48: Rosie Wilby (Using humour to unpack challenging questions)

Danielle Krage interviews Rosie Wilby. Rosie is an award-winning comedian and creator of the global hit podcast and book The Breakup Monologues. She is also the author of ‘Is Monogamy Dead?’ and toured a trilogy of solo shows investigating the psychology of love. In this interview, Rosie shares insights for how we can use humour to unpack challenging questions.

Chapters

00:00 Introduction and Background

01:04 Using Humour to Explore Love and Relationships

04:08 The Structure and Themes of the Book

05:20 Writing Non-Fiction vs Fiction

06:17 The Ethics of Comedy and Vulnerability

07:42 Navigating Comedy Clubs and Diverse Voices

09:15 Balancing Personal Stories and Boundaries

09:50 Writing During the Pandemic and Self-Care

11:20 Exploring Breakups and Identity

12:17 The Challenges of Diverse Voices in Comedy

13:33 Finding Voice on the Page

14:25 Translating Humour to the Page

15:58 Seeking Out Unusual Experiences for Writing

19:27 Crafting Engaging Scenes and Details

20:40 Listening and Observing

21:27 Structural Formats in Writing

22:24 Writing Dialogue

23:14 Writing Non-Fiction vs Fiction

24:06 Writing Challenges

25:12 Exploring Identity and Relationships

26:11 The Discomfort of Comedy

27:09 Writing Endings

28:17 Using Science in Comedy

29:43 Testing and Organizing Work

31:35 Comedy Recommendations

34:47 Where to find Rosie Wilby’s work

You can find Rosie Wilby here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1472982282

https://breakupmonologues.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/rosiewilby

https://www.instagram.com/breakupmonologues

https://www.threads.net/@breakupmonologues

https://www.tiktok.com/@rosiewilbyauthor

CLICK HERE FOR TRANSCRIPT

Danielle (00:00.937)

Hey everyone, today I am super excited to have Rosie Wilby with me. Rosie is an award -winning comedian and creator of the global hit podcast and book, The Breakup Monologues, which I’ve really enjoyed. Rosie is also the author of Is Monogamy Dead? And she toured a trilogy of solo shows digging into the psychology of love. So Rosie is really such a fun expert to have on the show to ask about how we might use humour to unpack really challenging questions. So I’m excited about that topic. But before we dive in, Rosie, is there anything else you’d love people to know about you and your work and connections to comedy?

Rosie Wilby (00:39.438)

Oh gosh, well, I think you’ve summed it all up there. As you say, the main thing the past few years has really been this voyage into the psychology of love and relationships. So lots that we can unpack there and lots to think about about for comedy, as you say, and how humour helps us dig into those topics and dig into scary things. I mean, particularly the show about monogamy. When I first took that to Edinburgh, that was in 2013, and it was still a very scary thing for people to be questioning. So certainly humour was a way to sort of think about what we mean, because I just felt some of these concepts are, you know, based on an assumption that we all mean the same thing. And of course, many of us don’t, because we’ve got very individual personal boundaries and desires and different ways of thinking about consent and what we want.

Danielle (01:40.521)

Yeah, I love it. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m drawn to humour too, is because I’m actually both incredibly serious and intense and absolutely ridiculous. And I love humour for digging into things that are, as you say, a bit scary or that I don’t understand or that don’t sit right. So I love that about your work and I really enjoyed reading it. So I wanted to start with The Breakup Monologues, and to ask for listeners who may not have read it yet, just a little bit of an insight into what the process was like for your first draft. So they can maybe understand where that sits in this sort of nest of pursuing these questions. What was the first draft of that book like as a process for you?

Rosie Wilby (02:19.726)

Well, the Breakup Monologues initially was a podcast, a live podcast that I’ve been touring around and continue to tour around with fellow comedians sharing various stories of heartbreak and recovery. And as you say, a mix of the ridiculous and you know, the people who’ve run out naked out of the house to lie in the road in front of their partner’s car to stop them driving away…to the really serious and poignant. And the person who completely rediscovered themselves and had a complete reawakening and found a new sense of identity and sense of self in the wake of heartbreak and reinvented themselves. So for that reason, the subtitle of the book very quickly we settled on, my publisher and I settled on the idea of the unexpected joy of heartbreak because I did want to take this slightly optimistic tone because there was going to be humour and sort of look at how it can be this very challenging, difficult, desperately sad situation. How it can be repurposed as this opportunity for reflection and thinking, and healing and learning and growing. And there are certainly many, many people, including myself, who’ve done that. I mean, I actually started comedy in the wake of heartbreak, I think as certain other successful and famous comedians have done. So it can be this portal into something new, the beginning of a new chapter.

