  Like, errr.  So I wanna show that we’re normal…You don’t know what a sex worker looks like.  You don’t know who a sex worker is in this room.  You don’t….you think you’ve got this idea that we…that we’re this, we’re that.  And it’s like we’re…we’re so not.  All we did was find something that we enjoy, and we wanted to get paid for it. That’s…that’s a job. You know?  

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: So it’s….it’s…so yeah... that’s sort of one of the reasons why I was like, “Yeah, I will do it.” And one of the things why I’m like…I will keep banging my drum. [Laughs] Cause I’m passionate…

Sofie: But for a price! [Laughs]

Miranda: …about it.  For a price!!  Ummmm, it’s…it’s just sort of trying to…I find my position is more to say to normal…to people who don’t know about sex work and about the law…I’m like, “Well I’ll be funny and take you by the hand, and then I’ll take you on to follow my Twitter feed where I’ll retweet what people are doing at the moment.  And why this is important and how it’s affecting people in different parts of the world, and in our own country! You know? Like…Sooo, and that’s sort of what my job is…pass them on to the professionals!  [Laughs]  The experts!

Sofie: Sooo, Can you laugh?

Miranda: [Laughs]

Sofie: What’s your….not the weirdest…not the best or the worst…just, what’s your favorite….story to tell, like your favorite experience of the….cause I’m….If I’m not interested in hearing, you know, all the…if it’s not about the dirt or the [gasp], the shock value…

Miranda: Yeah.

Sofie: …or anything like that, but just like the….

Miranda: I think…

Sofie: Like…your favorite memory…your favorite thing…like your favorite story…the thing you love telling the most.

Miranda: It’s really easy, that one, because it’s….it’s sort of compomr….it sort brings in all my different, all my favorite parts. Cause it was at a party…so it was where me and a load of other girls who were sex workers, plus-size sex workers, we used to all work together sometimes…Errrr!!

Sofie: Uh oh!

Miranda: Err…err…you know.

Sofie: Uh…Well…Guys! I got her! I did it!

Miranda: [laughs]

Sofie: You’re arrested.

Miranda: Yeah….sort of…breaking the law! Breaking the law!  We organized parties, so we’d rent a flat out for a couple of days, and, we used to do these things called…right, I have to get this right.  “M”….no….N…N-M-C-F….N-M-C-F.  So it’s naked male, clothed female.  

Sofie: Ooooo!

Miranda: Yeah!  So there’s a fetish out there for men who, umm, don’t look like…who aren’t Chippendales, who aren’t strippers, you know.  They don’t have the body for it, but what they do have is the fetish to act like dancers and strippers in front of a group of women, ummm, whether it’s a cuckolding thing, like whether they feel like submissive, and like, you know they need women to laugh at them and humiliate them and tell them to take their clothes off, or there is just something that genuinely turns them on to be, you know, cock of the walk and strutting their stuff.  I don’t know, but it was a lot of fun to do! [Laughs] And we had this guy who would, he organize it, so he would pay for the room. He would get some champagne…and we’d all get paid as well, and he was, like, this older guy, so he was well into his sort of 60s, and he must have been a banker, cause he would always wear a very sharp suit…very sharp suit, and would always be at the entrance to say “Hello, ladies.  Hello. How are you?  Real lovely to see you again. Lovely.  Are you enjoying the champagne? Let me pour…” “Thank you. Cheers.”  And he’d want to strip, so we’d sort of start off like, like a hen party…the more raucous the better for him. So he’d be like, “Ehhh! Come on then! Let’s get your clothes off! Ehhh!”  And we’re all…none of us are touching him. We’re all just sat down, sipping champagne, going “Waaay!’  Like….like a looney hen party. He’s stripping off, and you know, he’s all a bit saggy and a bit gray, and it’s fine. And then he gets down to the bottom, and he’s like “Ladies, I’ve been wearing this all day for you!”  And he’s wearing…he takes off his trousers, and he’s wearing this crocodile Ann Summers thong...

Sofie: [laughs]

Miranda: [laughs] You know the one, where it’s like, the little puppet ones, and you’re like, “Oh my God!” And we’re trying not to laugh, and we’re like “OH! Sexy!”  Meantime, like throwing baby oil at him, like squirting it all over him.  We had to put tarpaulin down.  And he’d be like “ahhh!” And we’d be like “Take it off! Take it off! Take it off!”  And then he’d sort of pull it off, and he’s…he’d have his penis….uhhh…and it would have, like, a sort of shoelace on it with a bell on the end, like a little ting-a-lingly bell.  And his thing was that he’d like to sort of wave it up….like I’m sort of thrusting my crotch…and he’d like to sort of wave it around going “Ding-a-ling, ladies!”  [Laughs] And he’d have…sort of pull the bell to make…pull the little shoelace to make the bell ding…and it was just like….one of those moments where I thought…got  out of my body, and looked at myself, and I was like, “This is fucking brilliant! I’m getting paid to stay in a lu…luxury flat with Veuve Clicquot pouring in me. I’m with like five of my best mates, and we’re just watching this old guy have…have the time of his life.” He…you know.  He gets to be center of attention, and we’re helping him out with that.  And, you know, in the meantime…we’re getting…we’re just having a load of fun!  Like…so yeah….that’s sort of one of my favorite stories, I think.

Sofie: That’s lovely!

Miranda: Yeah!  I know. It’s very quaint. [Laughs]

Sofie: It’s lovely! I love that! I love that there’s no…That’s one of the things that I got from, like,  working in that sex shop…there’s no weird…like, my boyfriend at the time was such a prude.  

Miranda: Ohhhh.

Sofie: He hated…he didn’t want to pick me up from the place.  He would like park the car down the street.

Miranda: Yeahhh.

Sofie: [laughs] Cause I would like, “Ooo! We got this new thing that I’m gonna bring home!” And he was like, “Oh…errr…No.  I don’t”

Miranda: But didn’t you find that a good filter, like…if your boyfriend’s gonna be prudish about that, wouldn’t you just like, “Well, maybe you’re not…”

Sofie: Oh, yeah, but I was….16...like…

Miranda: Oh yeah!

Sofie: I had no idea who anyone was.  What…yeah. I was just like, “Oo! A man who wants me!”  Well, a boy… [Laughs]

Miranda: Yeah, but now it’s a good filter!

Sofie: So, now it’s really good to go….oh, no no no. That’s not…Like, you need to have some kind of openness…

Miranda: Yeah!

Sofie: But sexually, I’ve just always been….I’ve started being this…I thought I was so kinky, and so into all of that stuff, and now I’m like, “Oh, you know what?  Missionary. Lovely.”

Miranda: Yeahhh!

Sofie: Mmm. Some cuddling. A little holding. Just hold me.  No…we don’t even need to have sex. Just hold me a lot.  That’s fine. Kissing. I like kissing. [Laughs]

Miranda: Just the same!  And people are like, “So you must be into some pervy shit!” I’m like, “No. No.”

Sofie: I leave work at the job.

Miranda: Yeah! Yeah, I can write about it, cause it’s there, but outside of it, I’m just like, “Can we just go to the cinema and hold hands?”

Sofie: Ohhh! I love that.  So…oh shit, I thought it said 2 hours…that is the weird…no. It hasn’t…uh…Last question.  Uhhh…that I try to ask every single time.  I’m not sure how much it’s working out.

Miranda: [laughs]

Sofie: So, you have yourself as a baby.  Not as in… you don’t give birth to yourself as baby, but you’re in the room…

Miranda: Ok.

Sofie: …and little Miranda comes out.

Miranda: [laughs]

Sofie: And the baby’s very...it’s screaming and crying because there’s a lot of loud noises and a lot of light, and none of that was in the womb, and it’s all very terrifying.  And it’s…it’s like babies must be so freaked out because it’s all so loud and awful. Umm, but you…and I think that’s my theory is that’s life. All of life. There will always be loud noises and a lot light that you’re not prepared for, and you don’t know how to deal with.  But!  You as the thirty-ffff…

Miranda: Five!

Sofie: …five-year-old…I could have done that myself.

Miranda: [laughs]

Sofie: …Uhh…You now know how the next 35 years of this baby’s life is gonna turn out.

Miranda: Yeah.

Sofie: So you have the chance to tell this baby, you know, “Don’t worry. This will be fine.” Or…

Miranda: Yeah.

Sofie: You can tell…whatever you would have wanted that baby to know.

Miranda: The first…Mate, the first 14 years are gonna be shit, but afterwards, you’re gonna be alright, like…[laughs] Just hold on. It’s gonna be…uhhh…yeah! It’s gonna get fine. It’s…you’re not gonna die before you’re 30.  Like…at the moment I feel like I’m living in fucking Valhalla.  I’m like… [Laughs] “Everyone told me I was gonna die! I’m not! I’m still alive! This is…this is weird!” But yeah! You’re not gonna die!  Well, at some point you might, but…

Sofie: [Laughing] You’re not gonna die!

Miranda: Don’t worry about that! [Laughs] You might do!

Sofie: Sure! Lie to the baby! Lie to the baby!

Miranda: [laughs]

Sofie: No matter what anyone tells you, you’ll never die!

Miranda: You’ll never die! Umm, yeah…can I just like, tell it, and that will be true?  Well, no, that would be terrific.  Ummm, so…just…just…keep going. Just hang in there. Everything is there for a reason. Everything is gonna happen…for a reason. Everything is character building. Everything is gonna be a story. Everything is gonna be a part in your life that will build you on, and…you’re gonna get…you’re gonna get what you want out of life.  You may not think it’s what you want, but it’s….yeah, it’s what you need. So just…just fucking ignore them.  Ignore everyone at primary school, especially Thomas Hold who’s gonna hit you in the head with a cricket bat, and no one’s gonna believe you. So, just get over that bit.

Sofie: [Laughing]

Miranda: The rest of it, fine.

Sofie: [Laughing] So, where can people find you, and uh.

Miranda: Uh, they can find me on Twitter. My Twitter handle is BBWMelody, which was the name that I used when I was, uhhh, when I was a sex worker. So people are always like, “What does that mean?”  It’s like, “Big beautiful woman Melody!”  Ummm, but I still use that account. I’ll probably close it sometime next year, because I want a new start, I think…

Sofie: Yeah.

Miranda: Sooo, ummm. But you can…follow me on that, and that’s got loads of stuff on sex work decriminalization. Ummm, or if you google Miranda Kane, my webs….severely outdated website comes up. Orrrr, if you want to come to Club Indulge, we’ve got a big Halloween event on the 29th of October, and just google Club Indulge. Uhhh, and you can come to that, and I’ll give you…if you say you heard the podcast, I’ll give you a free entry!

Sofie: [sigh] Yaay!

Miranda: How bout that?  Yaaay! Just give me an email? Ok?

Sofie: Thank you so much, Miranda!

Miranda: Welcome! No worries! Thank you!

[Music playing]

Sofie: Hey, thanks for listening! Isn’t she great?  She’s so great! I love her, love her, love her, love her! Uhhh….do you want to know who my…uhh favorite…uhh person is that I can’t wait to get on the podcast?  It’s Alison Spittle. I love her so much, and I’m…she mentioned. She has a podcast called the “The Alison Spittle Show,” and I heard it on the train.  And I heard an old old episode that I hadn’t heard in a while, and uhhh…in that…and then towards the end of her podcast she mentions me.  And I always get a bit like, “Oh!”  Whenever I’m mentioned in a podcast, which it’s not like it happens often. So I get really giddy. Then she said, [sighs] like the most wonderful thing, and she paid me such a big compliment, and I just burst out crying on this…train.  And people were looking, and it was…awkward, and and, weird.  And I don’t cry in public, or in….you know, in front of anyone.  And then she was so lovely…and I can’t…wai…I’m so exci…I’m so excited about you…if you don’t know Alison Spittle yet…Oh my God! Your life is about to improve!  Uh, find her on YouTube. Find her on Facebook. On Twitter. Everywhere! Cause she is fucking amazing!  Uhhh…in terms of self-care, I just want to recommend something to you.  It’s called “futureme.org”.  O-R-G.  Org.    Ummm...and you can go and you can send emails to yourself in the future.  Which is…I mean one of my favorite things to do, and I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it before.  I…what I do, is I go in, and I write “Hey me. Uhh...this is…these are the things that you’re currently thinking a lot about. These are the things you’re nervous about, and the things that you’re desperate to find out what happens. And umm, these are the things that you hope you will fix or do in the next 12 months, and I uhhh, and I, and I hope that we do them.  And then I talk about the year before, and I say, “The last time I received one of these, you were talking a lot about this guy, or this problem.  I hope that by the time you read this, everything will be cool.”  Cause then you receive these emails like a year, or 2 years, or 3 years later saying, “Remember how obsessed you were about this one thing, and now you don’t even think about it. And it’s nice.  I just received one today, and it was nice. It was just…It’s basically an email saying, remember a year ago you wanted to lose a lot of weight.  Now you don’t give a shit, and you’re happy. Then I’m now reading it going, “Oh shit! Yeah, that was a thing that once happened, and now I’m happy. Huh!”  That’s really nice! So, futureme.org. I can…I can recommend that. Umm…I really should be leaving you. Go to patreon.com/mohpod.  M-O-H-P-O-D.  Go to iTunes and give us a 5-star rating, please. Give ummm, you know…share it on Facebook and Twitter and all of that if you liked it, and uhhh, you know what?  I will be back in a week’s time. So thank you so much for listening, and have a good day. Bye!

[Music playing]


Episode 5- Katy Brand

Transcription by Zac Hilliker

[Music playing]

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.

[Music playing]

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?”  

Katy: [Laughing]

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.

Sofie: [Laughing]

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.

Katy: Yes!

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.

Sofie: Yeah.

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?”  

Sofie: [Laughing]

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.  

Katy: Yes.

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.

[Both laughing]

Sofie: What were you like as a teenager?

Katy: Uhhh, Awful.

Sofie: Yeah?

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.

Sofie: Yeah?

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.

Sofie: Yeah?

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.

Sofie: Sicilian?

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.

Sofie: Yeah?

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!

[Both laugh]

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: Oooh!

Katy: Yeah.  

Sofie: So now you have insentiment to do that.

Katy: Yes, I’ve got 13 years left.

Sofie: [Laughing]

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!”

[Both Laughing]

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!”

[Both laughing]

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.

Sofie: Yeah?

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?

Katy: Yeah!

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.

Katy: Yeah.

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.

Sofie: Sometimes.

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…

Sofie: Hypervigilance?

Katy: Yeah, which I…have you heard that?

Sofie: No!

Katy: That word before?

Sofie: No!

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.

Katy: Yeah.

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.

Katy: Really?

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.”  

Katy: [Laughs]

Sofie: I just can’t deal with that.

Katy: So are you gonna tell people not to?

Sofie: Well, I’m gonna have to.

Katy: [Laughs]

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.  

Katy: God.

Sofie: I wanted to ask you, have you read Susan Kane’s book, “Quiet”?

Katy: No.

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.

Katy: Right.

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.

Sofie: Yeah.

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.

Katy: Yeah.

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.

Sofie: Yeah.

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.”

Katy: Yeahhhh!

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.”

Katy: Yes.

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.”

Katy: [Laughs]

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.

[Both laugh]

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.

[Both laughing]

Sofie: I would write letters to Malcolm X when I was 9.

Katy: Malcolm X!?

Sofie: Yeah.

Katy: Wow.

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…”

Katy: [Laughing]

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.”

Katy: Yeah.

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.

Katy: [Laughing]

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.

Katy: Laughing

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.”

Katy: [Laughing]

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.

Sofie: Yeah.

Katy: And uh, yeah.

Sofie: And they’d be really cool, and they would love us and think we were so great.

Katy: Yeah.

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…

Katy: No.

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.

Sofie: Oh.

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.

Katy: [Laughs]

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.”

Katy: [Laughs]

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!”

Katy: [Laughs]

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: Ok.

Sofie: Yeah.

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.  

[Both laughing]

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…

Sofie: Yeah.

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.

Katy: [Laughing]

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.

Katy: [Laughs]

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…

Sofie: Yeah?

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.

[Both laughing]

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.

Katy: Ok.

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!”

Katy: Yeah.

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.

Katy: Yeah.

Sofie: You’re still imagining it.

[Both laugh]

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,”

Sofie: No.

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!

[Music playing]

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!

[Music playing]

Episode 13- Susan Calman (Part One)

Transcript by Asher Gough

Sofie: Hello. You are listening to the Made of Human Podcast. I’m Sofie Hagen. I have to do this very quickly and very quietly because my housemates are probably asleep. It’s almost half past midnight, and I really want to put this episode out as soon as possible. I came straight from the interview — the chat — with Susan Calman. It took us I think about two hours, I haven’t checked yet, and it was, um, in-incredible. I want you to listen to this as soon as I can because it was two hours, I’m going to split it up into two parts. So the first part you’re going to hear now…it’s not too — it’s not that bad, it’s, it’s um, it’s not too heavy, it’s uh, it’s — I don’t remember when we started talking about uh, some dark more serious stuff, but uh, I’ll try and give you like the first hour of our conversation, then I’m pretty sure next week when you get part two, that’s going a bit more — you know. We basically talked about, um, a trigger warning here, this might be a bit, uh, triggering to some people, I don’t think we touch upon it in the first bit, but in the second bit, there will be talk about, uh, suicide attempts, depression and uh, self harm. Well, you know, I mean…we — I think we both at times cried, it’s quite weird. It took me a long time to realise she was crying, literally I must be like a robot, because in my head I was going “oh, water is coming from her eyes, I wonder why” and because she was smiling and talking, and *sigh* anyways she is probably the most incredible human being in the world, and, uh, yeah, we get quite deep, but it starts out not dark, so I think the first episode is gonna be the first part of the two parter Susan Calman special, I don’t think that was too dark, as far as I remember, but I need to record this now before my housemates like fall too deeply asleep, and I might wake them up, so I can’t really listen to it and then record this, that’s all admin based. But I just — I just want this to be released as quickly as possible, because, uh, I feel like everyone has to — everyone should hear what Susan has to say, because she’s — I mean if you — I’ve had depression, and actually after I’ve spoken to Susan I think I say I have had a depression where I don’t think it will ever leave, and I think I have a depression, and I don’t think I’ve said that out loud since, uh, since I stopped seeing a therapist. I have a depression, and it’s always gonna be there, in some capacity, in some…in some aspect, you know, it’ll take different shapes and different forms, and it will always be there, and I think after talking to Susan made it..I think I’m no longer in need of distancing myself from it, but, so, I’ll talk more about that before the next episode, part two of the two parter section of this podcast, but this is part one, I just think it will be relatively fun and quite nice, yeah, still serious, because we talk a lot of politics in this, but, uh, I just want you to listen to this ASAP, and next Wednesday I’m gonna put out the second part, which is the one that gets a bit dark, I suggest you do listen to this part, because we’re referencing some things that we..you know, we didn’t have a break when we recorded it, so, uh, yeah, I suggest you listen to both of them. I’m just rambling on about something you’re going to listen to anyway so, uh, yeah, thank you, I’m not going to edit this intro together to make it look or sound more slick or radio-like or cool, or as if I know what I’m doing because, um, yeah, this is very much in the spirit of the episode, so, uh, and also, I’m not sure about the sound as we were holding the mics, instead of having the, on a table, but we’ll survive. We’ll be fine. Listen, we’ll all be fine. And just because this is the first episode I’ve released, uh, after knowing about the election

results, which I will talk to Susan about in a bit, but, um, I know we’re all really scared, and I know we’re all really sad, and um, it feels hopeless, it feels like it’s all going in the wrong direction and I’m sorry that this is happening. Remember to breath. I know it sounds ridiculous, but remember to breath, and, uh, breath, be sad, feel sorry for yourself, we need to all feel sorry for ourselves, because, you know we need to give ourselves a big hug, and say “don’t worry, it will all be okay, we’ll figure something out” and we need to turn off the sad feelings, and need to turn on the immense anger and the want to start a fuxking fight, and we need to start fucking doing something about it, and we need to donate to all the places that need us right now, join a party — join the Labour Party, in Denmark join Enhedslisten, in America get involved, fucking get ready to go out there, donate to Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, google what can I do if you’re white, google what can I do as a white person, what people do to help, to stop the things that are happening, um, I am going to see, and I say this to Susan as well, my extremely racist, like extremely gross, horrible grandfather, well I’m not seeing him, I’m seeing my grandmother, but he lives with her, so he is part of the package deal, and, uh, I usually just argue with him, and that has to stop, because he has a vote, and the world isn’t fair, he gets to vote, so it’s my duty as a white person to make him realise that racism is bad. It’s not enough just to, you know, soothe my ego a bit, and debate him so that I feel like I’m more intelligent than him, and even though I am, it’s not enough, I need get down to a level he can understand, and I need to actually try to explain this to him, because it’s not about me, it’s not about us anymore, it’s about..we need to start fucking doing something, and I think we spend a lot of time as like white people being really horrified by racism, but are we doing anything when we run into it, when we see it. Are we actually doing anything? I haven’t done enough, I’ve tried sometimes, and then I’ve felt really good about myself, but I don’t think I’ve done enough, and I don’t know..I need to start doing things even though they’re uncomfortable, because that’s just how it is. Anyways, I’ll let you listen to the Susan Calman episode now — this part of the two parter. Thank you for being really, um, for being my listeners, I love you all very, very much, and, uh, please enjoy Susan Calman.

Sofie: Yeah, should be open.

Susan: Is it okay that the window is open?

Sofie: It should be fine, I mean, I’ve done it with a lot more noise.

Susan: It’s a bit of an atmosphere.

Sofie: I think it’s fine.

Susan: It’s like we’re crazy Soho chicks, in Soho.

Sofie: Also, I think it’s the only one I have recorded outside of the Phoenix Artist Club, that’s where I usually do it.

Susan: Oh, good, lovely.

Sofie: We’re in your house.

Susan: Welcome..to my flat in Soho Sofie Hagen.

Sofie: it’s really….white, it’s very white and beige.

Susan: It’s…uh, a rented flat, and it’s very bachelor from the 1980s *Sofie laughs* kinda strange thing.

Sofie: Glass table, there’s been so much cocaine on that table.

Susan: There has been..not from me.

Sofie: No, no, no.

Susan: And I have a washing in that I’m not gonna hang up til you leave.

Sofie: Oh, no, won’t it be smelly?

Susan: No, no, it’s fine, but I did it while I was out, and I didn’t want you to come in and see my pants lying everywhere.

Sofie: Why-Why-Why am I here? Why did you think I came?

Susan: I just didn’t want to hang up my pants

Sofie: It’s not recording.

Susan: Is it not recording? It is recording? Okay.

Sofie: So I just saw your show, and I took notes on my hand because I couldn’t reach my notebook.

Susan: Yep. Uhuh.

Sofie: So now I have all these words written all over my arm, uh, and I checked, and it’s not too bad. It’s not too bad.

Susan: Okay.

Sofie: There’s just some things in your show I just really wanted to talk about.

Uh, I wrote Keira

Both: Keira , Keira , Keira

Sofie: Am I pronouncing it right?

Susan: Yeah, no, Keira

Sofie: It sounds Swedish now..Keira . And then I wrote Franco because..so you talked about Keira Knightley..is she like your celebrity crush, or is that just because it was part of a story?

Susan: It was purely because I have always wanted to be a film star. When I was younger, uh, I used to sit with my — my Gran used to look after me, and she loved old films, like Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich, and, um, I have always wanted to be a film star, like an ingénue.

Sofie: I don’t know that word.

Susan: It’s uh, it’s like the young, frippery ladies — the pretty kind of romantic leads.

Sofie: Ahh, the one that like..not, not faints, what do you call it, (Susan: Absolutely) there’s a Danish word dåne, where it’s just like ahhhh, and then you just fall, almost, and get caught, and it’s black and white.

Susan: It’s when Garbo was like Camille, and she was lying in bed, and she had consumption you know, I grew up wanting to be, ah, a film star, but a Hollywood film star, which is something different, and..which is slightly unlikely, so when my agent phoned up and said there was like a Hollywood film, and I was like “oh my god, this is it”, and of course, it didn’t, but I’ve always wanted to be, you know, a Hollywood film star.

Sofie: Did you dress up? Or..how did that come..because I wanted..I don’t think I wanted to be famous, but I wanted the attention that I presumed that famous people would get, and what I would do, and this is really sad, from all like teen magazines, when they would like have an interview with a celebrity, I would cut out the questions, and put it into a notebook, and answer it, as if I was the famous star, and I never did anything else, with like the performance of the film or anything, I just really like the idea of someone being like “how are you? What do you want? What do you like? Who are you as a person?” Because I could be like “oh, oh wow, this question caught me completely off guard” *Susan laughs* but then you start being actually interviewed, and you realise, people don’t ask you the questions you want them to ask


Susan: Oh god, no, they ask the same questions again and again, it’s the same interview, I’ve been doing the same interview for ten years with the press. But I think it was because…being a…short..um..generous lady, who was never skinny, I’ve never been skinny..ever, ever ever been skinny, that I used to look at these women. And the thing is in Hollywood, they weren’t skinny, necessarily. They were voluptuous and they were…so it wasn’t like you had to be skinny to be a film star, you could be like a proper woman, and I think I wanted just that glamour. I’ve got a weird dichotomy. It’s a weird thing, I’m really gay, and really, really down with being butch, or not feminine, but I really want to do Strictly Come Dancing..because I struggle with my femininity, that in a way, I think I rejected femininity because I don’t think I look very attractive. So I went the opposite direction, so at university, I wore Doc Martins, and army coats, and I shaved my head, and I pierced my nose, I thought “well, sod it, if people don’t think I’m attractive, I’ll just pretend that I don’t care if I look attractive “

Sofie: Like “I never try to be”.

Susan: Yeah, I’ll make it a political thing and go “well, I don’t want to look like a woman anyway, because that’s the patriarchy” and actually, there is a part of me that really wants to be attractive to people


Sofie: So in Strictly Come Dancing would you have to wear kind of fancy — I’ve never watched it — but is it like fancy dresses and stuff.

Susan: Oh, god Sofie, sequins, fake tan, wigs, makeup, high heels, the whole shabang.

Sofie: Would you feel comfortable in that?

Susan: No.

Sofie: Because whenever I dress womanly, I..I hate…I feel like I’m…I feel…when I was..I must have been about eleven I think, because I moved out of the village I was from when I was ten, so I had to come back, and one of my friends was throwing this birthday party, and I wanted to look good, so I asked my Grandmother what to wear, because…nerd, and she picked out this outfit that she would wear, so I arrived at this party, eleven years old with this long dress that reached my ankles, and a tiny thin scarf around my neck…dressed like an old person basically, and it was the most…I think I think about that maybe once a week. Oh my god. And in my head is like “there’s someone trying to look like a woman, but she’s failing at looking like a woman”. And I think that every time I dress up, and you can see that I’m trying to be like really womanly or elegant, I have that image in my head of people going like “she’s just pretending to look like one”. I feel like that’s how I would feel if I had to wear sequins.

Susan: I think that’s kind of how….that’s kind of how I would feel as well. I think I’ve just always…my body shape is such…as a shorter lady, I say I’m short, I’m 4ft 10”, I have a suspicion I’m shorter than that, Sofie, I think I’m even lying about that.

Sofie: You’re lying about the truth about your height?

Susan: I have this suspicion I’m actually like 4 ft 9”, as.. I read a really interesting biography of Judy Garland, I’ve always loved Judy Garland, she talked about the pressure she was under, so when she was at MDM, they fed her full of uppers, and downers, and said she was too fat, and she notoriously said that she had a waist that started at her shoulders. So she was really high waisted, you know, and didn’t really have a waist particularly, and that’s why they kept cramming her into corsets and everything.

Sofie: Right.

Susan: And I’m exactly the same, I don’t have a discernible waist. I’m kind of..kind of, I’ve got skinny legs..and a large stomach, and no real waist. And I think my body shape has always been a difficulty, because when I buy clothes, if I buy a jacket, the waist is in the wrong place, because it’s for a taller person, so nothing ever fits me, or suits me, or looks nice on me. And the best moment…I did a show, a television show, and they paid for someone to make a suit for me.

Sofie: Like sew it?

Susan: Yeah, designed it. And I’ve never felt the joy of putting on something that — this was about three years ago — that genuinely fitted me, and the waist was in the right place. So when I get trousers, because I have to cut about seven or eight inches off the bottom of them, there are always so wide, because I’m actually cutting them off at the calf, at mid calf, so everything flaps. So jackets never fit at the shoulders, and nothing ever fits, and that then contributes to me feeling like I don’t look good because nothing ever feels good, and I think..I always just really…I would love to walk into a room, this is a really terrible admission, I would love to walk into a room like they do in the movies, and have everyone turn around and go “oh my god! There she is!” instead of doing what I do, which is just shuffle in at the back with my rucksack and go “hello, that’s me here”. And in a way, when I’m onstage, when I’m really confident, because you saw me tonight, I’m like super, SUPER confident, that’s the meI would like to be. And in reality I’m not that person.

