Up Close with Comedien, Writer & Actress Tiffany Stevenson

Yves de Contades asked Tiffany Stevenson a few things people might just be curious about.
Where did you grow up?
In a picturesque hamlet called Greenford. The home of ‘Kebab, Pizza, Burger, Pizza World’ note they put pizza in the establishment’s name twice.
What jobs did you do before comedy?
Everything in my twenties....promotions girl, indy car pit tours, street theatre, tequila shot girl, salsa teacher, regional gb analyst for Coca Cola (that lasted two months) EPOS sales analyst, street dance teacher at a drama school, post girl for a software company then I got 3 promotions within 2 years. They were mainly all jobs that I took between auditions. I did a lot of temping pretty much every job I went to for a week they offered me a full time position. I am good at picking stuff up/blagging competence.
What was the first time you though you could make a living doing stand up?
I didn’t really know there was a career path as such, I was acting and getting frustrated with the scripts I was reading so thought I would have a go at writing. I started in the clubs and you do 5 minute try outs and eventually they give you paid work. Paid spots always used to go to the guys first so I’m part of a generation who were still punching through that. But now we are on the panel shows, touring, selling DVD’s etc. I started running a club and that way I knew I could get stage time and paid every week
Who are your favourite stand ups and influences?
I have tons....the Americans, Rivers, Carlin, Pryor and the still alive ones like Wanda Sykes, Chris Rock, Rich Hall, Louis CK, Tig Notaro, Maria Bamford. There are loads of new gen women who are great too Rachel Feinstein, Jena Friedman, Michelle Wolf, Amy Schumer,
In the UK lots of comics of my generation I think are brilliant Roisin Conaty, James Acaster, Katherine Ryan, Nish Kumar, Kevin Bridges, Eleanor Tiernan....Then there are loads more who have been doing brilliant stuff since I started still Andy Zaltzman, Mark Thomas, Jo Brand, Jimmy Carr, Russell Howard, Russell Kane, Tommy Tiernan, Glenn Wool etc.
 I’m influenced by everything! Im writing a tv series for America at the moment that I now realise was influenced by watching Steel Magnolia’s as a kid. The books I read, the films I watch, the music I listen to,the art I like. In no particular order Frida Kahlo, Stevie Nicks, Jeff Buckley, Edith Piaf, Nick Drake, Rene Magritte, Josh Whedon, Tina Turner, Maya Angelou, Led Zepplin, Guns N Roses, Enid Blyton, Charles Dickens, Biggie Smalls the list goes on but I could take up pages with the stuff I love
What is the worst that has ever happened performing stand up?
I recently did a corporate gig and had to do the raffle afterwards. One of the prizes was a smoke detector!
Your best stand up moments?
Performing live at Hammersmith Apollo for Show Me The Funny Final. Getting to perform at Montreal Just For Laughs Festival in Canada last year, thats always been a huge dream of mine. Leeds & Reading Festivals are always my favourite to do...if I have a target demographic then they live at those shows. So much of it really, I've loved most of it and if I haven’t, I’ve been quite vocal about it.
Which is your favourite tv show you have appeared on and why?
Oh I don’t know about picking favourites but acting wise doing The Office and subsequently People Just Do Nothing were pretty exciting. Every now and then you get to be a part of something that sums up a time and a feeling, almost a cultural zeitgeist. I think both of those shows fall in to that category. Stand up wise I've been lucky enough to do stuff like Mock The Week & 8 Out Of 10 Cats which are the shows I really wanted to do when I started out in stand up so that is pretty great. Sometimes the unexpected things too like being a UK correspondent on The Weekly.
Was doing Alan Davies enjoyable?
As Yet Untitled? It’s a very easy, relaxed, fun show to do and I think that comes across on screen.
How was Show Me The Funny to be a part of?
It was a great platform for me , I came 3rd ...like Amy Schumer in Last Comic Standing! It always seem better to not win these things. I really enjoyed doing the show but I think it was a bit confused about what it was. It’s a shame they didn’t show everybody doing their regular sets before entering them into the challenges. Some of the acts suffered because of that. Also I got to hang out with Bob Mortimer. Result.
How do you cope with touring stand up and what are the good and bad bits?
