I think this is the favourite interview question I have ever had. Interviewer: “You are very brave bringing a show about Britishness and being middle class to Edinburgh. Because there is a lot of hatred towards the English. Are you not worried?” Me: “No. I am extremely English and therefore extremely self-loathing. We can bond in hatred. It’s the perfect match.” Bring it on!
(Pic on title page: Matt Crockett.)
What is it about Waitrose? Writing in The Pool about Waitrose and that news that proximity to the branch of the most middle class grocery store in the universe can add up to £40,00 to the value of your home. Not being in such a position (I’m not in walking distance of the hallowed portals), perhaps I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder… Margo would have been OK in Surbiton. I think maybe they have three branches.
In Wow 24/7. A crybaby Remainiac writes… This is a bit of a million dollar question. (Or in the case of Edinburgh economics, which are weighted against your average stand-up, a minus 47p question.) Can Brexit be funny? Seeing as many comics feel as if they have no choice but to talk about it (including me — I have been working on a show about Britishness and class for six months — how could I not, even if it has meant reworking the entire show?), it’s not even a question. It had better be funny. Or else.
I have only ever had weird experiences aboard the Blundabus belonging to comedy legend Bob Slayer. So I can only imagine that doing a one-hour show aboard this vehicle will be even stranger. The bus is as it sounds: it is a bus. A double decker bus. The upstairs is converted into a comedy bus with seating and a stage area. (Yes, you do have to use your imagination a bit. And I will have to stoop. For the audience it is very comfortable, I can report.)
I will be performing the last not-in-London show of 2015’s Edinburgh show Say Sorry to the Lady at the Nottingham Comedy Festival at 6pm on Saturday 14 November on the top deck of this bus. I’ve done stand-up on the bus and I’ve been a guest on Irish comedian Christian Talbot’s addictive show Cheaper than Therapy on the bus. This time I will have the bus all to myself for a whole show. Well, hopefully, not quite all to myself. Tickets here. Review of the Edinburgh show here. See you there, people of Nottingham who want to come to comedy on a bus! I have every faith this is an actual demographic.
Edinburgh is over. What an amazing month. Having barely survived two weeks the previous year, I had a lot of concerns about managing the whole month — 24 shows at The Stand, plus guest spots and stints at the Edinburgh Book Festival interviewing Irvine Welsh, Anne Enright, Kirsty Logan and Peter Pomerantsev. But it was spectacular. Not least because Edinburgh is a great place to live for a month. (Although I did cry when I came home and saw a red bus again for the first time.)
Say Sorry to the Lady pulled in a five star review, this from Funny Women (“cleverly structured and the kind of show that gets wilder and funnier towards the end of its run”) and played to full houses most nights, thanks to the excellence of The Stand. More on behind the scenes here, on the inspiration for the show and why sorry is not the hardest word in TV Bomb here and on why women should stop apologising in the Guardian here. By which I mean that women should stop apologising. And they should also stop apologising in the Guardian.
Writing in today’s Sunday Times Style about the challenge facing over 1,000 performers this month: what on earth do you wear on stage if you’re doing the same show night after night for a month? Plus dashing between loads of other shows? It’s hardly a recipe for glamour.
“I have a one-hour evening show almost every night this month, plus some other shows during the day. I chose it, I love it, but it’s also trial by image. The buzzword for performers this year is “TV-ready”, which means trying to look 15 years younger than you are, pretending to be really into yoga and drinking a lot of coconut water. That’s the face and the body sorted, but when it comes to clothes, there is no code. Unless you are a 21-year-old man, and then you must wear skinny jeans, a slogan T-shirt and Mr Whippy hair.”
Thanks to Kyle Hilton for the illustration. Someone in the fashion department (who advised on the wardrobe choices above) obviously thinks I should dress like Velma from Scooby Doo. Hmm. Whatever happens, I will definitely wear something on my bottom half.
Talking about Say Sorry to the Lady on BBC R4 Woman’s Hour — and about why women seem to say sorry more than men, from 34 mins. Linguist Dr Louise Mullany, from the University of Nottingham, talking down the line appeared to disagree. She argued that men *do* say sorry as much as women but we don’t see them saying sorry as being something that is apologetic or pathetic. I’m not sure what this means. But I still think women should say sorry less. That is easier than the alternative, ie. arguing that when you say sorry it should not be interpreted as apologetic or pathetic. Good luck with that.
In the green room it was good to meet the least apologetic woman in the universe: Baroness Valerie Amos, now director of SOAS, University of London. She is kickass.
On Twitter, Jackie Watson sent me a very interesting rebuttal to this argument from Deborah Cameron — who argues that it’s basically sexist to examine how women speak at all — they should be allowed to say whatever they want (however doormat they sound) and they should not be expected to speak in the same way as men. I agree with the second bit. But men don’t own assertiveness and by being more assertive in the way you express yourself, it doesn’t mean you have to talk like a man. I don’t really agree with the rest of it – here – but all the same, it’s fascinating. By the way, if you are going to talk like a man, please talk like BRIAN BLESSED. I AM TALKING LIKE HIM RIGHT NOW.
Two London previews of my Edinburgh show Say Sorry to the Lady coming up on Monday 13 July and Tuesday 14 July at Leicester Square Theatre Lounge (the downstairs bit) at 7pm.
Tickets are £3 and you can reserve them HERE. I really want to pack these previews out so please do come and bring all your friends!
SAY SORRY TO THE LADY is all about the Great British cult of apology. Why do we say sorry when we don’t really mean it? Why don’t we say what we’re really thinking? And can it really be true that the average Brit apologises – according to one survey — 1.9 million times in their life.
In a show based on her experiences as a parent, daughter, feminist, self-consciously middle class person and reformed serial apologiser, Viv Groskop argues that enough is enough: it’s time to say sorry to the lady once and for all. And this time you had better mean it.
** WARNING: includes ranting about being a reluctant authority figure to children and then lots of apologies for the ranting. **
“Viv is brilliant” – Jo Brand.
“My favourite new act” – Lucy Porter.
“Fresh and exciting” – Sara Pascoe.
“Groskop positively sparkles” – BroadwayBaby.com
I wrote this piece about Magic Mike XXL, the sequel to the 2012 smash hit Magic Mike, which cost $7 million to make and took over $150 million at the box office. And made a huge star of Channing Tatum. The sequel has great cameos from Jada Pinkett Smith and Andie Macdowell and is surely one of the funniest films I have ever seen, right up there with Spinal Tap. I know this seems unlikely when it is about stripping but it is true.
Thrilled to be appearing at The Forum at Royal Tunbridge Wells on Thurs 18 June at 7.30pm. I’m performing a preview of Say Sorry to the Lady as a fundraiser for the Royal Tunbridge Wells Labour Party. I am astonished that (a) there is a branch of the Labour Party in Tunbridge Wells and (b) that anyone who is a Labour supporter would consider that Tunbridge Wells is a good place for them to live. But I guess I will find out the answer to these strange discrepancies.
I am really touched by the number of people who have agreed to host previews, knowing only that I’m putting together a show “about the great British cult of apology.” It has been fascinating going up and down the country with my little bits of paper, asking people what they want to apologise for and who they would most like to see apologise. I have a pretty good idea that the good folk of the Tunbridge Wells Labour Party will have plenty to say on this topic. In fact it might be difficult to shut them up. I look forward to trying.