Caro Meets

Sofie Hagen: Bubblewrap

By | Published on Tuesday 8 December 2015


TW Favourite Sofie Hagen heads to Soho Theatre this month with ‘Bubblewrap’, the show that won her towering heaps of acclaim, and the Comedy Award newcomer gong, at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Naturally, I was desperate to a) see the show and b) talk to her about stuff.

But then it occurred to me that earlier in the year, during the comedian’s said award winning run in the Scottish capital, my colleague Chris Cooke already talked to her about stuff, at some length.

So, being a resourceful person, and a keen recycler, I amalgamated the answers he collected back in August with responses to some questions I asked her last week. Aaaaaand… Ta-Dah!

CC: Tell us about the show. Is there a theme to it?
SH: There are a few themes, I think. I touch upon everything from mental heath to body image, from fetishes to boybands. And I stubbornly make all that somehow relevant to each other.

CC: Does the show bring together material you’ve performed in the past, or did you start with a blank page?
SH: My show doesn’t really have any ‘material’. Nor were there any pages involved. A few months ago I walked on stage and told a few stories about my life and suddenly fifty minutes had passed. And that became my show. People who know me who have seen it have all said the same thing, that I am completely different on stage this time. And that’s because I’m not doing stuff that has to work in a Saturday night comedy club in Liverpool, in front of a load of drunk builders. So I am just completely and honestly sharing – maybe over-sharing! – stories about my life.

CM: Have you made any changes to it since the edfringe run?
SH: Not changes, but something happened after Edinburgh that I have added. Something I have to talk about. My show is a story and what happened kind of ends the story quite decently. I’m very excited to hear people’s reactions.

CM: Did your huge success at the Fringe go to your head at all?
SH: Who are you and why are you talking to me? Do you not know who I am?

CC: You mentioned the boybands. What is it with Westlife?
SH: They’re only the best boyband ever, mate. I was a very obsessed teenage fan, to say the least.

CC: Okay, so let’s back up a bit: tell us how you first got into comedy.
SH: I got myself some volunteer work at an open mic night in Copenhagen in 2010. From day one, I was hooked. I went home and wrote sixteen pages of ‘jokes’. Eventually the comedians forced me to actually try them out. And it was the biggest rush of my life.

CC: Why did you decide to move to the UK, and how did you go about getting noticed on the comedy scene over here?
SH: I went to London on a vacation, alone, to get over a heartbreak. Comedy feels like home in any country, so I found some open mic nights. As soon as I had gotten a taste of the UK comedy scene, I knew I couldn’t go back to Denmark. In Denmark there is one comedy club. In the UK, four new clubs have just opened while I’ve been answering this question. So I ignored my plane ticket home, found a flat and just kept on performing. That’s how you get noticed, by the way. Keep gigging and be funny. Eventually they’ll ask you to do more stuff.

CC: What’s it like doing comedy in a second language? Are you thinking in English or Danish?
SH: English is the perfect language for comedy. You have four times as many words as we do in Danish, so the possibility of making ‘the perfect sentence’ for ‘the perfect joke’ is bigger. So I enjoy doing comedy in English way more than in Danish. I think in both languages, depending on where I am, who I am talking to and what I am doing. Though I can’t have a phone-call with a Danish friend before going on stage, because then I will be a split second too slow.

CC: Aside from the language, do you have to alter the routine between UK and Danish audiences? Do cultural references need to change?
SH: I gig all over the world. I have gigged in sixteen countries now, so I don’t really use any cultural references. I talk about myself and the things I find funny, and that has so far proven to be universal. The main difference is how behind Denmark is in some regards. In the UK, you’ll say the word ‘feminism’ on stage and automatically get a supporting round of applause – where in Denmark, they’ll heckle me and tell me to get back in the kitchen.

CC: But does Westlife fan fiction cross all boundaries?
SH: Westlife fan fiction does not necessarily cross any boundaries. But reading it out loud on stage in front of a room full of people might.

CC: We love your podcast. Tell us more about that.
SH: I LOVE MY PODCAST TOO. It’s the best thing I have ever created, maybe apart from my show. It is called Comedians Telling Stuff – because no one told me not to before it was too late – and it is based on anecdotes and stories told by comedians. And it has had some amazing comedians on it, including Josie Long, Kyle Kinane, Mark Watson, Colin Mochrie, Russell Kane, Shappi Khorsandi, Nick Helm, Andy Zaltzman, and many more.

CM: The show’s on over the Christmas period. Are you planning to add any seasonal touches?
SH: Yes, I expect every person in the audience to have brought me Christmas presents. That’s normal, right?

CM: What’s next for the show? More dates, or is it going into retirement?
SH: I am bringing it back to my home town of Copenhagen in February. I am doing it a few times in Leicester at the Leicester Comedy Festival as well. But really, I am already starting to think about next year’s show. I think ‘Bubblewrap’ and I have done what we can. After the Soho Theatre run, it might be time to move on.

CM: Do you have anything else in the pipeline?
SH: I am very excitedly starting a new monthly live podcast with the brilliant Deborah Frances White. It’s called ‘The Guilty Feminist’ and every episode features a guest. We will talk about all the things we feel guilty about, as feminists. Like, I want to be this very independent, strong woman but sometimes I just need a man to open a fucking jar. Our first show is the day before my Soho run, so December is going to be all joy.

Sofie performs ‘Bubblewrap’ at Soho Theatre from 10 Dec-6 Jan. See this page here for more info and to book tickets.

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Photo: Karla Howlett