Sofie: I saw, there was about, just where I was sitting, we were four people who were there alone, and uh, one of us — I feel so connected to these people — and one of them had a book, and was just reading the book, before the show, not during the show, and I really, really, really love comedians who attract the kind of audiences that come alone, I feel like that is an amazing thing, and I’ve also come to terms with..I’m not the life of any party, I’m a lot closer to being the death of a party, I’ll ruin the party. But, uh, I love that that means that other people who are the same, the other freaks, the other people who feel like that, the other people with the backpacks, they then come and see me, and then we all feel like we’re all in this together. We’re all a bit weird.

Susan: But it’s interesting because… this was before you did your anxiety tour thing you’re doing, when I was at the Pleasance this year, at the Fringe, when I was doing my briefing to the ushers, and they were very open to it — it’s not a bad story this — I said to them, please don’t refer to people as “ladies and gentlemen”.

Sofie: Ohh, cool.

Susan: I said please don’t do that because you don’t know who it is that you’re speaking to.

Sofie: Yeah.

Susan And, I have very little control over the toilets and all of those kinds of things that you’re interested in, but I did say at the start of the show, please go to whichever toilet you self identify with, because that’s fine in this show. And I think..I’m also curious as well, I don’t speak to the audience, I ask them questions, but I don’t speak to them, so I don’t pick on someone and say..

Sofie: Oh god no, me neither. Oh god no.

Susan: You know, because I think people are quite…I’m an anxious person, and I don’t like to feel like the centre of attention, but I think that a lot of people come to my shows because they met up on the internet, I had a group in last night and they clearly were friends, but had never met.

Sofie: *gasp* Yeah

Susan: And they’d met the first time at the show because they kind of know that my shows aren’t kind of necessarily upset them.

Sofie: Yeah, yeah, we’re on their side.

Susan: Yeah,I think so. And I..I just want…being..growing up in Glasgow, under Clause 28, and Section 28 as a gay lady..

Sofie: Which is..

Susan: So they were..that was the legislation that Thatcher put in which essentially said that schools weren’t allowed to talk about or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle. So..

Sofie: Was that just in the UK or just Scotland?

Susan: In the UK.

Sofie: Fuck!

Susan: And in Scotland, they tried to repeal the clause, and there was a big campaign called Keep The Clause Campaign, and I remember growing up and seeing billboards saying keep the clause…you know..your children aren’t safe, and all that kind of stuff. And growing up during the “gay plague”, the AIDS epidemic, and knowing how isolated I felt, because I really did, we didn’t have the internet..you couldn’t get a gay magazine for heaven’s sakes. I never want anyone to feel as isolated as I did at that point, and sometimes people say “why do you bang on about being gay all the time?” And it’s because when I was growing up, I used to see Sandi Toksvig, and Sue Perkins on my television, and I felt, in a strange way…somehow I felt slightly better because there was somebody else that I looked at and thought “well, they’re okay”. And I do a lot of children’s BBC now, and I hope that there’s a wee lesbian going “oh look! There’s a wee lesbian on the television!” And they don’t feel like it’s a bad thing to be gay.

Sofie: Yep.

Susan: Because, whilst I never felt guilty about my sexuality, I felt…I felt that other people hated me because of who I was. And again in the show I talk quite a lot about..we seem to have entered a time where things are frightening for a lot of people.

Sofie: Yeah.

Susan: And I think a lot of people feel slightly despondent about life just now, which is bad, and I think what you need to do, is if you are part of that group of people who doesn’t hate people is to know that there are other people out there who similarly don’t hate people, and you’re not on your own in being a liberal, you know.

Sofie: Yeah, and I remember when all the reaction started pouring in, and I think this was actually when Brexit happened, or maybe it was when the right wing won in Denmark, I don’t remember, but there was someone saying “if they had lost, they would be really, really angry. We lost, and we cry.” it’s another feeling that drives us to..our feeling is hope and love,and wanting people to be safe, and theirs is fuelled by fear and hate, and anger, and it’s not the same, it’s not just A or B, or winning or losing, it’s love or hate. It’s so deep. I love how you said it in your show that it was we just don’t hate people.

Susan: Yeah, to stop apologising for not hating people.

Sofie: Yeah.

Susan: Because sometimes, us leftie liberals, we go “oh, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry I don’t hate people”, and you go “what, come on now”. Things have changed in the past two years, when people used to say “all these liberal comedians, and no one right wing gets a say”, and now all there is is right wing people having their say, and actually, we are now, to a certain extent, the minority, in terms of what we are actually trying to say in life.

Sofie: Yeah.

Susan: And about kindness, and I really worry about LGBT+ rights, in America..I don’t know what’s going to happen over there, but even here. You know, we got equal marriage, and I thought “my god, finally this country has changed”, and it’s a worry when you have people cutting back on HIV treatment when you have people, um, saying things about gay people, and you “think my god, we’re going right back to where I grew up”.

Sofie: Yeah.

Susan: And I suppose it’s our role..I actually feel more excited right now Sofie, than I ever have been about comedy.

Sofie: Yeah?

Susan: Because instead of it being about flaccid entertainment, we can actually do something now. I think

Sofie: Yeah.

Susan: There’s a point to what we do.

Sofie: You can point to a specific thing and say “you can do this right now”, yeah, yeah.

Susan: So if your aim is partly on your tour to persuade people to come out and to say your anxiety will not stop you and all of those kind of things, and that’s a point. And my point is “Hey, I like Europe, and I don’t think you should hate gay people, and women are grand.” And that’s a fine point.

Sofie: You had a really good point in your show about, um, Ireland?

Susan: Yep.

Sofie: Because I, as a stupid foreigner, who doesn’t know anything about what has been going on in this country, and in Ireland as well. When I first came to Ireland I was told that abortion isn’t legal, it..I couldn’t have been…in my head that’s like saying “women here can’t vote”. That’s such a basic human right. It blew my mind that this is something the whole world isn’t losing its mind over, the fact that abortion isn’t legal in Ireland, and you made a good point that people don’t really hear about..do you think it stems from this “oh, I’m sorry I’m liberal” feeling? That might be why we aren’t hearing enough about it, because people might have that self imposed, British, pseudo-humble think of going “oh, no I don’t want to yell too loudly”.

Susan: I think, and I think that this may be a controversial point of view..

Sofie: Go on.

Susan: Is that..so I have an incredible love for Samantha Bee, like, absolute adoration, because when she talks about something to do with women, or a minority, she gets it. And when she talks about it, there is a power in what she’s saying, and I think one of the problems is every single host — and this is not a “oh, I want to get on television, this is not what this is — we see the world through the eyes of white, straight men. So when you have a topical show, they’re not necessarily as aware as I am of the lovely Grainne Maguire, and what she’s doing, or necessarily the beautiful Bridget Christie, or the gorgeous Sara Pascoe, or the incredible Katherine Ryan, you know, who are very visible, and brilliant people, but if I was hosting a show, I’d say “I want Grainne Maguire on for ten minutes what Repeal the eighth is all about” And the fact that I can do a show in Glasgow, and fly for half an hour to Belfast, and talk about..I remember the first time I did that, I did a show about marrying my wife, and I did it in Belfast and about ten minutes in I went “Oh my god you can’t get married.” And it’s half an hour from Glasgow, and again, it’s part of the United Kingdom, and gay people don’t have equality. I think it’s about the fact that we don’t have that voice. We don’t have somebody saying “hang on a second, uh, women’s reproductive rights. My god we have to protect this from a lot of people right now, in America, Roe Vs Wade, you know. The most important thing I think about the American debates, the presidential debates that I saw, I’ve got a qualification in American Supreme Court Law. Of course I have, Sofie, and they were talking about Roe Vs Wade, and if you don’t know, well it’s the case that’s about abortion in America, and the question was about late term abortions, and Hillary Clinton spoke, from a legal background, and said “well you only do it if the health of the child or the mother is at risk”, and Donald Trump said “well they rip children from the wombs of the mothers”, playing into, you know, everyone’s bogeyman fears. And we have lived a very nice life in this country, to a certain extent, because I’ve always been able to get birth control or whatever it is you need, and we take it for granted, but you have women in Ireland, who have to fly to Britain..now all the women I know who have had abortions, have never done that lightly, that is not something that women do. But, I think I have never been more aware of my gender and my life than I am at this precise moment in time, about so many issues.

Sofie: Those..so, ah, the woman who was meant to go to court, ah, against Donald Trump for him raping her, she drew back her complaint….lawsuit…and I saw someone on Twitter or Facebook or something saying “oh, she shouldn’t have done that, blah blah blah”, and I just want to say we are all…no one can blame her, like he is the most powerful man in the world. And he’s a rapist, people have difficulties reporting rapists, who are just regular people they met in the city, how is it going to take less effort to, you know, the president of the United States.

Susan: You have to fact check this before it goes out, Sofie, but I’m pretty sure that Mike Pence, or someone like that has made a statement that says something like “women would say they were raped to get time off work”.

Sofie: If I just add “allegedly” then we’re fine.

Susan: It doesn’t work, but try it. There is such a discussion about…

Sofie: He’s insane, like he’s properly fucking…the devil

Susan: Oh, he is, he’s properly insane. But that’s what I was saying in the show, we have been..a lot of people have been blindsided by Donald Trump, but the danger is not Donald Trump, the guy’s an idiot, but there are checks and balances. But Mike Pence..the idea of conversion therapy..you know they had it in this country, they basically tortured gay people with electrodes, to stop them being gay, and..my point is we can’t sneer at America, because, if you recall the Brexit vote in the Supreme Court, when the Daily Mail had that picture of the three judges, that said “openly gay ex-fencer” you know, for the judge. And the ex-fencer thing is funny, the interesting thing is “openly gay”, like “how dare he be openly gay”.

Sofie: Yeah, as a opposed to..?

Susan: Why is that even…what’s the problem? And the language about gay people, about any minorities. You know, the language about Europeans in this country, and “all you Europeans coming over here, sponging off my taxes”, and I suppose my point is the negative rhetoric that I’m hearing. So, I remember when the Conservatives won the general election, and my Facebook feed was full of people saying if you voted Conservative, defriend me. Now. I am not a Conservative voter, Sofie, that may surprise you.

Sofie:*gasp* get out…of your house.

Susan:But at the same time, people vote Conservative for a lot of different reasons, and to simply stop the discourse between us all, and to turn it into a black and a white, yes and a no, “I hate you because you’re this person”, it’s what leads to some of the horrific things. “You’re brown”. “You’re an asylum seeker”. “You’re a benefit fraudster”. And are you ever talking to people and asking why they’re here, and who they are, and you know. How about we actually ask people questions?

Sofie: I think it’s the most important thing after this thing, and I’m kind of ashamed I didn’t know about it sooner, didn’t realise it sooner, because I’m one of those people…I block and delete and I don’t want to hear it, because it upsets me so much that these people exist. But then after the election, a lot of people have pointed out that this thing of, you know, if people are racist, they won’t listen to people of colour, if people are homophobic, they won’t listen to gay people, if people are sexist, they won’t listen to women, which means, as a white person, I have the possibility of maybe reaching a racist, which people of colour can’t do. So me shutting up is almost like the bully that just doesn’t interfere. And it really shifted my whole head, because, you know, I’m off to visit my very, very racist grandfather in a week, and you know, I’ve had discussions and arguments with him before, but they’ve all been for, you know, my kind of..”oh, fuck you, you’re wrong”, my ego..whatever it is when you discuss it with a racist grandparent. Now it’s a bit more than that. Now it’s “no, no, now I definitely need to get him to stop voting what he votes for”. Like this is not just a “ugh, it’s so annoying he’s such a cunt”, this is “oh, we need to actually start doing something. We need to actually start talking to people” So you saying that, I was like “yeah, yeah, yeah”, but a month ago, I would have been like “oh, I just don’t want them in my life”, but now it’s like “it’s okay that it’s annoying you, they’re in your life, then you just have to deal with it, because it’s more than annoying for other people, who they harm through how they vote.

Susan: The thing is to me, if you’re going to talk about..so it’s very easy to say “Donald Trump is a fool”, what’s more important is to tell an audience what Mike Pence believes in, because, in all of the saturation of the media coverage, so many people are not aware of what some of the Republican policies are. So, to understand that, means to be able to disseminate that. So instead of just standing on stage, and getting an easy laugh by saying “this guy is a fucking idiot”, if you tell people what it is, and let people know..so the best satirical comedy, and the best satirists are people that actually understand the issues from both sides, and so you can acknowledge, you know, most people in this country, I think, are centre, and can be persuaded right or left, depending on whatever, there are people to the far right, and to the far left, but most people in this country, fairly smashing people who are in the centre, who are looking for whatever issues. I don’t think the majority of people are racist, but they have concerns. Now I would quite like to understand why that happened, so I can stand on stage and say “you know when people said about benefit fraudsters, and health tourists, do you know what proportion actually happened…actually come here, and you know, are leeches?” and you can look at the rhetoric, and exactly as I was talking about, in terms of, uh, that lovely nice straight people who come to my shows don’t even know what gay conversion therapy is, or what “gay cures” are, and it is torture. But part of the most exciting thing about comedy now is thinking about these issues, and saying “why? Why is it funny?”. You know, some of the best comedy I grew up with..there was a show called Spitting Image, Sofie, and it was puppets, and on the eve of Thatcher’s, I don’t remember, second or third term they did this incredible sketch, where, you know the film Cabaret? Liza Minnelli, she’s our queen. *Sofie laughs* And there’s a song called Tomorrow Belongs To Me, and what it is, is that it starts off as a beautiful blonde haired boy standing up, and singing this gorgeous folk tale “The sun in the meadow is dah dah dah” oh, it’s lovely, then the camera pans back, and it’s the Hitler Youth, and everyone is standing, singing this Aryan song. And they did an incredible sketch where the Houses of Parliament were standing up singing Tomorrow Belongs to Me, and I’ll always remember that sketch, because it was saying, if you vote for her, this is what will happen. And it was so clever, because it wasn’t saying “Thatcher’s a bitch”, and blah blah blah. It presented it in a really intelligent, clever, beautiful way. And to me, when I watch someone like Sara Pascoe, or Bridget Christie and they blindside you..so you’re laughing along, and they go bam, and punch you in the face, metaphorically, with a point, that is the best comedy you can possibly get, for me. Some people just want to go out and hear someone telling jokes about the difference between men and women. That’s not really what I want to do in my life.

Sofie: Yeah.

Susan: I don’t know that it’s something you want to do necessarily, either, is it?

Sofie: There was a company that wanted me to do their Christmas party, coming to see my show at the Soho Theatre, and I asked to their email address, and sent a very long email explaining what the show was, and what my audience is, and, you know, if you’re wasted, I’m not letting you in. They wrote back, very nicely and said “no, no we’re not going to be drinking, we’re going to be fine, we get it.” But I’m just not having it, but that goes a tiny bit against what you were saying about we need to talk to them, about the people who go to see your show, won’t they already be liberal? I mean, I do Brexit material, not that much, but a few Brexit lines, in my show, on tour, and I do go to small places, and afterwards, I find out how eighty or ninety per cent of them voted for Brexit, but in my head, I’m like “Yeah, but if you go to see a foreigner…fuck you”.

Susan: But you’re also Foster’s award winning Sofie Hagen.

Sofie: So I’m not just a foreigner?

Susan: No

Sofie: *Gasp*

Susan: You have that people may come to see you because you’ve won the major award in comedy, so people who mostly come to see me, you’ll have spotted tonnes of lezzers, tonnes of lezzers, tonnes of gay people, and some nice (BBC)Radio Four listeners, but I’ll also get, especially on tour people who are just going out because “I think I saw her on Have I Got News For You”. Um, and yes I’m Scottish, and you might expect I’m pro remain, because most of Scotland voted that, but that’s not the thought process when someone goes to a website, and goes “should we book a night out?”

Sofie: Yeah, that’s a good point.

Susan: You know they’ll go “oh, Susan Calman..I think I…yeah, I saw her on something”. So their process is not necessarily..I think London’s different.

Sofie: Yeah

Susan: But when you’re touring round the country, it’s a slightly different..er..process for people booking a ticket.

Sofie: Yeah.

Susan: So what I always try and do, which is sort of….what I always and do , in my tour shows, is the first half of it is very nice. The first half of it is some nice stories about Radio Four, and, uh, my niece and nephew, and it’s lovely. Because a lot of people come to see me, and they’ve never seen stand-up before.

Sofie: Right.

Susan: So I’ll be the first stand-up experience that they’ve had, and they’re terrified because they’ve heard stand-up is horrible.

Sofie: Yeah.

Susan: And so I deliberately..I spend such a long time on the structure of my shows, first half, they go into the first interval thinking “ooh, this is good, yeah” and then in the second half, I’ll challenge them, about whatever it is I want to challenge them about, because they’re comfortable, they’re feeling happy, they know I’m not going to pick on then, they know I’m not going to make them feel terrible, but I want them to leave having made the point that I’m going to make. And so, for example, all of my Brexit stuff and feminist stuff, and misogyny stuff is in the second half of the show, so that they’re more willing to listen to that.

Sofie: Mmm.

Susan: So, it’s not that I cop out in the first hour of the show, the first forty-five minutes, I just want them to feel safe.

Sofie: Then you reel them in.

Susan: Yeah, and then, when they leave, I’ve said what I wanted to say to them, and at the same time, I don’t go out and immediately go “right. Here’s the bloody score”. Because I think the way to persuade people is..when I did the show about equal marriage, before equal marriage was around, I did change people’s minds, because what I did was, I stood there, and I did a whole show where I was lovely, and talked about my cats..and then you say “oh, by the way, I’m not allowed to get married”. And it kind of made people go “but she’s a nice woman, what is the problem with this?” And so part of it is the structuring of the show, that’s just how I feel, other comedians do it differently, but I want people to..to go and have a conversation about it afterwards..about why is it..that there are no travel logs between two women on television? Why is it always boys that get to go away together? Why does no-one want to see you and I in a caravan, Sofie?

Sofie: I’d fucking love to see you and I in a caravan.

Susan: But do you know what I mean? Why is it always two boys travelling around the world.

Sofie: It is a very good metaphor, but also, we will pitch that tomorrow.

Susan: Oh, fuck yeah, you and me in a caravan travelling around somewhere.

Sofie: We don’t even need to travel.

Susan: No, we can just sit in a caravan. I think people would like to watch that, because our experiences will be very different from like two guys.

Sofie: My friend just got..she said to me…”I got a job on a talk show” and I said “ooh, are you gonna be the host?” And she said “no, I’m a woman”, like it was the most natural thing, she was saying “no, I’m a reporter, like a correspondent”. Oh, yeah okay, that makes a lot more sense.

Susan: Because that’s what you do, and it’s funny, because I’m recording my sitcom, for Radio Four next week, eh, and it’s me and a lovely lady called Ashley Jensen, uh, who’s quite famous.

Sofie: *laughing* Thank you for telling me.

Susan: And a man called Nick Helm, don’t know if you’ve ever heard of him.

Sofie: Nick Helm, I know Nick Helm.

Susan: He plays my boyfriend. He doesn’t know he’s my boyfriend, but he is in my head.

Sofie: Well he is in my real life as well.

Susan: And, it’s funny because I had a discussion with the producer, who’s lovely, and there was a page of the script, and he said “um, so Nick…Nick’s not got any of the jokes on this page” and I said “I know, because for a change, Nick’s the one that sets up Ashley and I”. I always make a volleyball metaphor. Women always set the ball, and men spike it. And I want to be in a situation where we get to spike it.

Sofie: Mmmm.

Susan: And I think knowing the women I know in comedy, and how brilliant they are..I find it offensive on behalf of the women that I love, that people still think..”no-one would want to see you and I traveling around the country”, of course they would, of course they would. That would be a brilliant show. You’d have to drive, you’re taller, my feet won’t reach the pedals.

Sofie: I don’t have a driver’s license.

Susan: Oh, christ..okay, we have to get another woman in to drive the van.

Sofie: How do we find a woman who drives?

Susan: They don’t drive!

Sofie: It’s going to be a disaster!

Susan: I think that will be brilliant, you and I travelling to Brexit areas, you know..

Sofie: Educating them.

Susan: Educating them, setting up a little European campervan, talking to people about what’s nice about Europe, that would be bloody amazing!

Sofie: Love that.

Susan: Because the thing is, there are quite a lot of women in this country, and, I think it’s offensive to men, that they wouldn’t want to watch us. You saw my audience tonight, plenty of blokes in the audience this evening who enjoyed it.

Sofie: Oh, yeah yeah yeah, because it’s not the audience that don’t want to see it, it’s the channels, or the producers who go *sharp intake of breath* “oh, no I don’t think that sounds..”

Susan: Do you know what the problem is? If you and I did a show, they wouldn’t know…because you and I can’t be put in a box..right?..Because neither of us necessarily do what people might expect us to do, and in fact, occasionally might be contrary..deliberately, that petrifies people.

Sofie: Oh, yeah, like dimensions, just personality…general all round personality traits.

Susan: Because you might say, I don’t know — if you’d do a show, I certainly would — if we did a studio section, I’d say “well okay, I’m not wearing a dress, necessarily, and I want to have a trouser suit on, and I want to make sure that the promos for the show concentrate on the fact that it’s two women, and I don’t want any sexy shots of us”, and they’d go “well, what are we gonna do then?”

Sofie: Was it before the show when you did your male comedian pose, on stage, when you said “I’m going to do the male comedian pose, I was like..”what?”. But then you did it, and it was like “yep, oh yeah yeah yeah, that’s the one”

Susan: When you look at the posters for the Fringe, it’s always one hand in their pocket, with a suit, with that kind of “whaaaaaaaat? What’s going on? Is that a camera?”, and women always have that delightful looking slightly off camera kind of coy, not looking straight at you, which is why my poster this year was me just looking straight ahead, it was a deliberate thing.

Sofie: Oh, I mean, I took two photos..uh, that we were discussing using, and I had the one that I loved, which was me, lots of flowers, lots of things happening, colours and everything, then I had an awkward facial expression where I looked like I’m not comfortable, which is what the show is about, me not being comfortable, and then then there’s this stunning photo, where I look sexy, and confident and there’s this glittery stuff everywhere, and I look like I run the whole world, and that’s the one that everyone loved, they’re like “oh, you look incredible in this photo!”. And I was like “yes, but it’s not me, and it’s not my show, and it’s not….it’s a lovely photo, I’ll give it to my mum for Christmas, but it’s not my poster”, and every single time that no-one has been like really on it, that’s the one I always ended up using for the posters, places, and flyers and stuff. And it’s such a..I just don’t ever want to be sexy on a poster.

Susan: No?

Sofie: No. I do want to look into the camera, but I don’t wanna…it’s not who I am.

Susan: Okay, then let’s get serious for a second Sofie. Is that because you don’t feel sexy? Because you are. And I say that as an expert in such things. As a forty-two year old lesbian, I essentially qualified to say that you are a very sexy woman.

Sofie: Can I get that as a kind of Diploma?

Susan: Absolutely!

Sofie: Do you carry around Diplomas?

Susan: I have been given the certificate by Clare Balding, I am allowed to say such things.

Sofie: No, I think it’s more because of my comedy, because I have a lot of paranoia about who comes to see my shows, and I don’t wanna attract an audience that wants to see a super confident, sexy lady, you know?

Susan: Okay..

Sofie: I want the people who look at my face and go “she looks like she’s not having a great time, I don’t have great times either. That’s where I want to go and hang out”

Susan: That’s very interesting.

Sofie: And you know what? I think part of, uh, I think there’s kind of a response to people, people are so excited when I look good, people get very like, not shocked, buy “yay! Yay, you look good today”, in a way of…it’s like a fatness thing, they’re really excited on my behalf, when I look the most conventionally attractive. Like people get very uncomfortable when I put up photos of me like in bed, with like no makeup, looking like I just woke up, or photos where I don’t look stunning, when there’s no filter, or a certain angle. I think people get confronted with what you as a woman should be hiding, like “oh, but you can see her stomach, oh no”, so when I pose in the right way, it’s like “oh yes, we’ll use this”, because then you don’t have to face what we’ve been taught to think. I’m just saying this now, I’ve no idea if I’m right.

Susan: Do you think, I’ve often thought, and this may be wrong…if I was thinner, my career would be far better…because..like, someone came up to me after my show yesterday, and went “oh my god, you’ve lost so much weight, you look really good”, and I went “okay..the exercise I talk about in my show is actually, genuinely, purely because I’m forty-two, and I don’t want..I want to be healthy. Because on tour, I travel myself, with my suit and rucksac, and do you know what? Carrying that suitcase around the country is a fucking pain in the arse.

Sofie: Mmm

Susan: And I want to be fit enough to enjoy my life, and it’s funny when people say “oh, you looked so good”. And I know what they’re saying is that I don’t look as fat as I did

Sofie: Mmm

Susan: And I often think that if I was skinnier, I would be more, and this may be wrong, as I say, that I would be more palatable to some people.

Sofie: I may have shared this story before on the podcast, but I went..have you seen Every Brilliant Thing? The play?

Susan: Yes.

Sofie: You know how he…so it’s a play where the audience interacts- *cushion-y noises*

Susan: It’s cushy, it sounds like we’re in bed together, everyone, but we’re not recording this in bed.

Sofie: We’re pitching that on the radio.

Susan: You and me in bed, in a campervan!

Sofie: Oh my god, so Every Brilliant Thing is very interactive theatre play..show, I think it’s just called a play actually in real life. And, uh, Jonny Donahoe, uh, did it in Edinburgh, probably around the country, and I went to see it, and I’m friends with him, and he wanted me to be one of the people he chooses for the interaction bit, and I didn’t know the play, I didn’t know what was gonna happen, and the first person he said for something in the play, he goes, then we had to go to the vet, and he pointed at me and goes “now you have to play the vet”, and I was so..omg it’s Jonny Donahoe, he’s kinda hot, this is amazing, and I played the vet. I did it funnily, and he was very happy with it, and I was so like “yeah! He picked me! We’re gonna get married one day, it’s gonna be brilliant!” then like fifteen, twenty minutes later, he goes “and then I saw the woman who was meant to become my wife!”, then he pointed at this gorgeous woman, like conventionally gorgeous, tall, skinny, she had this like mediterranean big black long hair, and I was just like “oh. Always the vet, never the bride”. This is fucking typical, and in my head I was just fuming, not..you know, it made sense, I get it, I get how I’m the vet. It makes sense in the world we live in, in the world we see, in every aspect of the world, it make so much sense that she’s the wife, and I’m the vet, but my god I would love to be the wife, you know?

Susan: You see, this is the source of my frustration. Because in my world, if I ever managed to get something made, you’d be the hot chick I pursued.

Sofie: Yesssss. Do you think they’d accept that? Would they want that? Because we don’t get to decide those things. If we had a camera, sure, but they’d go “*intake of breath* I was thinking more, can we go with Mrs Beautiful?”

Susan: No, because I’m the nurse. Carrie Fisher, you know Carrie Fisher?

Sofie: Is she the Star Wars..?

Susan: Princess Leia.

Sofie: Yeah.

Susan: I love the fact our conversations always take longer, because I constantly have to say “do you know what I’m talking about?”

Sofie: It’s even worse than that, you did a joke where you said the name of someone, and I was like “ooh, who’s that?” I need to check out who that is, and I found out you were saying “Murder She Wrote”.

Susan: Murder She Wrote.

Sofie: I was like who is Merder Shirot?

Susan: Oh for god’s sake Sofie.

Sofie: Carrie Fisher, I know that one.

Susan: So, Carrie Fisher talked about how she was always up for auditions for brunette best friend, so uh, the blonde was always the girlfriend, and she was always the one who lived next door, that would come in and go *comedy sound noises*, and drop her trousers, and something like that. She was always brunette best friend. And I wrote a script called Brunette Best Friend, which was about the lives of the women who weren’t the girlfriend.

Sofie: Oh, amazing.

Susan: And about the people who lived next door, so the stereotypical, uh, side characters, what happened to them. And I still think the sexiest women, the best women I know, are not those stereotypical women. If I wrote a film, or a comedy, it would be full of the sexiest women in the world, the best women in the world, and I would probably, I hate to say I would deliberately cast people who are unexpected. Not unexpected to me, but to the people who are casting. Because why shouldn’t I — this is exactly how we started this conversation, wanting to be the ingénue — why can’t I be the one that Tom Hiddleston falls in love with? I love telling jokes, but I would also really, really like to be the sexy one that they’re fighting over. Because do you know what? We are the sexy ones. We are the sexy ones. And I think sometimes, I find it very exposing being on stage…and pretending to be confident, because I am in my shows, you know I sit backstage before the show, and I have an extreme routine, I arrive at six, I set up my props, I have a pint of Coca-Cola, and I pace for an hour. And I sit backstage, and I pace for an hour, and I go “come on Calman”. Do you know what I do? And this is a weird thing, I imagine the audience as every person at school who bullied me.

Sofie: *gasp* Really?

Susan: And say, “I am going to show you fuckers what I am now”.

Sofie: That is confidence.

Susan: That’s where I get the swagger from.

Sofie: Wow.