For that reason, I sort of wrote the first half of the book in a kind of backwards timeline and the second half of the book in a forwards timeline to give this sense that the ending of something might well be the beginning of something new. And early on in the book, we’ve got this lovely illustration that somebody did of a butterfly painting, because I had this sense of the child’s butterfly painting and how there often is a strange symmetry to our lives. But we might look at different parts of our lives from different perspectives. And depending how, as a child, the sort of paint gets smooshed together, we might see things, see the picture in different ways when different parts of it are highlighted.

So yeah, the first draft of the book, I guess, yeah, that was a kind of starting point, the unexpected joy and just really this idea of that timeline and that sort of symmetry and really wanting to weave in some of the other people’s anecdotes and funny stories that they told me on the podcast with my own story of finally staying in a relationship.

Danielle (05:07.785)

That’s brilliant. And did you have that structure before you started writing the book? Because it’s such an effective structure. Or did you have to put down a draft and then find a kind of organizing principle to make sense of it?

Rosie Wilby (05:20.238)

Well, with non -fiction, I mean, I’m actually writing my first novel at the moment, and fiction is a different process because you have to pretty much finish the whole thing before you submit it to publishers, which actually feels like an incredibly vulnerable thing because you’re spending all this time writing something thinking…maybe nobody will ever read it. And so that is weird. And that’s a novel set in the comedy world. So, you know, maybe we’ll come on to talk a little bit about how that’s going.

But, with nonfiction, you do tend to pitch a fairly detailed proposal with maybe a couple of sample chapters to an agent and then a publisher. And so I did have a fairly robust idea of the structure and I had already proposed that sort of chapter structure and the backwards and forwards timeline. I thought that would be a neat device for thinking about heartbreak. And so, yeah that had been something that had been fairly cemented in the proposal from early on, as had the sort of opening premise that really my obsession with heartbreak came from the time that I was dumped by email and always joked that I felt much better once I’d corrected her spelling and punctuation.

You know, and sort of how we do dig for the dark humour in these difficult moments to try and make the unpalatable seem more palatable, the fact that you’ve been rejected in this what seems like quite abrupt way. How do I sort of make that fun? But I think, you know, thinking about building humour into these recovery processes has made me think a bit about the peculiar sort of ethics of comedy in a more broad sense. I’ve actually been speaking at some comedy and philosophy conferences at the University of Kent. And there’s an academic called Lucy O ‘Brien, who speaks very interestingly about how, you know, the comedian is a sort of clown of the absurd, how in many ways we are inviting the audience to sort of laugh at us and how comedy could be, unless we are really careful to take care of ourselves. It could be an act of self-harm.

And, you know, as a lesbian woman who’s always been very open about my identity and has always brought that into my comedy, I’ve thought back about past events, past gigs, and particularly in the wake of the Hannah Gadsby’s show, Nanette, where she spoke very openly about that sort of tension between humility and humiliation.

I have thought very carefully about past experiences of being on stage, where it does feel like you could be inviting the audience to laugh at some of the most vulnerable parts for yourself. And that, you know, that there is something quite tricky there. And I think particularly when you were a newer act and you haven’t, you know, equipped yourself with all of the tools to sort of defend yourself against, let’s face it, some of the gladiatorial aspects of some of the heckly comedy clubs.

Danielle (08:48.617)

Yeah, thank you for touching on that. So that was one of the things that I wanted to ask you about, for writers who are both thinking that they have some questions that they’re really gnawing at and interested in and do want to bring personal stories to it…. Any things that have helped you from the perspective that you’re at now in terms of trying to do that in a way that really works for you? How do you set up for yourself where those boundaries are? Where that compass is as it relates to both your well-being and also how you think about relationships you’re currently in. And not an easy question, I know, but you’re such a good person to ask.

