With the Edinburg Fringe looming on the horizon, Comedian Arabella Weir very kindly took some time out to chat with us.
1. So, you’re making your Edinburgh Fringe Festival debut this month, what are you expecting from it?
Fame, fortune and eternal happiness, obviously. Those would be nice but on a, perhaps, more realistic level I am really hoping for audience appreciation and getting a sense that they were able to relate to, and enjoy, the show. And I’m expecting to learn a great deal from performing it, too, as it’s my first ever solo show after many, many years as part of either a gang show or acting in a group.
2. On the comedy circuit Edinburgh is such an important event. What are you hoping to get out of it?
The belief that I can do it on my own, if and when necessary, and get huge enjoyment from doing so. A connection with the audience, too, would be great.
3. What can comedy fans who choose to check out your show expect from it?
Some laughs, some insights into the pitfalls, difficulties and unexpected humour of being a mother. Some insights into what being a single mother in the 1960/70s was, too, and how hard that was. And some very revealing details of my childhood and my parenting now. Also, an experience of how I dance to the biggest rapper in the world’s music – special and weird.
4. I believe the show revolves around, amongst other subjects, motherhood and your own childhood. What is your most embarrassing childhood memory and what about as a mother?
There is genuinely nothing like enough space here for me to list my most embarrassing childhood memory or in fact mine as a mother. One that comes to mind was being fed dogwood as a child, that was pretty memorable. As a mother myself, you’d have to ask my kids but I am pretty sure my ‘hip’ dancing would feature very high on their top hits of embarrassing mum behaviour.
5. You’ve been very honest in your opinions of attitudes to women in the TV/comedy industry, have those attitudes changed much over the years?
Not hugely, to be honest, it’s creaking along in the right direction but at a very slow pace, it seems. You can still turn on the TV and see a whole game or panel show with all men and only one woman – the reverse, i.e. all women and one man would get noticed as being ‘unbalanced’ much more quickly than it appears the current norm does.
6. If you could go back and speak to Arabella at the start of her career, what advice would you give her knowing now what you experienced / learned?
Oh man, that’s a question, I think I’d say don’t listen to most men giving you advice – they usually turned out to have ‘ulterior motives’. I’d also urge her not to mind so much that she wasn’t skinny and gorgeous like all of her contemporaries but to believe in herself more and know that by doing so she’d come good. I’d also tell her to start doing stand-up right at the beginning of it all and not to watch enviously from the sidelines.
7. What would you say the most important lesson you learned or best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Be true to yourself, no one is like you and that that’ll be your strength – don’t try and be like others.
8. Curveball question – As a mother, if your child did something potentially hugely embarrassing but didn’t get caught, would you let them take the blame or would you say it was your fault?
Are you crazy, I didn’t have a Scottish upbringing for nothing?! Of course I’d let them take the blame and if they didn’t I would MAKE them take the blame. You learn everything from taking responsibility for your mistakes and your successes – to each his own, credit where credit is due and all those other homilies that you tell your kids when they ask if it’s ok if they don’t do their homework/lie/refuse to visit their granny etc. etc.
9. Going back to Edinburgh, why have you decided to perform this year?
Because it’s there – it’s the Everest for comedy and comedy performers. I saw a couple of other mates doing solo shows there last year and thought it’s now or never.
10. After Edinburgh, what are your plans for the rest of 2019?
A wee rest, then some volunteering (yes, that is true) and then writing a pilot for a sitcom, the idea I had with my co-writer for this show, Jon Canter (with whom I wrote Posh Nosh for TV, starring Richard E Grant and me).
You can see Arabella Weir – Does My Bum Look Big In This? At the Assembly George Square during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 12th – 25th August, then touring nationally from February 2020. For tickets and more information visit www.arabellaweir.co.uk