Susan: Yeah.

Sofie: I do the complete opposite. Like I do that if I’m on tv, they’re watching at home, I’ll show them, but in the audience, they’re all my friends, they all want the best for me, they’re all more nervous than I am, I hope they’re so nervous, then I’ll thrive, and go like “don’t worry guys, I’ll take this one, I’ll have confidence for all of us”. God no, any kind of..unless it’s reviewers, because they’re another kind of bully. I get really cocky, when I know my job is on the line in some way, if it’s a reviewer or a producer, or if anyone said to me “this is a big gig, this is really important” I get super confident because I almost want to fuck this up, I cannot care, I hate someone putting me in a position where they say “do well”, I don’t care about this gig any more.

Susan: I hate reviewers, not individually, because you’re all people, but I hate…someone who comes in called Rupert, is not going to get what I do, Sofie. You know what I mean? They’re not going to get it, they’re not going to like it. Don’t come, you won’t enjoy the show, you know? Then you’re like “oh, it’s a three star, okay, whatever, there you go”. And the one thing at the Fringe that I hate more than anything — I love the Fringe, it’s my favourite time — the one thing I hate more than anything is that process of the reviewers filing in, and then just not caring. They don’t care.

Sofie: Yeah, and I’ve seen…I’ve said no to all reviewers on my Danish tour, uh, ’cause, it’s selling out, I don’t need to, it’s a four, five day tour. I got a review last year, and it opened with “comedienne” and I was like fuck this. There’s like one reviewer in Denmark, and he’s just….like you know exactly what you need to do for him to like you, and I’m not going to even try to do that, I know what he’s going to say. So I’ve said no, which is fucking amazing, no reviewers in Denmark at all. I’ll just have other Danish Comedians judging me, and that’s harsh enough. I have, uh, I still have Keira and Franco on my hand.

Susan: Franco….

Sofie: Keira is almost what we began talking about, and I don’t want you to give away anything on your show, but, you mention Keira Knightley, and I asked if it was like your celebrity crush, and I guess what you just said about why couldn’t you be, uh, why couldn’t you play…

Susan: Keira Knightley’s love interest.

Sofie: Yeah. Is she the one with..do you fantasise is too intimate of a word…is she the one you would love to go out on the red carpet with, and be like “fuck you”?

Susan: No, no. I have never been attracted to blondes. I don’t have a type..well, I do, I have always been attracted to older women. Like older wise, powerful women. I go weak at the knees for a powerful woman, like an intelligent..

Sofie: Hillary?

Susan: Yeah, fine, I’ll do that, that’s fine, but just like, any..

Sofie: Meryl Streep?

Susan: Oh jesus yes. I love..really intelligent women. The first thing I’m interested in is can I have a discussion with you about something. There’s nothing sexier to me than just sitting down, and discussing a topic, I think that’s really sexy. It’s someone who knows…and I don’t mean educated, because it doesn’t matter to me whether someone’s gone to university, the brightest people I know haven’t been to university, I just mean someone who has an opinion about something. I hate people — not hate — I am less attracted to people who are just like “oh, whatever”, I love a good, you know…

Sofie: The question is this, like because I did a Danish event thingy, and I brought my agent, and my agent is also like a friend of mine, and he is like drop dead gorgeous, it’s insane. It’s unreal how pretty he is. So I brought him as a “hey, see what Denmark is like”, because I don’t have an agent there anymore, you might have to deal with stuff there, like, and we were at the afterparty, and he went to get drinks, and then all my other Danish comedians sat down, and they were like “well done! Wow, you just came here, you blew us all away with your boyfriend, woah, how the fuck did you do that?”. And there were two parts of me, one was like “you pieces of shit, how dare you put a value on beauty, that to me just shouts ignorance, and just shallowness, and, it’s such a horrible thing to say, fuck you for being this way” and the other part of me was like “I fucking wish he was. I wish I could be like “yeah, oh yeah, that’s my boyfriend so fuck you all””. But I’m not attracted to him, people who look like him are not who I usually go for, it’s just not my type, it’s not what I’m attracted to, but then there’s the other part, where I kind of want to be on the red carpet at the Oscars next to James Franco…which is why it’s on my hand…and just to be all “yeah” showed you!”. And then you could go inside, and go “stop talking james, you’re so annoying, please shut up, just because you’re pretty.”

Susan: The most attractive women I have ever met in my life are just…kick-ass women, I bloody love that, like, uh, Sarah Millican. Huge crush on Sarah Millican, because she’s just like kick-ass. Muriel Grey, you won’t know her, kick-ass woman, she’s a television presenter. I am so attracted to somebody who…and that’s why my wife is wonderful, she’s a litigator, she’s a lawyer, and that woman could destroy any human being with her words, she is so wonderful at an argument, which is why I never win. But I have always been most attracted to…and that’s why in comedy, I am most attracted in a comedic sense to women who say something. so , uh, I remember seeing Katherine Ryan once, you know who Katherine is, uh, aesthetically you would say she’s a gorgeous woman, and she is, but she’s also..my god that woman has a brain, and that’s what I love about Katherine Ryan, this kick-ass woman, and she is sexy as hell, because she is.

Sofie: I have a secret little crush on people where it’s hidden, when you wouldn’t expect it, and then you get blown away. The woman who runs the Comedy Store gigs in Dubai, she looks aesthetically, uh, like this classic, long hair, very open about having fake breasts, and tanned, like this gorgeous, gorgeous woman, and my brother, because he lives in Dubai, he saw her, and he said something like, uh, it wasn’t even like a bad thing, it was just something like “oh yeah, there’s a lot of people who go to Dubai to live with their husbands, and live off their salary”. Something stupid like that. And I got to say to him, “oh no, she runs a business, she’s the first female DJ to travel the world, the first DJ to play most countries, she’s in her forties, I think, and she’s the most, like, she, I don’t know if I can say this, she called the Comedy Store, and demanded more women, she was like “you better send more women to the Comedy Store in Dubai”, and she demanded that at least half of them should be women, and she added new ones as well, younger ones, not just the good old batch. Uh, “how dare you say that, how dare you. She is the coolest.”

Susan: If I could say, like, I think back at..I was really unhappy as a teenager, like desperately unhappy, and I’d been very open about the fact that I was just desperately..in my book, I talk about how I try to kill myself, and I ended up sectioned in a psychiatric hospital, and if I could tell my younger, teenage self anything, it’s that being weird is the most interesting thing in the world. Being not normal is actually what makes you the most interesting person. So now, if I’m at one of these hideous comedian celebrity events, I will look for the person..and I use weirdo in a nice sense…I’ll look for the slightly odd person who’s not surrounded by people, and I think “you’re the one I want to talk to”. The person that doesn’t turn up…you know, I go to these events, I’ve got a shitty bag over there that I haven’t washed in years, and it’s all stained and stuff like that, and that’s what I take. So I don’t have a clutch handbag, and I look for other people who have slightly crappy bags, and I go, you look like you might have something to say for yourself. I think, being strange is what makes us comedians, but also, they’re the people I want to talk to.

Sofie: Yeah.

Susan: You become the most interesting people. So I do a lot of children’s BBC. I do a quiz show called Top Class, and I love it, because it’s about saying to kids that being bright is cool.

Sofie: Awh.

Susan: And I see these kids, and I can see the ones that people think are weird, and I always go up to them, and say you are going to be alright. You just need to get through this next bit, this really awful bit, where people will judge you because you’re not the pretty one, and I’ll tell you what, you are going to be fine, because if you’re a little bit strange, as people see them, not as I see them, you’re the interesting one. You’re the one that’s going to have friends, if you let that happen, and I think sometimes there’s that difficulty sometimes between isolation if you don’t feel you fit in, and reaching out to people, and finding..I think it’s easier in London, my worry is…there’s lots of stuff here, you can go to a knitting night or a craft night, or whatever you want, I think when I travel to Inverness, or I travel to smaller parts of Yorkshire, I think…they’re the ones I love coming to, I don’t know if you’re the same, but you see them in the audience, and you’re thinking, this is your night out.

Sofie: Yeah.

Susan: This is your thing. Maybe you’ll meet some other people at this gig, and we’ll have a community of people who feel like they don’t fit in.

Sofie: Yeah, that’s my people, because I didn’t have..I didn’t have anyone like that when I grew up. I don’t remember..I remember …I would always identify with the smaller characters on sitcoms, so I would watch the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and be like “I’m such a Geoffrey” “I’m such a…” I’m the person that I only see in two episodes, and think that’s good, that person is in it, but I would never..stand-up didn’t speak to me as in..they didn’t..it wasn’t for me, it was for the other boys, there was nothing…you know, they’d talk about me. I think that’s one of the worst things about stand-up is that you..one thing is when stand-up becomes derogatory about someone, they’ll say fat people are like this, or women are like this. It’s only the second worst thing, is that they’re saying something bad about you, the worst thing is that you’re in the audience, and they’re not acknowledge that you’re there. They’re not going “hey, you fat people, you’re like this”, they go “you know those fat people, who are not here?” that’s the worst thing about it, it’s very easy feeling excluded if you’re not, like, one of the cool kids, because it’s the cool kids that are on TV all the time.

Susan: I think the worst thing, the thing I think is the worst about stand-up is that I don’t feel like I’m one of the cool kids.

Sofie: Within stand-up?

Susan: Yeah.

Sofie: Like within..in terms of friendships between comedians, or in the industry, or..?

Susan: In terms of industry, and in terms of other comedians.

Sofie: Who are the cool kids? I didn’t even know there were cool kids


Susan: I always think it’s like when you go to the Fringe… and I mean it’s partly me as in I don’t like going out, you know, I do my show and I go back to the flat or whatever, but I sometimes, it’s what I say in the show, part of what I’m saying about not being a dangerous comedian is me saying I’m not one of those ones that you think is one of those cool, amazing life changing comedians. And sometimes when I go to the Fringe, I feel like I’m invisible, because I’m not one of those…I’m certainly not cool on television, which is okay, but I also feel that who I am as a comedian is not one of those cool ones. So when I come to the Soho Theatre, lots of other people don’t Tweet “oh, great, Susan’s at the Soho Theatre!”

Sofie: Ohhh.

Susan: You see, other people go “oh my god, such and such is the Soho Theatre!”

Sofie: Right, I don’t think that’s a success thing…I don’t think that’s a cool thing, I think that’s a success thing. Like, people like an underdog, and they’ll Tweet about someone if either they feel like they’ve discovered them, and no one else knows yet, so you know, they’ll Tweet about Michael Mittermeier, and they’ll be like “oh, you don’t know him? He fills up stages in Germany, and you don’t know him, you loser”. They’ll Tweet about Kim Noble, and be like “you don’t know Kim Noble because he’s not on TV, here’s Kim Noble.”. They won’t tweet about someone successful, because what does that give them? Or they’ll tweet about people that are having a really tough time.

Susan: It’s the one thing in my life, whenever I feel bad..I’m taken back to being at school again. Whenever I feel bad about anything it always takes me back to being at school again. And it’s the psychological time in my life where I felt most vulnerable, and most awful, and so whenever anything happens, and at school I feel *fades out, and MoHPOD music fades in*.

Sofie: That was part one of the Susan Calman two parter special, we weren’t meant to record for two hours, but we did, and the next bit will come out next week, she’s an amazing person, and I’m sorry to leave you on I guess like a cliffhanger, but, yeah, uh, thank you so much for listening. I don’t wanna…it doesn’t feel like in the spirit of things to start asking for things from you, uh, but I’m also a starving comedian at the moment, so please see me on tour, I still have a few tour dates left, um, I should have definitely looked this up before I started recording this, but there’s no retakes. So I’m going to Lincoln, uh, tomorrow, Thursday 17th November (2016), I’m also going to Ailesbury, Bristol, Brighton, Guilford, Liverpool, Maidenhead, and Oxford, a lot of these are sold out, but do go and see if there are tickets left. Then I will be at the Soho Theatre in London from the Fifth of December to the Seventeenth of December, so, please come and see that, there’s a discount code that I’m not allowed to give to that many people, its shimmer16, please use it, I don’t give a shit about how many people I can give it to, to be frank, because tickets are £16 which is way too much, and uh, so use that, shimmer16, it takes £2 off, so it’s only £14, and I want..trust me, if you’re listening to this, you are the person I want in my audience more than anything, so please come and see that, I’m in Denmark touring in February, I’m going to all the four cities in Denmark, you know, the only four towns we have, Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, and Aalborg. And then of course if you wanna join Patreon, it’s Patreon.com/mohpod and you can just donate to give money, but I am not pushing you, um, I, uh, it’s a thing that helps, like tonight, I interviewed Susan until midnight, so that helps that I can take a night off to go see her show and go interview her, instead of having to go and do a gig, and be paid £30 on a Wednesday. I’ll let you go. Next wednesday, I will be in Denmark next week for a bit, but I will try and get it out, so, um yeah, next wednesday, thank you for listening, I’m gonna go now, because, uh, my housemates are probably definitely sleeping now, so goodnight, or good morning if that’s the time where you are, but I’m gonna say goodnight, and now I’m gonna edit this all together into a podcast, thank you so much for listening. Goodnight.

Transcript by: Asher Gough

Episode 1- Josie Long

Transcript by Patricia Ash-Vildosola


Josie: Basically, we were in a car together, we were driving through Wales, and we tried to perform an overtaking manoeuvre that was very ill-advised, and…

Sofie: Who was driving?

Josie: James. Yes, and we got hit by a car and we got dragged in front of a lorry, and, just, it was a really big, catastrophic car crash, but, as I say, I’ve talked about it quite a lot onstage and on other podcasts and stuff. Basically, it was miraculous that no one was harmed. Really miraculous. And we all were so shocked afterwards, and for a long while, it affected me in loads of ways. Really weird to have such a near-death experience, but one that was so lucky. Normally, in a crash like that you would expect to be injured or something, and that would be your near-death thing, but we all walked out of it completely fine.

It was weird that for a while I didn’t trust buildings. I thought buildings were going to collapse. Got very panicky in cars, very panicky on trains. It made me stop dieting. Just changed my attitude about food.

Before the crash, I’d been chatting with a friend of mine who’s this wonderful woman. She’s an absolute hero of mine, like a substitute parent figure of mine, and she and I went for this long walk. She’s quite a fair bit older than me. We met when I was a teenager and she was in comedy. She was in her 30s and I was in my teens. She’s always been in my life, and I just really love her. We had a long chat about life and death, and about eating and what that meant. I’d been going through some problems, like the stress of touring, a few stressful things in my life. I had a bit of disordered eating, like really punishing myself and stuff.

Anyway, then we all nearly died. That night, we ordered a big Chinese food takeaway and loads of chocolate and booze, and it was a celebration of being alive. This little switch went in my head and went, “I am never going to deprive myself again. I am never going to treat myself as an unfinished product again. And I don’t want to restrict my life in this way that’s unhelpful. I don’t want to see exercise as this thing where if I don’t do enough, I’m not allowed to do what I want.” And it’s weird, because now I think I eat healthier than ever, and in some ways I do follow a kind of diet regime, because I tend to eat the same sort of things for breakfast, I tend to always have salads for my lunch and my dinner. This is so boring. But what it comes down to is now my whole focus in life is on looking after myself, loving myself in a way that I wasn’t so much before, and I think that was the start of it.

And also, I think it sent me a bit crazy, because I ended up leaving a partner quite abruptly, because I was like, “Life’s too short! It’s not working!” I think the perspective I have now is that I would have stayed for another year or more, then done it. But I didn’t, and you cannot change the past. But it was full on. It affected me massively. It was sort of — I really felt I was confronted by the little line that you’re on between being alive and no longer being alive, and it made me change my life in a little bit of a dynamic way, yeah.

Sofie: Is that still ongoing? Would you go back to how you were like before the crash? Do you think it’s permanent, that change has altered something permanently?

Josie: I don’t know! I don’t know. I know it was a big, affecting thing. I think maybe it has altered something in me, just boring — No, not boring. Run of the mill daily things, like — And I also started going to therapy around that time, so I think the two things are definitely joined in. But therapy, it’s taken me from being someone who is full of anxiety on a daily basis to, when I feel anxiety now, I sort of say to myself, “This is anxiety,” and it helps. And on the whole, I had all these issues about food and about eating and beating myself up, like physically hating on myself and being really aggressive with my body and doing exercise to the extent that it was quite masochistic almost. Whereas now, I focus on feeling healthy and joyful and stuff in this way that is really great and has really changed.

Sofie: It’s really extraordinary when you get in touch with — I believe that deep down inside, our bodies know exactly what they want, what they want to do, and the few times you can — That’s why I’m so furious whenever I’m in a gym and they have the machines that count calories and how long you’ve run —

Josie: That is so counterproductive.

Sofie: I just want to hide it all and just — There shouldn’t be anything there. There should just be, like, a note saying, “How does this feel? How does your body feel now?”

Josie: And also, it’s about pushing yourself personally, and obviously those things don’t necessarily mean anything realistic. Like, “Oh, I’ve burned 35 calories,” and they’ve just kind of had to assume that a person vaguely of your size and weight might do that if they worked in a certain way. It is so silly. And it’s the same with dieting, like if you have to eat a certain thing, and your body’s going, “Mate, I don’t need that. I need some iron. Can you get me some iron?”

Sofie: My best friend eats like that. She’s the only person I’ve ever met who’s able to — I don’t know what happened, but she somewhat has dodged that whole thing. So, she’ll just go, “What do I feel like eating? Oh, blueberries and salmon.” Then she’ll buy that and she’ll mindfully eat it, and then just —

Josie: That’s kind of what I do now.

Sofie: That’s almost impossible, having reached that. Having been brainwashed by —

Josie: And also, so, in my life growing up, from the age of 5 it was decided that and put upon me that I had a weight problem. And that was far greater than the reality of what my body was, you know? And the reality of whatever genuine problem I had. And all of those [inaudible] of the way perhaps parents interact, the way perhaps schools interact with it, all of that exacerbated it and made it an issue and damaged my health and damaged my relationship with food. And now I’m 34, and I feel like I have a pleasant and unstressful relationship with food.

Sofie: That’s amazing. That’s really good.

Josie: But it’s partly because I nearly died.

Sofie: I mean, from an outside perspective, worth it.

Josie: Yeah, yeah, worth it. But I was thinking about when you were talking to me about doing this, I was thinking about the ideas of what well-being is and stuff. And I suppose that’s why I’ve gone straight into focusing on, like, exercise, food. I’m really evangelical about how much exercise and diet and sleep and all these beautiful, sensorial, basic things affect your whole quality of life for the better, you know?

Sofie: Because we’ve basically been taught to not listen to our bodies, you know? It’s called cheat days, which is like a bad thing, and that’s when you eat what you want to eat. It’s just this weird, fucked up notion that whatever we really want is — Sleeping in is laziness being a word that it exists?

Josie: Not just maybe you’re tired!

Sofie: Your body needs to rest! You don’t want to go —

Josie: Or maybe you’re somebody for whom life is very, very intense, and so you get very exhausted. Some people work at different pitches to each other. And then it’s like, “Well, because you can’t function on 4 hours sleep like me, you’re a horrible lazy person.” [Sofie laughs]

I used to think, and possibly did, I used to think I had ADHD? I think you can grow out of it, I think is part of it. I used to have real brain fog, really, really distractible, and I still am a bit, but, like, so distractible. I found it so hard to concentrate. I read up on ADHD, and they basically said that your brain functions in this really weird way where it’s like a very bright light being switched on, but then when it’s off, you’re fucking knackered. And you need to sleep in more ways.

And I do think that human beings are so wildly different from one another in ways that we don’t really appreciate. We try to put this standardization on —

Sofie: Boxes.

Josie: Yeah, and it’s too hard.

Sofie: There was just that there was an article about fat people where it was these people who had done this, what’s it called, this American program —

Josie: Oh, Biggest Loser?

Sofie: Yeah. They would lose all the weight, and then they would just gain it back like that, and more, because their bodies — That’s just how bodies work. If you lose the weight, you can’t. You just can’t. If you’re fat, you’ll just stay fat. It didn’t matter what — They would have to eat, like, 3 peas, and they’d be fat again. That’s just how the body works.

Josie: And also, it’s because anything extreme like that, your body’s just going, “Oh, Jesus Christ, I’m so sorry, I don’t know what’s happening.”

I did this reality show called The Island where you don’t eat for two weeks. They drop you on this island, and you only eat coconuts and you eat what you can catch. I lost so much weight. I was suddenly thinner than I’ve been in years, and I couldn’t cope. A lot of people on the island were really thrilled, but I started crying, because I was like, “I spent so long in my life to get to a point where I didn’t want to be like this.” But I put on weight straight away. Within a week, I’d put on, like, a stone and a half or something. Because your body’s like, “Oh, thank God. Don’t worry. We won’t let that happen again.”

And I think, for me, I’m trying to lose a tiny bit of weight, because I really like the idea of feeling really healthy and less flabby. But it’s not a goal, it’s like an implicit small thing. The idea that if I eat healthy, in the long term by body will adjust in a manner that is slightly healthier. That’s my main goal, right? But I have no intention of weighing myself, measuring myself too much, caring about it too much.

And I think, as women, God, you get so much distraction and time on this thing, because they’re trying to make you focus on that. We’ve got shit to do!

Sofie: I wish the feeling of — I wish that feeling healthy had nothing to do with the body and how it looked, like, the aesthetics? That the feeling of health could just be, you know…

Josie: Well-being.

Sofie: Yeah! Or having eaten something that doesn’t have a lot of extra chemicals. If it’s just, like, eating organic.

Josie: I feel like it’s a gift to be in my 30s, because I don’t know why, but I just give so much less of a fuck. And I like myself. And quite often, I look in the mirror — and I don’t want this to sound vain, because I’m hot shit — but I look in the mirror, and I like how I look. And I feel pretty. And I feel happy in my body all these amazing things. For years, I would look in the mirror and get angry and pinch my fat and tell me how ugly I was. It was such a fucking waste.

Sofie: Do you ever think of yourself as a teenager and you just want to hug yourself?

Josie: Yeah. Although, weirdly, as a teenager, I was kind of quite bold and brazen. It was only really in my 20s that the stress of people, being a performer and people talking about your body.

Sofie: Were you shocked the first time? When you entered comedy, were you forced to see yourself in another light because people started telling you…?

Josie: Yeah. The first time people read about my body and lined about how fat and grotesque I was, like sexualized me, it did really, really shock me and it stayed with me for years. I think what happens with me is that I’m quite thick-skinned, but then sometimes things get to me emotionally and I can’t let it go. It just hurts for so long.

Sofie: Do you know when it hits you and when it doesn’t?

Josie: Yeah, and it’s weird. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Now, things really don’t as much. So rare. I’ve had people be really grotesque recently, and it’s so rare that it affects me. You get quite battle-hardened. That’s quite a wonderful thing about being a woman, isn’t it? Yeah, you’ve got all this shit, but as a result, you’re a fucking tough bastard compared to your male counterparts.

Sofie: I once was in a car with a comedian, not the same horrible ending as your story, but he had his iPad and he took this really weird, like, a quick photo of me from a weird angle, and he was like, “Get this, this is really funny,” and then he put up the photo, which was a blurry part of my face. And he put it on his Twitter and said that, “My brother was in the hospital and somebody took his iPad, and this person accidentally took a photo of themselves. This is the photo. Retweet to get the iPad.” It was really funny. And then the abuse started coming in on my behalf. “Oh, what a fat cunt,” and da da da. And I was like, “Yeah, yeah, I kind of knew that would happen.” I kind of assumed that would happen because it’s a picture of a woman on the Internet, of course people are going to start going — And he was so shocked! He was apologizing. “I am so sorry, I had no — Can you believe this?”

Josie: And you go, “Yeah, this is our bread and butter.” I was talking to someone about this the other day, where they were talking about people changing their name when they get married, and how he had actually realized that he would hate to change his name. It would make him feel awful and aggrieved, and I was like, “That’s how I feel.” And I think, a lot of the time — And it’s not men’s fault in the slightest.

And also, like, everyone has their own struggles to go through and I’m not trying to diminish anything, but sometimes I don’t think people see the extent of other people’s experiences. And a friend of mine wrote an article about experiences he’d had of racist abuse in his lifetime. And even though I’m not naïve enough to think that racism doesn’t exist or something, but the way he talked about it… It’s a really interesting article, and I would recommend it. His name’s Nikesh Shukla and I think it’s called “Isolated Incidents.” You could Google that, or just Google him and the article. But he talks about how a couple of incidents affected him so much, and there are big deal incidents as well, but, like, I think it’s so hard to appreciate what other people have to go through on a micro level and an everyday level. God, it’s so useful.

That’s why it’s annoying that women’s voices and people whose voices aren’t those of straight white men get excluded so much from the mainstream, because then people don’t know about their stories or they’re kind of abused so much that they don’t want to tell their stories any more.

Sofie: And we maybe — We might not necessarily know what is normal. You know, when you realise “Oh. Oh, you never get that? That’s just — I always get that.”

Josie: Do you know, Twitter’s changed my life, because the first instances of online abuse — And I’ve talked about this on your podcast, I think — that I got before Twitter I just took it all on board and I sucked it all up like a sponge. Now, what is amazing, I think it’s far more normal for women to speak out about their experiences. And I’m very grateful to, like, the Everyday Sexism Project for that. I honestly feel like people are getting a handle on it. And you know that when you get that bad feeling, that it’s worth sharing just in case. You know?

Sofie: Yeah. And I think the only thing that we really need is to get Facebook and Twitter on board as well. To make, you know —

Josie: Yeah. Fuck me, Twitter was so useless when I had someone photoshopping my face onto murder victims.

Sofie: Holy shit.

Josie: They’re so fucking useless. And the police as well. Pretty rubbish, actually. Really depressing.

Sofie: I feel like that’s why we really need to get — Because one thing is getting the support, which is important, but we need to be able to push a button and then someone finds their IP address and, I mean, not, like, and kills them, but, you know.

Josie: They could try.

Sofie: I mean, I wouldn’t — you know. Figuring out that other people have — I had this — And I was talking about this on another episode — listening to The Read, a podcast which is two people of colour who do this podcast, and the first advert they played in the first episode I heard was an advert for natural black hair products. And I was — My first instinct thought was, “Oh, that’s not for me.” Just a tiny bit of, “Oh, shit! I just felt excluded from something. WOAH, I’ve never tried that before.” And then you realise, if you think about all the commercials on TV for white hair, you go, “OH.” And that’s not because we don’t know it exists or we don’t think —

Josie: I think it is the process of trying to educate yourself is really difficult, and prickly, and — It’s like a practice, innit? I was thinking about that with Twitter. A lot of things have really challenged me on Twitter, like just learning more about what racism is and what racism isn’t. And what it means for people’s lives. And about how privileged I am in so many ways. There’s so much like that where yeah, learning it is a challenge, because you’re sort of made uncomfortable, because you kind of go, “Oh, I thought I was a good person.” But that’s not enough, thinking you’re a good person.

Sofie: I spoke to a friend of mine who was a white, straight male. He’s all of the things. And he said something that was a bit sexist, and he’s a friend of mine, so we’d spoken about it. And I basically just went, “This is why what you said is wrong, and let’s have a debate.” And he didn’t understand it, so I kept explaining, “Oh, this is because of this and this and this.” And he kept asking questions; I kept explaining. At the end, he got so frustrated, and he said, “It’s too complicated. You know what? I’m not even going to bother.” And I was like, “That’s because you can ‘not bother.’ You can choose to not let this affect you in any way, and you’ll still be fine.” Well, we have to bother with it, because it’s our everyday life, and that’s the biggest — You get so frustrated when you go, “Oh, shit, this is reliant on people having to make a decision that they’re going to get involved in something.” That’s kind of not so much fun.

Josie: Yes, absolutely! But this is the same as when you’re trying to think about wealth inequality. The only way to solve wealth inequality is to try and convince very wealthy people that it’s fair and right that they are less wealthy. That’s really fucking hard. And it doesn’t even really need convincing, because there’s a plateau after which it’s academic whether you’ve got a million pounds or a billion pounds in certain ways, you know? But it’s that same thing, asking privilege to surrender itself. What the fuck? They don’t want to surrender their privilege.

Sofie: Do you want to hear something really sad? I worked for UNICEF for a period of time as a fundraiser, and we were operating in this very, very, very posh place in Copenhagen and there was this man literally wearing a fur coat and I had to convince him to give money to UNICEF. We’re talking 10 pounds a month. It was nothing. And he had his son with him. He was holding his hand, 5 or 6 years old, and he said to me, he had never heard about it before. He was, “No, it’s not a problem.” I was, “Yeah, there are kids dying and it’s horrible and they’re very hungry.” And he said, “Well, we’ve all tried to be hungry. It’s not like it hurts.” “Wait, what?” And then, he said, “But in their religion,” which is a very offensive way of saying it, “In their religion, because they believe in all these gods, so if they die, they’ll just be all, ‘Oh, that’s good,’ with their gods.” [Sofie cry-laughs, Josie is horrified] And I was just like, “This is the worst thing I have ever heard,” and I kept trying to talk to him, kept- And I think I spoke to him for another 20 minutes, 30 minutes. It was, like, 20 minutes after my day was ended, and I was still just talking to him, because I couldn’t, I couldn’t have him say that in front of his child. So, then the child just looked at his dad and went, “But why aren’t we helping?” And he was like, “Oh, uh, well, buh buh buh.” And the kid was like, “No, but we should help.” Then the dad was like, “OK, fair enough,” and ended up donating.

