Fortunately for us Harriet Dyer doesn't seem able to rid herself of comedy; these days she lives and breathes comedy; she hones her craft and is religious about improvement, and is being booked all over the country for gigs that expose her to her worst critic: herself.
Poking fun at herself at venues up and down the UK is what Harriet does best; it seems entertainment was always her forte, and after bagging an exclusive scoop with the talented lady, I have to agree - she's a hoot. Harriet is naturally eccentric, funny, expressive and incapable of talking without using her hands. I find her passion and drive terribly endearing in an industry that is predominantly male, and for comedy-value sexist.
But this isn't a feminist piece. This is about the one-woman show that is Harriet Dyer, who proposed the question whether you have to be dysfunctional to be a successful comedian?
Giggling over a cuppa Harriet gave me the details of her up and coming shows, and a few anecdotes about how she got to where she is now:
At one point during my degree, which I wasn't very serious about, (and in a half-drunk state), we had a practical assessment. I rose to the challenge and retold the story of how I ended up in hospital after bursting my appendix on night out. I wasn't sure of my performance, but lecturer took me aside and said "There's something about you" and I ran with it." She bases her jokes around her life – drawing on experience, and you can guarantee you're in for a chuckle at the very least after hearing about the not-funny-at-the-time-but-hilarious-after jokes.
In hindsight I wouldn't say Harriet is 'dysfunctional' at all. Even though she might not admit it, in her self-deprecating manner, Harriet knows exactly where she's going, what she's doing and how to get there. In her words: "My first gigs were very humbling because you have to be better when you're crap. Sometimes I'd perform to a crowd of one man and his dog, (I stifle a laugh). It makes you realise how hard you have to work, and keep working to make it. Being a comedian is hard work, you must do x, y, and z to even get noticed, never mind whether people are actually laughing. You have to want it, and if you put the effort in, you will succeed." Wise words from a funny lady, who knew comedians could be serious too?
Even in mundane roles Harriet raised a few eyebrows; after she graduated from University (with a 2.1), instead of returning home to Cornwall she stayed in the Midlands, moved to Birmingham, and worked a few retail jobs. Confiding that she 'hated it, and made up lies about members of staff just to amuse myself' it is clear comedy is in Harriet's blood.
The likes of Sarah Millican, Izzie Suttie, and Josie Long are amongst the female comedienne's Harriet admires, and while she is a fan of their work Harriet is currently enjoying performing at intimate venues where she can interact with the audience. That's not to say if an offer came along to perform at The Apollo Harriet wouldn't grab it with both hands...
During our interview Harriet admitted she walks the thin line between eccentric and being a little bit mad. One might even argue she dips her little toe in the pool of crazy, but she'll make you cackle, no, howl with laughter as she regales her stories and has the audience in stitches. Harriet has likeability, and that's what has led to her success, but most importantly she is terribly funny.
Catch Harriet at the following events this March:
8th Tividale Social Club,
10th The Comedy Store (Manchester)
12th The Rose Villa Tavern (Jewellery Quarter)
14th Wolverhampton University
15th HaHa Club (Burscough, Lancashire)
16th Bromely Comedy Club London
17th Sutton Coldfied Comedy Junction
20th The Lamp (Digbeth)
23rd Hilarious (Nottingham)
24th Newport Pagnal
28th The Stile (Wolverhampton)
29th Elephant and Castle (Telford)