An Act of Godliman

You’d think Kerry Godliman would be pressed for time. After all, she might be the hardest-working person in showbiz. There’s current sitcom Bad Move, comedy Carters Get Rich and upcoming drama Save Me. She’ll soon be recording a Radio 4 sitcom and appears on Mock The WeekLive At The Apolloand 8 Out Of 10 Cats. And of course there was her major part in Ricky Gervais's Derek. Next stop, Birmingham, and somehow time to natter to us.

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Are you all right, Kerry? 

I did Mock The Week last night. There’s always a mad rush the day before the show, but it was good fun. It can be a long record, so you have to keep your energy up. Everyone is so lovely on that show. It’s funny: I’ve been doing stand-up 14 years and, finally, I’m doing these panel shows.

We’ve just heard about the new radio show with Marcus Brigstocke. Congratulations on being in every show currently being made…

Ha! You mean congratulations on being the go-to comedy wife! Well, I’ve been very lucky in the timing. It was the old thing where they were all spread out when I made them, and now they’re coming out they just happen to be back-to-back. Talk about a happy mistake: the very theme of Bad Move is similar to my tour show: being married and tackling middle age. As for the Marcus thing, that’s in pre-production so it's a way off.

Bad Move is more than a comedy wife... 

I’m only kidding. Jack [Dee, her co-star] has his storylines and I have mine. It was really nice making Bad Move. There are four stand-ups in that show – Jack, Seann Walsh, Miles Jupp and me – but I had to audition three times. I wasn’t a shoo-in.

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How did Derek come about? 

Ricky has a great memory for people and a gift for casting, which is a delicate thing. Our paths crossed down the years: I auditioned for a little part in The Office, I had a part in Extras and Life’s Too Short, and he remembered me. If he connects with you, he stores it. I still had to audition, mind!

It’s an odd thing to ask in 2017, but are things getting better for women in comedy? 

Yes they are. Take the Mock The Week: there was Angela Barnes and me on there, so panel shows are getting better – you know, more than one woman. I did a try-out for a panel the other day that was all women, so that might get picked up. I remember saying to a producer about six years ago: how about a panel show with all women? And they said: “No. Way. It’ll never happen.” And now it’s being pitched. When I started out in stand-up, there was only Jenni Éclair and Jo Brand that were household names. And now you’ve got so many more, and it’s so inclusive and everyone has each other’s back. Feminism isn’t a women-only movement: it’s about men and women being equal. It’s not men vs women; it’s, let’s get this shit together. I also feel I should do panel shows for the next generation of female stand-ups. One feminist phrase is: “If I can’t see it, I can’t be it.” If there are women visibly doing these shows, then the next generation can see it can be done. That’s really important.

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And now, you’re playing Birmingham…

My husband is from Birmingham and I have great affection for the city.  I’ve also played Glee a lot down the years: it’s one of the best clubs in the country.

Before we go: Save me. That sounds incredible… 

Yes! We shot in February and March and it comes out early next year. Lennie James: wow! Oh man. He is incredible and that script is extraordinary. It’s a dark thriller set on an estate. Something happens to his kid, who he hasn’t seen for a while. It’s a noir thriller and the cast is extraordinary.

Kerry Godliman, Glee Club, Birmingham, November 24. Tickets

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