Rosie Wilby (09:21.71)

It’s so complicated, isn’t it? And it’s been an interesting time to have written this book, because it was at a time when I was forced to take a step back from live comedy, because I wrote this book during the pandemic, when comedy clubs were all closed. And so it gave many comedians whilst it was awful, and we suddenly were terrified about what our future held and how we were going to continue to make a living. It also gave us pause for thought and it gave us a chance to step back and perhaps think about these self-care practices and how some of the things we were talking about on stage weren’t always safe for us and were damaging to our wellbeing. And I certainly had that journey.

And yeah, I do think for me thinking about breakups, and my identity as a gay woman are very, very wrapped together because I’ve had so many invisible relationships because I’m of a certain age where the world wasn’t accepting about who I was, when I was having my sort of early adult relationships. And that was incredibly traumatic. And so, it has been difficult to think about those things, but also then celebratory to think about breakups, because even though the breakup is a sad thing, it’s the end of a relationship, it also, if you sort of celebrate that in a way, you are at least acknowledging that the relationship happened. When for me, so many of my relationships, felt like it wasn’t happening, because it wasn’t acknowledged in the world. We couldn’t get married, we couldn’t have children, we couldn’t move in together in some cases, because partners wouldn’t have been kind of open and out to parents and families and so on.

So I think that writing books and speaking at different types of events, literary festivals, as I mentioned, philosophy conferences and so on, has given me this outlet where I have more permission to, and having this conversation with you, I’ve got more permission to explore beyond the restrictions and pressures of a 20 minute set at a, you know, Jongleurs type comedy club. I mean, you know, to be honest, I’ve also been in more recent years, more selective about where I perform.

You know, comedy is growing and developing and there are thanks to lots and lots of different organizations like Funny Women and so on, there are more and more diverse voices, there are more women, there are more people of colour, there are more people talking about sexuality, gender, being trans and, you know, different racial identities and cultural identities that there is more of a breadth of the experience that we’re hearing about. But you know, ultimately, the sort of default experience that we hear about is the sort of straight white young cis straight, you know, man.

So it’s still, it’s still interesting… a lot of those nights, you know, you feel like you’re the novelty act if you’re the woman or, you know, the gay person or the person of colour. So, yeah, there’s still a way to go in terms of everybody feeling comfortable. And that goes for some audiences as well. I know plenty of lesbian women who will only go to a sort of comedy night that is put on for them, that is like a lesbian comedy night, not necessarily that the acts are all gay. But they’re in a sort of safe space. They’re in a kind of gay -friendly venue and most of the acts might be women or gay comics and there will be a certain tone and a certain sort of voice that they hear.

Danielle (13:32.905)

Yeah, thank you. Lots of really helpful things to think about there for people. And I want to ask you, because you do have this multi-experience of really kind of forging your voice in the fires of live comedy and all the heckling and everything, but you’ve also brought storytelling into your podcast and other people’s stories. And then you’ve also successfully managed to get humour onto the page. I wanted to ask you, particularly in relation to getting it onto the page….whether there’s anything that you had to struggle with in terms of finding that voice and translating it, or whether that was quite an easy transition for you.

And the reason that I’m asking is that when we talk about voice, it can be so tricky to identify what that is. And sometimes people have a natural assumption that then when they come to write a book, it’s just going to be an easy connection. So I’d love to know what your experience was and any tips for anyone else who’s struggling.

Rosie Wilby (14:25.386)

Yeah, just as you were asking that question, my dog walked across the floor. And just in case any listeners heard a little sort of clacking… because once my dog was walking around in a podcast, and the presenter thought that I was typing on a typewriter and actually writing at the same time.

Danielle (14:42.761)

Oh, no, no, I recognize those little claws on the floor. Dogs are super welcome.

Rosie Wilby (14:54.414)

Let’s say the dog is typing, dog is writing a book.

Danielle (14:54.729)

Is he working on your next novel for you? If so, please can I borrow him or her?

Rosie Wilby (15:00.398)

I hope so. I mean, come on. Yeah, she’s Dolly, she’s called. So yeah, it’d be great if I could train her up to at least do a bit of editing or something, you know, proofreading. I mean, maybe she’s not going to come up with a masterpiece all on her own.

