If you’re a regular visitor to Standard Issue, you won’t need telling that we’re lucky enough to have a cracking team of contributors who we love dearly. We thought it was about time we let them introduce themselves properly. Please say hello to Sally-Anne Hayward.
Official job title: Comedian
What was the first thing you wanted to be? A teacher then a barrister then a mounted policeman (stupid choice, given the last time I got on a horse I was thrown off).
When did you know you wanted to be what you are now? I did a degree in Drama and Theatre Studies which included modules in standup comedy and storytelling (among others).
I loved these two modules and loved being on a stage alone telling stories. That was the moment. And I knew it was possible because my dad was earning a living as a comic.
What’s your strongest memory from school/education? Sitting in a cupboard during a lesson, making animal noises. Eventually the teacher simply said, “Can somebody let the cat out of the cupboard?” I came out and sat at my desk to a complete anticlimax.
When you’re not working, what else do you like to do? I love going to see live music. I love a night in a pub. I enjoy a bit of yoga. I really love a night on the sofa if I haven’t had one for a while. Oh, and having a good old pluck of extraneous (is that the right word?) hairs.
What has been your proudest creative moment to date? There isn’t just one. I work hard at what I do and sometimes I stop and look at all the hours, effort and emotion I have put in and am really proud of where I am.
What was your favourite day at work? I love my job so loads of them. But when I was younger and worked in Habitat on a Saturday, I used to have such a laugh with my colleagues. Getting on the forklift truck and racing round the warehouse; speaking into the tannoy system to declare that Mr Pube was needed at checkout number one; dropping caramel slices on to the cafe floor so that they couldn’t be sold and we could eat them; pretending to customers that I was Spanish and didn’t speak much English so they needed to slow down. There was something quite magical about genuinely not giving a fuck if you lost your job (I didn’t lose it).
Actually the only job I lost was being an usher at the theatre and that was because I refused to stand at the back throughout the entire performance. There was a seat and they made me stand! Arseholes.
What would you like to erase from your past? Telling somebody who wanted me to appear on a TV show that it sounded rubbish.
What brings you the most joy? Hearing what my niece and nephews are getting up to. Lying in the hot sun with a decent book with nothing to do at all – I bloody love that. I find the sun so meditative: that warmth seeping right into your core and… *leaves questionnaire to book some winter sun*
“I spent too long mucking about with the mates I met on the open mic circuit that I ended up just being a reliable open spot. It took me moving out of London and being the worst on a bill to really start to learn the craft.”
What makes you angry? Thick people who think they are right. I absolutely hate people who think they are better than others. Nobody is better than anybody else – we are all just a mass of cells and tissues with as much right to exist on this land as the next mass of cells and tissues. We need to start being nice to each other and then “The world will be a better place…” I’m happy again now I’ve put some song lyrics into my rant.
Professionally, who has been your biggest inspiration? I guess it has to be Joan Rivers. I encourage anyone to read her book Enter Talking (Hayley Ellis – if you’re reading this you have still got my copy). I used to love my dad’s attitude when I was so frustrated at somebody within the industry in my early days. He just used to say, “Fuck ’em Sal.”
Have you ever met someone who made you go weak at the knees? A doctor – you know when they do that banging on the knee thing to check your reflexes…? Well, he was well fit.
What advice would you give a woman who wants a career like yours? Only do it if you are genuinely good at it. I would give that advice to any job. If you’re not cutting it, get out and do something that you are good at and makes you happy.
Otherwise, gig as much as you can, try to get on professional bills so you can learn from people who are doing it for a living. Don’t use the open mic circuit as a social place; when I was on it there was a lot of back-slapping and laughing at each other’s jokes. I spent too long mucking about with the mates I met on that circuit that I ended up just being a reliable open spot. It took me moving out of London and being the worst on a bill to really start to learn the craft.
And write and try it out and write and try it out and write and try it out.
How do you define success? That’s a massive question! Success professionally – doing the job you love and doing it well. Success personally – getting along with others, being kind to people, not holding the bottom of the crisp packet so your friend can only get a crumb out when she asks for one.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever had? Professional advice – see above from my dad. Also, I remember being really nervous about my first paid MC-ing work so I rang Daniel Kitson. He simply said, “Be funny at the top.” From memory, he said this advice came to him from Boothby Graffoe.
What’s your favourite photograph of yourself?
Who can’t you live without? I am already living without my dad.
What can’t you live without? Sanitary towels… for now.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? An A-grade in my report from my art teacher (the only A I think I ever got); scoring seven goals in a netball match once, Distinction in my RSA 1 typing and secretarial skills exams, which I did after A-levels as I had no idea what to do with my life, and a girl I knew used to travel on the coach from Oxford to London every day to earn £6 an hour as a secretary. I thought, “I’m having some of that.” I never did. Passing my driving test first time – FIRST FUCKING TIME.
Who’s your favourite animal? Mr Bodge (see photo).
Which song could be used to soundtrack your life so far? At the moment all I have in my head is Getting to Know You from The King and I – oddly. I am quite nosy so maybe that is apt.
Which question would you have liked to have answered in this questionnaire, but weren’t asked? What is driving you mad at the moment? The way the selfish Bristol mayor has rolled out resident permit parking and now all the trustafarians who don’t want to pay for a permit are dumping their hippy wagons on my street so it is really difficult to park.
I don’t even drive around the city – I cycle and walk – but I need my car to get me to gigs. Now when I get home late at night, it is increasingly difficult to park near where I live and my safety is my main concern.2816 Views