Josie: Amazing. Guilted by a child.

Sofie: But one thing is — It’s just that he didn’t… know? Didn’t even know. It wasn’t that he knew and then not cared, it was just no one had told him.

Josie: I think privilege is something that you get ensconced in. You’re looked after by — And that’s what I think a lot of the problems in the UK are about is because a lot of the people in government have lived their whole lives in the upper echelon of the most beautiful, rarified, privileged parts of society and they really don’t understand what poverty is and they really are sheltered from the realities of it and they can’t conceptualize how many millions of people are suffering in the country, you know? And so they don’t believe that it could be true, and they don’t understand what the knock on effects of poverty are. You know, one thing leading to another getting worse and worse and worse. It’s like the Pulp song: “You never understand how it feels to live your life with no meaning or control.” [Sofie laughs] All that shit.

Now, what is this podcast? What did you want to talk about?

Sofie: Well, it kind of leads me into — It’s really fun, because you’re.. Ok. I don’t know how to phrase this so I don’t sound like a massive dweeb.

Josie: Oh, my God. I love being a dweeb. It’s my life!

Sofie: But that’s the whole point, is you’re like a cool [Josie snorts] dweeb?

Josie: Thanks, mate.

Sofie: You know what I mean?

Josie: Oh, my God, I love you, I do, being a cool dweeb.

Sofie: You’re in a group of really cool people. I mean, you hang out with cool people.

Josie: Who do I hang out with?

Sofie: You know, the cool people. [laughter] You know what I mean? You’re doing these — You’re part of the, you know, the Stand crew.

Josie: Got a tip. I decided this when I was 11 years old, and it’s stood me in good stead. Right. This doesn’t mean that people won’t think you’re a wanker and hate you, but what it does mean is you will have a better experience of being alive. When I was 11, I decided that I would assume everything I was doing was really, really cool and pretend that I was cool in my head, right? [Sofie laughs] Just presume that everything I did I was like, “This is so cool.” And I don’t mean that in a bragging way, I just mean I just decided not to worry about whether or not I was going to be cool. I just decided to just assume that I was being fucking cool. It’s been great. You feel like you’re having more fun. That’s my top tip.

Sofie: When you were 11!

Josie: Because I was really bullied, and I was overweight. I was having a terrible time, so I was like, “Fuck this. Chess Club’s cool. It’s cool. Me, going to the shop, that’s cool.” I just decided.

Sofie: That’s amazing! Does that change your actions, then? Does that change what you do?

Josie: Yeah, when I was a teenager, I used to act a lot out of bravado. I don’t know if that’s actually good advice, but I think it helps with not doubting yourself. Just getting on with your shit and trying to have the best time possible, you know?

Sofie: Before I went here, I sat next door, I sat by the bar, and I never sit by the bar because I have angst about people walking behind me. But then, because I knew I only had to be there for, like, 10 minutes, I just sat there and I ordered a Coke, and I felt so cool.

Josie: Yeah, so fucking cool.

Sofie: Like in the movies, like in the Western films? And I was like, “Hey, mind if I sit down here? Thank you.”

Josie: I’m just in a bar, having a Coke.

Sofie: I felt so cool. And then, seconds after, I was standing at the door to the club just being in the way, being like, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I- I- I’ll hold the door for you.”

Josie: I’m the same. I apologize. I’m so fucking awkward. I’m so pathetic.

Sofie: So, you would have gone, “It’s really cool, standing here, holding the door for them.”

Josie: No! I would have done the same. I would have been, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” So maybe that is not true. I think maybe just intended the projects I was doing. I don’t fucking know! I just — Sometimes I think I just decided that. I don’t know. I just decided when I was a teenager that: “Cool’s what I’m doing. It’s cool. Doing loads of cool stuff.”

Sofie: In terms of — I think maybe that’s the reason why you’ve managed to kind of create this new idea of cool? I don’t know how new it is, but —

Josie: I don’t think I did that.

Sofie: I think you — Because you’re a cool person to like.

Josie: Oh, my God. This is too much flattery. Nobody — Oh, my God. I don’t think I am. And I think… I don’t know! It’s funny because you’ll get this, you see all the reactions to your stuff, you know? So, you’d never think of yourself in — I suppose I don’t know what I’m trying to say, but, like… I know that there are plenty of people out there that think what I do is the saddest, dweebiest, shittiest thing in the world, you know? So, like, it really helped me to be like, “Uh. I think I’m cool.”

But I like it so much! This is so nice of you!

Sofie: I think I know what I’m saying. No, it’s my way of phrasing things. I think you’re making a group of people who didn’t feel like they were cool feel like part of a cool club.

Josie: I’m so glad.

Sofie: Do you know what I mean?

Josie: Yeah. That’s my dream!

Sofie: Right? It makes sense, because we met — Did we meet — Was that the first time we met, was that at your what’s-it-called, your gig.

Josie: At Lost Treasures.

Sofie: Yes! I feel like that was when we met.

Josie: I think so.

Sofie: And that had that feeling of, you know —

Josie: Thank you! It’s defiance. That’s what I’m saying about what I do is cool. I just want to get on with my stuff and be who I am and be totally unashamed of it. I want to do as much as possible and really, really enjoy my life as much as I can. And I want people who feel that way, or feel akin to me in some way, or who are nervous young women, or women who don’t necessarily feel like they fit in with certain definitions of femininity, or young men, or people who would consider themselves gender non-binary, also very, very welcome at my shows, but I want anyone like that to feel, yeah, I would love it, to feel like there’s someone who’s got their back a bit so that they can just get on with their stuff, and enjoy it, and make stuff, and be vital, and have fun, you know? And not feel they have to apologise for their niche tastes, or their unusual hobbies, or their unpopular choices, or the fact that they’re not mainstream.

Sofie: Yeah, that’s what I was — That’s where I was going. [laughter]

Josie: Thanks. Very flattered, because I feel like that’s part of what I want is to be able to support people who want to be a bit creative, or a bit DIY, or just a bit eccentric.

Sofie: Have a place they can go to be with other people like — That’s the dream, isn’t it? Is that because — Did you need that when you were a — Did you have that, or did you need that when you were a weird teenager?

Josie: I had it a bit, but I also always felt a bit of a weirdo. I went to a grammar school, which in some ways was very good for me, because you weren’t bullied if you were academic, and I really was, and so it was like nerds were cool at school. Which is very much not the case. Well, though recently I suppose Nerd Culture or Geek Culture is very cool.

But I used to go on this thing called Gifted Children Summer Camp, which is like X-Men, but without the superpowers. I didn’t really deserve to be there. There were a lot of kids there that were fucking amazing, and they were all academics. World-changing people now. And I basically used to chat and do collages. [Sofie chuckles] But it was a place where we were really supported to do things that were just strange, extra-curricular little projects. I was very, very lucky to have that, because it was like a safe space for eccentricity.

Sofie: How old were you when you went there?

Josie: The first time I went, I was about 11, and I kept coming back until I was about 18. Every summer.

Sofie: Oh, wow, that’s a nice time to have that. So, already by the age of 11 you felt like a bit of a weirdo.

Josie: Yeah, I sort of — I changed primary school when I was about 9, because I didn’t really — I used to get in trouble the whole time. I think I was a bit frustrated, because I was quite academic, and I was a bit frustrated, so I just wanted to see how much trouble I could get in and get away with. Yeah, so I did all that… And they referred me to this Gifted Children Summer Camp. It was like a special needs thing. It was like, “What is going on with this weird little kid?”

And also, like, I was big. I’m 5 foot 5 now, but I’ve been 5 foot 5 since I was about 10. When I was about 10, I was heavier than I am now. I was a very unusual specimen. And I think I felt very gawky. And I loved comedy and wanted to make people laugh, but it was like a defense mechanism in lots of ways. So, I felt this natural awkwardness of bad posture and self-consciousness, you know? And on top of that being a world-class spod. Stuff like that, yeah, definitely felt like that.

Sofie: And how do you feel now? Do you still…

Josie: No, I feel fine. I feel… like I am being made aware that I am more niche politically, personally than perhaps I would like. But I also feel like I am what I am, and nothing is going to force that to change in a way that I’m not comfortable with. I feel more defiant than ever. It’s such an uncertain year and so difficult in lots of ways. I’ve had a breakup this year, and it’s great that we’re still friends and I love him very dearly, but it’s sad. And I want kids, but I don’t know if I’m going to have them, blah, blah, blah, so loads of uncertainty. But at the same time, I feel more defiant than ever. I feel like the more hard it is, the more my responsibility to fucking keep going. The more difficult things are politically, the more I refuse to give up just to spite people who want me to. It’s like when you’re dying at a gig, and you think, “Oh, you think this is dying? Nah, mate, I’m going to make this so hard for you motherfuckers.” You know? [Sofie laughs] “You don’t like this? Well, let’s see how much you don’t like this 20 minutes about a push-button shower.” So, I feel more proud.

Sofie: Where did you get that from? Because I can kind of relate, but I don’t know how — I think — And especially as women, we are kind of being taught to bow down, you know? It’s a lot of shame and guilt and shut up —

Josie: How dare you think you can have a platform?

Sofie: Yeah, but when you say, “I’ve made the decision as an 11-year-old to go, ‘What I’m gonna do is cool,’” and for you to now go, “Well, fuck this, I’m just gonna be — “ Where do you get your defiance from? Or how would one get to be defiant?

Josie: Well, just accept… I’ve been saying a lot onstage, “I’m still here.” You’re still here! It’s like, don’t let the fuckers bring you down. It’s basically… how dare somebody waste your time and take away your power and impetus in this world? If you have things that you want to achieve — provided they’re for the good of the world, I’m not saying any sinister supervillain things — but — I don’t know.

I think in some ways, your temperament is a thing you’ve got shackled to forever. And I’m quite lucky that nearly every day my temperament resets, and I’m like, “Come on, then.” And I’m quite lucky that I think it’s a good philosophy to have where you say, “You’re going to try and enjoy the details of your life as much as possible.” And I feel that at, like, meals, you know? Like walking outside and the sun hitting your face. Small good things. In my first show I ever wrote, I used to get people to tell me a small good thing. I honestly think if you can enjoy the meat and potatoes of your life, literally and metaphorically, you’re in such good stead for trying to keep going. But also… there’s something so thrilling and joyful about keeping on going. I guess, I don’t know, it’s just in my temperament to want to have a fucking belter of a life and to want to not let people beat me.

My teenage years, I had a bit of a difficult situation. If my mum’s listening, I hope she isn’t, but my stepdad — It was a very difficult time, and I found it very hard to have a lot of… I don’t know how to explain it. A lot of… things in my home life that were trying to break me, I suppose. It was a very difficult situation at home, so I was kind of obsessed with like, “Oh, I’m going to be a comedian. I’m going to have a great life. I’m going to get out of this.” It’s like it comes, in a way, spirit of defiance from perhaps having a bit of a difficult time as a teenager and stuff. I think sometimes if you have to deal with difficult circumstances, it’s the human spirit to be like, “Nah, mate, we’re gonna fucking get through this.”

Sofie: Do you ever have, like, in kind of the shame part of your brain, do you ever have that voice that goes, “You’ve created this monster.” I’ve got that, because my grandfather is a psychopath, but I still have to visit him to visit my grandmother, who is fine. I’ve taken 60 pound cabs just so that he wouldn’t drive me and just be like, “Fuck you. I don’t want you to drive me. I don’t want you to be in control of my life. I don’t want to be in your passenger seat. I’m going to walk. It’s going to take me 4 hours, but — “

Josie: I’m going to feel proud of myself at the end. Yeah, I do know what you mean. A lot of my life has been about being very independent, because for whatever reason, since I left home for Uni, that was kind of that for me. I’ve always spent a lot of time fending for myself in a lot of ways. And that is not to do with my parents. They are wonderful people. I’ve got pretty good relationships, best relationships I’ve had with them for years, really, at the moment, and I’m proud of that. I’m glad, but, for whatever reason, I’ve always really been quite independent, me and my sister, really. I feel proud of that. I like that part.

Oh, God, I sound really sleepy!

Sofie: You are sleepy. That’s all right.

Josie: Yeah, sorry, it’s Edinburgh Fringe we’re recording this at. It’s so comfy. We’re just lying on sofas, whispering.

Hang on. Let me try and think about that. It’s hard, because I like the idea of giving advice or being useful for people, but I also think — I don’t ever want to sound smug or something or I feel like I’ve got stuff down, because I don’t. I think life is really more difficult than I used to think it is, and it’s complicated. I think it’s good not to let yourself get bitter. It’s good to, like, keep your power…

Because I used to have this thing onstage in 2012, and no one ever says, “Guess who I’m bring on the expedition? This bitter, shriveled-up, old husk. Oh, they’ll bring down moral. Oh, they’ll ruin it.” And I think that’s genuinely important. You have to try and fake it, even when you can’t. You have to try and just not be bitter. Be joyful and excited about living, and learning, and experiencing, because you will have a better life from that. And the more fun you have in your life, the more power you have, like, the more people that do hate you can’t take that away from you, you know?

Sofie: You said once, I don’t remember if I read it somewhere or heard you say it, and I will probably misquote you, something about — It was from your time at school, and you ‘realized that some kids weren’t necessarily bright more than they were just confident?’ Does that ring a bell?

Josie: Yeah. It was at Uni. I was so intimidated by all these very, very confident rich kids at Uni. And some of them are the smartest people I’ve ever met. Some of them brilliant people, you know, you gotta have nuance in this. But it took me 2 years to realise that yeah, some of them, they were just confident in a way that I wasn’t, because for whatever reason, my upbringing or whatever had beaten a lot of that out of me. And just because even my grammar school, which was a brilliant school, I was really pleased with it and stuff, but those people had been consistently taught that they were born to lead. Which, you know, we were a little bit, but not in the same way. And those people have this inbuilt — I say those people — [Sofie laughs] I think people from extreme privilege. It protects them and it bolsters them, and it gives them so much, which, again, I don’t think they’re totally aware of, but their level of confidence is A-STONISH-ING.

[inaudible] It was to do with trying to take on their sense of entitlement, but to do it in a manner that wasn’t about acquisition of wealth. It was about trying to make things more equitable, you know?

Sofie: Do you think — That could easily be — That could easily be a way of dealing with feeling that we’re the left out guy, dealing with that realization that everyone you see who you assume have everything together might not have — They might also be —

Josie: Maybe they’re shunned.

Sofie: Yeah!

Josie: Or, also, there’s that quote which is such a laugh, which is, “Oh, Lord, give me the confidence of a mediocre white man.” You’re allowed to affect that. You’re allowed to say to yourself, “Ok, today, I’m not going to be the Me that’s nervous. Today, I’m going to be the Me that is pretending to be this wonderful person.” You know? And sometimes faking it until you’re making it really, really works.

People assume — And I did for a while. I remember — I feel like I’m coming out of a 5-year period of real turmoil and adjustment. I broke up with someone and I was really, really cut up about it for a long time, and I was in a very destructive relationship for a couple of years with somebody, and I was in a lovely relationship after that and now we’re still friends, but I felt a lot of inner turmoil, and sometimes I would look at other people whose families are really together or who just seem to be flying really high and thinking, “God, it’s easy for them,” but it’s never easy for anyone. Not even people from privilege. It’s silly for me to go, “Oh, they do this, that, and the other,” because people from privilege can be massively emotionally neglected and have a horrible time at schools that are very, very good for them in some ways. Everyone is going through something. There’s that thing as well, where they say like, “Treat everyone with the tenderness that they’ve had bad news today, as if they’ve had bad news today.”

Sofie: Aww, that’s nice.

Josie: Yeah. And it’s hard when you’re talking about politics not to foster some sort of enmity or comparison and stuff, but you think that somebody’s very bold and bolshy and flying high that they’ve probably got loads of shit going on as well.

Sofie: I feel it every time I stub my toe, because it hurts me in so many ways, and I feel stupid for not remembering that the bed was there, I feel immense pain, and I just think, “Everyone does this.” And that everyone in the world feels this much pain when they stub their toe. And everyone does it.

Josie: All the time!

Sofie: I feel the connection of it.

Josie: I think you’re very hard on yourself. That’s my cold reading of you. That sounds like you’re hard on yourself if you’re like, “I’m so stupid for hurting myself.”

Sofie: No, but I externalize it to, like, a “Stupid toe. You should have known.” I’m fine. I knew it was there.

Josie: Brain you, stupid toe.

Sofie: But I think that it’s a good point. My psychologist used to say, “It’s a very common thing of going, ‘Would you be this hard on anyone else?’”

Josie: Oh, my God.

Sofie: Turn the voice around.

Josie: Completely changed my life. You’re so right. That thing of — I used to be so mean to myself and cruel about my body in a way that — Friends’ bodies, I see them as beautiful, the full range of them. And also, like, getting beyond so much judgement. Celebration, not judgement. “What can we get out of this?” as opposed to “What’s going on?” I used to be so hard on myself, and now I’m like… We’ve got this thing in [inaudible] on the wall we’ve written, “We do what we can.” When I was trying to get over things through therapy about my parents and things that have happened, I used to feel so let down by them, and now I just think, “People try as hard as they can in the circumstances and life is very hard for everyone.” You can’t escape the shit. The shit will show up for you, regardless. Just trying to step back as and when you can, you know? Fuck me, so useful.

Sofie: Yeah… and you get it from other people as well, where — I remember confronting my dad, being like, “You weren’t there when I was a child,” and him saying, “Oh, no, but — “He’s not the brightest, but he said, “Oh, but kids, they don’t know how it’s meant to be, so they won’t take any damage from the dad not being there, because they don’t know there’s meant to be a dad.” And that’s so — I could see his logic, I could see how he reached that?

Josie: And then I lived in the world amongst other kids who had dads. And fiction, where dads were.

Sofie: But I could see how, you know, in terms of how intelligent he can possibly be, that was probably the level of it.

Josie: But also, the decisions people make to get through their lives, because deep down he would have felt so many difficult feelings of guilt, and sadness, and separation, and all that stuff, and sometimes people have to go, “Yup. I fucked that up. Straightforward. I’ll muddle through.”

Sofie: Because when I then said, “No, that’s not how life works,” and he just got really quiet for a long time. I could feel it entering his brain slowly. His teeny tiny brain, and it entered it very, very slowly, and he tried to make it up to me by inviting me over for a barbeque.

Josie: Oh, well, that will sort it, yeah.

Sofie: And then he basically talked for 20 hours, he just talked and talked. He wouldn’t let me get a word in, and he was just talking about — He was just telling everything that happened with me during my whole life, and after about 3 hours, I realized, “Oh, he’s trying to be a dad. He’s trying to be a dad now. He’s just going, ‘Oh, well, she was right! Well, I fucked up. Well, I guess I’ll have to tell her about the time this happened and the time — ’” And it was so useless. And it didn’t help.

Josie: But also so beautiful.

Sofie: It’s maybe the only thing he could do, as well as leaving was the only thing he could do. And then you just have all this sadness and angst and you have nowhere to put — You have no one to blame, and you just go, “He did the best he could. It wasn’t good enough, but he did the best he could.”

Josie: Also, you’re allowed to feel those feelings. When I was going through stuff when I was a teenager, like, I was only… We lived in this flat where we could hear each other breathing; I didn’t feel like I could even cry in my flat, you know? Because I didn’t want to be heard. I didn’t want to give people the satisfaction. I developed this way of being that was, like, “I don’t feel negative emotions. I’m a positive person. This doesn’t affect me. Nothing affects me.” I broke up with my — I got my heart broken when I was 19, and instead of letting myself heal, I was just too kind of damaged, I would just jump into things, but I thought that I was being very mature. I just thought, “I don’t need to get over things. I’m busy. I’m getting on with it. My childhood hasn’t affected me, and blah, blah, blah.” And it was only when I started going to therapy that I let myself be sad, really, really sad about it, and appreciate that you’re a full human being and you’re allowed all your emotions. And that sometimes means that you’re going to be a jerk, but that’s part of life.

Sofie: Did you have that, right when you started learning that, where you would just be really, really sad for no reason?

Josie: Yes.

Sofie: Like, they would have no more popcorn at the cinema, and you would just have a full-on breakdown because you were just letting out all the sadness from when you were 6.

Josie: Yes! There was actually a period of my life in 2012 where I’d broken up with somebody the year before, I was in this really toxic relationship, and every afternoon I’d go home to have a cry and I didn’t know why. It was like bleeding a radiator. It was like, “You’ve got to bleed the radiators. You haven’t done it for 20 years! So you’ve just got to bleed it.”

Sofie: We did it with anger, me and my therapist.

Josie: Do you know, I never properly confronted my anger. My therapist was like, “Here are drugs.”

Sofie: Get excited. She did this whole session, talking about “Let it out, dah dah dah dah, let yourself be angry.” And the first thing I did right after the session, I met with my best friend. She said she didn’t want to have pasta, so I punched her in the face, which is awful. And I told my therapist, she was like, “Ok, roll it back a bit. Take it back.”

Josie: Gone a little bit too far.

Sofie: And everyone was shocked, and it was horrible, but — It just comes out, and you can’t control it, because it’s like all of a sudden, you’re 5 again and you’re screaming on the pavement.

Josie: Yes. I know exactly what you mean. And it’s happened with me on stage, I think. I’ve had a lot of anger onstage in the last few years, which I think were also things that I was dealing with personally. There’s a bit in Hope In The Dark where she says, “Be wary when activists seem to broadcast and forecast despair, because sometimes it’s just their own personal lives.”

Sofie: Oooh, that’s terrifying.

Josie: Yeah, full on though. Not that I’ve ever — Oh, gosh. Yeah, I need to go soon, I’m so sorry.

Sofie: No, that’s absolutely fine, thank you.

Josie: Is this helpful?

Sofie: It’s SO GOOD.

Josie: Listen, it’s funny with things like this because I think I’m more self-conscious than ever in some ways, and the one thing I don’t want is I would hate for people to think I know what they should do in their lives. But I think, with things like this, if you’re talking about how to get through life, it’s so important to think: 1.) you’re not alone; 2.) it’s never the end, like, don’t let it be the end; 3.) things change in ways that are so surprising and delightful, and that that is inevitable; and 4.) like, genuinely fake it until you can make it.

My friend who’s the woman that I was talking about the day I was in the car crash, she’s got this maxim which is: “Accept, adapt, have a laugh.” [Sofie laughs] The 3 As. Accept, adapt, ‘ave a laugh. And I always think of that, some of it is about “Ok, what is the truth of the situation? What do I have to do to get through the situation? How can we have a bit of fun?” And we say that’s emergency, optimism is a weapon, and if all else fails, be silly.

Sofie: Aw, that’s really lovely. And also, everything you do is cool. [Josie laughs]

Josie: Give it a go! What I say is if you’re a young person listening to this or an older person listening to this and you’ve always felt like, “Oh, no, I’m not allowed, it’s all right for them,” just pretend that you’re fucking James Dean or someone you think is cooler than James Dean. Just pretend that you’re young Marlon Brando in Streetcar, but you’re not a cunt. [Sofie laughs] Just let yourself believe that you’re fucking cool.

The nice part about being single again is I thought no one would ever, ever find me attractive, and having little romances and intrigues, and you find yourself strutting about like, “Mama’s got her groove back.” [Sofie laughs] It’s a fucking delightful feeling. It’s wonderful to feel like that, to feel like people find you attractive or you might now and again feel like hot shit. And I’m not saying you feel like that all the time, because you’re never going to unless you’re a cunt, but let yourself have a strut, you know?

Sofie: The best part of little flirts and stuff is arguing in the rain. Oh, my God, I love it so much.

Josie: “You pissed me off so much.”

Sofie: It’s so good. I love it.

Josie: “You’re an idiot.” “Am I?” [both laugh]

Sofie: Thank you so much for doing this.

Josie: It has been such a delight to talk to you. Thank you for being so complementary about my ridiculous life.

Sofie: Your coolness, I’ve bought onto it.

Josie: You’re cool.

Sofie: Do you want to — Facebook, Twitter…

Josie: When do you reckon you’ll put this —

Sofie: Absolutely not sure.

Josie: Ok. If I’m already dead, RIP me. Peace out. In heaven now. [Josie laughs]

Sofie: I’ll milk that so hard. Oh, my God, she just said this on my podcast. Last words, properly milk it.

Josie: Oh God, I hope I’m not dead. If I’m dead, just remember it was far too soon and it was a tragic waste.

I have a Twitter, Josie Long. I rant about politics. I am so sorry. I am not sorry I am sorry. You can find my dealings on my website. I’ve got a feature film that I’m making for no money that will be out next year. I’ll be on tour in 2017. I’m writing a theatre show in 2017 in Edinburgh next year. I’ve got irons in the fire. Just, you know, keep on keeping on, lads. [laughter]


Transcript by: Patricia Ash-Vildosola

Episode 9- Dan Schreiber

[Music]Sofie: Hello, this is the Made of Human podcast or the MoHpod if that’s what you want to call it. It’s a podcast in which I talk to people about how they deal with life, how they try to function as humans because, to be honest, I feel like it’s a struggle sometimes. I mean, how do you do life, it’s, it’s kind of hard. I have a flu which is why I sound uncharacteristically sexy. Yeah, you can tell. OK, so this episode, I talked to Dan Schreiber who has an amazing podcast called No Such Thing as a Fish and it’s obviously brilliant. I mean, if you’ve heard of my podcast, you have already heard of Dan’s so I’m very, very pleased that he wanted to do this one.


I have a few gig announcements that I, I’ll try and make it super quick so we can get through to the episode. But I am going on a few tours, I’m doing a few shows here and there and I think it’s important to share with you because you’re the kind of people that I want to come to my shows and I want to meet you, you know, before and after the gig and I want to, I think, if you like this podcast, you’ll like my show. No, I know that if you like this podcast, you’ll like my show. So first one is 31st October in London, 7pm, I’m doing a short little gig, it’s an hour and a half, it’s a new material night, I’m going to be reading some stories, I’m going to bring out some Westlife fan fiction that I wrote when I was a teenager that I haven’t ever read to anyone before. It’s going to be at the Phoenix Artists Club and I hope some of you will go. The tickets are only £5 or something and there’s only 50 of them so feel free to come there.


I’m doing a tour show, I’m doing my show on tour, of my show Shimmer Shatter which is about, it’s about being an introvert and feeling odd, so I feel like we can all relate to that. I will be taking that show to Newport, Newcastle, Frome, Selby, which is close to selling out, Wrexham, Leamington Spa, Harlow, Crawley, Aberdeen, Lincoln, Aylesbury, Bristol, which is close to selling out as well, Brighton, which has sold out, Guildford, Maidenhead, Oxford and Liverpool. Then I will be at the Soho Theatre in London in December from the 5th to the 17th of December. Now, if you want to go and have a little discount on those tickets, you can use the code Shimmer16, that’s S H I M M E R 1 6. Don’t tell anyone except for tell everyone because the tickets, I find, are a tiny bit expensive, they’re £16, but if you put in Shimmer16, they’ll be £14 but, you know, keep that between just you and me and everyone else, tell everyone. Now I will also be going to Denmark in February next year, I will be at, in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg and I’m very excited about that, and I’m nervous because it’s Denmark and it’s my home and I hope the people will like me. Those shows are all in English. If you have some kind of anxiety because of the, because of anything that could happen at these shows, if you need a specific seat or if you need to be near the exit or anything, anything, do email me at anxietytour2016@gmail.com and we’ll figure something out, if you need a specific seat, I’ll do my best to try and find you that seat, if you need to go into the venue before everyone else, let me know and I’ll come out and let you in before the audience. We’ll try and make it work somehow, I want all of my shows to be anxiety safe. You can find tickets for all of this on sofiehagen.com.


One tiny last thing, go to iTunes and give this podcast a five-star rating and a little comment because that makes me extra happy, it really means a lot. I don't know how to make people aware of this podcast, I want people to know, at the same time I love our little club, I love everyone who’s in the Facebook group, Made of Human podcast on Facebook and I quite like our little community but I also do know that getting more people involved is probably a way to become successful, I imagine. I guess you guys can’t all, you know, chip and pay my rent forever. So, either way, tell a friend, give it a five-star rating and, you know what? Just enjoy this episode of the MoHpod.




Dan: I just didn’t know if…


Sofie: Just slide in.


Dan: Am I close enough to the mic?


Sofie: You’re perfect, yeah, absolutely fine.


Dan: Alright, cool.


Sofie: Do you identify as, what do you call yourself, a nerd?


Dan: Yeah, I do.


Sofie: Geek, nerd?


Dan: Kind of, dork, I would say, yeah.


Sofie: Dork, that’s a good word.


