We’re excited to welcome one of stand-up comedy’s rising stars to MAC next week! Fresh from her run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, ‘So You Think You’re Funny’ and ‘Amused Moose’ winner Maisie Adam is touring for the second time with her show ‘Hang Fire’, following her Best Newcomer-nominated debut in 2018. Check out this interview with Maisie by Bruce Dessau to get the anticipation going for this weekend…
Can you remember your first stand-up gig?
Yes. I grew up in a village called Pannal near Harrogate. Ilkley, about 20 minutes away, had a Literature Festival and they were asking if local artists wanted to appear at their Fringe. I applied and they gave me an hour from 7.30pm to 8.30pm. I can still remember the exact date – 13th October 2016. I now know most comedians start out doing short sets but I’d seen Lee Evans do an hour at Leeds Town Hall and comedy DVDs lasted an hour so I thought that was normal. It didn’t go horrendously. It gave me such a buzz, it felt like a skydive and I wanted to do it again.
Your first show Vague was autobiographical. How is Hang Fire different?
This is about cutting people some slack when they make mistakes. Especially in this current climate where we call out people on their bad behaviour. I think there’s a massive difference between patterned bad behaviour knowing you can get away with it and a genuine mistake, though at the moment the lines are getting blurred. We live in this cancel culture where people make an error and pay the price in every single way.
You look at various cases, from celebrity scandals to personal stories...
I wanted to talk about how even people we hold in high regard can mess up in a moment. It’s interesting, for example, to look at Hugh Grant who was caught with a prostitute. It was before Twitter. I wonder what it would be like if it happened now to someone similar like Eddie Redmayne?
You talk about your parents onstage. They sound like funny characters. Did they have a big influence on you?
My mum used to work in education, now she runs a punk literary festival in Manchester called Louder Than Words. Dad, who is retired, is funny and reserved, mum is outgoing and a social chameleon who can walk into any room and find something in common with everybody. You wouldn’t worry where she is sat at a wedding because she is able to talk to anyone. There’s a skill I’ve got which is to read audiences and see what they will go for. Maybe I get that from her.
Who are your comedy heroes?
It’s a given, but Victoria Wood. My granny loved her. We used to watch her TV shows together. She’d make a joke and you could see men, women, old and young, everybody would be laughing. She would be talking about struggling to get your boobs into your bra and blokes would be laughing even if the jokes weren’t necessarily for them. I really admired that. Peter Kay – I love how he taps into everyday life. I think a lot of audiences go to comedy to laugh at their lives, not hear comedians talking about being comedians. Every time he released a DVD you’d feel you knew him inside out. Dad introduced me Rik Mayall through Bottom. It was so silly, it reminded me of your funny uncle who would do anything for a laugh. There’s a clip of Mayall at a wedding when he sees the camera and can’t not try to be funny. It just beautifully encapsulates what it is to be a comic, to have the need to make people laugh.
What are your ambitions?
I’d like to write something that taps into lots of people, like Aisling Bea or Phoebe Waller-Bridge have done. I’d love to see more British women doing what Amy Schumer has done, combining stand-up, film and TV. I love Tina Fey too. Both are brilliant female comics who have bossed writing and acting. I’d love to do Saturday Night Live.
How do you relax?
I play football for the local women’s team. I’m quite useful. I played at County level for North Yorkshire. I come from a big family of Leeds supporters with some Southampton supporters in the southern contingent. So I watch Leeds when I can. They are doing alright, I think this might be our year.
Maisie Adam’s ‘Hang Fire’ will be showing at MAC on Sunday 10 November at 7.30pm. Grab your tickets here!