Angela Barnes

After a career in health and social care, Angela Barnes took the plunge and embarked on her life-long dream to be a comedian. Within just a couple of years she had won the BBC New Comedy Award in 2011 and has now gone on to star in BBC Two’s Mock The Week, Live At The Apollo and Hypothetical on Dave.

Angela spoke to InBath's, Craig Maplesden, about coming to Bath as part of Carpool Comedy on May 7th, Tina the cockapoo, a year of being engaged whilst in lockdown, plus raising money for the Royal Marsden Hospital by doing 3000 sit-ups in March.

Hi Angela, many thanks for taking the time out to chat to me. First of all, I hope you are well and have stayed safe during the pandemic. I understand you got engaged in March last year (congratulations), have you spent the entire time in lockdown together, and if so, what have you learnt about each other. 

 

Hello Craig, thanks for wanting to chat to me!  Yes, indeed my fella proposed in week one of lockdown one, which was a brave move to say the least. However, a year locked down together and we still want to get up that aisle, so I suppose we’ve passed the biggest test. Married life should be a cinch in comparison.  The biggest thing I’ve learned about Matt as he’s been working full time from home is just how much he loves routine, you could set your watch by his toilet and lunch breaks. The biggest thing he’s learned about me is that I was never working as hard at home as I let him think I was when he was in the office every day. I’ve been well and truly sussed.

You’ve been keeping busy with some ‘virtual’ comedy shows during lockdown. How important has it been to keep people laughing during the pandemic and do you need to adapt your set to a ‘virtual’ audience?

 

I was really apprehensive about online shows at first, I thought they might be a bit eggy and not much fun for the performer or audience, but boy was I wrong. Comedians are an adaptable bunch, and we had to find a way to perform through this or we would have driven our loved ones round the twist. A comedian without an outlet is like a coiled spring and you don’t want to be around when that goes off.  Virtual gigs are different of course, but in many ways, they are more fun. For a start if someone is a drunk and disruptive idiot in the audience - you can just mute them - oh to be able to do that in a comedy club!  But you can have a bit of fun with the audience in their own homes, ask them about the artwork on their wall, or interact with their pets, it’s really fun and intimate in a different way to a comedy club. Plus, no queue for the loos or the bar.

You are coming to Bath on the 7th May as part of the Alfresco Theatre event at Warleigh Lodge Farm. Can you tell us a little about the Carpool Comedy Club, how you got involved and what we can expect.

 

I got involved with Carpool Comedy because Mark Watson asked me to, and you know that, as a rule, if Mark Watson says something is going to be fun, then it probably is. This will be my first time at the Carpool Comedy Club, so I am also excited to find out exactly what it’s like. Speaking to performers and punters that have been before, they sound like a really good and fun night out and a great way to experience live comedy before we can all pack ourselves into comedy clubs again. Drive-ins scream 50s America to me, so I’m imagining all the punters will look like extras from Grease and I'll be very disappointed if they don’t.

 

After all this is over, do you think that these Carpool shows can continue and if not, will you miss people flashing their lights and honking their horns at you?

 

I don’t see why not, if people enjoy them, then sure! I think a lot of the things we’ve been doing this year will carry on. Online gigs and drive-in gigs are both good ways for people who might never have enjoyed the atmosphere of a comedy club to see their favourite comedians. If you don’t like crowds or places with lots of people drinking in groups etc, then drive-ins and online gigs are perfect. I think it would be sad to give all this comedy access to people and then take it away again. Viva la drive in! And, if I do miss being bibbed at and flashed, I can always run naked down the side of the A23, that would have the same effect.

You’ve also been raising money for the Royal Marsden Hospital by participating in a 3000 sit up challenge. Can you tell me more about this campaign and how you go involved?

"Viva la drive in! And, if I do miss being bibbed at and flashed, I can always run naked down the side of the A23, that would have the same effect."

You’ve been keeping busy with some ‘virtual’ comedy shows during lockdown. How important has it been to keep people laughing during the pandemic and do you need to adapt your set to a ‘virtual’ audience?

 

I was really apprehensive about online shows at first, I thought they might be a bit eggy and not much fun for the performer or audience, but boy was I wrong. Comedians are an adaptable bunch, and we had to find a way to perform through this or we would have driven our loved ones round the twist. A comedian without an outlet is like a coiled spring and you don’t want to be around when that goes off.  Virtual gigs are different of course, but in many ways, they are more fun. For a start if someone is a drunk and disruptive idiot in the audience - you can just mute them - oh to be able to do that in a comedy club!  But you can have a bit of fun with the audience in their own homes, ask them about the artwork on their wall, or interact with their pets, it’s really fun and intimate in a different way to a comedy club. Plus, no queue for the loos or the bar.

You’ve been keeping busy with some ‘virtual’ comedy shows during lockdown. How important has it been to keep people laughing during the pandemic and do you need to adapt your set to a ‘virtual’ audience?

 

I was really apprehensive about online shows at first, I thought they might be a bit eggy and not much fun for the performer or audience, but boy was I wrong. Comedians are an adaptable bunch, and we had to find a way to perform through this or we would have driven our loved ones round the twist. A comedian without an outlet is like a coiled spring and you don’t want to be around when that goes off.  Virtual gigs are different of course, but in many ways, they are more fun. For a start if someone is a drunk and disruptive idiot in the audience - you can just mute them - oh to be able to do that in a comedy club!  But you can have a bit of fun with the audience in their own homes, ask them about the artwork on their wall, or interact with their pets, it’s really fun and intimate in a different way to a comedy club. Plus, no queue for the loos or the bar.

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