“If you’re not happy there’s no point in anything.” | Eleanor Morton on silliness, safe spaces and sexism in comedy

Tell us about you/your act.

Oh, let’s not. I’m a caucasion biped and I tell jokes. 

How did you get into comedy?

I wanted to do it when I started watching stand-up on tv age about 12. It felt like a very natural combination of my passions and interests. When I hit 18 I decided to give it a go. Before then I would’ve been too anxious about being thrown out of licensed venues. Like many comedians, the idea of doing stand-up didn’t scare me as much as the idea of talking to people one-on-one. 

What’s the best gig you’ve ever had?

Thankfully there have been many nice gigs, but my favourite thing to do is go to ACMS and muck around with a one-off idea. It’s always a lovely time and it keeps you on your toes. Any gig where my friends are on and we’re all just having a nice time warms my cockles. 

What’s your favourite thing about working in comedy?

The free snacks. The chance to work with friends on something really creative and silly. The camaraderie. The python The Bill Murray keeps in the smoking area.  

You’ve been a part of the comedy scene since you were a teenager. Have you noticed anything particularly interesting about how it has evolved in that time?

I feel like my reaction to things has evolved. It’s hard to say what’s changed … but I know I’m less likely to put up with shit or agree to a shit gig. I think I’m also less bothered about succeeding if it means sacrificing mental wellbeing or happiness… That sounds wanky but honestly, if you’re not happy there’s no point in anything. 

You don’t shy away from talking about serious topics, such as gender equality, in your act. What impact do you think comedy can have on the discussion around such subjects?

I think you always want to talk about your own experiences and as a woman, they inevitably involve sexism and feminism. I think it’s only been since MeToo that men are starting to realise just how prevalent in every aspect of our lives sexism is, and they’re finally starting to see why we talk about it so much.

But even though I’m happy more men are aware, I’m annoyed because we’ve been telling them about this for years. I don’t really like talking about sexism in my act because I like being irreverent and silly, but it always creeps in. 

You took your show Post-Morton to the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe. How did your run there go?

Very nice. I’ve done the same slot at The Stand for 6 shows now, I like a routine. It’s always nice to work with the same people every year. I also read a whole book, which is a huge achievement during the fringe. 

How did it feel being chosen as one of the Fest’s Picks of the Fringe?

I only found out in November when I was trying to find a good quote about the show, so … a pleasant surprise. 

What is your plan to top this success?

Next time I plan to be in TWO pick of the Fringe lists.

Who is your favourite comedian we’ve never heard of?

That’s a hard question because whoever I say will be like ‘Hey, has no one ever heard of me??’ I was going to say a couple of people, but once I start I’m scared I’ll have missed someone out. I’ll just be predictable and say Tom Burgess (Peter Fleming) who is great and who will be on with me on the 27th so you can see him then! 

What challenges have you faced working in comedy?

I’ve very much embraced my introvert tendencies more and more over the last decade and that often means leaving once my spot is over so I can go to bed. So I’m not very good with late nights and back stage small talk, but now I feel less embarrassed by that. As everyone who knows me can attest, when I started I was a mental, drug-fuelled party animal, so I’ve really calmed down. 

I’ve also faced more depressing challenges but don’t get me started or this’ll be novel length. 

How do you think that comedy as an industry can better address these issues?

Let me open every single show I’m booked to do. 

What appealed to you about being part of a show like Blizzard?

Ultimately it’s just nice to know the audience is less likely to be cunts. Blizzard has a lovely reputation, and as over-used as the phrase is, it really is nice to play in a ‘safe space’. I think anyone who mocks that phrase has never been in a position where they do not feel safe just by being themselves, and doesn’t understand the very real threats certain people face. 

What have you got coming up that we should look out for?

I’m doing a show in February at the London Vault festival. I’m not doing a Fringe show this year so it’ll be a very early work in progress. I don’t know what will happen yet but there is a 95% chance it will involve freestyle rap.

Eleanor is performing at Blizzard on Monday 27th January.

Book your free ticket here.

You can keep up with Eleanor by checking out her website or following her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.