“We can find the meaning together!” | Charlie George talks faith and identity in her new work in progress show

Tell us about the show you’re bringing to the Hull Comedy Festival.

The show I am bringing to Hull comedy festival is (very much!) a work in progress show about faith, about losing it and finding it over and over again.

It’s a bit about my religious upbringing in a small town raised by my strict Jehovah’s Witness mother. It’s about being queer, mixed-race, working class lacking in positive role models and the dangers and stupidities of self-loathing. It’s about getting kicked out in my early teens, meeting hippies in Bristol and going to circus school, travelling to India to become a yoga teacher only to be surrounded by middle class white women. It’s about losing your mind, your heart, your steam and your housing over and over again, only to have brilliant people with far worse problems continuously guide you back to hope, faith and loving and laughing at life again!

There will be music and much silliness! (There always is.)

You’re known for exploring identity a lot in your comedy. What made you decide to explore such personal themes on stage?

I don’t think I decided to, I think it’s just what comes out. I like that even when you’re being deeply personal and specific, how that becomes relatable to others. I’ve had all different kinds of people come up to me after shows, saying they connected with it. I think we’re all crying out to hear different perspectives and experiences, we all share in the human condition, it’s nice to get out of your head and see someone else’s angle of it, isn’t it!?

Was it ever difficult putting self-reflection out there in front of audience’s full of strangers?

No, I think everything I talk about on stage I am over and have worked through and am poking fun at or am using to reclaim power and humour from. It all feels quite celebratory, stupid and fun. It’s not meant to be serious or traumatic, that’s the point.

That’s what I love about humour, how it transforms, it is a great way to self-reflect without the heaviness of analysing. I love performing to strangers, it’s a pleasure, what would be awful would be performing to a room full of relatives or past lovers haha!

Will this show have similar layers of depth to it?

I bloody hope so! I am writing endlessly and pacing in my bedroom with a microphone, but I need the audience to help me work it out of course, they are very much essential – so please do come people of Hull! We can find the meaning together!

You have absolutely smashed it in comedy competitions over the past couple of years. Has that put pressure on this show to be amazing or have the competitions given you more confidence?

I don’t think anyone outside the industry even cares about that! What feels essential in comedy, is the moment you are actually in front of an audience, that’s all that counts and that is always different. No accolade will help you there!

I think the competitions have given me a boost of confidence that I needed to believe in myself and keep going yes, but really I just have to keep working at it continuously and getting better. There’s no resting on your laurels, there’s no arrival point. I don’t feel any pressure to be anything from others, the only pressure I feel is from myself, wanting to be the best performer I can be. To get good enough to start earning money, to feel more secure and maybe buy a bloody bed! I am currently sleeping on a mattress on the floor – I used to be a circus performer but we all need more than a crash mat on the floor ideally!

What do you hope people take away from your show?

Lifted spirits! Aching ribs. Relief? – it’s all I ever want them to feel really.

Are there any other shows you’re looking forward to at the Hull Comedy Festival?

Sian Davies is brilliant and she runs a working class comedy showcase at Edinburgh Fringe, she is worth seeing and supporting from every perspective! Also Paul Foot, he always fills me with glee.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to break into comedy?

Haha! Don’t do it. I dunno? A tattoo artist once told me to put the design I wanted on the wall near my bed and if in a years time I could still stand to look at it, then maybe (only maybe?) it’s the right thing to have on my body for the rest of my life. I think what I am trying to say is if you can’t imagine failing publicly night after night for even one year, then maybe don’t get a dolphin or a microphone tattooed on your forearm!? Capeesh!?

Charlie is performing her work in progress show on 6th November.

Book your ticket here.

Find out more about the Hull Comedy Festival here.

You can keep up with other things Charlie has going on by checking out her website or following her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.