Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Charmian Hughes

Charmian Hughes

Charmian Hughes is a south London comedian who worked in advertising before going into comedy. Her latest show Raj Rage tells the story of Hughes' recent trip to India in search of some family history, neatly weaving together present and past into one comical whole. She performs Raj Rage at Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival on February 14. Tickets here. Oh and by the way, Raj Rage features stories about drug-crazed moon worship, banana sacrifice and shopping. 




1. What is the last thing you do before you go onstage (apart from check your flies, check for spinach between teeth and check your knickers aren't sticking out of your skirt)?


I make sure I am all farted out.


2. What irritates you?


Other shows/acts over-running before me, whether it’s the Drama School Aids Monologues that over-ran by 45 death-and-sorrow-filled minutes before I skipped on with my jaunty frock (just a few weeks ago) or comperes who say they are about to introduce the next act, but then do lots of false starts on the hunt for one big last laugh to show who’s boss (all the time).



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


I crawled on my hands and knees out into the middle of a busy road at the point where it was a blind corner.. I was ten months old, my sisters were meant to be looking after me, but I followed the dog out of the front gate. First thing to come round the corner was a man on a bicycle who picked me up, tucked me under his arm and took me home. My home, luckily.


4. What is the most stupid thing you have ever done?

In Pisa I went off in a strange car with a lot of Italian boys, when I was drunk. It was a truly terrifying ordeal for them.


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

For comedians Time is our Friend.  People come galloping  from nowhere to be suddenly at the Success Front, while people who have been around for yonks’ re-invent themselves and pull new hats out of the bag.  There’s no knackers yard  if you stay creative and keep inventively Breaking A Leg.


6. What do your parents/children (delete as applicable) think of your job?

My mother was convinced  my comedy set would include the word 'lavatory’ so she refused to see me perform. My children think I am making it up when I say I do comedy.


7. What’s the worst thing about being a comedian?

Saturday night in some godforsaken hotel where the cheap beer is expensive cheap beer and the iPlayer refuses to show Casualty.


8. I think you are very good at what you do (that’s why I’m asking these questions). What do you think of you?

I think I am very good too.


9. How much do you earn and how much would you like to earn?

As much as I need but not as much as I want.


10. How important is luck in terms of career success – have you had lucky breaks?

My luckiest break was becoming a performer. Before Comedy I worked in Advertising as a copywriter. I wrote the legendary by-line ‘’Hackney Is Going Local’’ for Hackney Council. That was the peak of my creative satisfaction. If ever I worry that I am not famous or rich enough, I just thank my lucky stars that I am not stuck in that ‘creative studio’ in Soho Square thinking up bollocks and thinking it’s Tolstoy.  You make your own Luck - always do your best wherever you are performing, you never know who will be watching.

I met my husband in the smallest audience I ever had.


11. Alan Davies has said that comedians fall into two categories - golfers and self-harmers. The former just get on with life, the latter are tortured artists. Which are you – or do you think you fit into a third category?

Myself I am a devilishly complex boules player. I stand on one leg and when I bowl I look like I will go underarm but I go overarm.

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