We share the same sense of hu­mour. There’s some­thing in our bones

Real-life sis­ters Ni­cola and Rosie Dempsey are find­ing fame as com­edy mu­si­cal duo Flo And Joan. They tell MARION McMULLEN about their in­flu­ences and why their new sis­ter act is a win­ner

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPOTLIGHT -

Your 2016 Song has be­come a vi­ral hit and been viewed more than 50 mil­lion times, but do you think you are com­edy Mar­mite?

Rosie: I think in terms of com­edy and en­ter­tain­ment, ev­ery­one is Mar­mite even large acts like Michael McIn­trye and Pe­ter Kay. Com­edy di­vides peo­ple down the mid­dle. If ev­ery­one loved what we did I’d be a bit sus­pi­cious.

Was it wor­ry­ing when you re­ceived on­line death threats af­ter ap­pear­ing in the Na­tion­wide Build­ing So­ci­ety ad­verts ear­lier this year?

Ni­cola: We know what the in­ter­net is like, we’ve grown up with it, so it doesn’t re­ally cause con­cern us about what goes on there. Rosie: We don’t have a prob­lem with heck­lers ei­ther – it’s dif­fi­cult to heckle a song. (Laughs) And that’s def­i­nitely not a chal­lenge.

We’re not invit­ing peo­ple to come along and see if they can heckle us. Some­times we have peo­ple who sing along with us but that’s nice.

Did you both get along grow­ing up?

Rosie: We prob­a­bly grew closer af­ter we both went away to uni. We were al­ways bick­er­ing when we were young – as sis­ters do – and we were a tag team an­noy­ing mum.

I think we grew closer later. Ni­cola moved out to Canada and then in­vited me to stay. Ni­cola: I did mu­sic at uni­ver­sity, but in the sec­ond year I wasn’t en­joy­ing it. I fin­ished and started ex­plor­ing Amer­i­can tele­vi­sion shows that I re­ally loved and did some re­search and came up with the im­pro com­pany Sec­ond City.

I al­ways watched a lot of com­edy as a kid and BBC Ra­dio 4 bought one of my jokes and I thought there might be some­thing in it. We both started do­ing im­pro and writ­ing classes and Flo & Joan came out of mu­si­cal com­edy we liked such as Vic­to­ria Wood.

We started per­form­ing and thought ‘If it goes wrong, no-one knows us in Canada and is go­ing to know’.

What are your telly favourites?

Ni­cola: (Laughs) Rosie will watch any­thing. I re­mem­ber watch­ing 30 Rock, Parks And Recre­ation, The It Crowd and Smack The Pony. We were prob­a­bly too young to be watch­ing Smack The Pony, but we loved the quick­ness of it. Rosie: There was Wood and Wal­ters and well, Monty Python... all things like that.

Do you share the same sense of hu­mour?

Rosie: Yeah, def­i­nitely. There’s some­thing in our bones. Some­times we have dif­fer­ent opin­ions on things, we’re very dif­fer­ent peo­ple, but we agree when it comes to sub­jects and songs. Ni­cola: Some­times we’ll be watch­ing some­thing and both think ‘We’ve got to write a song about them.’ Our new song about sex ro­bots came about be­cause we were watch­ing This Morn­ing and they were talk­ing about them and we just both looked at each other and thought ‘We’ve got to write a song about sex ro­bots.’

You had to add ex­tra shows at the Ed­in­burgh Fes­ti­val and are now tour­ing the UK with Alive On Stage. What can au­di­ences ex­pect?

Ni­cola: It’s been quite a nice sum­mer. We sold out all the shows so they chucked in a cou­ple more. It’s a slightly longer show for the tour. The first half will be new songs – wed­dings, sex ro­bots and Les­lie Ash, although prob­a­bly not all in the same song – and we will be do­ing some older ones in the sec­ond half.

(Laughs) I wouldn’t call them our best hits, we’re not at the stage yet, but they are our favourites. They are songs peo­ple might have heard on al­bums or on­line, but not seen live be­fore.

Has mu­sic al­ways been part of your lives?

Rosie: Mu­sic was al­ways around grow­ing up. Mum was into mu­sic and it was al­ways play­ing in the house. She would take us to mu­si­cals and lo­cal am-dram so­ci­eties when we were younger.

Mum was into clas­si­cal mu­sic as well and we had pop songs, disco and 80s and 90s mu­sic.

Ni­cola plays key­board and I do beats on per­cus­sion and, de­pend­ing on the style of songs, you’ll see me play­ing cas­tanets as well. Ni­cola: Rosie can play the flute and trum­pet as well and she’s a pro­fes­sional per­cus­sion­ist but we don’t have enough space to carry around a full drum kit on tour.

What’s next af­ter the tour?

Ni­cola: We’ll be think­ing about a show for next year for Ed­in­burgh and we will be re­leas­ing a pod­cast to­wards the end of the year.

It’s go­ing to be about women in his­tory – the ones most peo­ple will have prob­a­bly never heard of be­fore.

The first half will be new songs – wed­dings, sex ro­bots and Les­lie Ash, although prob­a­bly not all in the same song... Ni­cola and Rosie dis­cuss their up­com­ing tour

Ni­cola and Rosie Dempsey

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