Hayes & Harlington Gazette
Bobby dazzler’s the best compliment you can have
Geordie comic Sarah Millican tells us about Taskmaster, touring and taking northern terminology to the world
How did you get into standup?
I got divorced. I’ve got friends who got divorced and they did not do stand up – good to know it’s not obligatory – but I think you have to do something.
Some people drink and some people sleep around, and I was like ‘I’m going to tell some strangers how sad I am... in a funny way.’
I did a workshop for people who’d written but never performed and we had to do a performance as part of it. So I read a monologue aloud at Gateshead’s Caedmon Hall – it was about my divorce, and at times it was really funny, and at times it was really sad.
And afterwards I felt like I’d done it, I ticked it off the list. Then about six months went by, and I rang Kate Fox, the woman who was running the course, and said, “I think I want to try standup comedy”.
And she went ‘I know’. She’d just been waiting for six months for me to call.
How long have you been doing comedy now?
It must be 18 years. Is it 18 years? I think so. I don’t think I’ve done anything else for that length of time. It’s my longest relationship!
What was it like taking part in Channel 4’s Taskmaster?
Maybe it has to be my birthday party. I should just not invite people. Just have loads of balloons. Who needs friends when you’ve got balloons?
Your show Bobby Dazzler has been a global hit. How has the term translated across the world?
Nobody knows what it means! But it’s such a great term. And I sort of knew it wouldn’t work in certain places, but felt like they should learn it and they should start using it. I just explain what it means. I think of bobby dazzler as the best compliment you can have, like, ‘Ooh, doesn’t she look a bobby dazzler!’
Everyone gets Bobby Dazzler badges and I like to think that they can connect with other ‘Millicanaires’ by spotting badges. And that they’ll start calling each other bobby dazzler.
What’s the show about?
I wanted to set it in time, because I wrote it during the pandemic. So there’s a section about the things that you did in ‘a moment of madness’, because we all did slightly barmy things in order to get through it... it was hard, it was weird, everybody was scared and thrown by it.
You’re a big fan of audience interaction, but is that very different from heckling?
The task I really enjoyed was the hitting the balloons with the fryOh, very different. Heckling is ing pan, because when else is not allowed – answering the that going to come up? question when I ask it is allowed.
If I was invited around to a I’ve never been one for talking to children’s birthday party, I don’t the front row. Some people do think I would be allowed to run that and it works absolutely brilaround with a frying pan burstliantly for them. I don’t want ing all the balloons. anybody in the front row to feel The [Taskmaster] task I really enjoyed was the hitting the balloons with the frying pan, because when else is that going to come up?
like they can’t sit there and enjoy the show or they can’t go for a wee.
But I will talk to somebody if they shout out, because then they’ve opened the door and we can have a nice conversation.
How do you keep your energy up on such long tours?
I try to look after myself. I’m not very good at it, but I try. The show itself I love – honestly, when like there are 1,200 people and they’re so excited, that’s all the energy you need.
The travelling is hectic. And I now don’t trust airlines because they’ve lost our cases a few times, so I have to carry everything I might need for a show in my hand luggage as well as in the cases.
What can you tell us about your next tour Late Bloomer?
Somebody I used to go to school with sent me a photograph of me aged 12 or 13 and I’d never seen it before. And I cannot figure out – I’m hoping to figure out – how the girl in the photograph became me today.
It’s a school trip abroad, but I’m still wearing a blazer, a ‘fashion blazer’ and I’ve got a brooch on. All the other girls have got ponytails and perms and big earrings and jumpers and I look like I’m about to do the wages.
I look like I’m the accountant at the school. I was so introverted. I don’t know how that person has become a person who stands on the stage.
What’s your proudest achievement?
For somebody who didn’t have a boyfriend for a long time, I’ve been married twice.
Two people wanted to marry me and I’ve let them both have a go for a bit. This one’s doing really well. He’s up for review soon, but he’s doing well.
Bobby Dazzler is available to stream from sarahmillican. co.uk and will be on all platforms from May 12. Sarah’s new show Late Bloomer tours from September 20.