Following a run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Sofie Hagen is out on a 30 plus date tour just now, with her new show Dead Baby Frog.
So, Sofie’s back and this time she’s angry. Or rather, she’s talking about anger since she has been left incapable of feeling, well, most things, thanks to her psychopathic grandfather. It’s time to talk about his funeral, even though he’s not dead yet… Is that right? Sofie turns to the parable of boiling frog for answers.
Sofie talked comedy with Total MK…
When did you first think 'Comedy - that's the job for me'
Two years after I started performing. I remember the moment - I sat by the river with my best friend and I confessed to her, 'I think... I think that maybe I am good at this.' and she laughed at me. And I told her that the most terrifying thought I ever had was thinking that maybe this, comedy, could be an actual job. A thing that people would want me to do. Now that I am actually living it, it still terrifies me. It seems too good to be true.
Which comedian first piqued your interest, and why?
A Danish comedian called Amin Jensen. It wasn't because it was him, it was just the first comedy I saw. Although, he is quite extraordinary. His main schtick was doing an impression of a Danish cartoon character - and it was SPOT ON. People loved him. Later it got out that he was actually the person voicing that cartoon character, so the impression wasn't too hard for him to do. But I was 10 years old and it was New Years Eve. I was watching television whilst my grandmother was on the phone. I saw it and I cried with laughter. I screamed at my grandmother to come and watch because something magical was happening on TV. Someone was just talking, being funny. It wasn't a comedian in particular that piqued my interest - it was just comedy. S
If you weren't working raising the smiles, what would you be working as?
I was pursuing a career quite successfully before I started performing - in non-governmental organisation work, for various fundraising departments for charity organisations. I was pretty good at convincing people to help out where needed. I think I always would have ended up writing on the side, though. Writing has always been my thing.
What's the best heckle you've ever had? (from what you said before you probably won’t want to answer this and that’s fine)
I have never had a good heckle as heckles are awful and not what comedy is about.
Tell us about your worst gig so far
I love the addition of 'so far'. When people talk about their worst gigs, often it is a story in which the audience is awful. If the audience is full of drunks shouting, for example. And yes. Those are horrendous. But the absolute worst gigs are the ones where YOU fuck up. Where YOU do something awful. Because then it's YOUR fault. I did a gig once where another comedian had cried during their set - and it had been a beautiful moment, truly inspirational. The audience had applauded them for five minutes straight and everyone felt all the feelings. During my set, a bit later, I mentioned crying as part of a joke - and my mind went into fucking-asshole-mode and I started joking with the fact that the previous act had cried, meanwhile my inner voice screamed at me to stop it. I left the stage and ran out the venue and never returned. I felt so guilty. Fortunately, the act had left. But still.
...and the one which still send shivers for all the right reasons?
I love doing ridiculous things on stage. Once I did a gig where a band was playing in the background in between acts. I just happened to have gone on a pretty tremendously awful date (that turned out to not have been a date at all) with the drummer. Except - he never knew that I thought it was a date. And he never knew how much Facebook stalking went in to me finally managing to get him to meet with me. I decided to tell the full story on stage, knowing he was behind me. The audience were all cringing at how embarrassing my story was. Then I pointed behind me and said, "Oh yeah. It's him." and the room exploded. I said "BYE!" and ran off stage. There was a brief moment of chaos - and the drummer was wide-eyed covering his mouth with his hands. Afterwards, he tried to speak to me about it but I was so high on adrenaline that I couldn't focus. We're great friends now though.
Are there any subjects which are off limits?
Not 'off limits'. But there are certain subjects that are not really mine to talk about. There are quite natural limits to how much I can really talk about experiences that aren't mine. Say, if I wanted to do a whole show about racism or transphobia. It isn't my lived experience, so why would I assume I could talk about it? Instead I would have to use my white and cis privilege to amplify the voices of the people who are already talking about it, whose experiences it is.
We've got to finish with a joke, so over to you - but keep it family friendly...anyone could read this
This is the only joke I know but DISCLAIMER: It's not mine.
"A man walks into a bar. As he's ordering a beer, he happens to glance down towards the other end of the bar and see a man with a big orange head. As the bartender brings his beer, the man asks him, "What's with the guy with the big orange head?"
The bartender chuckles. "Yeah," he says, "That's a helluva story, alright. Why don't you go buy him a drink, and maybe he'll tell you about it."
So the man walks over to the guy with the orange head, introduces himself, and offers to buy him a beer. The guy with the orange head says, "Let me guess. You want to hear about the head?"
The first guy says, "Well, yeah. If you don't mind."
The man with the orange head says, "Alright. Lord knows I've run it over in my mind a million times, anyway. So, it's like this: One day, I was walking along a beach, when I stubbed my toe on something. I looked down, and there, sticking out of the sand, was an antique lamp. So I picked it up and brushed away some of the sand, when a big cloud of blue smoke erupted from it. When the smoke cleared, a genie was standing there. And this genie said to me, 'Thank you for freeing me from my 5,000-year confinement. For doing this, I will grant you two wishes.'
"So, I think, wow, okay. And I do what many people would. For my first wish, I wish to be fantastically wealthy. So the genie snaps his fingers, and suddenly I'm covered in jewels. Hundreds of necklaces, three rings per finger, a crown on my head, and a chest full of gold next to me besides all that."
At this point in the story, the first man is in amazement. He just can't believe what he's hearing. Eager to hear the rest, he says, "So what was your second wish?"
The man with the orange head slowly takes a sip of his beer. He puts it down, and says, "You know. This may be where I went wrong... I wished for a big orange head."
Sofie Hagen’s Dead Baby Frog is at The Stables in Milton Keynes on October 29. To book your ticket click here
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