Dan: I think dork because geeks and nerds, I think, are very much focussed on knowing their areas inside out. So if you’re into science, it’s very much about the science and a lot of them will be really into comic books and, you know, all that sort of side of, I guess, that’s, actually I can’t remember which geek and nerd.


Sofie: Oh, I thought it was all the same word.


Dan: No, no, there’s definitely a division between the two.


Sofie: Really?


Dan: Yeah, but as a dork, it’s kind of just, I like science but I don't know anything about it and I like, you know, all the comic book stuff but I won’t be able to tell you the origin stories or anything of people.


Sofie: So you’re more like a general knowledge, all of them.


Dan: Yeah, exactly.


Sofie: And they’re more specific topics?


Dan: Yeah, I think so. It’s really odd because I never associated myself with being either because I have a lot of friends who are musicians and like it was seriously cool and, you know, but actually most musicians are geeks themselves, or nerds, whichever one it was. So, yeah, so I feel like I’m lying when I say that I am but I mean, what I do for a living, which is just reading and finding and getting excited by information, that’s pretty geeky, I would say.


Sofie: Yeah, I think you, I think you qualify.


Dan: Yeah.


Sofie: Do you know if there’s like a war between them?


Dan: There has been, yeah. Like if you meet a proper, so do you know Steve Cross?


Sofie: No.


Dan: The, he runs a thing called Science Show Off which is a really cool, fun comedy night where it’s stand up but it’s done by biologists -


Sofie: Whoa.


Dan: …and it’s done by, yeah, physicists and so on and I, I have been allowed to do it because I’ve got the sort of geeky credentials for it but, so he would be very much on the side of saying that scientists are much better and more informed than say, I could be wrong because actually I know he loves comic books as well. So, I don't know, there is a war, somewhere, going on but I’ve not seen it yet, yeah.


Sofie: That’s amazing, that’s amazing, it’s a lovely image.


Dan: It’s incredible, isn’t it?


Sofie: Because you, I was like majorly into, well, that’s a lie, I was, I tried to get into gaming when I was like a teenager because that’s where the boys were, so I tried to be like one of those girls, like, “Oh, you know, I'm not like the other girls, I just play Counter Strike a lot.”


Dan: [Laughs]


Sofie: But that was way more serious than I thought it would be. Like I would show up to these LAN parties and I would, in my head, I would be walking in and everyone would be like, “[Gasps] Gasp, like there’s a woman, oh, my God, we must all be with her.” That was not how they reacted, they were all just hunched over their computers going, “Don’t take my computer.”


Dan: [Laughs] Amazing.


Sofie: “Oh, these guys really care about.”


Dan: Yeah, it’s serious, it’s serious for them, yeah, they… I grew up in gaming as well, which I never properly got into because I grew up in Hong Kong and so gaming was just massive there because there’s not much you can do in Hong Kong, you didn’t really have any outdoor areas, in the central, where we lived, and so what you’d do is either be a skateboarder or a gamer and, or a BB gun enthusiast, that was big as well.


Sofie: Was that a hard choice for you to choose?


Dan: Yeah, I stayed away from the guns, because the guns in Hong Kong were insane, they were genuinely like rifles, like my friend brought a BB gun to school, I don't know how we had them at school, but you could bring a BB gun to school, you would get in trouble but like everyone did bring them. And they would have like, you know, focusses on them so you could shoot from a distance.


Sofie: Shit.


Dan: Yeah, my buddy once went to a BB gun war where he went inside a mattress because he thought, “OK, there’s no way that anyone can get me,” so he cut some eye holes but he was wearing goggles and then he had his hands out to hold his guns and he didn’t have any protection on his knuckles so they just focussed in his knuckles and he was just assassinated by the fingers, it was insane. It was a huge thing in Hong Kong.


Sofie: Clever idea though.


Dan: Yeah, it was such a clever idea. We saw him and were like, “A mattress? You’re a genius.” Yeah.


Sofie: He brought a mattress to school.


Dan: He brought a mattress to a gun party, that’s insane.


Sofie: So you chose gaming?


Dan: No, I tried to but I just got my ass whooped every single time. Yeah, Street Fighter and all that, Pac Man, could never win.


Sofie: I made an accidental headshot towards a team called [?? 0:08:55.7] and what I believe the guy in charge of that team or one of the people on the team, the guy I headshotted, if that’s what you call it, isn’t it? He later became, I think he won or went to the final of like the world final of Counter Strike.


Dan: Whoa.


Sofie: Yeah, he didn’t speak to me at all after I did that.


Dan: Oh, my God, you killed a champion.


Sofie: Yeah, I was just playing around on the game.


Dan: That is incredible.


Sofie: All the guys who were standing around me just went completely silent and I was like, “What happened? Oh, I’m sorry, did I kill one of my own?” And they were like, “N-no, you, [Clears throat] you killed that guy.”


Dan: You killed the champion.


Sofie: Yeah, and I was like, “Oh, does that make me popular?” Didn’t.


Dan: Really?


Sofie: Oh, yeah, of course not.


Dan: Because they probably, it’s kind of like, you know when you see the FIFA World Cup going on, any time a country that usually doesn’t make it near the finals makes it there, you’d think everyone’s like, “Great, the underdogs,” no, they hate it, they just want Germany and Italy, yeah, they don’t want any of that. So that’s what happened to you, you were…


Sofie: Yeah, and also these were like other 13, 14 year olds so they had to go and apologise to the more popular kids, “I’m sorry we invited a girl on to the team. So sorry she killed you.” He was really upset.


Dan: I think that’s huge, I don't know if you’ve got a CV that you have on your website but that needs to be at the top.


Sofie: I’ve told a lot of people that fact, I’m very proud of it.


Dan: That’s incredible. You should be, that’s amazing. None of us will ever achieve something as great, because that’s someone at the top of their game and you’ve taken them out.


Sofie: Yeah, took them out by accident.


Dan: I mean, I used to play Mario Cart online and you would think, amongst your friends, you’d play it, you’d be like, “I’m the best at this,” and then you go online and you play the world and you just get annihilated. It’d be like beating the best Mario Cart player.


Sofie: Exactly.


Dan: I’m just thinking about what kind of buzz I’d get from that is enough, I can’t imagine.


Sofie: All I wanted was attention from the boys and I didn’t get that.


Dan: You didn’t get it? That’s bullshit.


Sofie: No, they were, you know, I made them less popular.


Dan: That’s insane. You’ve ruined it.


Sofie: I was so sad, I was so sad, I really thought was my way into the boys.


Dan: Really?


Sofie: “Oh, my God, I’m going to be the cool gamer girl.” Didn’t happen.


Dan: Really? Were there any other nerdy ways in with boys, outside of gaming that you tried?


Sofie: There was just like general computers.


Dan: Oh, OK.


Sofie: So I learned how to dissect a stationary computer so I knew all the words, like gigabyte and RAM.


Dan: Amazing.


Sofie: Screen. Keyboard. I knew all the words.


Dan: Screen. [Laughs] Sorry, I thought that was like an acronym of something, no, just the screen. OK.


Sofie: Here’s the thing, Dan, when you have a computer, you need like a screen or you can’t see.


Dan: Is that it? OK.


Sofie: Yeah, you can put that in your little TV show.


Dan: That’ll be a fact, yeah.


Sofie: So when did you find out that you were a dork? Or when did you start?


Dan: It was definitely at school that it got first mentioned. My best friend Dan, at school, sort of said it to me one day and it really shocked me, I was like, “I’m not a dork, what are you talking about?” And he was like, “You read.” And I didn’t think that was enough of a qualification to say that you’re a dork because, in my head, I, within my year, because I had, I was in Australia at this point and I had this weird American accent and for some reason, I kind of just, there was this oddity of, and I went to this really odd hippy school called Rudolf Steiner so it’s a –


Sofie: Oh, I know about Steiner, I think you only play with wood and stuff.


Dan: Yeah, so it was a, yeah, well, we definitely played with more stuff, I think maybe that’s for the younger years. In, when it gets to high school, it’s quirky but you’re allowed to be yourself and comment on it, within it, so yeah, so it was fine, it was really fun and, but it was quite a small school and it was in this little woodland bit in Sydney, in central Sydney, but just in this little foresty bit. That was amazing, it was incredible. Like, during, you know, if you went out to play in your playtime, you know, you could just wander off into the wood and you just pick up sticks and climb stones and stuff and it was really awesome.


Sofie: Gathering your toys.


Dan: Yeah, exactly, yeah. But, yeah, so because I was a bit of an oddity, all the older kids from the years above me and even the ones below, we kind of all just got on because I was this weird Hong Kongian guy with an American accent so I thought, in my head I was like, “Oh, I must be, you know, cool,” but it turns out I was the dorky friend of everyone. It was like, “Oh, this is our dork friend,” and I just didn’t know that. [Laughs]


Sofie: But it’s, I mean, now it’s fashionable, isn’t it, these days?


Dan: Yeah. I think it always was actually.


Sofie: Yeah?


Dan: Yeah, because I think, actually, if you look at most people, as I say like musicians and stuff, I think they’ve always been really dorky, really geeky. There is a high fashion end to stuff but like, you know, I was reading stuff about David Bowie and he used to travel round with 200 books and he would just, you know.


Sofie: Wow.


Dan: I think it was 200, maybe more, you know, people were always into info and I think maybe what’s happened more so is now we’re kind of giving it more publicity and saying that this is a cool thing but, you know, I think it’s always been pretty cool.


Sofie: So it wasn’t, it wasn’t like a, a brand that you hated, like you didn’t?


Dan: No, I just didn’t necessarily know that I was a part of it.


Sofie: You didn’t know?


Dan: Yeah, I did a, my only stand-up show, like my only full hour was kind of talking about this in that it did actually change a lot of me when I properly accepted that I was a dork and that’s, that doesn’t make much sense really because my life was fine, everything was going really fine, I had great friends. But we would, say, go to a pub in the evening, and we would go to a gig and maybe go to a club for dancing and I never liked dancing in a club, I’ve never been into that and going to a pub is cool but they would always go to these really hipstery kind of bars where it was smashed with people and I can’t hear and what I always enjoyed was sitting down and chatting and then when I started getting properly into stand up with doing stand up for, like, Science Show Off and stuff, you’d go to the bar afterwards and you’re hanging round with archaeologists and scientists and they like to party too but going to their parties, it was like, “Oh, it’s my people, this is great,” we can sit till 4am chatting like crazy about weird stuff. And, yeah, so I was kind of like, “Oh, this is a cool new direction,” and I met a lot of amazing people there because it’s hard to meet people when you’re older as well, like, new friends, it’s quite hard. I think we’re in a job that makes it a lot easier, actually, because we, we have a sort of shared experience that we can, and we see each other sporadically in different bits of the country doing bits of stand up, or even overseas or Edinburgh’s the big one and so it is actually easier to make new friends in stand up. But, yeah, I don't know, it was just this whole new direction which was –


Sofie: I relate so much to that.


Dan: Really?


Sofie: Yeah, because I remember when I got into comedy, in Denmark, comedians would, after the open mics, you know, we’d be eight, 10 comedians on, a few more show up, we’d all go to this bar down the street that was always empty and we’d just sit and chat about comedy and life and we’d joke and the first time I experienced that, I was like, “Oh, this is another way of going out,” these are my, you know, at this point I’d tried to have like a girl group of friends and it just, it was awful, you know, they were just, they were all trying to make it this Sex and the City kind of experience but I was talking about, you know, faeces and things I’d said to men that they would never had said to anyone and I felt like the weird one but not in a good way.


Dan: Yes, OK.


Sofie: And all of a sudden I was with these comedians and I would tell the same stories and they would say, “Oh, that’s really interesting,” or, “I’ve done the same thing, you should say that on a stage.” And I was like, “[Sighs] Oh, this is perfect.”


Dan: Yeah, it’s really liberating, isn’t it?


Sofie: I tried for years to go out, like proper go out, to the clubs and really like clubby and there was this, I don't know if this is a thing that’s only happened in Denmark, because before Facebook and all of that, we had, there were some websites where they would send photographers out to the different clubs and then they would take random photos of people and then they would put it up on their website, so after a night out, you’d go to this website, you’d find yourself on a photo –


Dan: Oh, yeah, yeah.


Sofie: …and tag yourself, you had these profiles. So you could go, “Who’s that guy I spoke to?” you could find him and his profile. And I found so many of those photos and it’s just me looking miserable. Really angry, like a very fake smile, just like me like in the background looking at my watch, “When are we going to leave?”


Dan: Yeah, yeah, they’re the worst, aren’t they? They do do that in Sydney, they used to do that, take photos.


Sofie: Yeah?


Dan: Yeah, and you’d go to the website and there you would be, I’d be in a corner, sitting, looking at my watch, “When is this going to end? How are they dancing to this one beat?” I’ve been to clubs since, I recently went to one, and the music actually was amazing but not the ones I used to go to when I was a kid, it was just one note and then they would stop the beat and then it would build up and everyone’s like, “What’s going to happen?” And then the beat dropped and like, “I didn’t see that coming!” And I’m on the side going, “Of course that was going to happen, it happened in every fucking song that we’ve heard tonight.” I used to hate it.


Sofie: Did you bring books to the club?


Dan: I did.


Sofie: Yeah?


Dan: Yeah, I always bring books wherever I go, I'm never without a book. I think this actually might be a rare case because I’m planning to go to the bookshop afterwards.


Sofie: Oh, OK, make room for new ones.


Dan: Yeah, exactly, exactly, otherwise it’s just too heavy. But, yeah, always a book at the club.

Sofie: That’s amazing. That’s a, what do you call them? S, SUP? No, SPU, no.


Dan: SPU?


Sofie: What’s the word I'm thinking of?


Dan: I don't know. Is it an acronym?


Sofie: Yes, the selling point, unique –


Dan: USP.


Sofie: USP.


Dan: Right, yeah.


Sofie: Yeah, I think that’s quite cool, taking books to the…


Dan: Yeah, that was my thing.


Sofie: So you’re not into Kindle?


Dan: I am, yeah, I lost my Kindle recently so I need to get it again but, yeah, Kindle’s, Kindle’s amazing. I was very anti it because I, I think books are, for me and for most people I imagine who like books, it’s a really emotional thing, it’s an emotional connection and you like to, you like to, you know, have the book physically on a shelf to look at it. Because I love that, I, I moved in with my fiancée about last November and we’re in a quite small place and I had about, I had to give away about 2,000 books because we just didn’t have space and I had no time to work out where else I could give them to and I still, outside of our house, I have three of those massive picnic bags, you know those bags that you buy?


Sofie: Yeah.


Dan: Sitting outside our house, on our veranda, full of books, so I go out and visit them, I have to go and say hi to them because there’s no space in the house for them anymore. It’s terrible. I really love my books just so much.


Sofie: My mum, she also lives in a small place, she had to get rid of a lot of books as well, she also loves books. She used to, when we watched Beauty and the Beast, that was like the one film that she loved for us to watch, so when he buys her a library, when he takes her into the library, she’s like, “That’s, that’s what I want.”


Dan: Yeah.


Sofie: Like her dream is to live in a library, her dream job is to be a librarian.


Dan: Really?


Sofie: Loves being around books.


Dan: And she’s never been a librarian?


Sofie: No, she, you know, she left school when she was 14, she’s worked in a factory ever since, it’s not, you know, now she’s 50 something, it’s not, but I’m very like, “Get the job.” She’s like, “No, you know, I’ve been in this company for 40 years, whatever,” “Yeah, but.” [Groans]


Dan: It’s so cool.


Sofie: Yeah, live your dream, be a librarian, it’s.


Dan: Yeah, I think as well that, I see myself as, you know the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast where she’s going through the street, reading the book?


Sofie: Yes.


Dan: That’s how, that’s my daily commute, I’m just reading books. If someone’s near me –


Sofie: Twirling.


Dan: Yeah, twirling, hopping, [Sings] “Here’s the bit where they tell you that kangaroos have three vaginas,” and then continue on.


Sofie: [Laughs] I used to, I used to dress, I once got a, she wears like a blue dress or like a white dress with a blue apron and I had a dress that looked similar and I found like a basket and then I would, my mum had a blue book that was completely blue. So I’d have the blue book in the basket and my dress on and then I got to go to the mall, which is like three stores with a roof over, in my tiny village and I would go and in my head I would be her, I would walk through all these, these three shops with my little, pretending to be her.


Dan: That’s so cool.


Sofie: I don't know how old I was, I mean, eight maybe, seven or eight, and just in my head I was her.


Dan: What’s your, what’s your village called?


Sofie: [0:20:59.2].


Dan: Right, and what’s the population there?


Sofie: Hmm, that’s a good question, 5,000, I think.


Dan: OK, right.


Sofie: That’s a complete guess, I never counted really.


Dan: Yeah, and how long were you there for?


Sofie: There was one school, one tiny school, one tiny kindergarten, one main street and then a few little off roads. Very tiny, very, very tiny.


Dan: Do you know everyone there, as in not all 5,000 but, like, do you feel when you go back, you know, “OK, I know everyone who runs the mall.”


Sofie: No, I left when I was 10.


Dan: Oh, you left when you were 10, OK.


Sofie: So, but I feel like it was, back then, you know, my mum had these stories about how she would, because like, you know, it’s a small place, things would go on that wasn’t OK and my mum would like complain to, you know, the, the mayor or whatever, the mayor’s office, they’d all be like, “Yeah, we would interfere but, you know, it’s Kirsten and she’s worked her once so, you know.” So my mum was so sick of it at the end because it was such a small, people would like gossip over the fence and go, “Did you hear?” My mum hated it, she’s a big city kind of person.


Dan: Big city character, yeah. I went back recently to a small…


Sofie: Hong Kong? Do you know everyone?


Dan: Yeah, Hong Kong, I’ve pretty got down pat. No, my, so my dad is half Austrian, so my grandfather is completely Austrian and when was it, like two months’ ago my great-grandmother passed away, so she was 102 turning 103, and we went back for the funeral and I’ve been back various times, we went back for her 100th birthday and the mayor came and gave her a handshake and a photo in the paper kind of thing. But that’s amazing because she’s, she’s lived in this tiny town called [0:22:47.2] for 100 years, basically and since 1947 or 48, in the same house in this place. It’s amazing, you just go back and she’s got this tiny little life of locals and friends and they know everyone but her kids went off to Australia, and, you know, my sister brought her two little babies to meet her, so they’re here great great grandchildren.


Sofie: Whoa.


Dan: Yeah, and with Alessandro, the youngest one, there’s 100 years between them and…


Sofie: Whoa.


Dan: It’s amazing, yeah, it’s so weird and I get fascinated by those little tiny places, it was amazing, I imagine, for the first 10 years of growing up somewhere like that really influences you because it is like a little sitcom basically.


Sofie: Yeah, it’s safe, we had these games where we would, me and my friend Martin, who was my neighbour as well, coincidence, we would like run over the road, like back and forth, and then see who had, like, the most guts as when a car would come, you know, who could stay in the road for the longest.


Dan: What?


Sofie: We should have been dead, both of us.


Dan: Yeah, yeah.


Sofie: It was just this, you know, who runs away first and the cars would be honking and hating us because it was dangerous.


Dan: Yeah, and they’d presumably know you, so they’d be like…


Sofie: Yeah, exactly.


Dan: Yeah, Jesus.


Sofie: My mum hated it, she hated the whole bickering and the whole, you know. I think Denmark has a thing with small town, like a lot of our horror films take place in small towns, there’s always that behind the surface thing because there is, there is a thing with the small, especially the small villages in Jutland, lots of things are going on that’s not completely OK, so I think in, I’m not sure if small towns have this romantic idea in Denmark anymore. I feel as though, I don’t really have that, “Oh, what a lovely place, I want to go.” God, I'm happy I got away.


Dan: That sinister, horror movie, right. I’ve been to Denmark, my step-grandfather is Danish and so, yeah, we used to go.


Sofie: Copenhagen?


Dan: They were going to buy a, yeah, Copenhagen, and they were going to buy a restaurant there at one point so I was there scouring for venues and I was so young and I really loved it, really beautiful place.


Sofie: It’s really lovely.


Dan: Yeah.


Sofie: Copenhagen is gorgeous.


Dan: Yeah, it is, again, I was a kid, I didn’t really notice, I was just listening to the Chili Peppers, I think, while we were there. Basically, they took me from France to Denmark by car and I slept the whole way, that’s their story. I think I saw a few things but, yeah. Yeah, I don't know, I find, there is something so fascinating about small towns, people, even though Hong Kong’s not a small town, people do get fascinated by that, that’s a little island that was this, you know, hand back over in ’97, so to be there just before that, I always get asked about that but my dad lived in [0:25:30.7] when he was growing up as well and the same thing, you know, like he would do stuff that was constantly getting him in trouble, like standing in the streets. I don't know, there’s something, there’s something, particularly which as a comedian, I always find, I love hearing comedians talk about this sort of small town experience because it gives you insight into worlds that, if you grew up in the city, or if you grew up anywhere that has just a big population, you just have no idea how these things function, you know, that’s just a world, it’s its own little ecosystem going on, on its own, yeah.


Sofie: It really is and there’s all these little, like my grandmother lived in an even smaller town, village, close to [0:26:10.2] and they, one of the daily routines would be to sit by the window to the main street and look out and then just report. They’d go, “Oh, the butcher’s daughter is, I thought her, doesn’t her work start at four? Why is she going at three?” And then I found, I once Googled their little village, no Facebooked it and it had its own fan group.

Dan: Wow.


Sofie: And the first post was, “Unfortunately we have to shut down the local school because someone says that it’s not OK to only have four students.”


Dan: That’s amazing.


Sofie: They had four pupils sitting in their classroom at the local school so they had to end that.


Dan: Oh, my God. That was on the Facebook group?


Sofie: Yeah. And the guys who’d opened the Facebook group were these two gay guys who were like, “We’re moving from Copenhagen to this lovely little town, so we want to make this fan page on Facebook so everyone can find this little town and we can all get together and have lunches and stuff.” They hadn’t considered that two gay guys in a very, very small Danish town and no-one there had ever seen or heard of gayness so they were just, they had the worst time and I was following it on Facebook and I was talking to my grandmother, they moved in next to my grandmother, and I heard their process, my grandparents and their friends. At first they were very appalled and then eventually they were like, “No, you know what,” my grandfather said, “You know what? If they want to wear women’s clothes, that’s fine with me.”


Dan: [Laughs]


Sofie: “No, that’s not, that’s not what that is,” “Well, then what is it?” I was like, “Oh, God, we’re going to take a step back now.” But it was so lovely seeing their like happiness and then for them to realise, “Oh, OK, this isn’t, this isn’t Beauty and the Beast.”


Dan: This is not going to go down well. Oh, man. Yeah, exactly. Oh, no.


Sofie: I mean, the local bus stopped coming there because no-one was ever on the bus and now you can’t get there unless you’re driving and it just becomes a smaller, it’s quite sad in a way.


Dan: Yeah, yeah.


Sofie: It’s just becoming so small and, you know, kind of, it’ll be like a ghost town at some point.


Dan: Yeah.


Sofie: Which is…


Dan: Yeah, that’s a shame. It’s cool, though, I love that idea of the little Facebook group.


Sofie: Yeah, it’s really sweet.


Dan: I know. Yeah, I had dinner the other night with, so my fiancée, Fenella’s her name, so if I mention her again, I’ll just Fenella, so Fenella’s friend had us over for dinner and she’s quite a few years older than us, I think, like 10 or 15 years older than us. And she has this thing where, her kids are now grown up so they’re not at home as much so she spends a lot of her time, particularly weekends, on her own, and she found that her, on Facebook, when she joined up, that her university group, from Oxford, were doing this thing where they had one guy who they all used to go out and party with, who was a DJ, and he always used to DJ while they were at school and university and so they haven’t all, none of them had stayed in contact and what he does now, on every Friday night, is he DJs on Facebook, within this group. So he’ll play it as a sort of, a stream, or he’ll put the YouTube videos up and he’ll take requests. And she sits there, and so do a bunch of their year group who might be in on a Friday night and they request songs and they go, “I love this song,” and he gives shout outs to all of them if he sees that they’re online and stuff and they just have this disco individually in their own homes, isn’t that cool?

Sofie: That’s amazing.


Dan: Yeah, I really loved that and that’s just a little, I’d love to get an invite to that and I hope they don’t allow me in because I think that should be private but it’s, yeah, just to see the interaction and it means the world to her. When we had dinner, she was like, “Two more hours until the disco starts.” Yeah, really cool.


Sofie: Oh. That’s amazing, stuff like that is what I want to think about when people say, “Oh, you know, kids these days, on their phones all the time.” Like, no, but that’s huge, that wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have.


Dan: Yeah, exactly. And she’s in contact with so many of her friends now and, I don't know, I love that, yeah, anything like that, with a small group, something buddyish about it.


Sofie: Yeah.


Dan: You know when Stranger Things came on and everyone was like, “This is amazing,” the paranormal thing, but I think what everyone was saying is, “Isn’t it cool to see a group of friends hang out and chat,” and that’s, to me, that’s what it was, because it was like Stand By Me or…


Sofie: Oh, God, yeah, I remember that.


Dan: …or Babysitter’s Club, I used to watch that a lot with my sister.


Sofie: Breakfast Club as well? Is that the same?


Dan: No, Breakfast Club, it is the same, in that you’re like, “Oh, wow, what a weird gang.” I saw it for the first time the other week and…


Sofie: Oh, really?


Dan: …I didn’t really, I love John Hughes but I didn’t like, spoiler alert for anyone listening, if you haven’t seen it, I’m about to reveal the end but you’ve seen it, right?


Sofie: Yeah, yeah.


Dan: So basically the moral of it is the baddies win. And they’re not baddies but like she decides to become, it’s kind of like the end of Grease, when it goes that way, so.


Sofie: Yeah, you should change for other people.


Dan: Yeah, exactly. It felt like everyone, unless I'm misremembering it but.


Sofie: I’m trying to remember.


Dan: So not baddies, baddies is the wrong thing to say but it just didn’t go the way that you would hope that the people who were, so Judd Nelson gets…


Sofie: Or not cool?


Dan: Yeah, like, actually I can’t even remember the ending now.


Sofie: I’m trying to remember. So the kid, the nerdy kid, I don’t remember their names, the blond kid with the glasses who was a bit of a nerd.


Dan: Yeah.


Sofie: No, he just, I seem to remember they all, they end up sitting in a circle sharing everything, don’t they?


Dan: Yeah.


Sofie: They’re just sharing their weaknesses and they’re going, “I’m actually not this, or I'm pretending to be that but I’m not.” I think she says, “I’m a virgin,” and then the other girl says, and they start talking about their parents as well. I mean, this is useless, isn’t it?


Dan: Yeah, maybe, yeah, because neither of us can properly remember. Maybe I’m just completely, maybe it’s an awesome ending.


Sofie: There will be listeners going, “USP! No, that’s not what it is!” I want, you did a TV show, I haven’t seen it unfortunately, I just found out that you did it, which is one of my favourite topics about conspiracy theorists, people who believe in aliens and stuff.


Dan: Yeah.


Sofie: Wow.


Dan: Yeah, I went round the UK interviewing people who either believe that they have seen aliens or that they’re on the brink of uncovering a lot of stuff that’s going on and I personally, I believe in life in the universe, I don’t think we’re being visited and, but my take on it is I love looking at theories, I just think they’re stunning and when you look at, say like the moon landing theory. So I actively get angry if I’m in a conversation with someone who thinks we didn’t land on the moon and maybe one day something will come up and, I’ll, you know, have to just say, “OK, I'm a dick, I was wrong.” But my only thing is I look at all the scientists who say that we definitely did go and go, “OK, there seems,” and evidence that says we don’t, they have an answer for which seems like a logical answer. But, having said that, I love looking at the theories and I love, because there’s not many other things where someone comes up with an idea and as soon as they put it to the public, the world gets involved with it.


So people all around the world are plugging and gluing the holes of the gaps that make the theory not work and they go, “No, actually it works because look there’s a rock that has the letter C on it in this shot on the moon which means that they had props.” And all those kind of like tiny details, nothing else gets constructed into these beautiful stories in the way that conspiracy theories do because it’s just people looking for truth and they might be misguided in what they’re looking for but it’s fascinating.


So, yeah, I did this doc where I wanted to meet the people who believe in these things and find out why, but not laugh at them. I really, that was my, like, you know, when you make a TV show a lot of things happen where executive producers and channel heads and so on try and bend it a different way to maybe what you were told it was going to be and that definitely happened a tiny bit in mine but the one thing they didn’t change was I said there’s no way that we’re going to make fun of these people. And I told all of them when I was interviewing them, “Unfortunately, the way it works out is the thing that you’re saying to most people, is nuts, so you might think you’ve given a good interview here where you haven’t said anything nuts but the core base of what you’re saying is what they think is nuts. So you are, if you’re on Twitter and people find you, they might give you shit for what your belief is.” And they were all kind of cool with that because they thought, “Well, at the end of the day, this is what I think so if that’s what happens, that’s fine.” And, yeah, it was amazing, I’m still in contact with a lot of them who I interviewed.