But yeah, finding a voice on the page. It’s really interesting if you’ve been a performer. You probably, certainly for stand up have trained yourself out of writing a sort of word-for-word script, because that’s what a lot of comedians do right in the beginning. And then it can just sound really monologuey and really rehearsed and not very fresh. And you tend to veer more to sort of, I mean, people will have different strategies, but more of a bullet pointy, you know, this is the punchline I’m trying to get to. And I’ve said this set-up so many times, I have got a fairly scripted and well-grooved way of going about it. But it’s not like a script that you’ve had to learn in quite the same way that if it’s a drama or a play or something like that.

So you do have to find a slightly different voice and I’ve definitely found that there’s a different type of writing that is, yeah, I mean one of the kind of comedic scenes in The Breakup Monologues is, and I always make sure I have a chapter that I can read out live events that is funny, you know, that has got those sort of laugh out loud moments. In my first book, there’s one where I go to a lesbian sauna and the showers are all on timers, which is another live favourite.

But yeah, the sort of sex lab scene was one that I wrote deliberately with the intention of being able to perform it and read it at events. And so you do have this kind of bizarre scenario where I volunteered to participate in this experiment and you’re sort of shown erotica and having your arousal measured along with your pupil dilation and so on. And yeah, of course, the brilliant bit about that tickled me the most was how the control clip they’re showing you in between the erotic images is actually a David Attenborough nature documentary. Which most people I speak to about it say, well, that would be the really arousing bit, right?

Danielle (17:26.633)

Oh really? Oh no, I don’t know, he’s too grandfatherly.

Rosie Wilby (17:30.006)

Well, I think they were thinking that, you know, maybe they were showing, you know, the animals getting frisky, but it wasn’t it was very sort of calming, soothing, I don’t know, slow motion shots of grass growing or snow melting or something. Actually, snow melting. I mean, that sounds quite erotic. I don’t know, whatever turns you on, you know.

But yeah, I think it was very much for the book, I guess it could well be for stage as well. It’s about finding those experiences that are a bit different and absurd and unusual. And I sort of like having some of those experiences where you put yourself out of your comfort zone. I definitely made sure to have one or two of those in my book.

And in the first book, I also go and perform comedy at a sex party. You know, and I’m sort of bumbling my way around in my very middle-class, kind of slightly prudish way. But you know, what’s interesting about that experience was it taught me so much about boundaries and communication and how to do that so much better than many of us do.

So yeah, I think it’s about seeking out experiences. I think particularly when you’re going to write a book and you’ve got to write as many words as you need to write…. You know, for a typical nonfiction book, maybe about 70 ,000 words, whereas a sort ofone-hourr Edinburgh show, probably maybe about seven or 8000 words. So it’s, you know, it’s about 10 times as much as you’re that you’re looking for for a book.

But as I say, you can sort of dwell on moments, ideas, issues, emotions a little bit longer in the pages of the book because you are in this sort of different connection and a much more intimate connection with the reader, because there’s just one of them at any one time. I mean, obviously you might be doing an Edinburgh show where there’s only one audience member, but you’re hoping not.

Danielle (19:39.497)

Hmm. Yeah. Oh, that’s really helpful. And I love the challenge for listeners to think about what experiences might actually bring extra life to their work. That’s very fun. And you make it look really easy in the book, how you capture some of those experiences and also how you like at the start of chapters, you just really elegantly drop us into a scene as a way of really engaging us. And you make it look really easy, but it’s not easy. Or I don’t think it necessarily is. So I’d love to know….because you’re really good at selecting the details that bring it to life. So from a craft perspective, do you think that’s just something that you’ve kind of naturally trained your eye to do? Or are there any tips that you have for people? Because you’re great at capturing dialogue, you’re great at capturing the visuals, you’re great at capturing the feel of the scene. What’s helped you to be able to develop that level of craft?

Rosie Wilby (20:30.99)

I think when you are a comedian, when you are a stand -up, you do develop observational skills. You do look around you for, what’s that old lady arguing with the bus driver about? What are that couple chatting about? Look at them over there, what’s that person doing? And so you are kind of eavesdropping on conversations a lot of the time and overhearing funny things.

