Life Is Sound

024 | Laughing Your Way To Happiness w/ Emm Kenny

July 31, 2023 Episode 24
Life Is Sound
024 | Laughing Your Way To Happiness w/ Emm Kenny
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Show Notes Transcript

Welcome back to another captivating episode of "Life Is Sound," the podcast where we delve into the transformative power of creativity, vulnerability, and finding light amidst life's darkest moments. I'm your host, James Mayer, and I couldn't be more excited to introduce our guest for today's episode - the brilliant writer and performer in the world of comedy, Emm Kenny.

Emm shares her incredible journey about how and why she started her comedy production company "Comedy Stitch Productions" and how her workshops help people build confidence by exploring performance as play. 

I am a huge fan of comedy and I am really excited to sit down with our first guest who works in and around the comedic arts. So sit back, relax, and join us for an enlightening and laughter-filled conversation on this episode of "Life Is Sound."

Also be sure to look out for next weeks episode as we take Life Is Sound WEEKLY!

What We Discussed In this Episode

  • Community Arts
  • Creating Comedy Workshops
  • The Power Of Comedy
  • Humour Helps
  • Funding Workshops
  • Favourite Part of the Creative Process
  • Stand Up Comedy & Comedians
  • NLP Training
  • Personal Development
  • Being A Carer
  • Humorous Translation of Doctor's Brutal Diagnosis
  • Putting Yourself First
  • Your Inner Child
  • How To Get Into Comedy