Sofie: That’s so cool.


Dan: Yeah, it’s one, because also when you’re making a documentary about these people and when you watch it, like a Louis Theroux or, in most cases, they’re only talking about the subject that you’re interviewing them for which is, “I believe in aliens,” but what you don’t ever have the chat about is, “Oh, they also support a football team. Oh, they love this novelist Margaret Atwood.” You know, they have interests, it’s just that they have this other thing that is different to what you think. And, so, yeah, that was the most fascinating thing, was just hanging with them as people as opposed to interviewing them about aliens. What’s your interest in?


Sofie: It’s, I just, I met, I took an Uber once where the guy was obsessed with aeroplanes.


Dan: Uh-huh.


Sofie: So he was a plane, what do you call it, a plane watcher? Plane catcher, no, what do you call them?

Dan: Well, there’s train, yeah, train spotters, plane spotters?


Sofie: Plane spotter, I think that is the word. Where he sits, they’re like a group that sits on this hill outside of the airport and then they just, he videotapes the airplanes. He had 5,000 miniature airplanes and when he has 10,000 he wants to build a museum in, I want to say Poland, I think that’s where he was from. Czechoslov- no, yeah, Poland I think. So he had this huge obsession and he was just talking about these aeroplanes and I was, you know, I kindly let him know that I had no idea what he was talking about, I didn’t know anything about planes. He would say, “Oh, when’s your next journey?” I’d say, “Oh, I’m going to Canada.” He was like, “Where from?” I was like, “Heathrow.” He’d be like, “Oh, you’re going on an Airbus something something.”


Dan: Oh, wow, cool.


Sofie: Cool, great.


Dan: Just knew it all.


Sofie: He knew everything and I did that whole, “Have you ever seen Airforce One?” And he was like, “Yes, and two and three and four and five and six,” I was like, “What?” He was like, “Yeah, so they have six Airforce planes.”


Dan: I didn’t know that.


Sofie: Because, so since some event, they’re only allowed, like the President and the President’s wife are not allowed to fly on the same plane in case one of them…


Dan: Really, OK?


Sofie: …and the Vice President, so they send all these decoy planes, Airforce Ones out as well. I had no idea.


Dan: Right, yeah, I didn’t know that.


Sofie: He was so fascinating, he kept talking about planes for so long and I was trying to go, “So, have you seen Con Air?” And he got really furious, he was like, “I can’t believe they destroyed that plane.”


Dan: [Laughs]


Sofie: Oh, but it was lovely, but he talked about having been in a documentary that hadn’t come out yet and he said, “I’m so nervous because I’m not a freak, I’m not a weirdo, this is just my passion and I know they’re going to, I’m afraid they’re going to portray it as if I'm a weirdo when this is actually just my passion.” I was like, “Yeah, there is a chance they’ll do that, like, knowing TV,” and that would be so sad because it was, as soon as you get past that little instinct in your brain that says, “Oh, you know a lot about planes, don’t you?” and then you start just listening going, “Oh, this is amazing,” hearing someone be so passionate about a topic that they can’t even control them, I mean, it’s beautiful.


Dan: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it is amazing. Well, the, so the radio show that I make, Museum of Curiosity, I came up with that 10 years ago with my buddy Rich and John and the idea behind it was I started going to a lot of lectures where experts were talking, because I was doing research for QI at the time and it was quite time consuming to just read books all the time and so I started going to these lectures thinking, “Oh, maybe I can get some, some interesting information,” and you start hearing these people talk about the thing that they love, be it snails or, you know, a single droplet of water that they’ve got in a jar that they’ve been looking at for years, that’s not a genuine example, that was just all I could think of. But it’s stuff like that, you know, pineapples or whatever, and they just are so excited about what they are talking about and often when you’re that excited you can be interesting about it in a way that is impossible to be interesting about other stuff, like talking about football if you just like it. There’s a lady called Erica McAlister who you should meet, I think you’d really love her, she works at the Natural History Museum and she’s their fly expert so she studies flies nonstop and she goes into jungles looking for new species. And she does not have time for anyone who doesn’t like flies, like if you just said, “I’m not into flies,” she basically says, “Get the fuck out of my face,” because she just can’t understand it, she’s like, “How can you not love flies?” And the way she talks about it, you immediately go, “God, I love flies too.”


Sofie: Yeah.


Dan: Yeah, and, so, yeah, do you know if his documentary’s come out yet or, the plane guy?


Sofie: No, I don’t know. He sent me his, he told me what his YouTube name was and I forgot it but his videos of these planes taking off had like thousands of views, like people, “Oh, my God, that’s a really interesting plane.” It’s fascinating.


Dan: He sounds amazing, yeah.


Sofie: He chased a plane for, was it 15 years he chased a plane, it was the, it’s like there’s only one in the world, it’s the biggest plane in the world and as he said angrily, “Most people think that the something is the biggest plane in the world but that’s a passenger flight so actually the biggest plane that’s not a passenger flight is this one,” which I think it was used to transport nuclear weapons or something and that arrived like two months before I met him so that’s like, he saw his…


Dan: So he got the holy grail?


Sofie: Yeah.


Dan: Wow.


Sofie: Amazing.


Dan: Yeah.


Sofie: But I did like a pilot for a documentary series with a channel, I don't know how much I want, I’m allowed to say, where I was going to interview fans, because my first show was about being a Westlife fan, so I was going to interview fans of these new bands that I hadn’t heard of and follow them around as they were trying to meet their idols, which I thought was going to be so lovely but they wanted to do the same thing of like, “Oh, maybe you say that and then we want to see them scream.” No, let’s, no, like I want, because I was one of them, I don’t want to make them look ridiculous, I want to be a compassionate interviewer and say, “Oh, I totally get that.”


Dan: Yeah.


Sofie: And, you know, I saw that she finally did meet this band called The Babs?


Dan: Yeah, The Babs, yeah.


Sofie: And I’m like, nice guys, and it was just, I loved seeing this, and they wanted me, the camera crew and the producer, whatever she was, wanted me to interfere when she was meeting them and just ask like a question like, “How does it feel right now meeting this fan?” And I was like, “No, we’re not doing that.”


Dan: Yeah, no way, that’s a moment.


Sofie: It’s a moment. I wanted to ask you something. What do you think it is about conspiracy theories that’s so exciting?


Dan: I think it’s that there seems to be a, I think the reason things like Sherlock and all that have stayed so popular since they, you know, were first created is that we all think of ourselves as detectives and a lot of us can’t get into the kind of bigger things of how the universe began because that involves a lot of mathematics and so on but things like a little, a moment in history where there might an alternative view, we get fascinated by because A, we do love to play detective but B, when you hear that there might be a different reason, that’s this sort of a true reality about the world that’s not the story we’ve been told, it kind of makes you feel like you’ve got one up on everyone else on the planet. “Oh, that’s how you think he died? OK, yeah, you don’t know anything.”


Like that’s, I think there’s a kind of sense of that, there’s this exciting plot twist that we hope for when we hear little things like that and it does rewire you slightly because if Kennedy was assassinated by the government, that changes a huge bit of history in the way that we view it. If we didn’t land on the moon, that is insane and the idea that, that’s what I find incredible, that it was a huge operation to get to the moon, the fact that no-one credible has said, “We didn’t go there,” someone on the inside, that, I mean, yeah, that’s a big secret to keep, that’s huge. And if we found out that we didn’t land there? Fuck, that changes everything, like literally changes everything. So I think that’s what it is, we love being detectives, we love nit-picking at little moments in history and being able to say, “Come sit next to me, I’ll tell you what the real thing on earth that’s going on.”


Sofie: The inside?


Dan: Yeah, I think that, I mean, there must be other stuff because I don't know why you would want to know that we didn’t land on the moon. I don't know why people are so into the idea that we didn’t land on the moon. But, and again, as I say, when I meet these people, I absolutely love them and I love hearing the theories and they’re not, they’re not mean to you if you don’t believe in them because they’re human, they’re just normal nice people. The only group I’ve met that I’ve found quite dangerous when it comes to conspiracy theories is 9/11 conspiracy theorists.


Sofie: Oh, really?


Dan: Purely because, this is just from quite limited experience, about meeting five or six people who, who kind of advocate it properly and write online and so on. They all see it as a Jewish conspiracy.


Sofie: Oh.


Dan: And as soon as that starts, and I’ve, it was really odd, when I made my UFO documentary, I made a little taster video where I met 9/11, people who believe that it was a government thing, and it always came back to a Jewish plot and I was in a bar and was talking to this lady and she was saying it out loud and I was like, while we were filming, I was like, “Is this legal to be spouting this hate?” Because it’s proper hate, it was really, I’ve never felt so furious about anything really ever, it was just, because it was like, you hate, that’s a group of humans that you hate, this is not…


Sofie: Yeah, I thought we got rid of that way of thinking ages ago.


Dan: Yeah, exactly and it felt like, it’s odd because it felt like a type of racism that is, is, all racism is bad but it felt like this really odd section of racism that was accusary of, of, you know, events that are shocking and, I don't know, it felt really odd. I didn’t know how to comprehend it because…


Sofie: Yeah, and it must feel like the hatred came first. Like, she didn’t hear about 9/11 and then go, “Oh, now I hate Jewish people,” she must have hated them and then thought, “What can I pin them on?”


Dan: Yeah, yeah, it was really odd, she kind of, I think she liked me a bit more because she thought I was Jewish, I’m not Jewish but I sound, sorry, I don’t sound but most people, when they meet me, with my name, Daniel Schreiber and my face, I tend to be seen as Jewish and, that sounds, I hope that doesn’t come across as like, as a, it’s just I, most people when they see me, most of my Jewish friends as well for the first like six months of our friendships, assumed that I was, I was Jewish. And she was like, “Oh, it’s so funny because you look so Jewish but you’re not Jewish,” and it was kind of like a –


Sofie: She liked that.


Dan: Yeah, she was like, “Oh, it’s so great, we can be, we can be buddies, because it’s fine because you’re not Jewish, but isn’t it funny how much you look,” and I was like, “What is this?”


Sofie: Did you see there was, was it Louis Theroux’s documentary where he meets like neo-Nazis and they ask him if he’s Jewish and he doesn’t want to reply.


Dan: Yeah.


Sofie: And it gets really tense and they keep going, “Well, if you’re not, you should tell us,” and he’s like, “I’m not telling you whether or not I am,” and it get so dark.


Dan: He’s so brave for doing that. Genuinely brave. I remember seeing that because I, when I met this lady, I was brought into a room and it was full of these 9/11 people talking about the inside job and the opening question, they just all turned and looked at me and went, “Are you Jewish?”


Sofie: Whoa.


Dan: And I just went, “No,” immediately, out of total fear and I watched, afterwards, I watched Louis do that and I was just like, “Fuck, man, he is, that is what it’s about,” the way that he just refuses to.


Sofie: Oh, my God.


Dan: Yeah, it was really cool, I love him, I mean, he is, to me, the, I can’t wait to see the Scientology movie, I think it’s going to be amazing.


Sofie: OK, I’ll tell you something embarrassing. I saw him at Latitude Festival, like he was walking behind me, and I screamed. I don’t do that, I haven’t done that since I was a teen and a fan of Westlife.


Dan: [Laughs] Yeah.


Sofie: I was like, “Oh, my God.”


Dan: Did you say hi or not?


Sofie: No, I didn’t.


Dan: Oh, no.


Sofie: No, I'm not going to be, no. I mean, in this business, I feel like people like that, I think, we’ll meet them at some point, you know?


Dan: I agree, I totally agree. If we, if you are in a position where you do stand up or something like that and you tend to come into contact with that, that type of world, eventually you will meet that person.


Sofie: Yeah, you don’t want to be the person screaming in his face at Latitude.


Dan: Yeah, you don’t want to –


Sofie: “Oh, wasn’t that you who overreacted?”


Dan: Exactly, yeah.


Sofie: But that’s my, that’s, there are some people, I think it’s the people that I was kind of into when I lived in Denmark because that was a separate world from this. So people that I find now, then, “Oh, I love that artist,” I’m not that way but when it was Denmark, because it was, I think in my mind I would never meet them, so they kind of went a notch up on the pedestal.


Dan: Yes, yeah, totally, yeah. I, when I was living in Sydney, you know, there weren’t really any famous people who I loved, like authors and stuff, they were all British or American, and, more so there are now because Australia in the last 10, 15 years has really stepped up with cultural output which is so exciting but while I was there, and actually, you know, obviously it existed massively, it’s awesome culture there but all my favourite comedians and so on were British. And I remember meeting an author for the first time, I was in a second-hand bookshop in Sydney and it was the most exciting thing, and it was a guy who was out of print, he’d done like three books and it took me about three months to track a single one of those books down, I had to buy it off a library just in order to get it because I couldn’t find it anywhere.


Sofie: Wow.


Dan: And, oh, man, that was so exciting and so I always say the same thing, it was almost, even though I was in Sydney, it felt like a small town to where real things of the authors that I loved were roaming the streets daily that you could bump into and it’s so exciting. Still, I’ve never lost the buzz of meeting someone who’s written a book that I find fascinating and it’s kind of like driven a lot of the things that I’ve gone, tried to create for radio and TV. It’s just, I just want to hang out with the people that I’m totally buzzed by.


Sofie: Yeah, do you feel like, it feels so personal to have read someone’s book, it feels so, you feel like you must know a bit of them that you wouldn’t necessarily know if you just met them.


Dan: Yeah.


Sofie: I just watched, I’m very biased right now because I just watched, I read Misery when I was a teenager and then I saw the film for the first time and I just love it.


Dan: Yeah, it’s amazing.


Sofie: Oh, it’s so good.


Dan: I’ve not read the book but the movie is incredible, yeah.


Sofie: Oh, my God, it’s, and I find that, I read a lot of Dean Koontz?


Dan: Oh, yeah, right.


Sofie: I was so into, when I was like 10 or 11, I read a lot of Stephen King and Dean Koontz and I was so into that whole, kind of a bit gory, a bit, you know, thriller, so it wasn’t, it wasn’t too complicated for me at that age but it was enough that I felt really...


Dan: Have you met Dean Koontz?


Sofie: No, not yet, I don’t even know how he looks. Do you know how they look? Do you look them up so that in case you’re in a bookshop?


Dan: Yeah, now I do, yeah. No, back in the day, no, because I mean I didn’t have the internet really, back in the day in Australia when I was growing up, like ’97 kind of period, we just started getting it. But like, I remember the period of the internet where we didn’t even know about search engines at the time so it was like how do you find stuff on this thing because you need the exact address and me and all my school mates, so we were about 13, we discovered there’s a magazine in the news agency that you could buy which was basically like Playboy, it was Playboy except it was just listings of Pamela Anderson and it would come with like 25 different URLs that you could type in to see a single picture of her in a bikini or something like that. It was terrible but, like, that’s how new the internet was back then, you bought magazines that just had listings of, basically, a printed Google. And so, no, I never knew what any of them, unless they were on TV talking about what they did, I would never see what they look like. But there were a few, like, I had, because I kind of keep it almost as a rule now that I don’t really like to just walk up to someone and say, “Hi, sorry to interrupt but I just,” because even though I’m sure they like it, it’s just, I just think, “Oh, no.” I feel like I wouldn’t have met them properly but I did, I did do it once for, I was at the Hay Festival and I met, well, I was in the queue to meet Alan Alda who is, did you ever see MASH, the TV show MASH?


Sofie: No, I didn’t.


Dan: MASH is my favourite all-time TV series and he was Hawkeye in it, he was the main guy. And I loved it for, I’ve been thinking about it recently because I used to watch it when I was a kid in Hong Kong and I used to sit by the TV with a tiny tape recorder, you used to get these mini cassettes. So imagine like a normal tape –


Sofie: But tiny.


Dan: Yeah, like a quarter of the size of it and you’d put it in and I would record MASH episodes and then I’d listen to it on the way to school, just the whole episode again. And it meant the world to me, that show, and I finally met him and I wanted to sort of like, you know, be like, “Hey, I love you so much, man, can I get a photo?” And I just froze and I just, in a really genuine way said, “Mr Alda, I just want to say that you are my absolute hero and MASH is just, it really formed me into who I am.” And he kind of took it in and he said, “Thanks,” and he shook my hand but, and it felt like the way I’d said it genuinely hit him as like a, “Wow, what a cool thing to say.”


So I think those are OK, you know, sometimes you have people, I’ve started occasionally to get people coming up, because of the podcast that I do, coming up to say hi and it’s really friendly because none of us are famous so they’d actually feel more like, “Hey, I just want to say hi, how you doing? And, oh, I’ve got a cool fact for you.” But last Thursday, yeah, it was last Thursday, I was in Brighton, and this 17-year-old girl came up and she was shaking like crazy and I was like, “Are you OK?” And she was like, “Sorry, I just want to say that I listen to your podcast all the time,” and then she said, “I, I suffer from huge anxiety and when I go to bed, I listen to it, when I study for exams, I take a pause and I calm myself by listening to it,” and she was like, “I listen to you guys as a, almost like a state of mental health to keep me from freaking out,” and she was like, “And I just want to say thanks for that.” And that is not like a, “Hey, alright, piss off, I'm going to,” that’s like, “Whoa, that’s, I’m going to remember that for years, that’s huge.” So those, you can have a nice time like that but I’ve rarely done it outside of Alan Alda, God that was huge, so weird, suddenly saying something really deep to someone, where you’re like, “Man, you really…”


Sofie: Yeah, because you have such a short time to phrase everything that one thing has meant and it’s been years of something that’s built in your head.


Dan: Yeah.


Sofie: Like there’s a, there was a, I watched a musical, Les Mis, the 25th jubilee.


Dan: OK.


Sofie: And I watched that in the cinema in Denmark and I think that was the moment I really decided to move to England, which sounds ridiculous because it wasn’t like, “Oh, I’ll watch this musical every day,” but there was something, I think it shifted in me when I saw it and I can’t explain why but there was something about, I don't know what it was and I wouldn’t even be able to explain it if I figured it out but if I ever, my dream is to meet one of these, the actors –


Dan: Who were in the stage production of it?


Sofie: Yeah, because in my head, it’s this, that would finish the circle off, it’d be like, “Well, I saw you and now we meet, so now the whole, everything makes sense.”


Dan: Is that, so would that be the full circle, one of the cast members?


Sofie: It would be pretty cool.


Dan: You should look into who’s in it, I’m sure there’s –


Sofie: Oh, I, oh.


Dan: Oh, you know.


Sofie: Yeah. My sister became a massive fan of Ramin Karimloo, who was the main, who was the Phantom, like a teenager fan. I’ve, you know, I wouldn’t call myself a fan, you know, just like, “This is great and amazing and I love this.” And then I took her to this concert in London at the Union Chapel and I kind of, you know, I got to get in before the audience because I once did a gig there.


Dan: Oh, cool.


Sofie: So I took her to the front row and I felt really cool and I was like, and she was like shaking and almost crying and I was like, “Oh, come on, get your act together, you know, you’re an adult, come on.” And then he came on stage, Ramin Karimloo, and she like lost it and I was like, “Come on, you know, that’s cute but seriously though.” And then she said, “Do you know who’s behind him?” And it was the other guy from Les Mis that I liked, I hadn’t seen him, and I was like, “Oh, my God! Oh, shit, don’t lose it, don’t lose it.” [Hyperventilates] And I just completely lost it, I was like, “This is the worst,” and my sister was going, “Please stop it, it’s embarrassing. You’re embarrassing me.”


Dan: That’s, now that you say that, I remember I have once done that as well, in Sydney, when I was going to a friend’s house, I found out on the way to the house that he lived in this top floor flat and in the bottom floor was a guy called Garry McDonald. Garry McDonald was a character comedy back in the early 60s and 70s, I think, no, maybe 70s and 80s, and he had a character called Norman Gunston, which if you’ve not seen it is one of the best comedy characters ever, he was an Aussie interviewer, he was basically the original Ali G. He would do these mock interviews and he’d have nothing, he’d get exclusive interviews and he’d have nothing to say to them and just freak out and not know what to do. It’s an incredible show, it’s on YouTube, all his interviews. But, so I was walking to the house going, “Wow, insane that he lives here,” and suddenly he was walking towards me on the path, leaving his house as I was walking to the house and I just paused and I went, “Oh, my God, Garry McDonald,” and he kind of looked at me with a smile but then I said, “Oh, my God, Garry McDonald. Oh, my God, Garry McDonald,” and I just kept repeating it and I didn’t stop and so he went from smiling to looking really confused to looking a bit scared and then he walked on.


Sofie: [Laughs]


Dan: And I was hoping that no-one had seen that but my dad was behind me and still, to this day, just very occasionally, he’ll just lean in and go, “Oh, my God, Garry McDonald.” [Laughs] Totally flipped out, I just was so in awe of being in front of this guy, just thought, oh, my goodness, but I just didn’t, yeah, I lost it, it was terrible.


Sofie: And now you have people doing that to you.


Dan: Well, no, that’s not, to me, that’s just saying…


Sofie: It’s kind of, and it’s going to, you know, the further you, you know, the more you do and the more people see you, and the more, you know, it’s.


Dan: Maybe, I don't know, I guess Louis Theroux would probably say that he wouldn’t expect that kind of a thing as well, to have, you know, someone shriek as he’s walking through a…


Sofie: [Laughs]


Dan: And, but, and then so maybe that’s, like I can’t picture it myself that that would ever, that I would be in a position where someone’s going, “My God, I can’t believe.”


Sofie: “Oh, my God, oh, my God.”


Dan: Yeah, yeah, I mean, I would hope that you do something in your life that, if you’re trying to make some, if you’re trying to make good stuff, you know, that someone sees it as good stuff and I think, yeah, in my head, I don't know if you’ve had this but when you looked to all these people, when you were a kid, I always thought, you know, here I am a 14-year-old kid inside a second-hand bookshop looking for a Marx Brothers book or looking for a Charlie Chaplin book and the excitement of finding this book and I always thought, “God, I would love it if one day, just something, a tiny thing that I did, would have a 14-year-old kid pick up and old, out-of-print copy of it and get a buzz from it.” That, weirdly, is my only, my only drive is that.


Sofie: Did you always want to create though? Did you want to do that when you were 14?


Dan: Yeah, yeah, when I was 14, I was –


Sofie: You wanted to make something for others?


Dan: Yeah, I just wanted to, I was in love with comedy, always in love with comedy and I just thought, “That’s what I want to do in life and I don't know how to do it or where to do it or what form to do it, but that’s, that’s the thing.” I like making people laugh and you’ve got to have some realities as you go, like one of my realities with comedy is that I, you know, I’ve been doing stand up for a bit but I don’t think I'm a particularly good stand up, I think I can make a room laugh but I think the room at the end will go, “Oh, I was laughing but, you know, I don't know, it was fine.” Whereas when you do comedy, you do proper stand up and you get better and better as you go along and you focus on it and it’s on your mind all the time. I think I know how to make stuff where I can combine information and then have a joke on the end of it and maybe that’s where I’m going to be better doing my kind of comedy. But, you know, as a kid the dream was, you know, imagine being Seinfeld, how cool would that be? But also it’s cool to, sort of, get older and go, “Oh, no, actually I'm not, that’s not what my brain’s cut out to do.” I can’t write that zinging joke, I can’t focus on a tiny little bit of life and make an observation about it but I can say, “Did you know that there’s a pubic lice hunter and he’s collecting them because they’re going extinct because too many women are having Brazilian waxes?” That’s the kind of stuff that I, and it’s a joke that’s already written because it’s a thing in the paper but that’s where my sense of humour tends to gravitate towards now. So it’s, yeah, it’s, the 14-year-old me would have been like, “Oh, OK, cool, that’s the way you’re headed, I thought we were doing stand up but that’s fine.”


Sofie: I think you also make it accessible in terms, like, there’s a lot of, like I grew up quite, we were quite working class and we didn’t really have, like, my house wasn’t academic, I didn’t, and this is going to make you want to punch me in the face, I was 18 when I first looked at a world map.


Dan: Wow.


Sofie: Right, I know, and I thought, I thought that Australia was China.


Dan: OK. [Laughs]


Sofie: Like in my head, when I’d imagined it, I thought China was this like Australian island thingy, I don’t know where I thought Australia was, and then I thought Africa was South America and I don't know where I would have placed Africa, I don’t remember, I don’t know where that logically would have worked in my brain but I didn’t know there was this extra bit underneath America.


Dan: Yeah, right.


Sofie: So, what I’m trying to say is I’m basically a bit dumb when it comes to facts and like basic knowledge and, you know, my intelligence was different. You know, I would have been able to understand everything had it been told to me but it just wasn’t.


Dan: Yeah, but I, so I think, I disagree with you that you, to say that you don’t know, like, a certain fact, like where a country is, I don’t think that’s what intelligence or being informed is about because we all have gaps. My, I wouldn’t be able to tell you and I lived in Australia for 12 years or eight or nine, my family’s still there so I lose count because I go back for huge periods. I wouldn’t be able to tell half the names of where any of the cities are placed on the map, it’s just because I’ve just had no interest in it, I don’t care.


Sofie: Yeah, I get that but it’s, I agree, and I'm not, it’s not being self-deprecating, I’m not going, “I was stupid,” but I did have, because I also knew what had happened, so I had to take out, my teachers, every time we had a new teacher in our class, I had to take them outside and I had to explain to them, “Listen, I completely get everything you’ve explained within this topic but now that we’re going to start talking about history or politics, I currently do not know what left and right is. I don't know what you mean when you say left wing or right wing. So in order for me to get, to start understanding this big politic discussion, I need to understand the basics, and no-one’s ever taught them to me because my mum didn’t know. So you need to, so I need to know the bit,” and when you’re at that age, no-one considers telling you, you know, what does right wing mean, which part, which end of the scale is that. So I needed to have all those, like history, I had to tell them, you know, “OK, but you first need to explain to me what does this one word mean.” I get how this country did that to that country but you need to, that little basic thing you need to know, you need to know the letters before you can write, even though you understand the long word.


Dan: Yeah, but that’s, I, yeah, totally, but that means that A, you were willing to learn the stuff but B, you were also asking the question that most people are really too cowardly to ask because everyone’s a bit too afraid of exposing ignorance.


Sofie: Of being stupid.


Dan: Yeah, towards a subject and actually it’s ignorance is the curiosity that kind of allows you to go, “Hang on, bring me to the basics here because I need to.” I do it all the time. I genuinely, like I know so little about so many things, including politics. Like only in the last couple of years have I really understood what politics is about and I still, I’m not overly sure about what it all means because it’s so confusing. But I remember when I started at QI when I was 19, because I went to this hippy school and I didn’t, I ended up with no grades from the school so I didn’t go to university and even if I wanted to go to university, I couldn’t because I had no marks, and I started with QI and I kind of, my position was ask the dumb question. Because, and as soon as you set yourself as that person who does that, then it’s fine. Like there are big words that are used still, that are quite normal words to most people and I’m like, “Sorry, what does that mean?” And everyone’s like, “You have to know what that means!” “Honestly, I just, I don't know what that word means.”


Sofie: Oh, you should have pretended to be from another country, that’s what I do. “Oh, second language, can you explain that word to me?”


Dan: Yeah, I can’t, yeah, I know, I know. I prefer the Hong Kong thing, “I grew up in Asia.” “You grew up in Hong Kong, you went to a top school that taught English properly.”


Sofie: You should have thought of that before you came over.


Dan: Yeah, exactly.


Sofie: Another origin story.


Dan: Yeah, exactly.


Sofie: I want to, if I had been 14 and I had been able to, well, I was but when I was 14, if I’d been able to listen to No Such Thing as a Fish, you guys would have made it so accessible and I wouldn’t have felt like I didn’t, like it’s a nice way of framing knowledge in this funny, down-to-earth, accessible, nice bubble.


Dan: Yeah.


Sofie: I think that’s what’s really, really worth so much, that you can hear it and feel like you’re listening to something that’s quite intelligent but you don’t feel stupid by listening to it.


Dan: Yeah, yeah.


Sofie: And you get that curiosity fed or you make people want to learn and want to know things which is incredible.


Dan: Well, it is, I mean, because even if you’re not properly into facts, when you hear a good fact, it does something to you because it’s just, it’s kind of like, as I was saying with conspiracy theorists being into the idea of being a detective, sometimes there are just basic facts that when they hit you, you think, “What?!” So, I remember the early days of QI, John Lloyd, the guy who runs it, he said, he told me this thing about, what did he say? Why doesn’t Cleopatra have a pyramid? Why wasn’t she buried in a pyramid? And I was like, “Oh, yeah, that’s a bit odd, like why wasn’t she?” And then he said, “The reason is, is that she’s closer in time to the Apollo 11 moon landings than she is to the pyramids when they were built.” So they’d stopped making pyramids, so much time had passed and then she lived and died, that she’s closer to us standing on the moon than she is to the building of that.


Sofie: Oh, wow.


Dan: And that is just something that is, “Wow,” that’s altered everything I thought I knew about how history was because in my head, Cleopatra was in ancient Egypt and…


Sofie: It was a 10-year gap.


