Contrary to popular belief, most comedians are not millionaires. With so much of their money being spent on biros, service station food and those cheap Casio watches, many of them are forced to actually work for a living.
In this new regular feature, we interview local comics to find out how they pay the bills. Does a day job get in the way of comedy or does it provide invaluable inspiration? Will they say too much and get themselves sacked? First up, comedian, compère and nanny Eva Bindeman talks to fellow funny person Martin Pilgrim about being the Mary Poppins of Bristol comedy.
Kettle: Hi, Eva. So tell us a bit about your day job.
Eva: I am a nanny, which is a great job. I get paid to play in the park, laugh about farts and eat reasonable amounts of ice cream. I’ve been a nanny since I left university (so 9 years!). I took my first role in Switzerland to also save up some money and found that I absolutely loved it – so it became my career. There’s no shifting me out of it now.
Kettle: That sounds great. Which came first, the stand-up or the day job?
The day job came first, but when I started comedy I was a live-in nanny I was working 12 hours a day, and obviously sleeping at work; I really needed a hobby that was late night and required minimal energy for maximum rewards. So it was going to be either comedy or some sort of drug habit – luckily my first gig went well and I was hooked! On comedy.
Kettle: Probably the right choice…Do you get comedic inspiration from your work?
I talk a lot about work in my stand-up. It’s a large part of my life and I think work is a safe starting point for ideas and off the wall thoughts. My stand-up is autobiographical so it makes sense to include nannying. Also, kids are absolutely hilarious, so I find I am laughing most of the day which helps me get in a really good mindset for my gigs in the evening.
Kettle: You do seem unusually joyful for a comedian. Does your job ever interfere with gigging or writing?
My job can still have some super long hours, or overnight shifts that make some of the gigs outside of Bristol a little tricky to commit to but I work for a really supportive and creative family who do their best to plan ahead with me. As for writing, there is no time to even have a wee on your own – never mind scribble some ideas down. I have to be quite disciplined outside of my day job if I write new jokes.
Kettle: There are gigs outside of Bristol? Seems unnecessary…So do your employers know about the comedy? What do they think about you being a stand-up?
Oh yes – my employers know about my comedy. Bristol is quite a small city so sooner or later they’d run into me at a gig so it makes sense to be open, and then reassure them that I don’t say anything about my job that is personal to the family! There is a lot of trust and respect on both sides.
They have been very happy to give me the time (and sometimes the equipment!) I need to set up my own night in Stokes Croft – the night I run with two other fabulous comics – Julia Stenton and Jen Rhodes, Comedy @ the Crafty Egg. I think that it’s more about having great employers, though, and less about nannying being a good fit with comedy!
Kettle: That sounds like a good arrangement! So where can we see you in action? Doing comedy that is, not nannying. Don’t say the park.
Plenty of places around Bristol will be wrestling the mic off me this month but the BEST one I think you should all come to is Comedy @ The Crafty Egg, Stokes Croft on Friday 28th Feb 8pm. We have five wonderful acts (one of which is me!), and it’s a pay what you want night, so brilliant if you are on a budget. It does get absolutely packed out though, so get down early if you want to get a seat. See you there.