Find Emma's Workshops Here

Emma's IG

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Hello, good people, and welcome back to life is sound. Today's guest is Emma Kenny, who is a comedian. And I'm super excited for this episode because I use comedy a lot in my own life. When I'm going through difficult times and I just need that little injection of positive energy into my life. I've got my go to comedians, I've got my go to stand ups. But I want to say a big warm welcome to Emma. Thank you very much for coming to do this today. Oh, you're welcome. Thank you for having me. Appreciate you being here. Why is comedy important to you? I want to start with that straight. You go with such a big question. Why is it important to me? I think it's just the way I've always looked at life. So I've got an ethos. It's always to remember the funny side, just to remember that humorous side, even though when things are tough. And maybe I just did that as a child, naturally, when things aren't great, so you just find the fun and you always feel better when you're laughing. So it was just always something that was natural or just it was just the avenue that I went down. I was always quite playful and silly as a child. What child isn't? But, yeah. So I ended up just that was always my happy place. Tell me a bit about what you actually do, because I know I said, you're a comedian. Yeah, that's the thing. So you say, I'm a comedian and everyone will go, Is she? Why? What was she doing? And it's like so I do loads of different things. So I work in radio film, I've done comedy. I do a bit of everything, but the stuff I do you mean like the workshop stuff? Yeah. So the workshop stuff that I do. So I set up a production company a couple of years ago called Comedy Stitch Productions, and I wanted to create really cool, fun projects, like eight week ones or three months or something like that. And they're all laced with comedy, so it might be a comedy film, a comedy radio project. I didn't want to just do improv. There's lots of amazing organisations that are doing stuff like that. And I also didn't want to just focus on young people as well. So that was something that I wanted to I've gone off here on a tangent. No, not at all. What was the first question? Why did I get into comedy? It was just, yeah, that's what I did. It was like when you're at school, you've got a favourite subject. I ended up loving drama. It was probably the only one I really turned up to. Were you the same with music? You know what music I think back to? I had a really traumatic moment in high school. I remember year seven, going to the music teacher head of music, seeing a drum kit going there on lunchtime and saying, I was wondering if I can learn to play drums. He turned around to me and said, did you play in primary school? I went, no. He went, well, you're not going to learn to play drums, then. And I left, like, well, that's that later in life, obviously became a musician, like Ha showed you. But, yeah, I really did want to do music in school, but I never got the opportunity to do that right. When you said that, it just made me realise, actually, there's, like, a whole part of my story that I've not really mentioned. So as a child, I was quite young. I was young, of course I was young. I was young, but I was really shy and quite anxious and my mum got me into she went and she got involved in community arts. So, like, local community plays, history, plays about history, a lot of stuff in Salford, and it was called Salford Open Theatre. And I got involved as a child and I started that when I was, like, eight and it was always in the paper with my mum going, they've secured some funding to do another play. So, yeah, as much as I found it terrifying, it was really good for me. I sometimes wonder if I didn't do community arts, where I'd be I think I'd be in prison. People laugh, but I'm not kidding. I do, yeah. So it's amazing that that's carried through then, from childhood, seeing the fundraising side from that age, and you brought that through to your adult life and you're doing that now as well. Yeah, because when I went to school and I was doing drama and then went to college and I did performing arts, and then I went to Uni and specialised, there was a comedy module, so Sulphur Judy do comedy and that's where I ended up going. And it's great, it's great fun, I learned a lot. But then out in the big, wide world, when you're acting and you're auditioning and it's great to get these gigs and stuff, but for me, it wasn't always very fulfilling. It wasn't enough. I felt a bit like if it wasn't helping people, if there was no heart to it, like, I love performing, but if it's just performing and it's just entertainment and there's no message, it just wasn't always enough for me. Yeah. Does that make sense? I get that with music. Suppose you can write a song for writing a song's sake or perform a song, but it's when you see it connecting with people or helping people in a certain way, that's when I think we get the most feedback as artists, because that's what we are with. We're putting things out into the world and if it can help people, I think that is the greatest thing we can get in terms of feedback from people. When people message you that your song is literally helping me through this time, or whatever it is, I think that's like, amazing. The highest reward as an artist, I think, is knowing that what you've created or what you're putting out there is helping someone in some way. See, my work doesn't help. That's the thing. I don't think my work I don't know, I'll just create something silly. But it's the workshops when I go back to the beginning and help people, create something for them. So when I started Comedy Stitch, I ended up, are you ready for this? This is me being vulnerable now, so let me get comfortable. I ended up going to the doctors. I was not in a good place. And I remember asking them, because the first thing they offered was medication. And I was like, I just feel like, is there nothing that I can get involved with? I was feeling really lonely. Really. It was just this real disconnect. And I needed something creative. But everything that was out there always felt like there was this big goal at the end. I wanted to write or create something without it being sold to someone, or without purpose creating just for fun, which ultimately makes you feel better. And I just remember thinking when I left there, there must be more people that feel this way, especially creatives. Because that's where if I'm not being creative, if I'm in a place and I've not been creative for a while, I just don't feel very good. I don't feel like myself. I don't know, like the words that are coming to my head, I don't know if they make sense, but I feel so bored and so my life just feels so ordinary. It feels a bit pointless. Yeah, I get that. You get it? Yeah. So I've said it on this podcast before, so for me I describe it as like a dark cloud. And I don't know what age it was. I was like, why do I keep feeling like this? All the times constant. And I realised that it went away. Whenever I'd sit down and make a song or just make a beat, or write some music, play guitar, just do something, and it would lift. And I realised I call it the wilting of the flower. I'm not looking after myself in the right way, which is what helps me grow, is what I get the most satisfaction from. And it took me years, I'd say probably mid twenty s, I realised what it was I have to keep creating. Whether it's creating a podcast, creating music outputting, something that didn't exist the day before, that's what creation is. Yeah. Something is not here now. Now it's here. Feel great. But when you stop doing that and. We'Re slowly yeah, I just feel like, get drained. And then luckily figured out what it was and made sense of it. But I do relate to that a lot. I get it. Yeah, I understand that. Yeah. When you have a look at what's out there as well. There's a lot of stuff for young people and there's a lot of stuff for people over 65, 70, and I just thought, something that's accessible. There's loads of amazing things that people can get involved with. But I wanted to remove all barriers, so for people, like over 29, 30 plus, there's a gap. And I ended up creating a project called the Confidence Project, and it was all based on a lot of the stuff I was feeling, and I just thought, I wonder, I'll create this for me and see who turns up. And so many people signed up. That's incredible. It was so beautiful, but also quite I felt like it was sad that there wasn't enough stuff out there. So what I like to do is I make sure that no one has to pay. I don't want anyone to pay, I want to remove that barrier and I want it to be about people building their confidence and it's about their well being. It's not about learning the improv skills, which you will you'll learn bits, but it was about playing and I'll bring those tools in to help people play. It wasn't about how to be on camera and things like that, it was just about getting on camera. And I've got another project coming up, which is a radio