In Conversation With… Wendy Wason

Wendy WasonWendy Wason is an actress, stand-up comedian and writer. She lives in London with her husband, Stephen Hagan and her three children.

This year she is taking her 5th one-woman show to the Edinburgh Festival.

 

 

 

How did you end up doing the job you do?

After leaving University in Glasgow I worked for 6 months for a PR firm and it was so dreary, I thought “This can’t be it”. Then I got a job acting in Taggart and it changed everything.

What are you working on right now?
I am writing a new show for the Edinburgh Festival and trying out new bits of the show in comedy clubs. It’s very exciting.

Describe your first job
My first job was working in Next. I was so happy one minute then gutted the next when they told me I’d need to find 50 quid to buy my uniform.

What would was your B plan if this career didn’t work out?
There is no plan B. I might be something more realistic like an astronaut. I’m quite into nutrition and yoga, I could do that I suppose.

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Who or what has been your biggest source of inspiration to date?
My kids inspire me. They are all so different and brilliant. Exhausting but brilliant.

Who would you most like to work with?
I love Jennifer Saunders. I’d like to work with her. I’d like to be her really. Great career, happy marriage, doesn’t seem that arsed by it all.

Where do you feel most inspired?
I spent three months in Los Angeles a couple of years ago and wrote loads. I think the British winter is really crushing – especially when you’re trying to create something – and it goes on for sooo long. LA is sunny every day and it’s so easy to eat healthily there so I quite like it there.

What did you want to be when you were little?
I wanted to be a marine biologist. I have a thing about dolphins.

Wendy Wason on stage

What advice would you give your children (or nieces/nephews/young people)?
I give my kids lots of advice. It’s really important to be kind. Random acts of kindness make everyone feel good, including yourself.
Also – don’t stand around blaming people, identify what went wrong and fix it.

What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
Take care of your body. You’ll need it for a while.

What are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of my children. I love hearing them laugh together.

What has been your career highlight to date?
Working on Sherlock was pretty cool. I love doing the Edinburgh Festival though. Being part of the biggest arts festival in the world is tremendous.

Which one thing would you like to change about your industry/working life?
I’d like a tardis or something that could get me places in five minutes. There is an awful lot of travel involved with being a comedian.

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What’s the biggest challenge you face in your day to day?
Setting aside time to write, exercise, look after kids and spend time with my husband is a challenge. I tend to make it through by the skin of my teeth.

Who is your favourite fictional female character?
I love Jo March from Little Women.

Right Now I’m…
Watching: The People Versus OJ.
Reading: ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’ by Murakami.
Listening to: The Foo Fighters. I saw them live last year and they are incredible.

Pass it on: Who would you most like to see featured on this blog?
Tara Flynn: @TaraFlynn
Irish actress, comedian. You’re Grand & Giving Out Yards author.
Sarah Benetto: @sarahbehnetto
Stand-up comedian, writer, radio-person, storyteller and wistful vagabond.
Lou Sanders: @LouSanders
Stand-up comedian. Edinburgh Show: http://tinyurl.com/zb2pdh7 Youtube http://tinyurl.com/otvl8a6

You can find Wendy at www.wendywason.co.uk
Twitter: @wendy_wason
Instagram: @woowas

In Conversation With… Catie Wilkins

Catie Wilkins

Catie Wilkins is a writer, comedian, screenwriter and children’s books author. ‘My Best Friend And Other Enemies’ is a series by Catie for 8-12 year olds and has been published by Nosy Crow.

Catie has also written for the BBC, The Independent, New Humanist, Tantrum, Standard Issue, Matador Films, and she appeared on ITV4’s Stand Up Hero. Catie lives in London with her husband, baby daughter and two rescued cats, Liono and Smithers.

 

How did you end up doing the job you do?

It was kind of a meandering path. I was working at various normal jobs, mainly admin based, and in my spare time, writing. I also started doing stand up comedy. I gradually met other comedy writers and more like-minded people. I wrote lots of different things, eventually a sitcom got optioned, then ultimately rejected, but that led to me meeting the person who is now my book agent. She liked a book I’d written and knew some publishers who were looking for a similar voice but younger. I came up with something at her suggestion, wrote the whole thing on spec, and they decided to publish it.

What are you working on right now?


New books, a comedy documentary, articles, my one-year-old baby. Not literally working on her. With her? Either way she is work. But lots of fun too.

What was your B plan if this career didn’t work out? 

There was no B plan as such. I’ve done lots of different jobs: delivering pizza, developing photos, bar work, admin. Lots of admin. I would probably still be temping and trying to get paid for writing. But I would always be writing, even if it was only for me.

Who or what has been your biggest source of inspiration to date? 

I always loved comedy and stories. So when I was a kid, Roald Dhal, Victoria Wood, French and Saunders, The Simpsons, Roseanne, Father Ted. Now I love Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Kristen Wiig, SNL, Douglas Adams, Margaret Atwood, Kurt Vonnegut and loads more.

Where do you feel most inspired? 

My bed at night time when I’m trying to go to sleep. When I did more stand up and before I had a baby I was a bit more nocturnal. Now my day starts at 6am but my brain still hasn’t got the memo. I end up making loads of notes on my iPhone in the dark. But at least the next day I can go through them, so I’m rarely staring at a blank page.

Catie Wilkins

What did you want to be when you were little?


A mermaid.

What was the best piece of advice you ever received?


“Keep going, it’s hard, babe.” – My husband.

What has been your career highlight to date?


I never had particularly high aspirations for myself, so my career has already surpassed my fifteen year old self’s bucket list. Which seems to be the secret aim of how I’ve lived my life. Sometimes when things are happening I think, ‘Fifteen year old me would be so excited we just did a gig with that comic we used to watch on TV.’ For me there’s been a constant series of mini highlights, which make up for all the tough bits and rejection along the way. Things like performing at the Bloomsbury Theatre, winning the Gong Show at the Comedy Store, or being bought pints by vanquished hecklers at the Edinburgh Festival during our first gang-show run. Being published was definitely a stand out highlight.

Which one thing would you like to change about your industry/working life? 

WELL. OK. I’m not being anti-my-industry, BUT… Firstly, more review space for children’s books. Children’s books currently get 3% of all book review space in newspapers, even though they account for 30% of the UK book market. A brilliant campaign called #CoverKidsBooks has been launched by children’s literature critic, Imogen Russell Williams to help rectify this. Everyone would benefit if children’s books were more fairly represented. Parents would be able to buy more than the same Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and David Walliams, if they knew more about what was available.

Secondly, it’s very hard to get paid to write or develop a script in the UK, in part because there’s no set schedule or budget for development. In America it’s a proper business with a pilot season, writers unions and things in place to help protect and develop new talent. Sometimes I wish we could bring some of that over here.

Thirdly, unpaid internships and the fact that new writers coming up are expected to do so much work for free is pushing out the voices of a huge section of society, from journalism to TV.

Who is your favourite fictional female character? 

Liz Lemon.

Right Now I’m…. 

Watching: Better Call Saul on Netflix (and also re-watching Community for the millionth time)

Reading: ‘Modern Romance’ by Aziz Ansari

Listening to: The Adam Buxton Podcast (and Elmo’s Song)

http://catiewilkins.com

@Catiewilkins

Pass it on: 

Who would you most like to see featured on this blog?

Pamela Butchart @Pamela_Butchart (award winning author of some very funny children’s books)

Wendy Wason @Wendy_Wason (very funny comedian, writer and actress)

Vikki Stone @vikkistone (very funny musical comedian)

My Best Friend and Other Enemies

my great success and other failures