If you don’t take a support act it can be a bit boring and lonely. You do the first half, sit in the dressing room, twiddle your thumbs for a bit then go back out for the second half
It’s obviously great when people come to see you, you are the entertainment and they spent money on you. I’m grateful for that. At my Leeds show there were two women who had flown in from Ireland especially to see me. That’s a thrill.
What are your favourite topics to cover in your routines?
There is stuff that I seem to come back to time and time again. I think Donald Trump has been in my last three shows...he probably reads this magazine, hi Donald. Also the Kardashians. Women’s reproductive rights, having kids, my mum, uk politics, gun control in America, what I love about America, what I don’t love about America, the NHS, my mental health, the rise of the machines....i haven’t done religion for a few years so maybe that will come back again.
What would you most like people to know about you?
Oh no I couldn’t possible answer that question. There you go, I want people to know that I am modest.
Also I’ll probably run the world one day......or at least the entertainment side of it
What would be your favourite luxury and why?
Fashion wise - As a woman I love shoes and bags because they don’t judge me. Ladies know if you lose weight or gain weight you can still wear the shoes or carry the bag! My go to brands are Miu Miu, YSL, Marc Jacobs, Coach & Zac Posen. If I land a nice job I will often buy jewellery ....rings, bracelets etc. Costume stuff from Alexander McQueen or Stella McCartney. I’m like Wemmick in Great Expectations “always invest in portable property”. In fact a friend of mine before the Edinburgh Fringe went to an auction of Joan Rivers’ estate and he bought me 2 lots of her personal jewellery and sunglasses. So now whenever I go onstage I have a little piece of Joan to wear.
In terms of travel, I lovely fast sporty cars, I drive a Saab 93 convertible but I’d love a 911 Carrera next .
What makes you happy?
People, places, things.
A little more information about Tiffany:
Building on the success of a critically-acclaimed, month-long run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August With her seventh stand-up show Seven, Tiffany Stevenson is on a UK tour from 30th September 2016 to 11th March 2017. Inspired by a gig Tiff did in David Lynch’s nightclub in Paris last year, just one month before the Bataclan attacks, Tiff explores our need to make huge worldwide impactful events about us, delving into morality, modernity, vanity, mental health, film reboots & clouds.
Tiff is a stand-up comedian, actor and writer. A well-known face on television screens, Tiff has appeared multiple times on Mock The Week (BBC Two) along with appearances on Comedy Central at the Comedy Store (Comedy Central), Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central (Comedy Central), Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled (Dave) and was the UK correspondent for hit Australian show The Weekly with Charlie Pickering (ABC). Tiff also appeared on Drunk History (Comedy Central) and has a regular role on BBC Three’s hit mockumentary People Just Do Nothing which returned in 2016 with two more series. Tiff’S TV credits also include Safeword (ITV2), The Apprentice: You’re Fired (BBC Two), Only Joking (Sky), Russell Howard’s Good News (BBC Two), Never Mind the Buzzcocks (BBC Two), Celebrity Deal or No Deal (Channel 4). As an actor, Tiff’S credits include The Office (BBC Two).
On the Radio, Tiff has been a guest on Front Row (BBC Radio 4) and MacCaulay & Co (BBC Radio Scotland) and makes regular appearances on the Comedy Club (BBC Radio 4 Extra), 7 Day Saturday & Sunday with Al Murray (BBC Radio 5 Live) and Breaking the News and The Good, the Bad and the Unexpected (BBC Radio Scotland).
Well established at Edinburgh festival, Seven is the seventh solo show Tiff has performed at the Fringe, following on from her previous successes Uncomfortably Numb, Cavewoman, Dictators, Along Came a Spider, Optimist and Mad Man which have all been met rave reviews. In 2012 Uncomfortably Numb was awarded the Mervyn Stutter’s Spirit of the Fringe award and has since inspired Tiff to make a documentary exploring plastic surgery, ageing and our perceptions of women's faces further, which is currently in production.
Tiff also writes opinion pieces for the Metro newspaper and hosts Old Rope, a weekly live show, which has enjoyed a succession of sell-out runs at Edinburgh festival. Old Rope showcases new material from established headline acts and plays to a full house every Monday night in London. She has recently supported Ed Byrne on his national tour.