Dan: Yeah, exactly and had a pyramid, yeah. So like little, and so when you hear facts like that, you just think, “God, this is amazing.” Read one, so when John Hodgman came on our show the other day, yeah, read one the other day which was that the first movie to be made about the Titanic, after the Titanic sunk, was only 29 days after it had sunk and it starred one of the people who survived from the Titanic. It was this young actress called Dorothy and she got back, someone talked her into doing it, so she starred and there she was, you know, this silent movie, all the press shots were her in a studio wearing the clothing that she was wearing on board the Titanic when it sank. And then it went out and it got mixed reviews and she had a massive breakdown post that so I have a feeling that she could never get the blame for it because someone probably talked her into it and she was kind of post-stress from the event but also thinking, “Yes, I’m an actor, I want to do this.” But just like tiny things like that, you just think, “How did I not know about that? How did I not know that that was a thing?” I know a lot about the Titanic but no-one’s ever told me that and.


Sofie: Yeah, have you heard of the Jane Hotel?


Dan: The Jane Hotel?


Sofie: In New York.


Dan: No.


Sofie: It was, I stayed there when I was in New York because it was the hotel where they took all the survivors and they kind of let them stay there while they were sorting out all the insurance stuff.


Dan: Really?


Sofie: It’s this, and it’s kind of, these teeny tiny rooms and there’s like a shared bathroom, it’s horrible if you just wanted to live in a nice hotel, it’s awful, but knowing that that’s the history of this hotel.


Dan: That’s so cool.


Sofie: I was so obsessed with Titanic. We do not have time to get into that, I was, before the movie, by the way.


Dan: Before the movie?


Sofie: Oh, yeah, I read all the books before it had the movie cover.


Dan: Really? Why? What were you interested in?


Sofie: I don't know what it was, there was me and my friend and we just got this weird obsession and for a long period of time, I knew all the numbers, I knew all the numbers of who had died, who were this, who were that and the boats and, all the facts, all the weird facts.


Dan: Yeah, so did you know that about the movie?


Sofie: I think I must have known it at some point.


Dan: Right.


Sofie: Because then it became popular and I was like, “Oh, I'm not going to be one of those people,” because everyone was like, “Oh, yeah, you’re obsessed with Titanic, we’re all obsessed with Titanic,” “No, I was before.” I watched the movie maybe 13 times a day for months, loved it.


Dan: I accidentally walked, with my friend Ash, up to the red-carpet moment of when they did the re, sort of done up Titanic recently at, so this was about a few years ago now, maybe like three years ago when James Cameron and Leo and Kate came for the red-carpet event where they, yeah, it was an anniversary but they also had done some stuff. And we got so excited but mainly because three days before, James Cameron was at the bottom of the ocean, at the Marianas Trench, so we watched that live when he went down and stuff and then did his press conference and three days later, there he is on a red carpet, doing Titanic. Yeah, we totally, like we just hung out and we were just amongst all these like, you know, teeny-boppy fans of Leo. Actually, there was a lot of older, because like they would have been my school age when they were in love with Leo and then, so, yeah, but it was a lot of screaming and we were just like, “Aagh, James Cameron! He went to the bottom of the ocean! Aaagh!”


Sofie: [Laughs]


Dan: I loved it so much.


Sofie: That summarises everything. I usually ask the question towards the end which is if you could go, if you saw yourself as a baby, like you were present when teeny-tiny Dan Schreiber came out, was a teeny-tiny baby in Hong Kong?


Dan: Yeah, Hong Kong, yeah.


Sofie: And he’s terrified because the world is kind of scary and it’s his first meeting with the world because there’s light and it’s loud noises which weren’t there in the womb and it’s all a bit terrifying and screaming and screaming. But you have the ability to say something to him that he needs to know for the rest of his life. Like it doesn’t have to be something you, you know, like it would be advice that you already know now which now helps you but you get to say one thing to this baby, who is terrified of what’s going to happen and how to deal with all this bright light and all these noises forever.


Dan: Yeah.


Sofie: What would you tell baby Dan Schreiber?


Dan: I don't know. God, that’s quite a deep question. I’ve seen a video of when I was born actually.


Sofie: Really?


Dan: Yeah, it was from a side angle fortunately.


Sofie: [Laughs]


Dan: And it’s quite funny, the video starts when my mum is having contractions and my dad brought this camera in and it was quite amazing because the camera was, had a battery pack and so that was very new for cameras. Hong Kong used to get technology from America that, sort of, Australia and England hadn’t quite yet got and I think because a lot was manufactured in China, they could get it over quite quickly. So there’s this amazing video of my mum having contractions in the bed and the doctor sort of, with his hand on her stomach but not even facing her, looking at my dad going, “So what sort of battery life do you get on that? Is that?” And they have like a 20-minute conversation, it's like, “And the saturation of image when you’re out in the parks and stuff?” “It’s great, it’s amazing,” and my mum is just like [Panting] in the background.


It’s an amazing start to the video but then, then my dad had brought in a speaker system for when I was born and they played, as I was born, David Bowie, the whole way through the birth, they put on the Let’s Dance album, and I was originally meant to be called China, because of the song China Girl and they were living in Asia and my sister is called China so she did eventually get named China. And so I was born into the world, into, you know, Modern Love and Let’s Dance and Ricochet and, I don't know, I wouldn’t say anything. I genuinely, because I, I have to say, like, it always feels pretty lame to say that you’ve had a good life but like, I’ve genuinely have had loving parents, I’ve had an amazing set of friends who I’ve known since zero who are still my best friends, and you know, I’ve met the love of my life, last year, it’s all been great. So I wouldn’t say anything, probably, I’d probably just turn up the volume on the Bowie songs and just boogie out with, with the dance going on in the room, yeah.


Sofie: That’s amazing. You’re such a dork.


Dan: Such a dork. Let’s get that Bowie up.


Sofie: Thank you so much, Dan.


Dan: Thanks for having me.




Sofie: Hey, thanks for listening, I am so sick now. I love Dan Schreiber so much, he’s so great. And, yeah, please give this a five-star rating, I want to thank all of you for having, what do you call that, contributed via Patreon.com where I have a little profile and you can chip and you can choose an amount to donate per episode, it could be like $5, $10, it’s in dollars because it’s an American site, and then it just automatically takes that from your account every month and it’s so lovely because, you know, this is more work than I thought it would be so I’m spending quite a lot of time on doing this. But I love doing it and it’s just a bonus that you guys want to contribute financially, it really means a lot. And, yeah, eventually I’ll be able to do all the, all the things that the cool comedians do which is, you know, get big, exciting names because then I can afford to pay them or, I don't know how it works, I don't know how it works. I just assume that the more you support, the better this gets, I might be wrong, who knows? I’m too sick for this.


I had one more thing, yeah, join the Facebook group, Made of Human Podcast and follow us on Twitter @podmoh P O D M O H, and just thanks for listening. I’m recording this on a Saturday, this will be out on Wednesday, because I’m going, on Wednesday I’ll be in Spain, with my sister which was meant to be hot, it’s apparently not hot at all so I think it’ll just be me and my sister in a hotel room and I bought us matching pyjamas with dinosaurs on it so you’re welcome. I don't know why I said that, it’s not like, well, you know what, I might upload a photo, I’ll see if I can upload a photo of my dinosaur pyjamas.


Anyways, I should stop rambling but I, oh, I'm like, why am I sick all the time? I don't know. Anyways, love each other because I love you and you’re the best listeners on earth and this is the best podcast I’ve ever had the pleasure of creating, I’m so proud of it and I love it and thank you for supporting it and please come and see me on tour because a lot of the places I’m going, I don't know those places at all and I tell people that I'm going to this place and people will go, “Oh, wow, you’re going to Newport, good luck,” and they’ll send me these YouTube videos of people fighting in the streets of Newport and it terrifies me so much. So if you live in Newport or any of the cities I mentioned at the beginning, or any of the cities you can see listed on sofiehagen.com and you’re a nice person, which you are because you’re listening to this, please come. Please get a ticket and show up and I’ll, just, in my head I’m going to be gigging to these big muscly men with no brains who are going to be like fighting in the front row and that terrifies me a tiny bit, I know people are joking but holy shit, I’m terrified about Newport and Newport is the first date on my tour. So if you live in Newport, or Cardiff, I think Cardiff might be close, I don't know, please come to that show and hold me afterwards because I will be scared. OK, thanks for listening, speak to you soon and goodbye.


Episode 3- Chris Gethard

Episode transcribed by Michelle Lincoln


Sofie: Hi and thank you for listening to the Made of Human Podcast, MoHPod. I’m Sofie Hagen, I’m a comedian and I’m doing this podcast because I don't know how to be human, I don't know how to function, I feel weird, I feel like I don’t fit in anywhere and I want to speak to people that I respect and admire and I want to find out how they do it, how they do life because I don't know, I don't know anymore. I thought I’d find out when I turned, you know, I don't know, 25. Then I turned 25 and I was like, “Oh, I’ll find out by the time I'm 27.” Now I’m 27 and, you know, just by sheer analysis of my life so far, I think I can safely conclude that I’m not gonna find out ever how to function, so instead I’m just going to talk to people that I like and maybe together we can figure out a way and if we can’t, you know, at least we can connect and talk about how life is a bit weird sometimes. So that’s what this is about.


In this episode we’re gonna talk to Chris Gethard, I’ll get to that, he’s fucking brilliant so thank you for tuning in, I know you, I mean, holy shit, can you, holy shit, I got Chris Gethard, holy shit, right? I don’t know how, I don't know why, I think, I think we’re quite similar in a lot of ways and I think he could sense that and that, I appreciate that a lot.


I quickly wanna say thank you for giving this podcast a five-star rating on iTunes, it meant that we went to number nine on the comedy podcasts lists on iTunes which is incredible and huge and I’m so grateful and I’m so happy because I love this podcast so much and I’m so grateful that, that you’ve decided that it’s good enough to give your attention to so thank you so much. I quickly just want to say that I’m going on tour and here are the, I’m just going to list quickly the cities that I’ll be playing and I will probably mispronounce most of them. I’m just going to quickly say them: Newport, Newcastle Frome, Selby, Wrexham, Leamington Spa, Harlow, Crawley, Aberdeen, Elgin, Lincoln, Aylesbury, Bristol, Brighton, Sutton, Guildford, Maidenhead and Oxford. And I know that my tour people are looking in to me doing Liverpool as well. So if you live in any of those cities, tell me how I’ve mispronounced them. Oh, someone said that Frome was pronounced Froome, right? They must have been wrong. Froome, but it looks like Frome. Froome, hmm. In one of those cities, I will be doing my new show Shimmer Shatter, so for tickets go to sofiehagen.com and if you want to help this podcast out, go to iTunes and give it a five-star rating and leave a nice little comment.


Now to the episode. In this episode I speak to Chris Gethard, I’m a huge fan of his. We both did shows in Edinburgh this year, I went to see his, he went to see mine as well after the podcast and there were similarities, we both talk about therapist in our shows and I was so excited to talk to him about that because both of our therapists are a bit alternative, they have alternative methods and Chris was just lovely and, yeah, I hope you like it because I loved it. He is doing a podcast of his own called Beautiful Anonymous and I can highly, highly recommend it, especially if you like stuff that gets a bit dark. Please go and listen to the episode called I Married a Monster, I was, I mean, I had to listen to it over several days because I couldn’t hear all of it at once, it was incredible, he’s incredible and I hope you will enjoy this. So thank you for listening and I’ll speak to you afterwards.




Sofie: I love, your show had stories about your therapist.


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: And you must have this a lot, you must have a lot of people coming up to you, wanting to tell you about their therapist.


Chris: I have a lot of people telling me about their therapist and then the real fascinating trend is I’ve had therapists see the show who come up and tell me that my therapist is, give their opinions on her. And one, during this run, I had, there was a couple, there was a husband and wife and they were both therapists and the guy was like, “Your therapist sounds amazing,” and the woman was like, “You are in danger, get away from her.” So that’s like, pretty, they showed me both extremes but that’s happened a few times, both here and in the States where other therapists will offer their opinions and that’s eye-opening.


Sofie: Yeah?


Chris: But, yeah, when people see the show, they sometimes tell me about their therapists and then I have some people say, like, “I wish I had a lady like that in my life,” so that’s nice to hear. But, yeah, the really interesting ones are when other psychiatric professionals react to her because it’s always, it’s never just, “She sounds fine,” it’s always one extreme or the other.


Sofie: Yeah, I have, because I’ve had two, the first one was, well, she probably wasn’t awful.


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: To other people but there was just nothing where, like the first time, I would tell her everything that was wrong with me and then she’d go, “OK, draw a tree.” “What? No, it’s like my dad left, can we talk about that part of it?” And she’d go, “Draw a tree,” and then I would draw a tree and she’d be like, “Oh, are you lonely?” I’m like, “No, I’m fine,” she’d be like, “No, but, you know, you only drew one tree, trees are in a forest, so you must have no friends.” I was like, “This isn’t working, this isn’t working at all.”


Chris: Oh, good gosh, oh, good gosh, yeah, that’s…


Sofie: So I do feel that, like that importance of liking someone.


Chris: That story, it makes me feel exhausted just hearing that, yeah.


Sofie: Right? Yeah, it’s so important to find that…


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: …that right person.


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: You talk about that in your show as well.


Chris: Yeah, I think that’s one of the big things in my show is finding this lady who fits me, even if she’s kind of a crackpot by many people’s definitions. But what you just said reminds me, I did, I did a few shows around like the East Coast of the States to get ready for this. I’ve been working, I’ve worked on my show for about two years now but I did few tune-up shows right before I left and a woman came up to me after a show in New Jersey and she was like, “You know, you have to get away from your therapist, I’m actually, I'm actually a psychiatric professional and she’s really dangerous,” and she was like, “Actually, if you want to come and see me, let me know.” And I was like, “OK,” I’m like, I had no plans on leaving but I was like, “Alright, what’s your deal?” And she’s like, “I do sand therapy.”


Sofie: No.


Chris: I was like, “What is that?” She’s like, “You know, you move around sand and it’s very therapeutic,” and I’m like, “I think, I think I’m gonna stick with what I’ve got.”


Sofie: I mean, I feel bad about laughing because it might work for some people, you know.


Chris: Exactly, I’m like, if it works for people, it works for people and that’s great but I’ve got somebody who works for me and I’m pretty thrilled about it, so.


Sofie: Yeah, well, the same way with the one I finally found, she’s a bit spiritual which I’m not really that, at least I was when I was a teenager and I would have arguments with my boyfriend at the time and she’d be like, “I mean, could it be, I’m just going to throw this out there, could it be that just maybe you knew each other in a past life?”


Chris: Oh, boy.


Sofie: And I’m like, “No, I think it’s because my dad left me.”


Chris: [Laughs]


Sofie: Can we talk about that?


Chris: Yeah. I’ve actively like yelled at my therapist, like I have a podcast back in the States and she listens to it and I recently had to say, like, “Hey, our therapy sessions can’t be you like reviewing episodes of my podcast. We can’t spend 30 minutes of you telling me what you thought of this week’s episode of my podcast, like, that’s not what I'm paying you for. I’m glad you like it but we can’t sit here and talk about this thing, it’s not appropriate. It’s not a good use of time or money, more importantly.”


Sofie: It’s an amazing podcast, I just started listening to it.


Chris: Thanks, thanks.


Sofie: I saw your show. My housemate was already a big fan of it and I didn’t know it existed and now I know.


Chris: Oh, that’s cool.


Sofie: It’s, do you want to explain it to the people who don’t know?


Chris: Yeah, it’s called Beautiful/Anonymous and basically I just like take a phone call from some random person. I tweet out a phone number, they call and I just commit to the fact that I won’t hang up for an hour and they can say whatever they want and they stay anonymous. And I thought it was going to be mostly like kids prank calling me and messing with me but instead it got, like, turned very quickly into people kind of just like opening to an ill-advised degree and it’s been fascinating. It’s been a little frustrating because, like, I’ve been a comedian for 16 years and you know you’re just like desperately trying to get your name out there, get people to know your work and I’ve done all these different things and then this came out and it was kind of an idea where I was like, “Yeah, we’ll see, this seems like it’ll be easy to do and I don’t need to book guests and all this stuff,” and then it kind of blew up and now I think it’s fair to say it’s like the most popular thing I’ve ever done which is really nice but also a little bit of like I’ve worked so hard on so many other things that went nowhere and this was a thing that I honestly just like farted out the idea one day and now this. But it’s nice, it’s really nice and I don’t begrudge that and it’s nice that, I’ve met a lot of people here in Edinburgh and that’s really cool but it was a little, I was like, when it blew up, I was like, “Come on, this? I’ve worked so hard on the other stuff I do.”


Sofie: Do you think that, in terms of reactions to this show, because it’s a, would you call it a dark show or a deep or how would you?


Chris: I’d prefer dark to deep.


Sofie: Yeah.


Chris: I think it’s definitely dark, I’ve worked really hard, I think like my biggest priority has been trying to like, like just making sure it’s funny first, like that’s really what I care about. A lot of it, like, a lot of the reason I started doing this material was because when I was opening for Birbiglia, we’d just be on the road and out in the States, like, some of these, like, you can drive for like four or five hours between gigs, it’s just boring, you know, you’re just like driving through cornfields for four hours and we’d just like tell each other a lot of stuff. And he asked me one day, he’s like, “You know, I’ve heard you joke about the depression but what are the real stories?” And I told him the car crash story and he was like, “Dude, that’s hilarious, tell that on stage.” And I was like, “Nooo, are you out of your mind?” And he said, “If you can make that funny, it’s like, you’ve got something special on your hands.” And I took that as a challenge and I went and started doing it but I’m like, I don’t really have an interest in being profound or even really making a point, I just kind of feel like the best I have to offer is like humour and I do, I do kind of know, like, I don’t mind the fact that, like, it maybe gets through to some people in a different way and I’m really proud of the fact, actually, that I’ve had some people come up to me and say, “Oh, I saw a shrink for the first time after I saw your show,” or like, “My kid’s doctor said he should be on medication,” someone once told me that, that their kid’s doctor had recommended medication and like, “No, he’s just a kid, we’re not putting him on those pills,” and then they were like, “We’re going to be open-minded and remember that’s a doctor from now on.”


So, like, things like that are very, very cool but I am of the mindset that like the only way I can help facilitate things like that is if my show is as funny as possible because I’m not, I haven’t really researched anything, it’s just my experience. So the more punchlines I get, the more laughs, that’s just to me the more valid it becomes. And also I feel like if I try to like get up and say like, “I dealt with this stuff, it’s hard, the attitudes towards it were pretty, like unforgiving and made it more difficult than it had to be,” like if I went up and I just was like venting that anger, I think it would be, a lot of people who don’t want to have that conversation would be, they would never show up. But if I can make the show just super, super funny to the point where, you know, word of mouth could be, “It’s a really, really funny show, it’s also kind of dark and about the serious stuff too but it’s funny,” then you’ll get some people in the room who wouldn’t want to listen to what I have to say but they’re down to laugh. So that’s kind of, I just want it to be funny, I don’t, I don’t want it to be anything else and when it is and when it goes there, I’m happy about it but I just want to make sure it’s funny, funny, funny, funny.


Sofie: Have you thought, have you thought about how, because I know there’s a few times in your podcast when men call in, a lot of the times they seem to say that they haven’t shared the stories with anyone else and there’s something about you being a man, talking about depression…


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: …that’s so not allowed by, you know, society’s standards for what you’re meant to be as a man.


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: And you’re probably moving some, some real serious boundaries there making, you know, because men will go into a comedy show which could be a manly thing and they can still be the manly men that they, you know, air quotes, meant to be, and then you’re a man talking about feelings.


Chris: Yeah. I mean, luckily, like, I’ve never been an alpha male, you know, ever in my life but then I’ve also kind of always had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder where I'm like, no, I’m not just going to like sit back and, you know, be seen and not heard. So I think there’s like a, I think I walk a fine line where it’s like I’m able to go on stage and be like a confident person owning his opinions but also say, like, “Yeah, I cried yesterday.” But then I think there’s definitely a part, you know, I talk about in the show how New Jersey is kind of this like tough working-class place and I think it’s like, “Yeah, I cried yesterday but so what?” Like, I think I’ve always had that vibe and maybe it’ll help get through, you know, and I think, I think there is, I don't know about, you know, I’m ignorant to a lot of the rest of the world but I do think in the States right now there’s a little bit of, like, especially in comedy, you have things like, you know, Amy Schumer and Broad City and Girls and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and like a lot of these female-helmed shows with like, you know, protagonists and writers and producers that are like very motivated strong women and I think that that’s like very much moving the needle in a feminist way, which is really cool to see, but I also think that boxes out some space for like dudes who aren’t meatheads to maybe, you know, I think it’s like, almost kind of like stretching the spectrum and there’s like a little bit more of a space allowed for some breathing room for, you know, more, more, you know, your more feminine but still straight men, you know. I think that that’s like a thing that’s becoming a little bit more acceptable and, yeah, I think, I think I fit right into that slot and it’s interesting to see people’s reactions to it. That being said, like I said, with the podcast like a lot of the, a lot of the listeners, because they do surveys and stuff, and a lot of the listeners are female, like it’s not necessarily men that are ready to hear a vulnerable man right now. I’m a vulnerable man and women are embracing that a lot more than men but we’re getting there, we’re getting there.


Sofie: Yeah, it might end up being 50/50.


Chris: Someday, who knows, you know? And even, I feel like, I feel like at the end of the day, as long as it’s hitting people in the gut, even if it’s a slow burn, then maybe I can, maybe I can do some good and put some stuff out in the world and give people a little breathing room. That’s always, like, I’ve always kind of had that like, that idea with my comedy of like, I wanna make, like I remember the things when I was young that made me feel like I wasn’t completely insane or just a total weirdo and I wanna try to like make stuff that maybe can help some people who are young now feel that way. Like I think that’s, as far like, because I’m a pretty, you know, like I said, underground cult act in the States but I do think the people who rally around me are like, “You’re like 15 years older than me and you wound up OK somehow, alright, nice. That’s the, that’s what I can aim towards, just being OK in 15 years, great.” So that’s a nice, that’s a nice role to play in some people’s eyes.


Sofie: I have a, I usually, I usually ask people the question on this podcast where I ask them what they would say to themselves as a baby, if they could give themselves as a baby some kind of, like a reassuring sentence, like, you know, “You’ll be OK, you will, you know, develop some, something that will make this all OK,” which I’ll definitely ask you that at some point but whenever people give themselves advice for themselves as a baby, it’s usually something that they could still use, you know?


Chris: Oh, yeah, big time.


Sofie: They’ll be like, “Oh, stop thinking about what people think of you,” and I'm like, “Are you there yet?” And they’re like, “No.”


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: So I guess what I’m trying to say is, did you, was any part of thinking of this podcast, was that you knowing that you either now would like for that to be an option for you, you know, if you could have, if there as a medium where you could call someone anonymously and just talk about whatever you wanted to talk about. Is there an aspect of that?


Chris: I’m sure that on some level it’s a thing I wish I had, yeah. But I think, I think there’s truth to that, I also think on my podcast, I think, there’s like a real, you know, there’s just such a culture of celebrity in general and especially in the States which is what I’m familiar with and like, I feel like, like as I’ve gotten more successful, like I have a talk show, a chat show I think they call them, here in the States, and we’ll have celebrities on, and it’s like I have the TV show and I’m bringing them on but I think how I always feel and how the viewers of the show feel is I’m a lot more like the viewer of the show than the celebrity. Like I always feel like I’m like, like a very, very regular person that’s somehow slipped into this role.


So I think with the podcast, I think, I think that what you’re saying is true but I don’t think it comes from an emotional place, I think it comes from more of a place of like, I actually think regular people are really, really interesting and, you know, I really love a lot of shows where celebrities get interviewed or where well-known comedians talk to other well-known comedians, I love them, I love them. Like Marc Maron, Pete Holmes, I love those shows, they’re great but I did notice, like, I remember being a kid, you know like, I remem-, like when I was a kid and like you’d go to, you know, you’d go see a band play. You always had that fantasy in your head of like, “I wonder if they’re gonna play that one song,” and then you have that thing of like, “Maybe they’ll like see me singing along and they’ll just like put the mic there and I’ll get to sing this song.” You always have that thing of like, “What would happen if I got to do it?” And I think, I think one of the things we had in my podcast was this idea of like, “What if you just heard from regular people as in-depth and laidback as like you heard from celebrities on some of these shows?” I don't know if there’s as much a place for it and I think that was kind of the instinct I was acting on. It’s like, let’s get some regular people up on a platform, so regular that you don’t even need to know who they are and like they’re, it’s just random, it’s actually randomised. They’re not booked because they even have an interesting story, it’s just they saw a tweet and they just picked up the phone. I think that that’s like a thing that is kind of being left behind. I also think, I don't know, sorry I ramble so much in my answers, by the way.


Sofie: Not at all.


Chris: But I also think there’s something to be said for like the politics of the day in the States too where like, you kind of like see how negative everything is and you see how like Trump has such a foothold and it’s, you know, it’s pretty scary but, like, I think one of the things I’m sensing more and more as I talk to people is like, I think regular people just feel like kind of left out and nobody’s really asking them what they want. It’s like a lot of people telling them what they’re supposed to have or telling them what they need, there’s no real, I feel like there’s a lot of frustration right now. I think most of the people who call my show, I tend to get the sense they’re just frustrated about one thing or the other and I get the sense that there’s just a lot of people who feel like nobody’s actually slowing down to ask people like me how we’re doing or what we want and that’s been like a really eye-opening thing about the podcast.


Sofie: I guess them being anonymous gives them a bit more, you know, if they had been superstars, they may not have, you know, told the stories they would have told because then they would have been blown out of proportion and they would have been a big news story.


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: When, you know, sometimes maybe, you know, some of them could, I mean, in theory, some of them could be celebrities that just wanted to be anonymous. That’s a far-out thought, but you know what I mean?


Chris: Oh, yeah, they could, who knows? Maybe I’ve talked to Timberlake on the phone and never even known it, you know? But the anonymity goes a long way and also, like, you talk to people who are just like telling you things where you know like, like I talked, probably the darkest call for my show, there is a woman who called up and told me that she was married to a guy and found out he was a child molester while they were married and it’s like, “Oh, my God, that’s a horrible thing, that’s such a horrible thing.” But like, I got the sense that it meant a lot to her to just be able to unload every opinion and not be judged because it was anonymous and you realise like, you never think about that, of like somebody shows up in the news for something terrible like that, well what about, what happens to all the people around them who had no idea? That sounds like it sucks. So, like, I was glad, I was glad to give this woman some room to vent about something that horrible, because it’s just like, whoa, that’s like a fascinating story for me to hear but also you’re just a lady who dealt with this thing and who wants to listen? Nobody wants to listen, she’s like, everyone’s like, she said everybody’s like, “You must have known,” she’s like, “I didn’t!” Nobody wants to hear it and I'm glad that my show is this place where I’m like, “I’ll hear it, it’s a tough conversation to have but I’ll hear it.” And I don't know, it’s like, it’s just like regular, I just find regular people really inspiring and like view myself as very regular and the more, the more I’ve been getting close to actual success, the more I'm kind of on this constant desire to just not change that about myself.


Sofie: To be a bit anonymous.


Chris: Yeah, and also just like, like… just like a normal person. I think, I think one of the things about my career is like everyone I started with, almost everyone has either faded away or gotten very successful. I’ve been doing it 16 years so not much middle ground, you know. And I’ll say, like I see a lot of my friends get successful and they just like are happy and they have families and that’s cool but I’ve seen a handful of them where really like, like, really I would say, like kind of corrupts them. A few people who I like really have so much love for in life, where I'm like, “Oh, we can’t even have a conversation anymore because everything’s gone to your head,” and I’m like, I’m kind of like, I’d rather not be successful if that’s what it would turn me in to, so constantly trying to like push against it. Like walking that line between, I don’t want to sabotage success but I want to make sure I don’t ever get caught up in it because that’s just hollow, that’s just not real, you know, so.


Sofie: Can you see yourself, because you seem like you’re quite aware of yourself and your feelings and everything you are as a person, because I think that’s a part of what therapy does to you, it really puts you in touch with who you are…


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: …to the extent where you almost feel a bit predictable and boring.


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: Can you see yourself being caught up with success and maybe fame?


Chris: I think there was a stretch where I definitely could of, like when I had that sitcom, it got really nuts like, because, you know, I was the lead in this show and it was just like there was so many people whose job it was to just like facilitate me doing this job. Like I’ll never forget once, I like said, I was like, it was like in between takes and I was like, “I feel like I’m coming down with a cold or something,” and maybe 35 minutes later, they like called halt to everything and a doctor was there and gave me some weird shot and I hadn’t, I had just said this to like one of the other people acting but I had a mic on and someone heard it and word went around and they got a doctor there to give me like basically, not like steroids, but like a big injection of vitamins and I was like, “Oh, that’s crazy, that’s crazy.”


Sofie: Whoa.


