Aisling Bea is a popular face on the comedy scene these days, with her most notable recent television appearances including her role in The Delivery Man and performing stand up at last month’s Channel Four Comedy Gala. With gorgeous Irish charm and a sharp wit, Aisling is fast becoming one of one of the nation’s (and my own) most loved comics, both on television and the live comedy circuit.
I asked Aisling these seven questions to find out more about her…
1) What stops you from being bored?
Having a nap in the middle of the day and not having to hang out with myself. I find being with myself an utter bore sometimes. Naps are one of the purest joys I know.
2) Are comedians cool?
Only the ones who don’t think about being cool. Being cool is like not thinking, once you start thinking about not thinking, you are not not thinking. (Cool answer by me there).
3) Do you have any phobias?
Pigeons, or “sky rats” as I call them and also rats, or “land pigeons” as I call them. They serve no purpose but sadness and destruction and they are not afraid of us and I’m convinced I will die owing to an ambush from a gang of pigeon-rats.
4) What is your favourite Irish phrase?
“Well, you’re doing well for yourself, aren’t you?” (Said with the implication of shock).
5) Is there a comedian you wish you were more like?
Yes, Sara Pascoe. Watching her do stand up makes me feel, as an audience member, enlightened and full of laughter, but as a comic, wishing that I had what she had and could say what she says in the way that she says it. She is so clever and such a good writer and is thoroughly respected by all and sundry in the comedy world.
6) Are you a pleasure to be around?
I am an utter delight when I’ve had a few drinks, but when I’m sober people wonder if I’m drunk or what exactly is happening here.
7) Do you think university is important?
I think education is and staying in it for as long as possible (well unless you are avoiding growing up by doing embroidery courses that your parents pay for until you’re 43). But if you can’t afford it, I would say try to do a half and half, do a course that you love and a job you don’t care about so you can keep your options open. Work experience will always stand to you rather than just keeping your nose in books for twenty years.
I studied French and Philosophy for four years and spent most of that time in the drama society acting and writing and not going to university much. What I learned during that time stands to me still, as do the relationships and friendships I made. I think getting out and going and seeing the world and meeting people is very important and then you can find new bits of yourself from new types of people who make you feel and become things you didn’t know.
So give yourself a chance to learn and work out who you are during that time. And if you get the chance later to go back and learn something and didn’t get it the first time round, do. There is always time to give something a go. I started stand up much later than some of my peers and some of my friends have had whole other careers before giving it a go. Not everyone knows what or who they want to be at 18, give yourself time to find it. And also stay away from drugs and all fizzy canned drinks.