In the lead up to our big Standard Issue Stands Up For Comic Relief gig on Monday 11 May at the Lyric, Shaftesbury Avenue, we’re asking each of our line-up a few questions. Today, it’s the fiercely frank, ridiculously funny Standard Issue co-founder Sarah Millican.
We’ve been merrily banging on about our brilliant forthcoming gig for Comic Relief (Monday 11 May, The Lyric, Shaftesbury Avenue, ON SALE NOW). And yes we’re biased, but it is one hell of a bill: Jo Brand, Katherine Ryan, Susan Calman, Jessica Fostekew, Jo Caulfield, Sara Pascoe, Zoe Lyons and Holly Walsh. Standard Issue co-founder Sarah Millican has been vital in making this gig happen, gawd bless her.
What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you onstage?
In the beginning, when my jokes were largely based around my divorce, I did a gig in Birmingham and halfway through a little old man started to come up onto the stage. When I asked what he was doing, he said, “I’m divorced as well. I’ve got some stories.” He clearly thought we were a very pissed support group.
Where do you get your inspiration for material?
Life. All of my stuff is based on things I’ve done, said or thought. So if I’m short of new stuff, I just need to live a bit.
When did you realise you were a feminist?
Probably when I saw Thelma and Louise. I was 16 and wanted to be a film director and had never really seen such an arse-kicking film with two women as the lead characters. Now if a TRAILER doesn’t pass the Bechdel test, I don’t bother going to see the film. Also, both Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman and Tina Fey’s Bossypants got my feminism alarm ringing loud.
“My dad always said that there’s no such thing as ‘can’t’. He said the only thing you can’t do is stick your bum out of your bedroom window then run downstairs into the garden and throw stones at it.”
Which women have inspired you and how?
Without Jo Brand, my job probably wouldn’t exist so I’m very grateful to her for blazing the trail. And thrilled to be working with her again at this fundraiser!
If you could befriend anyone from history, who would it be and why?
Dorothy Parker. Sitting round a table sparring with friends and quipping like billy-o? Yes please.
What were you like as a kid?
Bookish, shy and ripe for bullying at school. Tap dancing (amateur), poem writing (intermediate), smiling child (advanced) at home. Thanks to wonderful parents, the home girl shone through.
What brings you joy?
Oh, so many things. My dog, my cats, my husband…bad order. My family and friends who all make me honk with laughter. A found Wispa in a handbag. A chip shop still open. A seedling bursting through. When that small nugget of shit on the carpet turns out to be fluff.
Please could you share the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given.
My dad always said that there’s no such thing as ‘can’t’. He said the only thing you can’t do is stick your bum out of your bedroom window then run downstairs into the garden and throw stones at it. Everything else is achievable.
What’s always on your ‘to do’ list that never gets done?
Sort out old clothes. There’s a big pile of too-fat-for clothes I need to try on. Fuck it. I might just take the lot to the charity shop. Tick!
Most people are well aware of the vital work Comic Relief does at home and overseas, but might not be as aware of the work it does with women. All the money raised by Standard Issue Stands Up for Comic Relief will be used to help vulnerable and disadvantaged women and girls here in the UK and across Africa.
From tackling violence against women, raising awareness and educating communities about the harm caused by female genital mutilation to ensuring that the number of women dying in childbirth across sub-Saharan Africa continues to fall, the cash raised will help to make a big difference to women and girls living incredibly tough lives.
Standard Issue Stands Up for Comic Relief is on Monday 11 May at The Lyric, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, 7:30pm.
Visit nimaxtheatres.com/lyric-theatre/standard_issue_stands_up_for_comic_relief for more information.
All profits from this event will be donated to Comic Relief.