Chatting with Maeve Higgins
Interview by: Caroline Foran
One of the most successful and downright hilarious Irish female stand ups on the go, Maeve Higgins is a comedic force to be reckoned with. Winning our hearts on Naked Camera and then endearing us further with her own TV show, Fancy Vittles, wherein she and her sister baked cakes and mused about which ever topic took their fancy, Maeve engages audiences the length and breath of the country as a slightly awkawrd, self deprecating charmer. We caught up with Maeve to chat about her love for Michael Fassbender, her addiction to stand up and her latest venture - Enlightenment Night.
So Maeve, tell us about Enlightenment Night and how did the last one go?
It went great! Enlightenment Night is not stand up, it's better... Well, it's different to stand up. It's my monthly lecture night where me and my brilliantly assorted gang of brainiacs and amusers get together to delight and inform you about all sorts of things. Next sunday all of the profits from the night are going straight to the Hope Foundation. There will also be chocolate on the night. I have said too much. You should come along!
I most certainly will! So did you always dream of being a comedian?
No, I didn't even know what a comedian was for until I saw Eddie Murphy's video Raw when I was about nineteen. And, of course, that didn't exactly resonate with me because his style and material is very different to what mine turned out to be. Truth be told, I dreamt of being Michael Collins and to this day my family call me 'The Big Fellow'.
No way. Michael Collins? What then would you be doing if you weren't doing stand up?
I literally can't stop doing stand up. It's a compulsion, that's why my album is called 'Maeve Higgins Can't Stop Doing Comedy'. If some miracle happened that made me able to stop, then I think I might like to work in the post office in town or else be a waitress with a cool haircut.
You must have some comedy influences?
I love Maria Bamford. She is amazing and I urge you to buy her albums and go see her if she comes to Ireland again. I don't know if she will though. My sisters are very funny, and they are in Ireland, but they don't do stand up. They do all sorts of things, let me tell you, but they don't do stand up.
We did love your sister on Fancy Vittles. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
My trainer told me to think about something else when I was doing the plank once and now I think about something else during all sorts of unpleasant things. Like when I'm stuck in a boring conversation at a party, I am actually thinking about what kind of music Michael Fassbender likes.
We like thinking about him too. You come across as a very lovely, easy going (and of course funny) person. But there must be a few things that really grinds your gears?
I am not lovely, I am tough. Don't you see that? I am merciless and I am in a gang. Things that annoy me include when the other gang members don't pay their annual dues on time and also sexism.
You do give off a merciless gang vibe come to think of it. Even though you're tough and in a gang, tell us what makes you exceedingly happy?
My vices are laziness and the inability to love. Photos of miniature animals next to regular sized objects make me happy.
We loved you on The Naked Camera and on your baking show with your sister. Any more television projects coming up?
If I ever make more TV it will be about different uses for eggs, they are blowing my mind these days with their versatility. I say that with no encouragement from egg merchants or hens. I would never sell out like that. Please don't steal my TV show about eggs idea by the way.
We love a good poached egg in here. Speaking of TV though what TV shows are you watching these days?
I am terrible for TV, I don't know what's going on. I got an ariel in Lidl but it only gets this one weird channel that's like TV3 but not actually it. My mother really likes Downton Abbey and my father likes Westerns, I suppose I am somewhere in between. Oh, I liked The Wire. Yes, it is great. I recommend it to you, though it will make you curse a lot more than you used to, and also whistle the tune of 'The Farmer Wants A Wife' in a menacing way from time to time.
You'll get lots of time for telly over Christmas. How will you be spending it?
I'll be living it up in Cobh of course! I can't wait for my family to get together. Not like that! Just platonic. We're real traditional that way.
And what's your idea of the perfect day?
I'm not fussy about where I am, as long as all the top playas in my life are around. So, breakfast with my sisters for the laugh, then on to my best Cobh friends for a hug off their babies, then a long train journey with my friends who live in other countries. We will have a laugh on the train too. Then a good cry somewhere to balance things out, and a new pb on my deadlift. Then dinner somewhere good with enough protein, and a laugh with my friends in Dublin. Then on to meet up with William Trevor for a drink and finally onto somewhere nice to get off with Michael Fassbender.
You and Michael would make a lovely couple. On the subject of romance, what's the most romantic thing you've ever had done for you?
Well, once this guy I didn't know thought I'd dropped a fiver and gave it to me on the train. MY HEART SKIPPED A BEAT. It wasn't my fiver but I kept it and got myself something nice. You guessed it - tea and coconut macaroons from the tea trolley.
That's exactly what we'd have bought too. Tell us about your most embarrassing moment?
I'm going to stick with a classic here. Falling. I fall a lot. I fall over from standing. I fell down the bus steps. I fell off a Luas. I fell on a plane. I'm always falling over.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years?
I guess in ten years myself and Michael Fassbender will have settled into a comfortable, familiar pattern of life together. Sure, it'll be safe and it'll be predictable - but I think we'll keep the magic alive somehow. We'll be one of those couple that have individual interests, like he's into fencing and I take up the saxophone, that type of thing. And we'll have the kids, so we'll never be stuck for something to talk about.
Lastly, what's next for Maeve Higgins?
I'm pretty sure that I'll be able to retire on the inevitable cash windfall after my album wins a MOBO award. I'll buy a horse, and call him Maeve. Everyone will laugh and laugh when they yell at us and we both look! In other news, I had this idea just now for an apple trifle, where you make an apple sponge cake as a base for a trifle, and omit the fruit cocktail and maybe eat it warm. But then it wouldn't set. I have to work out the finer details of this recipe, so I'll be pretty busy. Very busy in fact. Wow. I haven't been this fired up about anything in ages. It's great to be alive!
Enlightenment Night in aid of The Hope Foundation, Nov 20th at 8pm, The Workman's Club, Dublin €8
Cork launch of 'Maeve Higgins Can't Stop Doing Comedy' December 1st at 8pm in The Firkin Crane. (021) 4507487
Dublin launch of 'Maeve Higgins Can't Stop Doing Comedy' December 9th at 8pm in The Workman's Club
For more visit www.maevehiggins.com and sign up to her mailing list!
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Wednesday 16th November 2011 | Comedy
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