We caught up with comedian, journalist and writer, creator of the Atheist Bus Campaign, Ariane Sherine.
What is the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
Probably my best friend Graham, though he might not appreciate being called a thing.
What is your own favourite joke?
One I wrote, or one I didn’t? If the latter, it’s this:
A woman goes to see her dry cleaner, who is partially deaf.
Woman: I’d like this dress dry cleaned.
Dry cleaner: Come again?
Woman (blushing): No, actually it’s yoghurt this time!
What book changed your life?
‘Burning Bright’ by Helen Dunmore. It’s a beautiful literary novel which made me want to become a writer.
What books do you have on your bedside table?
A whole e-reader’s worth. A shame in a way, but so portable.
What is your favourite one-liner?
Anything by Gary Delaney.
Do you have a writing routine?
No, I write all the time – on my phone or my laptop.
What keeps you awake during the night?
Nothing – such is the joy of sedatives!
Who was or still is your mentor?
I’ve been inspired by many writers throughout my life – Helen Dunmore, Maggie O’Farrell, JK Rowling, Charlie Brooker – and am currently doing Chris Head’s comedy course.
When did you know you were going to be a comedian?
When I was a kid and used to do impressions of the teachers to make the other kids laugh. It was a great feeling.
Who is your comedy inspiration?
I think you can learn something from every comic – the good ones teach you how to be, the not-so-good teach you how not to be.
In what place are you happiest?
Good question. I like to think I can be happy anywhere – except perhaps in the dentist’s chair!
What’s your favourite place?
Anywhere, with the right company.
What drives you on?
The knowledge that the harder I work, the more successful I can be.
What is your biggest extravagance?
Apple products. I haven’t bought the watch though.
What is your greatest achievement so far?
Not sure. Maybe gaining seven paid gigs in my first seven weeks back on the comedy circuit?
What is your greatest disappointment?
Having a major nervous breakdown and having to take three-and-a-half years off from writing.
What is your most memorable heckle experience?
This guy called out ‘Would you like a shag?’ I yelled back, ‘Yeah, come up here and get your pants off!’
He replied ‘Nah, I’ve taken a closer look and I don’t fancy you!’
Pretty nightmarish when you’re 22 years old in front of a 100-strong audience.
Who is your ideal audience?
Not that one, ha ha! I tend to do well in front of twenty-something and thirty-something professional comedy-literate audiences.
What is the best and worst thing about being a comedian?
Best: riding elongated waves of laughter. Worst: turning up to a gig to find there’s no audience.
What is your take on life and death?
When you die, that’s it: no afterlife, no reincarnation. But as someone wiser than me said, ‘If you do it right, once is enough.’
How would you like to be remembered?
As a funny, thoughtful writer who loved her daughter.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
No. The idea of living forever would literally be hellish.
Famous last words?
I’m sure that bear’s not as fierce as he – aaaagh!
Here is a clip with Ariane performing