22nd Jul 2012 11:03am | By Alasdair Morton
The stand-up comic on her first Edinburgh show in two years, how motherhood has changed her, and Gollum
People Person is your first Edinburgh show in two years – how come?
My last show was in 2009. Last year I went up as a punter – I was pregnant and had a nice relaxing time. So I have had a rest, which has also reinvigorated me. I feel like a new woman now, with two years of material to talk about.
It’s about your party animal sensibilities and social anthropology ...
Stand-up comedy is essentially social anthropology, but with laughs. It’s about observing people – and I am a nosey person. There are, however, only glancing references to anthropology.
There is no powerpoint presentation?
No, any social anthropologists coming to it would be very disappointed. You have to be a bit of a social anthropologist for comedy, as well as a psychologist – a keen observer of life.
Where did the initial idea come from?
It’s about how I met my friend Sophie – friendships in your twenties are easy and fun and then you hit your thirties and it’s all downhill. The days when you could go out and get drunk for three days on end are long gone.
Organising getting together with your mates becomes like organising the Olympics. That makes it sounds quite depressing, but it’s not.
What does depress you?
Daytime TV, that depresses me.
Any shows in particular?
Dom Littlewood, who does Don’t Get Done, Get Dom, and Saints And Scroungers. He is a little Gollum. I also talk a lot about shopping in Argos, which doesn’t sound very glamorous either. There are some showbiz anecdotes, in there too.
Do you miss your child-free party days?
I look back with nausea – Edinburgh used to be a month-long Bacchanalian orgy of drinking and misbehaviour, tremendous fun. But now, I am going with the family and will be in bed by 9pm.
Has becoming a mother softened your comedy outlook?
Not at all. I am still just as silly and childish. It hasn’t matured me at all, I now just have other childish chums to knock about with. My obsession with vulgarity has got worse because that is all that children do.
Will the Olympics affect the festival?
It’ll be interesting. The people interested in sport and in stand-up and theatre – I would like to see that Venn diagram, see what the overlap is.
Surely it appeals to people wanting to get away from London and the Games?
For all the people terrified about their journey to work in London, come to Edinburgh, where you can walk everywhere. You’ll get thighs like powerlifters, though, because of all the hills.
I have been trying to lose the baby-weight and failing, but I am not worried, as I know I will be going there soon and lose a stone in the first week alone.
You’ve been working on a film with Green Wing writers Fay Rusling and Oriane Messina, too?
It looks like it might not be happening now, though. That is the world of film: you work hard on something and then can’t get the money together. If anyone wants to buy a screenplay ...
You should cast an American star, like Andie McDowell in Four Weddings
Well that’s it, it is all about celebrity – it’s what star you can get attached to a project, not what the script is like. So I’ll just have to make friends with lots of famous people – that is my plan!
And you’ve also been working on a new sketch show, too…
Yes, it has been part of my gradual, creeping return to work. It’s funny – I have been writing the show with a friend of mine, Catherine Shepherd, but there’s been a slight hiatus as we have both been off having babies. If only I could work out what was causing it…
You’ve done lots of benefit shows, including LiveStock for Friends of the Earth – what are you especially passionate about?
When I do benefit gigs, I get very passionate about the cause at the time, and then find something else to be passionate about. I’m fairly socially active – I did go down to the Occupy Camp at St Paul’s for a couple of hours. I didn’t stay the night, but I had a cup of tea. I’m saving the world one benefit gig at a time.