Interview: Lockdown Rarely Asked Questions Special – Helen Bauer

Interview: Lockdown Rarely Asked Questions Special – Helen Bauer

I can actually say I saw Helen Bauer do a show in flesh in the last year, which is something I can't say about many stand-ups. She appeared at an open air comedy gig at Lauderdale House in Highgate, North London between lockdowns. Not a drive-in, but a lovely, socially distanced gig where fans sat in designated squares on a lawn. It wasn't quite the future of comedy – it wasn't sweaty enough for a start - but it certainly worked. Along with our other interviewees this week Bauer was nominated for Best Newcomer in the Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2019. Her show Little Miss Baby Angel Face was about her decidedly eccentric family and her German ancestry among other things. She won't be appearing on Who Do You Think You Are? just yet but is in the lockdown sitcom ‘Save the Bill Murray’ - available exclusively to Angel Comedy Patreon members 

Helen Bauer can be found on Instagram and twitter.


How has the last year been for you?

All I can say is thank god my housemate is a beautiful angel legend who lets me get out all my ‘LOOK AT ME PLEASE LAUGH AT ME’ energy out on her. I miss gigging but I have been lucky to have work for TV and online that has kept me going when all feels hopeless. Very lucky I got to debut just before the pandemic and that I had some work to be getting on with. 

When was your last pre-Covid gig?

March 15th, I spent the weekend tour supporting Matt Richardson in Liverpool and Peterborough and I remember us being very aware that this may be our last gigs in a while. It was an odd night at Peterborough Arts Centre not knowing when gigging would happen again but also seeing the posters for other upcoming events that would all be cancelled. 

How have you coped financially? (did you do any non-comedy work?)

Oh I was straight on Universal Credit, sadly my CV outside of comedy is a tour of waitressing and making coffees in cafes, restaurants and hotels. Its like I was only equipped to work around a lot of people. I really was in a lucky position that I was able to work throughout on BBC Stand Up For Live Comedy, CBBC, writing projects, online gigs and a couple of panel show recordings. 

My Universal Credit officer follows me on Instagram so he is tracking my career, I am not sure what I need to do for him to cut the cord, I think once gigs come back he will officially break up with me. 

Like everyone I did have to top up the old income with a bit of admin work helping a company find German Comedy Talent which was a joy because I just showed off my brilliant friends. 

Did you get much government/arts council etc financial support?

Oh no, unless Universal Credit counts!

Do you feel comedy has been let down by government/arts council?

Of course it has, all of the arts has been. It’s been this way for years not just the pandemic.

I've heard that The Arts Council doesn't support comedy because it doesn't consider it to be an art - what do you think about that?

I would be surprised if the government had given comedy a single thought let alone whether it is an art form or not. 

Were you planning to do Edinburgh Fringe 2020?

Of course, for me it would have been going up to do my second hour. I was getting my material ready when lockdown happened. Hopefully one day doing festivals will just be part of life again. 

Do you think there will be a Fringe in 2021 and if there is are you planning to do it?

I really can’t see how. I was one of the people who last year was like ‘oh come on, Edinburgh is going to happen.’ I am a confident fool, so this year I am trying to lower my expectations. My friends have made it very clear to me that we will have a meal in Nandos first before we go to the back to Fringe, so I’ll wait to get my hopes up after I have had a Chicken Wrap with Pineapple and Halloumi. 

What are your thoughts about online gigs? Are they any substitute for 'the real thing'?

They are wonderful place for us all to virtually get together and have the most silly fun. I know it’s not the same as a live gig but they are something. I’m currently co-hosting Gigless every Thursday night with Catherine Bohart and Andrew White, we have a brilliant new line up each week and it really has begun to feel like a proper gig with an audience we have really got to know! 

Have you had Covid and if you have how are you now?

No. All my tests have been clean luckily!! 

What about the future. Do you think the UK comedy scene has changed forever or do you think eventually it will go back to how it was?

I don’t know!? Do you know!? Does anyone! I think there are things that will change, I think financially it’s going to be hard for a lot of comics to justify Edinburgh costs but what’s new. I think whatever happens at 2am on any day of the week there will be a at least 3 comics on every motorway in the UK. 

Finally a big serious question, how we can build back the comedy scene better after all this is over? Not just what needs to happen to survive, but also, what needed to change before, that the industry needs to fix coming out of this situation? Can this terrible thing be turned into an opportunity to change things for the better?

Overall yes things can change for the better post lockdown. My main concern with comedy is about elitism in the industry but I feel it’s going the right direction slowly and hopefully lockdown will allow us all time to really think about where it has gone wrong and how we can address it. 




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