Interview: Maisie Adams

Having only been on the comedy circuit since 2016, the chances are you’ll be seeing much more of Maisie Adams in 2018. The Yorkshire comedian has already won the prestigious ‘So You Think You’re Funny?’ award at the Edinburgh Fringe and her latest show, ‘Living on the Edge’ has received a number of press plaudits and nominations. We caught up with Maisie before she brought her live show to Edward’s Bar tonight! 

Are you looking forward to your show?
Absolutely! I haven’t gigged in Sheffield before and Edward’s a brilliant venue, so I can’t wait.

What can you tell us about “Living On The Edge”?
It’s basically a recap of my last year, in which I graduated uni and sort of found myself suddenly having to be a proper adult! This show takes a couple of experiences of me trying to do that, and laughs at the simple yet ridiculous things life presents us.

Is most of your material anecdotal ?
For me, I love it when the material is so relatable you find yourself turning to the person next to you saying things like “you do that!”. Peter Kay is one of the best examples of this, in that you don’t have to have lived his life growing up in Bolton and working at Netto to be able to relate to his material. You watch his shows and everyone in the audience is crying with laughter because they recognise the characters and situations he’s talking about. Victoria Wood is also a huge inspiration for me because she was able to talk about women’s experiences yet still engaged men (in the 80s as well!) with her material. She found really interesting ways of talking about the most mundane subjects too. I loved the way she set up her jokes too, she has tremendous timing.

When did you realise you wanted to get into stand-up comedy?
It wasn’t something I’d even thought of until we did a module at university on Commedia Dell’Arte, which is an Italian form of comedy theatre. The tutor literally sprang it upon us by saying: “At the end of this lesson you’re all going to get up and perform one minute of stand-up comedy”. We were obviously all petrified, but because we were all in the same boat we just went for it, and I absolutely loved it. I made that one minute into did at the Student Union. Then I made that five minutes into half an hour and performedt at a fundraising event held at the Otley Labour Rooms. Then that 30 minutes became an hour, and that hour became Living On The Edge!

Earlier his year you won the So You Think You’re Funny? Comedy Award at Edinburgh Fringe, becoming only the fourth woman ever to do so. How does that feel?
Absolutely insane. The competition was fantastic, too. I entered on a total whim because I saw who had previously won it and was curious to see how it worked. I never thought for a minute I’d get any further than the heat – I just wanted to see what the crack was! When I won, 2 of the other three women to have won were there – Heidi Regan (last year’s winner) and Aisling Bea (who won in 2012 and who was the compere for the evening) – both of whom I’d been to see before the competition and really admired them. I remember having my photo being taken with them and thinking “this is just incredible”. It was a real pinch-yourself moment.

It’s your first stand-up show and you’ve only been on the circuit since 2016. How does it feel seeing your debut show receiving so much adulation? 
I honestly can’t believe it. I wrote it as just an hour of material that I could take to different festivals but I never expected it to go as well as it has. Being nominated for Best New Comedy at the Brighton Fringe was a real highlight. It’s really lovely because when I think of the preview show in Ilkley, the whole audience was basically friends and family, there was literally no one in the audience who didn’t know me personally. So now, to be doing gigs where I don’t know anyone at all in the crowd, and it still be received so well… it’s just the best feeling in the world.

You recently made it through to the regional finals of the 2017 Funny Women Awards. Are you excited for the final in February? What have you got planned?
I’m ecstatic about that! Funny Women is a fantastic community and platform, and I feel so proud and honoured to even be on the list alongside such brilliant female comics. In terms of the final in February, I’m just going to use the time between now and then to really perfect the routine and get it as slick as possible – but mostly I’m just going to enjoy it!

What plans have you got for 2018? Any shows you’re particularly excited for?
So in 2018 there’s three main things I’m super excited about. Firstly, as part of the prize for winning SYTYF, I get go to Bergen in Norway for the Humorfest, which is amazing! I’ve never been to anywhere in Scandinavia and I’m really excited to see what the festival is like there. Secondly, I also get to go to Montreal in Canada for the Just For Laughs Festival, the biggest comedy festival in the world. It’s opportunities like that which I honestly can’t believe I’m experiencing! Finally, I’ll be doing my first ever Edinburgh show. I’m really nervous about it as I know there might be certain expectations after winning SYTYF last year, but hopefully this new show will pull it out the bag.

Maisie plays Edward’s Bar, Glossop Road, tonight at 8pm. Tickets – just a fiver! – can be purchased here.

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