Chris: And it made me realise, like, that’s why a lot of people, like if I wanted to do a bunch of cocaine or become an alcoholic, like there’s people whose, there’s people whose job it is, not stop that, because that would cost us time and money, going to a rehab centre would cost us time and money. There’s people whose job it is to make sure I'm propped up enough to make it happen. And then you look at comedians where that happens, where people fall into all this like crazy self-abuse and you’re like, “Oh, right, there were definitely facilitators along the way.” Like you look at Chris Farley and I’ve, you know, I read the book about him and stuff but you know, you know there’s people who, there’s people alive right now who knew that guy was in trouble and their job was to prop him up and keep him going and not actually help so there is that and I sensed that in a big way. And also like, it was so weird because I got that show and, and there was a bunch of press about it and then we were, we were filming the show and I knew it was not good, like I was aware, like, “I don’t think this is good. Like maybe it will be, my gut tells me this is not going to go well,” but just getting the press, it was like girls in particular, it was just like women started becoming really forward and like, I’d always been a pretty shy guy, I’d never really been much of a dater and I was single that year and it was just like, “Oh, this is like,” like if I signed on Facebook after midnight, somebody would start flirting with me, it was like crazy but it’s all because I was like, you know, it was like I was the flavour of the week, I was like a hotshot for that year and that was one where I was like, “Oh, there’s just so much temptation,” and success brings with it, it just becomes so easy to have people just hand you whatever you want and there’s so many people who have a financial interest in looking in the other, looking in the other direction if that’s unhealthy.


So I definitely kind of like went down this road in 2010 where, for about six months I saw, this is what it’s like when you make a lot of money and girls are kind of like throwing themselves at you for like, even though it’s kind of like, you know it’s kind of empty and vain and this is what it’s like when there’s like people who will, you know, just take care of whatever you need. And I saw it, I saw it up close so I know the temptation of it, and I know this is a long answer but I think the short answer to your question is like, yeah, I think there is. I think I did need to really have like a soul-searching stretch of life about is that something I would fall into, is that something I want? Usually I don’t judge it, if people want to go, like, if somebody wants to go and become super successful and do a bunch of cocaine and like live that life, like, I get it, I get it, I see what’s fun about that. But I have to really say like I don’t want that, I want to do stuff that’s like smaller, personal and I think I’d, I think want to like aim for, aim for like, you know, a boring life, in a good way.


Sofie: But also the people, if your, if your people, if your audience are these, like are the weirdos and misfits, like I’ve found, like that’s my people, those are my people too and I’ve found, during this festival, my audience, they come on the Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, they don’t like to go out on the weekends amongst drunk people.


Chris: That’s awesome. I wish I had that.


Sofie: Yeah?


Chris: Yeah, I think for, I think, I think my first year, I think people are figuring me out but, yeah, I definitely feel the midweek lull but that’s so awesome to hear. I do feel like if this was in the States, I’d be getting that too. I will say too because I saw, we did Fast Fringe, no, we didn’t even do it together, I just dropped by Fast Fringe and I saw you there and I was with a friend of mine and I immediately was like, “That girl’s the shit.” Like if we came up in the same city, we’d be pals. I could just tell, I could just tell that it was like a similar like, “I’m going to say this thing that’s pretty personal, might make you uncomfortable, now here’s a joke about it,” like I really, really enjoyed that.


Sofie: Well, our shows are basically, like, my show’s about my therapist and how amazing she is and my show last year was about my depression, I still mention it in this one, it’s part of the show.


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: I was like, you talk, because when I first started writing my show, I had so much about my therapist, it was almost exclusively about her and then I edited it and put some other stuff in and stuff so now there’s limited amount about her but I almost regretted it when I saw yours, I was like, “No, she deserves so much more, like, time, my therapist, because she’s so incredible.” And they had this, like there was, because you talk about yours being a bit quirky.


Chris: My shrink is, you’ll love this, my shrink emailed me, she’s reading all the reviews.


Sofie: No.


Chris: Inappropriate.


Sofie: [Laughs]


Chris: It’s really inappropriate, right? It plays right into the stuff I say about her in the show because none of the reviews like go really in depth about her but there’s a few that’ll say like, you know, “The real star of the show is Barb, like, his therapist back in the States,” and she’ll like quote that. And there was one that mistakenly called her Babs which I think might be, I think that’s a thing in the States but I think that might be a little bit more of a nickname for Barbara in the UK, I’m not sure.


Sofie: Maybe. I don't know.


Chris: But this review called her Babs and she quoted that, so I’m like, “Oh, she’s reading all of them in depth, she’s not even just checking in.” She’s like for real, she’s for real reading every single thing about it, which is again, not, not appropriate by the traditional standard, yeah.


Sofie: Not appropriate, no.


Chris: I mean, there’s no world in which I should be writing a show about my shrink, there’s no world in which she should be reading the reviews of it. She said, oh, you’ll love this, in New York, one day we had a session, via Skype, as you know from having seen my show, and she goes, “So, another one of my patients went and saw your show and told me all about it.” And I was like, “What? That’s not OK.” She’s like, “Yeah, no, a patient of mine is a comedy fan who knows you and I said you’ve gotta go and check out the show.” I'm like, “Your other patients shouldn’t know that I’m a patient of yours,” like, especially, not that I’m a huge star in any way, not that I’m even well known in any way but like as someone who is a public performer and a public figure, on any level, you can’t tell other people that I’m your patient, you can’t, and they come see my show. And she was like, “Well, he really said you nailed me, so sounds like you got it right.” Everything about this is so strange, just so strange.


Sofie: Whereas my therapist saw my last show.

Chris: Really?


Sofie: And she, and in my show I said, I just, you know, it’s all about this, the fact that she was amazing and she saved my life and stuff, and then afterwards she was like, “You didn’t have to add that just because I was in the room.” I was like, “No, no, I say that in every single show because it’s really important for me to say.”


Chris: Wow.


Sofie: And then this show has so much more about her and I’m so nervous about how she’s gonna…


Chris: Is she gonna come again?


Sofie: I mean, I’ll invite her.


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: She deserves to, you know, because I’m going to do a little tour of Denmark, so I’ll give her free tickets if she wants to. Last time she brought a lot of her therapist friends.


Chris: Oh, that’s awesome.


Sofie: It was very nice.


Chris: That’s awesome.


Sofie: But this one is a lot about, and I actually don’t know if the thing I tell about her in the show, I mean, I don’t think it’s a secret but I think she’s very humble about. So basically, it’s the end of the show, no-one cares, but it’s, I found that she, because my dad, it was a bit of an effort to make my dad pay for her. My mum couldn’t afford therapy for me so my dad finally agreed to pay for her, reluctantly. And then after I’d seen her for five years, then I saw her again in February after I hadn’t seen her for five years and I found out that she has, because we were talking about charity and I was a bit like, “Well, what do you, how do you support charity?” And she said, “Oh, I have patients for free,” and I was like, “Oh, that’s amazing.” And she was like, “Oh, it’s fine, I like you.” I was like, “What?” She’s like, “I thought you knew, your dad stopped paying after six months.”


Chris: What?


Sofie: She thought, she just thought I knew and that…


Chris: So then you had to have five more therapy sessions about that revelation.


Sofie: [Laughs]


Chris: Wow.


Sofie: She saw me for free for four and a half years.


Chris: Really?


Sofie: Yeah. That is, that never happens, right?


Chris: Wow, that is a saint.


Sofie: That is incredible. She’s the, and I say that in my show and it’s kind of, it’s at the end and it doesn’t get a laugh because it’s not funny, it’s just beautiful. But I just don’t know because she was so humble and I was like, “Oh, my God, oh, my God, you do this? That’s incredible.” She was just like, “Oh, no, it’s fine, I’m fine.” But I was like, you can’t not, you can’t not say that to someone.


Chris: Yeah, you’ve gotta give her credit on that.


Sofie: That’s, just the fact that that person exists.


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: But I don't know how she’s going to react, she’ll be humbled to her debts. Probably send me an invoice.


Chris: Yeah. I told, I told my shrink before I was coming here, because I knew I’m like, I know there’s going to be reviews, and my show’s picking up steam, it’s gonna have this run in New York, hopefully someday it might wind up on TV or something, you know? And she’s known for years I’ve been working on the show, she sent someone to it but I finally was like, “Listen, I need to know like if I can use your real name still?” And she was like, “Yeah, no problem, I don’t care,” and her name’s common enough, especially in the north-east, there’s like a lot of, it’s like a stereotypical thing, like a Jewish therapist named Barb, like that’s not uncommon in the New York area. So she was like, “That’s fine,” and I was like, “I, I think I should just like tell you every joke in the show,” and I went through them all one by one and she was like laughing at some and then some she was like, “But you’re leaving out this piece of information,” I’m like, “Right, but that’s how jokes work.” I don’t want to spoil it for you but like there’s the joke about how my parents drove her home one night and she’s like, “But did you mention that like I had completely thrown my back out?” And I was like, “No, that’s not funny, if people know you had a bad back.” It’s funny, it’s still, it’s still not, she’s like, “Yeah, it’s still not appropriate I got in the car with your parents but, like, it’s a little bit more of an emergency.” I was like, “Yeah, but that’s not funny.” So she gets all that and I went over all the jokes with her and then at the end, I was like, “So is all of that OK?” And she’s like, “Well,” she’s like, “I’m a little concerned because there’s like a couple of things where the way you’re phrasing it, like, could be argued I actually did some stuff that’s illegal,” she’s like, “And I’m not saying I didn’t but it’s, I’m definitely like crafty about how I do that stuff so it’s a little troublesome,” but she’s like, “At the end of the day, I think I’m retiring soon anyway,” and I was like, “What?!” Like, that’s how she told me she’s planning on retiring. It’s like, “What are you talking about?” And then she said, “I’ve stopped taking on new patients and then as people move on, one by one, I’m not taking any more,” and, yeah, and so I have it in my head too where it’s like, “I want to be the last one.” I think I want to be the last one but she’s said, she’s like, “Maybe I’ll come see the show some day and that’ll be like the end of our time together,” and I was like, “That sounds so crazy,” but.


Sofie: It's hard, it’s hard, like I’ve had, like when I decided, when we decided to not see each other anymore, as therapist and client, she –


Chris: Oh, you don’t see each other anymore?


Sofie: No, well, we stopped but then I started seeing her again this year but then I stopped again. It’s kind of, I don’t really want to admit that it’s over, I’m like, well, I could still call her at any time and we’d see each other again.


Chris: Yeah, for sure.


Sofie: But, you know, she basically, towards the end of the sessions, because when I found out that, I was like, “Oh, my God, I’m so,” it’s so huge and now I feel guilty about even seeing you again because I don’t want, you know I’ve taken this for free and stuff. And she’s basically said, “Listen, out of the years I’ve been your therapist, the last two years, I was never your therapist. You would walk in and you would say, ‘This is my issue, this is what I’m gonna do about it, what do you think about that?’ And I would say good and then you’d leave.” So I would like self, whatever, psychology myself.


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: Just this stubbornness.


Chris: Yeah, that’s cool.


Sofie: So she was like, “You were fine, it was fine to work with you.”


Chris: It’s weird, like, it gets, it does get to a point where, at least it sounds like in both of our cases where it’s like, at the end of the day, like, I’ll pay a couple of hundred bucks a month to just have, like, a friend who no-one else in my life knows.


Sofie: Yeah.


Chris: It’s like sort of what therapy is for me. It’s like I’ve got this friend and I talk to her on Skype once or twice or month, she just happens to be a Jewish lady in her 60s who now lives in Mexico but I can just tell her anything and she’s not going to rat me out to anyone else. Like that’s mostly what our relationship is now, it’s like I can vent about other people in my life and situations in my life and if I sound like shitty, sorry, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to curse.


Sofie: Oh, please, feel free.


Chris: But if I sound like shitty or entitled or like I'm being a baby, she’ll just tell me that and no-one else in my life needs to deal with it, like that’s kind of what it is for me now. But I’ve had, like, my wife, one of her good friends is a therapist and he takes it really seriously and he’s like, “Dude,” he’s seen my show, he’s like, “Dude, like.” The first time he saw my show, he was like, “It’s not OK,” he was like, “It’s charming and it’s funny but it’s not OK.” And then I saw him a few months after that and he was like, “I’ve actually been thinking a lot about your show,” and he’s like, “I’ve come around.” Because he’s like, “All the rules exist to like get you to a certain place of comfort and your shrink is breaking all those rules and it’s really maddening but it’s like getting you to the place of comfort that all the rules are meant to protect.” So he’s like, “So I’m actually, begrudgingly, accepting of what you’ve described now.” And I was like, “OK, alright, alright.” But I know for me, like, if I had to go in a room with some man who was like, would ask me a question and then I answer and then he just like stares at me and then asks another question, that would never, ever, ever work, I’d feel so uncomfortable, so uncomfortable.


Sofie: And I bet you also get the sense that she wouldn’t work for a lot of people.


Chris: Oh, big time.


Sofie: And I feel the same way, like, I, but I also know I’m a difficult person to deal with and in terms of psychology and stuff, I feel bad for the other psychologists I saw that they had to deal with my teenage, stubborn, annoying self.


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: But I totally get that of course, I mean, some people just need something that’s a bit different.


Chris: Yeah, big time, big time.


Sofie: I would recommend her to everyone I knew that needed a psychologist, which, you know, I’m in this business, it’s a lot.


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: And they would just not click with her and they wouldn’t, they’d just, you know, and she would not click with them and she’d say, “Oh, I know exactly who you need,” and she would give them, you know, my sister tried to see her and that didn’t, that didn’t really click so she found another one for my sister. But that’s just how it works, that’s…


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: Same with like friendship and love and business and everything else, you just don’t click with everyone.


Chris: Yeah. I actually found her through another comedian, I have a comedian friend who’s, he’s an improviser in the States but he’s actually a doctor, he’s like an emergency room doctor and I was in like a crisis point and I called him and I was like, “I don't know if you have any colleagues who work on like the mental side of things,” and he was like, “Actually, like, I know this woman and she’s an oddball but you’ll be able to get an appointment quick and I think she’ll fit your vibe.” And I just went straight to her and I’ve never looked back, never looked back. And it’s funny because it’s been like, it’ll be like nine years this Fall that I’ve been seeing her and I think about so many of the things that I used to like rant and rave about and now I call her and a lot of times it’s boring because I’ll just be like, “Nothing’s going on, this is a waste of time, I need this hour in my day to get stuff done today,” and she’s like, “I get it.” But then I think about how stressed out I was about some family stuff, about some professional stuff, about a lot of, you know, a lot of the, a lot of ways that I just kind of wasn’t clicking, not even with the world but like with myself, where I wasn’t, I just wasn’t, you know, handling anything and I think back and it’s like, I feel like a totally different person and you really realise like, it’s like a slow process but this person helped me kind of grow into my own skin, it’s like a cool thing to look back and realise long term.


Sofie: And then it doesn’t matter how they did it, just the fact that they did it.


Chris: No, I’m alive and I’m married now and I’m happy most of the time and I'm not comparing myself to everybody else’s success and I cut people I care about a lot more slack than I used to and I’m not self-sabotaging all the time. Like, I don’t care if it was medically appropriate or ethically appropriate if I got there, I’ll take all of that, I don’t care. I don’t care if we did it the right way, I’m never, who cares about that? [Laughs]


Sofie: This little, I sometimes, this is embarrassing, and I don't know how normal this is, I will, my best friend, she never listens to her answering machine because she doesn’t know how to figure out technology. So sometimes I’ll call her and if she doesn’t pick up, I’ll just rant, I’ll just talk.


Chris: Like you use it as therapy.


Sofie: Into, yeah, into her voicemail, just talk and talk. I know she’ll never listen, just talk until it goes, “Beep!” And then, “Oh, that was it, that was it, I just needed to talk out loud,” because to people in the street, you know, I’m just having a conversation with someone who doesn’t get to say a lot.


Chris: Yeah, that’s a pretty good technique.


Sofie: Yeah, that’s a really…


Chris: I don't know if I have any version of that, I don’t think I have my own version of that but I wish I did, I wish I did.


Sofie: Like little coping mechanisms.


Chris: Yeah, yeah.


Sofie: You must have little things, there must be something you do. I mean, maybe just, maybe stand up or maybe having your podcast is a way of.


Chris: I think so. I do have a couple of things that I do and one is a thing that my shrink told me, like, because you know, I look back and realise she started so small and there’s a couple of things that I do that aren’t as specific as yours but one that she told me that really changed things for me was she was like, whenever, like, New York it’s all subways, you know? She’s like, “Whenever you get off the subway,” she’s like, “I never want you to walk from the subway to your house the same way,” she’s like, “I don’t care if it takes you 10 minutes longer, I want you to just walk around,” and that really helped me because I was like in such this routine that I wasn’t happy with but, you know, you become routine, you don’t see anything and then, all of a sudden, you’re like walking down a block you’ve never walked down before and you’re like, “Oh, there’s this thing here, I never knew this shop was here, I never knew this building had this like weird statue out front or whatever,” and it just started to wake me up.


And then another thing I’m really good is like when I’m stressed out, I will try to specifically have, like, an hour or two where I just turn off my phone, where I'm like, “Alright, this is just for me and I’m never going to tell anybody about this next hour.” If it’s boring, great, if the most beautiful thing in the world happens to me, I don’t care if like, like if, you know like if George Clooney jumps out from around the corner and punches me in the face, I’m just not telling anyone what happens. I need a thing, I need an hour for myself, this is just an hour I get to have. And it’s not shady, it’s not because I’m going and doing anything crazy or, you know, dark, it’s just I need to keep something for myself, especially as someone who puts his whole life out in public. It’s like, yeah, no-one, no-one, no-one needs to know about the next 90 minutes, I'm just gonna take it and have it for me. So it’s like a weird little like selfishness there that I give myself once in a while and that’s a good coping mechanism.


Sofie: I’ve gotten advice similar to that which is mostly about, like, oversharing, going, you don’t need to tell everyone everything.


Chris: Yeah.


Sofie: Which every fibre in my body is arguing against, “No, do tell everyone everything.”


Chris: Yeah, what if it’s funny? What if it gets a laugh?


Sofie: What if they do not know you well enough if they don’t know everything there is to say about your life?


Chris: Yeah, but then I wonder if you have this too because I think, it sounds like we have a similar approach to the stage but like sometimes people say to me like, “Wow, you put it all out there,” and I’m like, “Oh, well, imagine the secrets I keep.” Like imagine the shit I’ve done that I don’t admit to or I don’t talk about out.


Sofie: Yeah.


Chris: You can just imagine, oh, no, I have secrets and in fact, sharing this much is probably a way for, for me, for you to not look into them. If I tell you this much, you’ll just assume it’s all out there and then I won’t have to untangle like the really dark stuff that I’ve, that I’ve dealt with.


Sofie: Yeah.


Chris: And that’s, that’s another good thing about, but it’s like I go back and forth on that because I’m like, maybe on some level hiding stuff is unhealthy but on another level, maybe it’s like, you know, like, I'm owning stuff so hard and feeling like I’m on top of stuff so hard that it gives me the breathing room to maybe unwrap some of that other stuff that I’m not ready to share yet and this show actually, it’s funny because the show I'm doing here, over the course of the 26 days, I don't know, I feel like you saw it a little while ago but there was a stretch in 2007 where I straight up used to say, “I won’t talk about it, it’s not funny, I’m not ready to put it out there.” And in the past week or so, I’ve started like putting out more and more details of it. Every time, I’m like, [Inhales and exhales deeply] “OK, I shared a little more tonight. A little more tonight.” And it’s that thing of like, you know, like these jokes come from somewhere that is very real to me and is very visceral to me and sometimes still emotional to me and it’s like, like, that car crash story happened in 2001, I didn’t start talking about that on stage until 2014 and there’s a reason for that, you know? And it’s this weird thing of like, some of the secrets you do have or some of the things you don’t share on stage, it’s not even necessarily that they’re so dark, it’s like no, well, the stuff I'm doing right now is kind of like strengthening my muscles to be able to some day also talk about that and that’s a very strange, that’s like a thing you only realise long term, I think, as you, as I put in more and more years where I’m like, “Oh.” A lot of my comedy and a lot of my stories tend to have happened five to ten years in the past and that’s not strategic it’s just because that’s when I’m ready to talk about stuff, so it’s weird.


Sofie: I also feel like it’s not, in terms of uncovering things, I sometimes feel like it’s not just about me, so that, you know, there’s a fine line between I’m ready to talk about it but it doesn’t feel, I'm not too comfortable with it yet and then knowing there’ll be people watching the show that are like me but five years ago who will get something out of hearing this story.


Chris: Yeah, that’s like the most gratifying thing.


Sofie: Yeah, that’s when you go, “Oh, it’s good that I shared it.”


Chris: I actually thing the most gratifying thing is like, I really go, I feel like I kind of go, I mean, for me, I’m a very mild-mannered guy but at the end of my show I think I really kind of go into attack mode and try to really get through to people who are around it and the most gratifying thing, like, I kind of realised, I was saying this to my director, because my director just started on the show, it’s so nice to have an outside eye on it after doing it for a couple of years. But we were just kind of like talking about some different like aspects of the show, goals with it and I said, I was like, “I think the main thing for me with this show is like, I’d love it if while we’re in the room and I'm doing the show, other people who have dealt with this stuff feel like this guy’s really talking for me and speaking to my experience.” But long term, like once they leave, I want it to really stick in the brains of the people who are like, “I have a kid or I have a brother or I have a friend who deals with this stuff.” And if those people get something out it, I think that, to me, is the thing where I’d be like, “Hell, yeah,” like that would feel good. Like I had a girl, I did the show in New York for a while, I used to do it like once or twice a month since 2014 at a space in Brooklyn called Union Hall, great space.


Sofie: Hmm, lovely.


Chris: And, oh, you’ve been?


Sofie: Yeah, I’ve been there twice. It’s wonderful.


Chris: Oh, that’s awesome. It’s great, it’s a great space and you can see like, this show, they go with it there. And this girl came up to me afterwards and she was like, you know, “I used to date this guy and he had depression and we were really young and I thought he was just kind of like a cry-baby and it was annoying,” and she’s like, “I feel really bad,” because she’s like, “Your show’s really funny but it also made me realise like I don’t think the way I left that relationship helped at all. I think like I just kind of got frustrated and peaced out and I feel really bad about it.” And I was like, “Well, first of all, like it is annoying. Like, I think a lot of the women who’ve dated me would say it was very annoying to deal with a man who gets sad for no reason or angry for no reason, like, yeah, don’t feel bad about that because that’s a valid reaction.” And then I said, I was like, “Look,” I was like, “Are you still in touch with the guy?” She was like, “No,” I was like, “Why don’t you just email him and tell him what you just told me, I bet it will mean a lot.” She was like, “Really?” And I was like, “Yeah, I bet if you sent that guy an email and said, ‘You know, we’re a few years older now and I realise that still was tough for you and the way I left, like, I needed to leave but I kind of did it in a way that I can see was probably a little too harsh,’ it’s like I bet that would just go a long way, or it wouldn’t, but either way I don’t think it’s, I think it’s good that you want to like reach out and have that conversation.” So when I do the show and I hear things like that, I’m like, “OK, great, great, great, great, great.” Because I think about a lot of, like, my parents didn’t know how to deal with it, they didn’t even know how to talk to me about it and I’m not mad about that, they come from a generation where this is like a very confusing thing and, you know, I was raised Catholic where it’s just grin and bear it, drink away your problems, whatever it is, Irish Catholic. And they didn’t know how to talk about it, I’m not mad at them about it but I do have it in my head that if I can make a show where parents, like mine, get a little bit more perspective, that would be huge, that would make me feel great.


Sofie: I did my last show here in Edinburgh, on the first day I did it, I mention depression and being a weird teenager and my therapist, my last show, and after the first night, I was standing at the door saying goodbye to people and this girl was 14, 15 years old maybe, this tiny girl came up to me and she said, “Sometimes I feel like I’m a bit weird and I don’t really like myself and your show has made me feel less alone.” I was like…


Chris: That’s it, that right there.


Sofie: I don’t need anything else.


Chris: Yeah, the only bad part of that story is it happened night one. You want that, like, right at the end so it’s a triumphant end.


Sofie: Yeah.


Chris: But I guess winning the award is a triumphant end as well.


Sofie: It was the second-best part.


Chris: There you go, there you go.


Sofie: That’s it. So, say, OK, so you have yourself as a baby and you know, I think there’s something really symbolic about, you know, babies and, you know, they’ve been inside this nice comfortable womb and then they’re out and they’re screaming because it’s light and it’s loud and it’s awful and I think will always, there will always be times during our lifetime where life will seem that way and maybe we can remember, maybe we can remember what it felt like, like when it was too loud, it’s too much, it’s too bright. But if you had yourself as a baby and you knew what this baby was about to go through, up until the point where you’re at now in your life, if you could say something to the baby, if you could tell the baby what kind of tools you’ve developed or comfort it in some way or just, what would you tell little baby you?


Chris: Well, I can think of three things, if that’s OK.


Sofie: Of course.


Chris: I think the biggest one is I’d be like, “Just don’t stress about stuff that doesn’t matter.” Like stress out by all means, you can’t help that, you’re a stressed-out person, but just like really take a step back and think about if it matters because I think I just wasted a lot of time in life stressing about stuff that if I thought about it for 10 seconds, didn’t matter. And I mean like, for long stretches of time and you don’t get that back, so I would say that.


More specifically to my experience, I’d really encourage that baby, there was one girl in college who I really fell hard for and it was years of pining for this girl and I’d just say, “Don’t do it, just walk away, it’s not going to work out. When you realise that, stop, stop hoping, stop going for it, you’d have more fun, you’d have more fun in college.” And that ties into the don’t stress about things that don’t matter and be willing to let things go.


And then I think just on very basic life advice, one thing that I’ve learned as I get older and older is just never feel bad about having someone in the entertainment industry pay for your food, just don’t feel guilty about that. Any agent or manager that wants to like buy you food, order expensive stuff and don’t feel about it. They don’t care, they have expense accounts and they’re trying to razzle-dazzle you by showing how much money they can throw around so make them throw it around, don’t just settle for like side dishes and like very plain chicken dishes. Go for the seafood, get a dessert, get a couple of drinks, spend those people’s money because they’re, you know, there’s a lot of times, as artists, where we have to chase them and their approval and meals is like the one thing where we get to just like remind that like, “No, no, no, we make, like you’re here to facilitate our careers and you’ve gotta butter us up too,” so I’ll get, and it ties into the first one, stressing about things that don’t matter.


The first time an agent bought me a meal, I think I got like a side of spinach and that was it, because it was such an expensive restaurant and I felt so guilty spending that money and I really wish I didn’t because I think the creative artist agency that that lunch was with, they could definitely, I should have ordered like two whole lobsters because they could have afforded it and that’s one of the biggest regrets I have is any time that I didn’t just let, let wheelers and dealers on the other side of the entertainment industry spend their money on food for me. I'm not saying take cash out of their hands, at lunches specifically, dinners specifically, get a side dish, again dessert, why not? Even if you only eat half of it, these people love excess, they love it. Show them that you can go there, it’ll imply to them that you’re ready to make a lot of money for them to spend it for them, even if you’re not, never turn down a free meal. Never, ever, ever, baby, turn down a free meal.


Sofie: That’s perfect, thank you so much.


Chris: Thank you.


Sofie: Do you have like links to the?


Chris: Yeah, I mean, for touring dates it’s chrisgeth.com and then you can find links to all my other stuff there and, you know, Chris Gethard on Twitter and Facebook and, you know, the sad for me but easy way for you to remember that is it spells out the words Get Hard, so Chris Get Hard is how you can really track me down. So there’s no other Chris Get Hard’s out in the world, so if you just Google that, it all comes up. And thank you for having me, this was a good conversation.


Sofie: Thank you so much for doing this.


Chris: Please, my pleasure. My pleasure.




Sofie: Thanks for listening. Could you hear me be all weird when he said that we would have been friends if we’d started out in the same town. I got weird, I think I blushed, I just changed the topic because I, ugh, he’s so sweet, I want to be his best friend. Can I, do you think I could be his best friend? Is it too late? It’s probably too late. He’s great, thanks for listening.


There is, and I didn’t want to mention this at the beginning, because this is a brand-new podcast, I am 100% sure that I’m going to keep doing this for a very long time but I still thought it was too early to like ask for money. But I do have a Patreon account, so it’s patreon.com/mohpod M O H P O D. If you do want to, you know, say yes to giving some dollars a month or per episode then, I mean, I’d greatly appreciate that but there’s no pressure, it’s still a new podcast. And, you know, I’m enjoying doing it. If you want to help in any other way, go to iTunes, give it a five star rating, that does mean an awful lot and yeah, share with your friends, share it with everyone you know who also don’t know how to be people, you know. There’s a lot of us and I think it would be good if we got together a bit more because I think we need each other. So even if we don’t feel comfortable amongst people, it’s good to know that they’re there if we do need them, right? That’s fair enough, isn’t it? Thank you so much listening and I will see you next week.