I mean, one of my favourite episodes of The Break Up Monologues podcast starts off with fellow comedian Carly Smallman telling me all about a breakup she overheard happening on the phone, on the train, on the way to the event. And so I just think we do train ourselves to kind of listen out, look out for funny details.

And really with the writing of the Breakup Monologues book, I set myself a few little devices that I was going to stick to very rigidly. I’m being much freer with the novel now and not doing sort of funny jumping around in timelines. And I’m really trying to write in a continuous narrative this time for me, because I think it feels like a good practice to do that and do something different.

But with the Breakup Monologues, I did set myself these particular structural formats, these techniques, these devices that I was going to stick to and, you know, as well as the timeline thing, the other device was to always open every chapter with dialogue, to drop you right into it, to write into a conversation and to get the feel of a conversation. And I deliberately don’t have much I say she says. You know, you are guessing a teeny bit with some of them about which person saying what and then I hope it’s fairly quickly revealed. But I didn’t want to clunk the dialogue up with much of that. I just wanted the dialogue on the page to open most chapters. So that’s how I did that for most for most of them. So even if for a second you’re thinking, Oh, who’s saying this? And then, you’re like…Ah, okay, that’s her partner saying that, or that’s a guest who was on the podcast. And that’s a little bit of their story. Okay, oh, and this is what someone said to their therapist, or, you know, hopefully it becomes clear very quickly. But I just wanted those sort of clean bits of dialogue to just open each chapter in a recognisable and hopefully fresh and chatty way.

Danielle (23:13.801)

Exactly. That’s exactly right. And it does just that. And it’s such a delight to read them because like you say, we’re dropped in really quickly and all those words that you’re using like clean and, ….but also chatty, because it’s not cold. It’s like, we’re immediately with you in the car on the trip to the whatever, but it’s not weighed down by all the extraneous stuff. So it has a lovely sort of rapid elegance to it, which is, I really enjoyed. I recommend it.

Because again, until you try and do it yourself, you just sort of take it for granted. And then you’re like, how did we get through all this so quickly? And how am I now in the sex clinic? And I know exactly, like, I’ve got a sense of the person and I feel this discomfort. It’s really great. So loads to learn from you, Rosie. Thank you.

And I’d love to know about the novel that you’re currently working on, where that’s come from for you and how you’re finding it in comparison to the non-fiction. It sounds like you’re really good at setting yourself new challenges. So what’s that looking like right now?

Rosie Wilby (24:14.318)

Yeah, well, it’s yes, it is. For a first novel, I think it’s a good idea to perhaps set it in a world that you know well and can create fairly convincingly. And so it is set on the London comedy circuit. And it is really looking at sort of identity and identity politics and relationships between female comedians and how sometimes they can be uber supportive, and we can be this wonderful community that are lifting one another up and leaning in together, but how sometimes being within such a testosterone packed patriarchal structure can pit us against one another, and sort of the pitfalls of that too.

So looking at some of those trickier issues that we don’t like to talk about as feminists and as women. We don’t like to talk about sometimes the sort of competition that we have with one another and those feelings. So, I wanted to dig into that and explore that. And so it’s, yeah, it’s an interesting process. And I’m really enjoying it. And it’s definitely made me think about the different types of comedy clubs that I perform at.

I’ve deliberately got a fictional… but everyone will know what club it’s set at, you know, what club it’s really based on….a fictional inclusive and lovely comedy club. An intimate kind of space where it feels uber friendly and all the acts and the audience mingle afterwards and everyone knows each other and it’s lovely versus the sort of very sterile conference suite kind of comedy club that feels less comfortable for perhaps anyone who is not the sort of straight white young man and that voice.

And how you know, you are perhaps having this weird out-of-body experience where you are an observer as well of this person who is inviting everybody to laugh at themselves. And I want to talk about the discomfort of that experience and of some experiences I’ve had of being a lesbian and laughing at that part of myself. And then afterwards feeling really horrible about that.

And you know, it’s tough stuff. So it’s weird. It’s set in the comedy world. It’s probably my least funny book because it actually touches on trauma that I felt I didn’t want to delve into so deeply in nonfiction. But I think within the remit of fiction where you can say, well, I’ve made it all up… You know, you can explore some deep stuff that has really happened to you and mine those very authentic emotions, but perhaps put it in a story so that people don’t think, well, this is memoir and it’s all true, whereas actually the feelings are very, very true indeed.

