Wax­ing satir­i­cal:

her Ruby Wax is bring­ing her stand-up show to her stand-out favourite UK city. She told Rowan Man­tell how com­edy, cave­men and cush­ions can trump the cos­mos

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE - Ruby Wax: How to be Hu­man is at Nor­wich Play­house on Fri­day De­cem­ber 7 at 7.30pm and Satur­day De­cem­ber 8 at 2.30 and 7.30pm. nor­wich­play­house.co.uk

We in­ter­view star co­me­dian Ruby Wax

She was born in the US, lives in Lon­don, will be spend­ing Christ­mas in Cape Town – and adores Nor­wich. Ruby Wax, in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned co­me­dian, ac­tor, writer and men­tal health cam­paigner, has re­vealed that she chose to end her 2018 tour in Nor­wich be­cause she loves the city.

“Nor­folk is my favourite place in the UK. It has the best restau­rant, my favourite restau­rant. It’s the only place I do three days. I love the area and all the old lanes and court­yards.”

She brings her lat­est show, How to be Hu­man, to Nor­wich Play­house on De­cem­ber 7 and 8.

Ruby, with a lit­tle help from a monk and a neu­ro­sci­en­tist, will be riff­ing on the theme of how to be hu­man. It’s a huge sub­ject, so what is her favourite part of the show? “The whole thing!” she in­sists. Her favourite part of the hu­man has to be the brain – although she is not a fan of ev­ery as­pect of our brains. “Part of it is still Stone Age,” she says. “We were made for life 10,000 years ago.”

That an­cient part of our brain, so good at deal­ing with threats from wild an­i­mals or en­e­mies armed with clubs, is not nec­es­sar­ily so help­ful when the at­tack is on the road or on­line. What keeps us alive by tak­ing care of es­sen­tials such as breath­ing and heart­beat, also leaps into ac­tion in re­sponse to threats. So when you re­act with fury to per­ceived slights on the road or in so­cial me­dia, you are merely us­ing your brain.

“It’s not your fault, it’s evo­lu­tion’s fault,” said Ruby.

How­ever, she has a fu­tur­is­tic­sound­ing so­lu­tion to this prob­lem be­queathed by the dis­tant past – we need to up­grade; rein­ing in the less help­ful parts of the rep­til­ian brains (pre­sum­ably leav­ing it with the breath­ing and heart-beat du­ties) and en­cour­ag­ing the newer up­dates which deal with in­sight, com­pas­sion and em­pa­thy.

How to be Hu­man is a com­edy, be­cause Ruby is a co­me­dian. But that does not mean she isn’t se­ri­ous about her sub­ject.

“To me it’s the most im­por­tant stuff on earth. Brian Cox can go on about the cos­mos, but what’s more in­ter­est­ing than why you are the way you are, and what you can do about it? I love de­liv­er­ing this ma­te­rial.”

The show is based on Ruby’s best­selling book, How to be Hu­man, the Man­ual, and she sets out to dis­cover how to find hap­pi­ness in the mod­ern world – with ex­cur­sions via evo­lu­tion, thoughts, emo­tions, the body, ad­dic­tions, re­la­tion­ships, sex, kids, com­pas­sion and the fu­ture.

So what makes Ruby happy? Well, right now it would be be­ing able to re­mem­ber the name of that favourite Nor­wich restau­rant – and buy­ing cush­ions.

“I have just bought my 105th cush­ion!” she says. “I get this hit. The minute I get one, I want an­other one!”

Ruby has worked as an ac­tor – in ev­ery­thing from Shake­speare to sit­com – a script edi­tor, chat show host, men­tal health cam­paigner, lec­turer and au­thor.

Her first com­edy chat show, Don’t Miss Wax and then The Full Wax were fol­lowed by Ruby Wax Meets... in which she in­ter­viewed the fa­mous, and in­fa­mous, in­clud­ing Imelda Mar­cos and OJ Simp­son.

So, with her new in­sight into the hu­man mind, who on the world stage would she like to treat to a hu­mour-laced in­qui­si­tion now? “No-one, oth­er­wise I would be do­ing that job still,” she said.

In­stead she is try­ing to lead a men­tal health rev­o­lu­tion, along­side en­ter­tain­ing the na­tion. Her stand-up show Los­ing It dealt with her ex­pe­ri­ence of de­pres­sion; she has a mas­ters de­gree in mind­ful­ness-based cog­ni­tive ther­apy from Ox­ford Univer­sity, (she says she would have loved to have stud­ied for her first de­gree at the Univer­sity of East An­glia), was made a vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor in men­tal health nurs­ing at the Univer­sity of Sur­rey and awarded an OBE for her ser­vices to men­tal health.

Her books in­clude Sane New World, A Mind­ful­ness Guide for the Fraz­zled and Nor­wich is one of the 10 places around the coun­try which runs one of her Fraz­zled cafés, which meet in Marks and Spencer cafés. Each of­fers a place for peo­ple to share ex­pe­ri­ences in an anony­mous, non-judge­men­tal atmosphere. (fraz­zled­cafe.org) “Feel­ing heard, to me, has al­ways been half the cure,” said Ruby.

Hear her at the Nor­wich Play­house this month, where she will be joined on stage by monk Ge­long Thubten, an ex­pert on our in­ner lives, and neu­ro­sci­en­tist Ash Ran­pura, an ex­pert on our brains. De­scribed as “the show you need to help you up­grade your mind as much as you’ve up­graded your iPhone,” it should make you laugh and could change your life too. What should au­di­ences ex­pect? “They will love it. It’s re­ally funny. And they will be in­spired and ex­hil­a­rated,” said Ruby.

Pic­ture: sup­plied

BE­LOW:Ash Ran­pura, Ruby Wax and Ge­long Thubten

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