Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Harriet Braine: Page 2 of 2

6. What do your parents/children (delete as applicable) think of your job?
My parents think my job (as Archives Assistant at the National Maritime Museum) is a very respectable vocation. I am lucky to have found full time paid work in the museums sector, to be honest. They think comedy is exciting and showbiz is great but that it’s a much more difficult job than anything that comes with a salary and a pension.

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

I don’t know. It’s genuinely been an overwhelmingly positive experience so far. I haven’t personally encountered the awful sexism I presumed I would. It’s probably just a matter of time, though...

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’m good at my particular thing, but I am also doing something quite unique which makes it a lot easier to think I’m good at it. I am the best at writing and performing art historical comedy songs. But I am also easily disappointed with my performances and hate the sound of my own voice as much as any normal person should.

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

I don't earn a living doing comedy yet, but I'd like to!

10. How important is luck in terms of career success – have you had lucky breaks?
It’s so important. I’ve had several lucky breaks! The first competition was the 2016 Musical Comedy Awards, which led to my 10th gig being in front of 400 people at the Southbank Underbelly. That’s pretty lucky.

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?

Oh I’m definitely a golfer. I went to art college in order to become a tortured artist, but it was all ruined by the love and support of my family and friends. My ‘muse’ turned out to be the love of my life, and my doubts and angst turned into jokes. It’s all gone terribly wrong.

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

Barry just popped into my head for some reason. Barry is a life-model that my very forward-thinking art teachers at school employed as The Nude Male Form. He was lanky, had a round belly, must have been nearly 60 years old, and had huge nose. He was great to draw, and was very funny, which made the whole situation feel completely normal and put us at ease. I’ve got so many drawings of you, Barry. I know for a fact I wouldn’t have got into Edinburgh College of Art without you, Barry. He is my first (penis I ever saw), my last, my everything. Apart from my family and friends and other comedians (and their penises).

13. Do you keep your drawers tidy and if not why not? (please think long and hard about this question, it's to settle an argument with my girlfriend. The future of our relationship could depend on your response).

I’m an archivist so, inevitably, I keep my drawers very tidy. As a child I kept my child-things in a filing cabinet. I specifically chose to use a filing cabinet. I now use normal wooden drawers, like everyone else, but I have my systems.

Harriet Braine: Total Eclipse of the Art is at Laughing Horse @ Golf Tavern from Aug 4 - 27. Info here.


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