If I’m being honest with you guys, I’ve been feeling a bit out of my depth recently with this show. I know the searing honesty of that first sentence might seem a bit too intense, but I just wanna open up a bit because I think it’s important to show you guys that, if you think about it, I’m just a regular person too.
A lot of you see these pictures of me having fun with comedians and you think: “This guy’s got a great life, I bet everyone loves him and that he’s one of the most popular people on the circuit.” And in many ways, you’d be absolutely right.
But nevertheless, the amount of effort I’m putting into this is really taking its toll on me.
During the extensive research I did on podcasting before I started this project, not one person told me just how much writing would be involved. I got so much advice about recording equipment and editing software, but to tell you the God’s honest truth, not one bit of that has come in handy.
I really wanna make this show as not-shit as possible, and give my tens of fans the high-quality content they deserve. But all the writing I’ve been doing has left me tired (boo!), irritable (double-boo!) and a little bit lonely (can I get a triple-boo up in this bitch!?).
It makes you think: what is it all for?
Well who better to lift me from my gloomy mood than today’s guest on “Comedians Outside Edinburgh Getting Pumpkin Spice Lattes” Safia Lamrani?
Safia is an actor, an improviser and a person. But perhaps because she’s yet to have much success in those areas, she’s best known for being a big ray of sunshine. With a real enthusiasm for life, Safia can’t help but try and spread her positivity wherever she goes.
And when you’re in a bad mood and you talk to someone like that, it can go one of two ways: it can make you feel better or it can be really fucking annoying.
“I’M SO EXCITED TO BE ON THE SHOW!” She said, hugging me as I went in for a handshake.
“Please never do that again,” I said, sitting back down. “I don’t like people hugging me.”
“I’m being serious,” I said.
After the awkwardness of the enthusiastic hug was over, she began even more enthusiastically telling me about her career. Starting out as an embryo, Safia has come a long way to get to where she is today. Having just graduated from Warwick University, where she also dabbled in improvised comedy, she is now a fully-fledged actor. And like most fully-fledged actors, Safia spends most of her days making coffees for £7.50 an hour.
Nowhere near successful enough to be starring in Hollywood movies, but not quite failing enough to be sleeping outside on the pavement, on the scale of acting success, Safia finds herself between The Rock and a hard place.
Who knows which way it’s gonna go?
Safia said she was inspired to get into acting by her dad; partly due to his glittering TV career (starring in 3 episodes of ITV’s The Bill), but also partly due to the convincing way in which he pretended to love her.
“It was just so believable,” she explained. “And I thought, if he can do it, then so can I.”
But so far Safia has failed to reach the dizzying heights of committing arson on The Bill, and this year was rejected from several drama schools. However, rather than being dismayed by those rejections, she used them as motivation to write her very own one-woman show, which she performed last month in Leicester. The show was centred around the crazy antics of fictional detective Sharlotte Hobbes, and since her 2-day run at Leicester’s Brewdog, her fan base has multiplied.
Unfortunately, when you multiply a number by 0, the answer is once again 0.
The more she was telling me about her career, the more I realised that, just like hosting an unrecorded podcast, the acting profession is extremely tough.
“Are you not worried that your wasting yours and everyone else’s time?” I asked.
“Not really,” she said. “The important thing is to keep trying.”
“But you’re not even getting any work at the moment.”
“Shakespeare said the whole world’s a stage…” I zoned out at this point; all the smiling, all the failing - it was like she couldn’t see something that seemed so clear to me. It was also like her stupid face was reminding me how stupid my face was. What was I doing with this podcast? And my stand up? Who was I kidding? When you want to do something creative or artistic it’s so hard to get anywhere that I’m not sure if it’s even worth it.
“There’s so much suffering in this process, Safia. I don’t know how you can sit there smiling about it.”
“Well the way I see it,” she said. “The failing, the rejection, the hard work – it’s all a gift. When I was younger, everything felt so easy. I was clever and good at sports, so school was no problem. But whenever I passed an exam or won an egg and spoon race, I never really felt like I achieved anything. But now, pursuing acting, it’s so hard, there’s no simple path to success. You have to try and try and try. All the time. You have to keep trying no matter how good you are. It’s much more of a struggle and so when I achieve something I feel really truly proud of myself. And that’s what makes me happy.”
I looked at her face and it suddenly didn’t seem as stupid anymore. And neither did mine. I just saw a positive person that wants to see how far she can go in this world. I felt proud of her too. And I felt proud of me. And I felt proud of everyone out there who gets up every day and tries their best, despite it being so easy not to.
“Thanks for coming on the show, Safia,” I said, giving her a hug. “You’ve taught me a lot.”
See you next time! X