Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Joanna Neary: Page 2 of 2

Joanna Neary

6. What do your parents think of your job? 

My dad is very proud of the fact that someone who had the education I had and went to Art School for seven years, trained in performance art and driven solely by the pursuit of happiness and self expression, is doing anything at all, quite frankly. He says everything I’ve achieved is against the odds. My mum is impressed that I might meet celebrities.

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

I don’t know. Being self-absorbed. 

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 am boring, which is why I do character comedy. Why would anyone want to listen to me banging on about music and knitting? In character I can be all the things I’m not, and blame it on someone else. Celia can say rude and shocking things and I can pretend I don’t realise. If anyone else did my characters, I’d wish I’d thought of them.

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

It varies year upon year but I’ve cannily set myself up with very few overheads, a disdain for material wealth and enough pens, music and cardigans to keep me going for two lifetimes. I have never spent what isn’t mine, never been overdrawn (not since Art School days) and never had a credit card. I just am thankful every day that I earn a living doing what I love. What could be better than that? How many pens does one person need? 

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

I don’t believe in luck and I don’t believe in karma. Everything I’ve had, I’ve worked hard for. I did shows to tiny rooms for about nine years, before I had any success. It’s like an apprenticeship, isn’t it? Even if you look at someone and think ‘lucky sod,’ rest assured, they’ve worked like billy-o to get there. 

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? 

I’m not sure, I’d like to say golfer because I certainly don’t feel tortured. I enjoy my life. I do get nervous though, and insecure. What a silly thing, categories. I’m in the ‘sometimes happy, sometimes sad’ one, like every bugger.


12. Who is your favourite person ever and why - not including family or friends or other comedians? 

I honestly don’t have one, I did think Ronald Searle or Toulouse-Lautrec but I’ll go with Kate Bush because she is an artist, whose work makes me laugh and cry. Art is incredibly important to me. She is passionate, inspiring, uncompromising and that beautiful voice sweeps you away. Also, I sometimes wonder if it helps that she doesn’t look like a gable end.

13. Do you keep your drawers tidy and if not why not? 

Now you’ve made me think about the fact that my drawers are full and untidy, I’m planning to have a big sort out in September.

When people see my show, I’d like to think that they’ll benefit from my untidy drawers and the fact that my sorting and folding skills have been poured into my show instead of assembling strange pant dividers that no one will ever see. Hopefully, anyway. Otherwise the rats nest of socks with which I wrestle every morning, will have been all for nowt. My records are in alphabetical order though. Some people hate that. I hate tidying drawers.


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