New Interview: Angela Barnes

Angela Barnes

Just before the Edinburgh Festival I wrote that Angela Barnes is the best mainstream female comedian I’ve seen since Sarah Millican. She had a great Edinburgh and I was surprised that she didn't figure in the Foster's Awards shortlists. It doesn't really matter though, she is clearly going to make it big. She has gradually been building up an impressive following wind since winning the BBC New Comedy Award in 2011. When it comes to talking about relationships, sex, food and life in general she knows all the right notes and hits them all in the right places. She is a terrific comic and in her full-length show talks about her own life story and family background. I won't give away any spoilers here, just go.

Click here for tour dates.


1. What is the last thing you do before you go onstage?

Have another wee. I will usually have 3 "emergency wees" before I go on. 

I don't know why. It's not like I'm going to become so overwhelmed by the need to urinate on stage within a 20 minute spot that I am going to piss myself. I have never yet actually needed a wee on stage, yet it is still something I have to make sure won't happen.  

Oh, and the bogey check. I dread going on stage and there being a big old bogey in my nose and I don't know about it. No one's going to listen to what you say when there's a bat in the cave. 


2. What irritates you?

So much. The older I get the less tolerant I seem to be. 

The people that irritate me most are suckups and schmoozy networkers. Maybe it's because I'm not very good at those things, but I can't bear it, it makes me feel physically sick. It's at its worse at Edinburgh Fringe. I tend not to hang out in the industry bars too often because of it. I can't handle seeing hungry young comics practically fellating anyone they think might get them on TV, or get them good reviews. The worse thing is that it sometimes seems to work for them. And that makes me sad for the world I am in.


3. What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done?

I am not an adrenaline junkie type. I am hugely risk averse. I won't even wear high heels, not ever, because I think I might get into a situation where I need to run away. 

I think the most dangerous thing I have ever done is leave it 3 hours and 55 minutes between Lemsips instead of 4 hours. And then I was paranoid for days that I'd have liver failure. It's simply not worth it.


4. What has surprised you the most during your career in comedy? 

I think the nicest surprise in my comedy career is how few dickhead comedians there are. I mean, sure, we can all be dickheads at times. And there are certainly SOME dickhead comedians. But compared to other professions, I genuinely believe that the ratio of bell ends to decent human beings is much, much lower.  

It was also a nice surprise to discover that, amongst comedians, I am actually socially quite high functioning. In my previous life, I always felt a bit of an outsider, a bit weird, a bit shy, a bit not like the others. Amongst comedians, I feel right at home, and often the most "normal" one.

To read more of this interview click here.


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