Danielle (27:11.817)

Yeah. And I think that’s how I like to think about things too, as well. The feelings can be really true, even though it might be dressed in a different form. The same as if you write fantasy or science fiction or any other things. A lot of the feelings might be very true or the questions that they’re grappling with are very true. So I love that.

And do you know how the book is going to end yet or are you sort of exploring your way to the ending? And I’m asking because you are someone who’s really good at grappling with questions. I just wonder if you feel like you need to kind of know where you’re headed or you’re happy to process your way through.

Rosie Wilby (27:49.464)

Well, I mean, I have written a complete draft, so I have got an ending that I think I’m good with that. But you know, when things are in flux and in progress, you know, there’s always the chance that you might change your mind. And certainly, when I wrote my first book, which obviously is memoir with science and humour… a bit like The Breakup Monologues. I didn’t actually know how it was going to end because I ended up starting a new relationship and that ended up coming into the end of the book. But you know, I didn’t know that was going to happen. And so things will happen in your life, even if you’re not writing memoir, there might be something that happens that changes your thought process. So yeah, I think I think I’m pretty happy. But I think what I often do is I have an end point and I realised that’s just the end of part one. I’m like, oh, hang on, there’s more.

Danielle (28:52.169)

Mmm, mmm, yeah. Yeah, both wonderful and like, oh my goodness, yes, I love that. And you touched on science and humour as well as you were speaking just then, and that is something I wanted to ask you about, because again, that’s something that you have navigated really deftly. So for writers who haven’t really thought about science or data in relation to their work, but are a little bit curious and think…oh, this could be an interesting other layer to add into this issue or this question that I’m exploring.

Any tips for how to do that, really practically in terms of how to organize it, or in terms of craft… in terms of how to do it without dragging the humour down, how to manage to keep that swiftness that you have with it.

Rosie Wilby (29:43.15)

Well, yes, I mean, I think for me, it has been about really immersing myself in the science experiment. So rather than just go and interview someone who conducts sex lab experiments, say, what have you found out from these experiments, to actually go and do it and have a very funny experience doing it, but also then talk about what the findings of those experiments are and how you know, men and women have, you know, a different sort of connection with between what they say is their palette of arousal or desire, and what seems to be going on actually physiologically and how women sometimes have a disconnect because we’re sort of restrained by these culturally restrictive ideas about female sexuality and how we might be sort of much more broad than we realize and we like to say publicly.

So, you know, I think you can sort of immerse yourself in the experience, maybe that was a way for me of doing it and make yourself the sort of scientific guinea pig and the subject of what’s happening. So that was sort of how I’ve done it. But I do think science can be incredibly comforting. It feels like something you can hold on to, even though, of course, if you get into some realms of science, you know there’s lots of unknown questions when, you know, we’re talking about Schrodinger’s cat and so on, you know, is it dead or is it alive?

But, you know, in general, it feels like there’s something solid about an explanation for things. And I sort of find that comforting. And I also think that a lot of, and this is something I am touching on a bit in the novel, that idea of the craft of comedy and creativity and how there is this tension between the science and creativity of that. And, you know, we have been thinking about how when I started comedy, I sort of had a star rating system for rating my jokes. And it’s a very scientific craft of, well, that one better go because nobody ever laughs at that one. Well, that’s a three-star joke. Everyone always laughs at that one. Oh, no, my three-star joke has become a two-star joke. What’s happened? You know, and it does become this weird sort of science that you’re constantly filtering and updating your set based on, you know, you’re having to use that audience feedback to update and edit your set. And it is a very instantaneous kind of feedback, which is obviously very different to the lengthy and slow process of getting feedback on a book.

Danielle (32:41.449)

Yeah. I love that. You’ve made me think about it in a whole new way. Because I mean, obviously this is massively simplified. I shocker, I am not a scientist, but what I understand on the most basic level, the scientific principle is that you make a thesis or proposition and then you go test it. So the way you’re describing it, it’s like… Oh, that is exactly like a set or a joke. I posit that this is funny and test it and see the reactions and then figure out what are the elements. That’s super interesting to think about. Yeah.

