With recent appearances on Russell Howard’s Good News and Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, Australian comedian Felicity Ward has made quite a name for herself in the UK. She recently presented a documentary called Felicity’s Mental Mission, which explored the stigmas surrounding mental health, and will be performing her latest show What If There Is No Toilet? at this year’s Edinburgh Festival, where she discusses her experiences with IBS and anxiety.
I asked Felicity these seven questions…
1) What are the biggest difficulties with being an Australian comic when gigging in the UK?
Trying to convince British audiences that I have something to say that might interest them. I feel a lot of them sit there when I walk on thinking, “What could you possibly have to say that will make me laugh. After all, we made you.” Occasionally I get to buck that trend.
2) Are sharks just misunderstood?
That’s a great question and I’m glad you brought that up. In short. Yes. In Long: More people die from choking than sharks, but you don’t see people going on a throat cull do you? I think Jaws did a lot of damage to the “brand”. If Free Willy was a shark instead of a whale, we might have a new generation of shark conservationists. And a lot better shark merch.
3) Do you think that worrying is ever useful?
It’s really good if your goal is to have wrinkles and stomach ulcers. Then you’ve really nailed it. Also some decisions take time to get right: you can’t just waltz up to a buffet and put any old shit on your plate. You need to deliberate. Situation: you’re looking at some buffet prawns, but you realise you’re in a landlocked area. Should you worry about food poisoning? Yes. Should you worry about missing out on discount seafood? Yes. You see? Lot to worry about. It can be very useful.
4) What personality traits make a comedian?
Poverty. Desperation. Some poor parenting seems to help. That’s really it.
5) Do you listen to movie soundtracks?
I bloody love a compilation and soundtracks are the ultimate. Footloose and Blues Brothers soundtracks were the first double sided (recorded illegally from a friend) cassette tape I ever owned. Yes, cassette. Back in the Jurassic period. Big Chill. Amazing soundtrack. Pulp Fiction. Obviously. But I don’t really do musicals.
6) What inspires you?
I’m very inspired by sleep. Sleep, cups of tea, staring out the window, buying individual tracks off a “best of” album knowing full well that Nelly never had 18 hits.
7) What would you tell your younger self?
Stay weird: It’ll give you the basis for a lot of material in later years. Oh, also, you grow into your nose and that undercut is a terrible idea.