"A real dream for me would be to host Have I Got News For You" Idle chit-chat with Maisie Adam
Hey Maisie, how the heck are you?
I’m great, thanks! I’m absolutely bricking it for Edinburgh, but also proper excited. This is my first ever Edinburgh Fringe, and so I’m not quite sure what to expect!
What have you been up to today?
I’ve been packing, as I’m heading to Montreal in a couple of days for the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival. I’m there for five days and then I head straight to Edinburgh, so I have to make sure I’ve packed everything!
And where are you right now?
I am in the attic of my flat in Brighton, trying to find those bloody luggage scale thingy’s that tell you if you’ve gone over your baggage allowance. I’m not having much luck!
Tell us about your journey to comedy.
After I graduated Uni, I decided I wanted to try it but there weren’t any comedy nights in my area for new acts. However, a local literary festival ran a fringe too and did a call out asking for acts to participate in any way. I applied to the fringe as a stand-up comedian and was given an hour slot. So I wrote an hour of what I thought was quite funny, memorised it, invited anyone and everyone and just did it. I loved every second, and it was only later that I learnt the “done way” of getting into comedy is doing 5 minutes, then 10, then 20 etc...my first gig was an hour! I asked my friend’s Dad to film it on his good camera, and then sent it to any promoters or bookers I could find, and from there I was able to get some gigs.
Describe your comedy style.
It’s observational comedy, but more specifically I would say it’s anecdotal and nostalgic. I like talking about personal experiences that are still relatable to everyone else. Topics such as school, and the music and fashion from those years I find really fun to talk about.
Tell us about your show for the Fringe, ‘Vague’, in two sentences?
My show is about those nostalgic memories of growing up and navigating your teen years and all the recklessness that youth entails. However my personal experiences with all of that was whilst being diagnosed with epilepsy at fourteen, so I talk about trying to do all the things my friends were doing and trying not to let my epilepsy hinder any of that.
And how are the work in progress shows going?
They’ve been going really well actually. I was very new to the whole idea of work on progress shows and previews, so it felt nice to be able to explore new ideas and make notes as you go. Some have been to 60 people, others have been to four, and they’ve all been super helpful. I think the ones to four people are just as important to do, because you need to be prepared for anything ahead of Edinburgh, and if you can make your show work when it’s to four people, anything more will feel like Wembley haha!
How many times have you been to the Fringe, and what’s your best memory?
I’ve only been once before, and that was last year for the 'So You Think You’re Funny' competition. Naturally, winning at the Final and the afterparty that followed is my favourite memory. I honestly couldn’t believe it, it was all so surreal. I was just so grateful to be competing in the first place, and then after I won I was meeting all these people who I would watch on the TV or I’d have gone and seen them whenever they were touring up north...and here they were congratulating me! It was amazing, and everyone was so lovely. The best day ever.
What’s the TV show you’d love to do?
Obviously Live At The Apollo and Mock The Week are bucket list dreams; I’d love to do either of those. I remember when Mock The Week first came out, I would get home from school and just watch as many clips from the “Scenes We’d Like To See” round on YouTube. I loved the way it took elements from shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway and put it in a panel show format. A real dream for me would be to host Have I Got News For You, because it’s always current and the host has to be on the ball with what’s going on in the world, as well as with the guests and their humour. I think it would be a challenge but I love that!
If you had a podcast called ‘Vague’, what would it be about?
It would be about when people have had a “Vague episode” in their life, and my guests would come on and talk about that pint in their life. It could be anything (I think everyone’s had a vague episode at some point in their life!); it could be when you were in between jobs and trying to work out what you wanted to do with your life, when you were dating someone and not quite sure what the score was between you two, when you were indecisive or lost on a certain decision you needed to make. It’s such a broad subject so it’d be interesting to see what I’d get!
There’s lots of talk about female comedians on TV and comedy bills, what’s your experience of being a woman in the comedy world?
It’s certainly harder, you have to have a bit more of a thick skin I think. My experiences have also been very positive though, as I have a lot of female comedian friends and we often share our experiences with each other and that’s really supportive to have. It’s a double edged sword really, because sometimes you get booked for a gig purely because they need a woman on the bill. I don’t want to be booked because I’m a woman, I want to be booked because I’m good. Yet on the flipside, that goes in my favour and at the end of the day I just want to be booked for gigs!
What difference have you noticed since #MeToo and #TimesUp became a big public thing.
I think bookers and promoters are really pulling their socks up, and seeing that they have a responsibility for their gigs to be safe spaces for all of their acts. I think they’re more aware of a certain culture that perhaps was once accepted as “just how it is” and actually actively looking out for certain behaviour and calling it out. I think they’re also more aware of who they book now, and if they know someone has a reputation for behaving in an off way, they put the safety of their acts first and don’t book that person. Not all, but some!
Yorkshire stereotypes; what’s the one you love the most?
That we all love cheesy chips and gravy, and we bloody do. Whether it’s mid-afternoon or four in the morning after a night out, I’ll have it. Everyone’s been telling me ahead of Montreal that I need to try something called Poutine, and I’ve looked it up and it’s bloody cheesy chips & gravy! I am going to be in my element!
When was the last time you were starstruck?
After the 'So You Think You’re Funny' final, Aisling Bea (who was the MC for the night) was so lovely to me and introduced me to loads of people at the afterparty. I was already a little bit starstruck with her, as I think she’s ace and loved watching her on TV. Then she started introducing me to all these other heroes of mine; Tim Vine, David O’Doherty, Nish Kumar...these were all people I really looked up to when getting into comedy and here I was sharing a pint with them all!
What other comedian is worth checking out?
Sara Barron is a fantastic comedian. She’s also doing her debut Edinburgh hour this year - it’s called 'For Worse' and it’s bloody hilarious. She’s also proper lovely, so you should definitely go see her.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
“Can I make you a brew?” If anyone asks me that, then whatever follows they can do no wrong in my eyes.
Finally, how do you take your coffee? (Or other warm/hot beverage)
See above. I don’t drink coffee, I drink tea. Milk, one sugar (but a big one). I don’t get it when people don’t drink tea...I get very suspicious of them. My boyfriend doesn’t drink tea and I still haven’t worked out how he can live his life without tea in it. What a wrong’un.
To see Maisie's 'Vague' show at the Fringe, head to the Gilded Baboon at 4:30pm each day. Tickets are available now.
For more info on Maisie you can visit her website or follow her on Twitter., you an also like her on Facebook.