Brighton: Samantha Pressdee

samantha pressdee_0280b 343px.jpg


The ultimate Love Muffin is flying down to Brighton…


Hello Samantha, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I am from and reside in the Black Country. It’s a real place, but it’s like purgatory. A lot of people get stuck there. My town Walsall is actually the 4th most deprived area in England according to our local paper. It’s called the Black Country as there used to be a lot of factories there, the smoke from the factories would turn the sky black. The factories have mostly gone now but there’s still plenty of smoke, from spliffs and cracks pipes. There’s no place like home!

Who are your comedy idols?
I really love Russell Brand, Bill Hicks, Alfie Brown, Sarah Pascoe & Fern Brady. They all seem to be saying something interesting. I came to Edinburgh 4 years ago as an Actress and I saw Alfie, Rosie Wilby and Mark Thomas. They inspired me to try comedy. I see it as a platform for the truth. George Orwell said “Every joke is a tiny revolution.” I’m all about social change and am drawn to comics who have compassion for people. It was a shock to learn there are so many narcissists in this industry. I guess we all have to be a little bit vain to get up on stage and tell strangers about ourselves. I tend to avoid comics that talk ONLY about themselves though. They are energy vampires!

Can you tell us about Love Muffin Productions?
Samantha: It’s my social enterprise, baked in 2016 with the help of the new enterprise allowance. Which essentially means, my topless comedy show Sextremist was partly funded thanks to the Tory Government! Our mission statement is to create experiences which bring people together for the purpose of empowerment and the greater good. As well as Sextremist we’ve produced Back 2 Basics, The Men, Sex & Feminism Podcast and now Conscious Comedy. My number 2 in this operation is the wonderful Clare Morgan. She’s been with me since the beginning. I’m Bipolar. So get an access to work grant to pay Clare. Bipolar is a disability, there are things I can’t do as well as neurotypical people, like admin! But I also consider it a blessing. I have a deep compassion for humanity and am very creative. It’s a label I share with some of my comedy heroes Alfie Brown, Russell Brand, also Jim Carrey I read is Bipolar.. According to an article in The Guardian from 2014 us comedians are the most likely profession to be diagnosed. I had to show a judge that article when I had to go to court to get the Personal Independence Payments I was entitled too early in my recovery because a paramedic sent from the private company Capita had decided if could do stand up comedy, and didn’t take meds – I was fine. Cutting off resources which vulnerable individuals need to survive is a human rights abuse!

You have been described as an ‘anarcha-feminist,’which seems an unusual field from which to draw comedy. Is it a rich field to harvest?
I think confrontation can create comedy, or just enemies. Confrontation with bare breasts is very funny, but also very serious. We are serious comedians. I was actually a comedian before I became an anarcha-feminist, before I was just ‘a feminist’ but I had to separate myself from the ones who hate men and sex positive women. Anarchy is about challenging hierarchy, feminism is about challenging patriarchy. So it makes sense that feminism shouldn’t turn into a matriarchy. We need equal ground!

What is it about performing live you love the most?
The warm fuzzy feeling you get from intimately connecting with an audience. You can’t get that soul connection through a plasma screen. Last night I got both kisses and cuddles from my audience on their way out. That is way better than a thumbs up on

Samantha Pressdee_0213_photo by steve ullathorne.jpg

Have your two stints at the Edinburgh Fringe toughened you up as a comedian?
There’s been 3 stints and yes. The first show was a baptism of fire. Most people duck under the radar for about 5 years then pop up with their debut hour. I did my first hour ‘Consume Shit & Die’ less than 2 years into comedy. I was in a nightclub called Espionage at 10.30pm trying to get drunk people to join the revolution! I had so much to say and felt it was urgent so there was no way I was gonna faff around for 5 years like some of my peers recommended. I needed a platform, where else could I express my truth without ending up back in the nuthouse? The show was not bad and definitely not good but I don’t regret it. Had I not done the full run with an hour there is no way I would have had the guts or the know how to produce Sextremist the following year. This is now my fifth year in comedy and 4th hour. I believe by industry standards, this is the year I am supposed to quit. The rules are you write a five year business plan, but fuck the rules! Anyway, just in the nick of time my work has become socially acceptable. I actually have a regular paid gig in telly, Psychic Today not 8 Out of 10 Cats but I’m making my own way. It’s comforting that my audience have seen me transform from an ugly duckling into a phoenix.

What is your ideal Sunday?
Sleep till I wake up, don’t bother getting dressed. Read a book in bed and then order a curry for breakfast at 4pm. I might then watch a comedy on Netflix or listen to a podcast. I’m mostly tearing around the country in pursuit of mischief, magic and mirth so it’s nice to just have one day to do nothing.

You are bringing Covered to the Brighton Fringe, can you tell us about it?
It’s a personal story that starts and ends with the police. Previewing ahead of my Edinburgh Fringe launch. This show is about trying to be taken seriously, while also trying to be a comedian. I know this will really shock people but I am a certified lunatic. I talk about trying to get my needs covered after a severe mental breakdown 5 years ago. Where do you go when all the welfare services have been cut and many people are scared to discuss mental health issues? Well I went to comedy, straight out of a mental hospital. I was encouraged by a Guardian article published at that time stating comedians are the most likely profession to be diagnosed with psychotic traits. Comedy is my home, but some see me as a pesky squatter. I’ve managed to resist the bailiffs so far but this is not the case for everyone. The show talks about the welfare state, social housing and the need for belonging. It’s seriously funny.

What do you think of Brighton as a city?
Brighton is badass. I called for a Free The Nipple rally in Brighton 2016, loads of people came and we made international headlines. After a day of topless marching along the promenade and sunbathing, some of the activists came to my preview of Sextremist again joining me in topless solidarity. My mom came too, we both slept in my van and used the co-op toilets to have a wash. True anarchy! I love the seaside and brighton rock. It’s a wonderful place I have many happy memories in Brighton. Only one bad memory. It’s the location where I got sectioned early in 2014, the police man seemed genuinely upset they’d had to put me in a cell while I was in psychosis because there were no beds available on the NHS. When I asked him through the flap “Where am I?” He had tears in his eyes. More about that in my new show Covered.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to someone in the street, what do you say?
It’s a story of resilience promoting compassion over schadenfreude. Chronicling how people are struggling to get their mental health needs met in austerity Britain. Perfect subject for comedy because the system is a joke!


Covered

Laughing Horse @ The Quadrant

May 3-4 / June 1-2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s