And when it comes to fiction, how do you test your work as you go along, if you do. Or do you have to just write in good faith, finish a draft and then get the feedback?

Rosie Wilby (33:25.166)

Well, with the novel, I have used, there was a competition that I’ve entered. And I used that deadline as a motivation, which is, again, I think a fairly common comedian trait, because we often use the Edinburgh Fringe as a deadline. You know, you’ve got to decide what the show’s about and write the show blurb by a certain time of year.

And then you’ve got to make sure you’ve got your show ready in time to preview it maybe a couple of months before. I mean, now I suppose it has all changed and people maybe take up a completely rehearsed and polished show. But I mean, in the old days, I’ve heard about people bumping into the likes of Stuart Lee, writing his show on the train up. And perhaps you can only do that if you are Stuart Lee and you’re as brilliant as he is. But yeah, I think the deadline was really, really helpful. And I can’t tell you what competition it is yet. But it’s it has got through to the next stage. So yeah, that’s exciting. So we’ll see what’s happening with that. But yeah, I definitely use that as a bit of a structure to push me to, you know, do something, create something, complete something.

Danielle (34:29.737)

No worries. Yay! Go Rosie! Oh, fabulous. I love it.

And I wanted to ask just one more question before we wrap up, which is just what kind of comedy shows or books or films you’ve really loved that have stuck in your mind in the last couple of years. So they might be comedy, but because you explore questions so broadly, they might not be. And this is just so listeners and myself included might go and check out your recommendations.

Rosie Wilby (35:13.934)

Oh heck, and when you said last couple of years, that’s really thrown me because some of the things that stay with me the most are things that I’ve seen actually quite a number of years ago. And I think the shows that have stayed with me the most, because they are, I think some of the strongest narrative comedy shows that I’ve seen are Sarah Kendall’s shows. I think she’s absolutely fantastic. And there was one show, one year where she had a little ensemble performing with her. I think it was called My Very First Ever Kidnapping. And it was about when she was, her and her best friend were kidnapped when she was a child and her mum had to come and rescue her. I just love her humour and she…Her best friend was played by Joanna Neary, who I also absolutely adore, who was a little bit absurd and off the wall. And I sort of loved that kind of humour, that sort of Paul Foot weirdness.

And yeah, and then there was another show Sarah did in maybe 2017 around that time about a boy who drowns, or we think he does. And it’s, yeah, yeah, that was incredibly powerful. I really like the way she combines a moving story that makes you think a bit with real humour. But yeah, also, yeah, love a lot of people who bring in science. Obviously Robin Ince is just incredible at that. And we’ve spoken together at a lot of these philosophy festivals recently where we’ve been kind of, exploring the idea of comedy and what it means, what are we doing, why are we doing this.

Danielle (37:07.369)

Yeah. Yeah. Oh, brilliant. They’re fabulous recommendations. Thank you. And for listeners who want to find out more about you and your fabulous work, where would you like to point them towards?

Rosie Wilby (37:21.422)

Oh, well, yes, I’m on Twitter or well, it’s the other thing now, but I’m still on there at Rosie Willby. And I still post most of my news about what I’m up to there, but I’m also on Facebook, I’m on Instagram and threads under the guise of my podcasting/book. So I’m at Breakup Monologues there. And I’m also on TikTok as Rosie Willby author. I know I’m sort of naughty. I’ve got lots of different handles. And that’s not what you’re supposed to do at all. But if you search Rosie Willby, you’ll usually find me. And so of course, the main thing is I would absolutely love people to check out the Breakup Monologues book, which is available from all of the places. And hopefully you might even post a little link. Danielle, that’d be great. Yeah.

Danielle (38:09.897)

I will, I’ll put all those links to all the socials and the book. I highly recommend it. I mean, so much of your work is so fun, but that’s one place to immediately go. And so great in terms of how you deal with the questions.

Rosie Wilby (38:22.798)

Yeah. And also the podcast as well, of course, is on all the places.

Danielle (38:30.953)

Thank you so much, Rosie. It’s been so fun chatting with you today. So much to think about and listen to. So many great prompts there to go out and have some experiences and write about them and not be scared of the big questions and bringing humour to them. So thank you, Rosie.

Rosie Wilby (38:45.934)

Thank you. Lovely conversation.