Exclusive Interview: Sofie Hagen – Quirky Comedienne with ❤
We caught up with the wonderful Sofie Hagen to talk about her hilarious and personal new comedy show at Soho Theatre, how to survive Trumpaggeddon and her London.
Your new show ‘Shimmer Shatter’ is coming to Soho Theatre in December. What can an audience expect?
Shimmer Shatter is a show about not knowing how to be a person. I’m meant to be an adult, I’m meant to have learned how to function by now, but I still feel like I’m an outsider in most situations. I don’t know how to small talk, I get nervous in big crowds and I hate parties with a passion. It’s about how incapable I am of functioning as an adult human being. I am an introvert with anxiety – and I’m trying to work it all out.
If my audience have ever felt like a weirdo – like someone who didn’t know how to function – if they have ever looked at other people and thought, ‘how do they do life?’ – I hope they will feel not alone with those thoughts for an hour of their life. That is all I want with the show. To say: You’re not alone with wanting to be alone all the time.
Your show blurb includes trying to accommodate people with anxiety, and a call to your tour venues to have gender neutral toilets. What makes these issues resonate with you?
My audience is a bunch of introverted, uncool, intelligent and kind-hearted oddballs – like me. And I struggle with shows sometimes. I hate buying tickets for something if I can’t choose a seat. I panic if I have to sit in the middle of a huge crowd. When I realised my audience are similar to me, I desperately wanted to make my tour-show a really nice and comfortable place to be. So people can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (which is an awful email, I know, I created it at 2am) and tell me if they need anything. Then I’ll come out and walk them in and they can pick a seat or whatever they need. We’ll take it on a ‘one person at a time’ basis. When I started thinking about people feeling anxious, it’s obvious to think about how trans people often fear for their safety when entering a gender-specific toilet. When I saw that the über cool band The Spook School made all toilets on their tour gender neutral, I felt inspired. I want to walk in their cool footsteps. It’s such a kind thing to do.
You’re fast becoming a podcast wizard with a huge number of fans out there. Tell us about your new podcast Made of Human. What’s it all about?
In theory, it’s just yet another podcast in which a comedian talks to other comedians about life. For me, it’s so much more than that. I talk to people about their weirdness’s and mental health and awkwardness’s. Through the podcast, I discovered that I am not the only one who gets anxious over blueberries – because you never know what taste the next one you eat will have. I got so many tweets and messages from people who felt the same way – my whole life, I felt like a massive idiot because of that. Now I feel more normal. It’s gone beyond that as well – many of the MohPod listeners are connecting like crazy right now. I kid you not – there is a MohPod Listeners Secret Santa plan in place as we speak. They’re sending each other gifts. Some Saturday nights I’ll go to the Facebook page and go on Facebook Live and we’ll have our own little party – just for us introverts who prefer to stay home on a Saturday. It’s become so much more than a podcast.
2016 has been a rollercoaster of a year. What is your advice for coping with the perils of Brexit and Trumpaggedon?
Breathe. It sounds silly and stupid, but seriously, breathe. In through the nose – one deep, long breath. Hold it for four seconds. Then out through the mouth. Repeat. Let go of the things you cannot change. And be fucking vigilant about the things you can. Stay aware of your surroundings and of your friends who are now in danger. In Britain it’s especially people of colour, trans people, LGBTQ+ people, and as always, women, of course. The right wing hates all of us. And we need everyone to start fighting. If you’re a man, step back and listen to women’s experiences. If you’re white, step back and listen to the experiences of people of colour. If you’re straight, step back and listen to the experiences of gay people. If you’re cis-gendered, step back and listen to trans people. Most of us need to just sit the fuck down and make room. But have everyone’s back if they need it. And that’s how we cope. We fight back and we win.
What are your favourite places to go to in London (to go out/relax/eat)?
I am absurdly in love with Scandinavian Kitchen in Soho. They sell Scandinavian food – and at the back, there is a Scandinavian shop selling all the stuff I miss from home. Around the evening, I prefer the Phoenix Artist Club by Phoenix Theatre. I do a monthly show there and I am utterly in love with the place. I’ll never stop doing small gigs there. In terms of nightclubs, I really like this place called My Bed. My favourite drink is Just A Lot Of Ice Cream. There’s only ever one person in there and it’s me.
Main image credit: Per Bix