Interview with Mae Martin

We caught up with Mae Martin as they prepared for their upcoming show at Soho Theatre (Wed 9 to Sat 12 October). We decided to dig into her inner mind and find out a bit more about Mae and their comedy antics.

Q. What is your favourite joke?
I sometimes search for “people falling down” on YouTube. Hours of fun. Also my brother used to tell a joke when we were kids that was pretty classic – the basic structure was he would insult me, I would cry, then he would say “just kidding!”

Q. How do you deal with hecklers?
In England it’s usually just friendly people answering rhetorical questions and joining in the conversation, which I love to engage with. In Canada it’s usually my parents shouting “get a job!” from the back, which is trickier.

Q. What has been your best audience response to date and why?
Once a woman arrived late to my show bleeding profusely from her knee, and sat right in the front row. She’d fallen over on the way in. Minutes later the venue staff came in and tried to convince her to get medical help but she aggressively refused, saying she’d been looking forward to the show for ages. Luckily I didn’t bomb. I loved that, though. That was great.

Q. Where has been the best place that you have got inspiration from when you least expected it?
Kids have a way of identifying all your insecurities in a weirdly abstract way. I used to look after a four year old who, in response to me telling him he wasn’t allowed any more Oreos, told me that my calves looked like spiky chickens and my head looked like a light bulb. That inspired me.

Q. What is the journey to get from initial concept to full-blown set for you (or at least for this slumber party show)?
The journey involves so many patient, bemused audiences enduring long rambling sets with no punch lines. If you go on stage with no real jokes enough times your instinct for self-preservation kicks in and the punch lines start to emerge. I always record my sets on my phone and listen to them on the way home, too. And I have friends who give me extremely, unnecessarily harsh feedback, which helps.

Q. Have you found it hard to break into the comedy circuit as a female comedian? What has helped and hindered?
On the live circuit things are getting much better in the past few years I think. Less casual sexism and less reluctance to book more than one woman on a bill. Generally I’ve had an ok time! When you get to TV, though, there’s still a huge imbalance – on most panel shows etc. there is still a noticeable absence of female comedians, which is so
discouraging.

Q. If you were to go and see any other female comedian, who and why?
The list is endless. Claudia O’Doherty’s show Pioneer at the Soho Theatre just rocked my world and I’m opening for Nina Conti on tour right now and she is brilliant. I’d love to see Chelsea Peretti, Tig Notaro, or Sarah Silverman live. Or Amy Poehler and Tina Fey doing an improv set would probably make me weep.

Q. Three words to describe why people should come and see the show at soho theatre?
We. Will. Hug.
I. Am. Broke.

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