Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Grainne Maguire: Page 2 of 2

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

They do not understand it at all. They think it’s just me on never ending car trips before getting shouted at by rude English people who don’t even know the history of their own country. In fairness, I think they think that’s what most jobs in the UK are like.


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

The worst thing is doing an out of town gig on a Saturday night and having to come back on a train by yourself, your book is too boring to read, you’ve listened to all your podcasts and no one is replying to your text messages. This is the dangerous checking your ex’s on Facebook twilight zone. Then you get to Kings Cross and the only place open is a Cuisine De France concession so you “treat” yourself to an apple Danish that tastes like glue and an uber home. It’s a fucking Morrissey song.

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 work hard. I keep trying to challenge myself and push myself outside of my comfort zone. I know the sort of comedy I like and aspire to being as near that as I can.  I love comedy that is creative and daring but also has some heart in it. It can’t all be heady and word play, you need some skin in the game, to be willing to expose yourself, to be vulnerable and honest on stage.  That’s the tricky part but it’s where the magic comes from.

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

I earn enough that I don’t have to have a day job. I would like to earn enough that I didn’t have to keep worrying about maybe having to get a day job.

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

I think the longer you can stay in the game; the more chances you have of being lucky. I have a super cool agent that has been so supportive to me over the years and brilliant friends and family, but I think in general, luck is over rated. It’s the tenacity and resilience you learn when you have none that really stands to you in the end. It makes you a much more interesting comedian and compassionate person. Screw luck!

11. Alan Davies has said that comedian’s 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 read somewhere that the only problem with being a tortured artist is that they generally don’t create much art. I really hate that myth, it’s so masochistic and narcissistic and not true. Misery and self-destruction never made anything better. Anyone past the age of sixteen that believes that is an idiot.  Happy people make better artists.  I’ve had times in my life when I was curdled with self hatred and it paralyses creativity and just makes you a draining black hole to be around.  The comedians with really long, inspiring careers were the ones who found a way to cope with their demons, not be controlled by them.  I don’t think Jerry Seinfeld, or Garry Shandling or Joan Rivers spent much time curled in a ball hating themselves, they all just got on with it.  A tortured soul could not have created The Larry Sanders Show and sustained it over all those series. That is someone with their shit together.

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

Michelle Obama. I cried this morning looking at a video clip of her. She is just so beautiful and wise and kind.

13. Do you keep your drawers tidy and if not why not? (this is to settle an argument with my girlfriend. If you've taken my side thank you in advance)

Of course not! What am I? A drawer nazi? Drawers need to be able to run free, to have the flexibility to find their own personal best version of them. Only Putin worries about keeping his drawers tidy.


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