Arriving in Walthamstow to head an all female line-up, comedian and Red Dwarf star Hattie Hayridge talks Kate Adie, Highway Codes and life's annoyances (From Haringey Independent)
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Arriving in Walthamstow to head an all female line-up, comedian and Red Dwarf star Hattie Hayridge talks Kate Adie, Highway Codes and life's annoyances
Hattie Hayridge never set out to be a comedian. Her first ambition was to be the next Kate Adie.
After a stint in the civil service, in the department that sent out Highway Codes (“It’s the only place that saying about being mad to work here actually applies,” she tells me), Hattie went to university to study International Relations.
“I fancied being a foreign correspondent,“ Hattie tells me from her north London home. “But I thought, I‘m not pushy enough to elbow my way past lines of soldiers and generals.“
Although the knowledge would pay off much later (she won her Celebrity Mastermind heat – specialist subject, The Cold War), Hattie found herself temping as a secretary. It was a dead end job that led to her future path.
“I thought this has gone wrong,“ she explains, her words punctuated by her trademark high-pitched yelp of a giggle, “I had better jobs before I went to university!
“In this disillusioned state, I went to a comedy club and they said anyone that wants to get up and do something, they can. I was pretty unprepared, it was just annoyance. I‘d had a bad day at the office, so I just got up and moaned about it.“
After her debut performance, gig offers flooded in and within a year she was on Friday Night Live and starring in Red Dwarf as ship‘s computer Holly.
“It snowballed very quick, it was very rockety,“ she remembers. “It‘s an almost backwards career. It would have been nice if I‘d had a bit more comedy practise before I’d got known. When I was at my most famous, I probably only had about ten minutes of material.“
Still with her platinum blonde bob, these days the jokes come thick and fast, and her position as one of alternative comedy‘s leading ladies makes her the perfect choice to headline Guffaw Comedy Club‘s International Women‘s Day gig next week.
Her set will feature a slew of one-liners and observations on life‘s annoyances, of which she‘s gathered many through the years.
“I wouldn‘t say I‘m grumpy,“ she giggles, “there‘s loads of things I get exasperated and annoyed by... continually.
“Sometimes it makes you a perfectionist. You think ‘that shouldn‘t be like that‘, however petty the thing is. I just get irritated by things and try and make jokes about them. I do that in real life all the time, stupid little things.
“My act‘s not ranty but when I‘m writing it is. Then I whittle it all down to nice little one-liners.“
She‘s penned gags for Rory Bremner, Jasper Carrott and Lee Evans but it‘s wrapped up in her deadpan delivery that they really shine.
“It just came naturally to me,“ she explains. “When I first started I tried being bouncy-bouncy but I ran out of energy after a minute. It‘s a little less deadpan then it was. I would say it‘s like having a telephone voice. I don‘t deliberately do it, it just comes out like that. I‘m actually more giggly off-stage.“
Plenty of giggles in the audience are promised on Wednesday when Hattie will be joined by softly spoken, sharp-tongued Mary Bourk, fiesty Australian Pam Ford and Guffaw‘s always funny compere, Susan Murray.
Hattie Hayridge at Guffaw Comedy Club at Ye Olde Rose and Crown, Hoe Street on March 14 from 8.30pm. Details: 020 8509 3880