piece. Amazing. Yeah. Well, hopefully I will find out next week. We've got the funding, but yeah. And how do you see that in the world? Do you give yourself the recognition for creating something amazing? That's amazing, like what you've done? People are showing up with the intention of you helping people and removing the financial element as well so people can access it. Do you recognise how powerful that is? Do you know? So many people say that to me, but I'm like, all I'm doing is I'm just creating the space so I don't as much as it's really beautiful when people say, thank you for doing this, I go, well, you did it. It was all your hard work. All I did was ask someone for a bunch of money, created a set of workshops and invited people along. And there's obviously there's a workshop and there's structure and maybe it's because I've done it for such a long time that it feels quite I don't know, I don't want to say easy, it's not easy, but I didn't feel like I was giving that much. But then when I see people and how they react, like, eight weeks later and how they've changed and they say, thank you so much, and I'm like, I didn't do it, you did it. It doesn't work if people don't turn. Up. And there's never any pressure for anyone to get up and perform, I'd say, you know, whenever you're ready, whenever you're ready. I never push anyone into it. It's all them. So it's just creating the space. That's incredible. I think holding space, creating something whether it's an art form, a conversation like this, or I've been to men's circles where it's about men coming and sharing what they're going through and men helping men. There's something in when you hold space for something that creates magic and transformation in people. And that could be, as you probably experienced, people really taking part or someone just going, I'm just going to observe today, I'm just going to observe what goes on. And you'll find that in that there's even transformation. Yeah, because I think people then feel they're safe, they know they're safe and they get a lot out of watching other people perform and seeing them grow. And again, I didn't want there to be sometimes when you go for funding, they want you to obviously work with a certain demographic, and I didn't want to do that, or if I did, it was about just want to work with people who feel like a big bag of shit. You feel like shit, come on, let's hang out and let's just have a laugh, let's leave the booze at home, let's put our phones down and let's just play. And that was it. When you're a kid and you'd go around to a mate's house, you'd knock on and just ask if they were coming out to play. Best days of your life. Best days. That's what I wanted, to create a gang. How devastating was it when your friend wasn't in and you go knock at your other friend's door and they're not in, and then you'd ride to your third friend's house and they're not in, and then you find out they're all playing out. I used to go to my dad's at the weekends a lot, so I'd come back maybe on a Sunday and go knock on, but they're already out playing with each other and I'm trying to find everyone, so I had a lot of that growing up. Okay. That just really broke my heart. Never happened to me. But the feeling of walking to you had a bounce in your step, you just knew you were going to link your favourite people and try and have a good time. That was your only intention at that age, is, I'm just going to come and see you, I'm just going to go and do some fun stuff. Yeah, that was it. Yeah. Like in my workshops, I'll never tell them what we're going to be doing then, following week, because it was just that surprise, that element of excitement, and it worked really well. I wasn't quite sure if it would, but it did. What's the hardest part of what you do? So funding, going for funding, I mean, I've got a real system now, but what I find hard is sometimes the written word with funding, they don't want you to sell this big, glossy, amazing pitch, they want it in black and white and it's factual and it just taps into and there's word counts and I'm dyslexic. So this really I 100% I'm dyslexic. I've just never been diagnosed. I am definitely dyslexic. Does it just spin you out? Sometimes I look back at things I've written and go, what have I said? How did I think that was that word? And then I realise, and it's just even when I'm reading and I've realised it's been a problem throughout my whole life, that I'm only just now identifying. Got it. Okay. But, yeah, things the way certain letters before, other things, I just really struggle with words. It's a funny one. So now it's more about the feeling for me. I used to get so freaked out that if I tripped over it you know when you're a kid and you had to stand up in class and you had to start reading and if you tripped over a word, someone would laugh at you and you were mortified. So that is still with me and I'm still working through it. But the lottery and the Arts Council, they're so much more accessible now and they've been really helpful and it's getting easier. So the more funding I go for, the more evidence I've got that it works. So there's surveys and I'll get testimonials and I'll get video content and things like that. So coming from, say, a performing arts background drama oh, God, I hate it. When people say you're like a drama. Teacher and obviously having a huge what I assume a huge comedy element in there. Yeah. What's your favourite part of that whole spectrum as a musician? Some people love being in the studio, don't really favour performing songs as much. Some people really do not like the studio process and the writing process, but love performing the songs. So in your world and what you do as a creative, what's your favourite part of your process? For the workshop stuff? Just the whole spectrum. I think it might be the writing for me. Yeah. I think for the workshops, it's the designing and then seeing it all come together. But obviously, day one for them is not my day one. I've been working on towards that project for months, so I'm sometimes in a new space where I have to start planning on a different project. Writing a script. Yeah. I enjoy all the stages. Or writing a bit of stand up. I think with stand up, personally, for me, it's very much with stand up, you got to try it. You got to just do it, see what the response is, go back, reword, try it a different way. So I think my favourite bit I'm going to say is, when it goes really well and people like it, what. Are the moments as doing stand up comedy? So I'm fascinated with comedians. I think they're some of the most fascinating people on the planet, and I've observed them for years. And I think the times that we've gone through as we're entering cancel culture and language being restricted. I think comedy is the last art form that can really speak to the truth of a situation because of the art form that it's delivered in. And I think that's become more apparent as we're entering these crazy times where people are trying to cancel comedians for saying certain things. And jokes are jokes. Unless they're attacking a group of people or trying to set one group of people on another group of people, that's not good. But comedy is finding the light in the darkness, finding the opposite to the thing we shouldn't laugh at or the thing we all do laugh at and bringing it to the surface. I think it's such a beautiful art form, and I think comedians are rock stars. I just think they're incredible. And have you ever seen a show called Kill Tony? I feel like you love this, so I'll share it with you. I'll send you some links. So it's a weekly live podcast of a live comedy show. So there's a panel of comedians, three comedians, professional comedians, like, huge in what they do, and they have people sign up, put their name in a bucket, pick a name at random, they come out, and they do 60 seconds of stand up. But then they get interviewed by the panel, who are professional comedians. So you can imagine if it goes well, they love it. They champion them. They break it down. This work, this work, this work. If it goes horrible, which a lot of the time it does, oh, God, awful. They rip into these people with the genius mind of being a great comedian and comedy writer. See, I really struggle with that. I do. But there's something in it that it's. Like, you don't want to be that person. What I'm getting to about this is when you do stand up comedy and it goes well, I'm pretty sure it's like a gig that's like, oh, my God, that was the best thing in the world. The energy. You might think it's gone really well, and then the audience like, what was that? And you're like, but then I was on the circuit, so it was years ago, and I was on it full time, and it was for a short period, and then I would dip back in and out, and you got to cut your teeth. You got to keep going. You got to see if that joke lands there and you've got different audiences, and sometimes your work will land really well with this group and not so much with this group. And then the last time I did some gigs, there was one night, and I was like, oh, my God, I am never doing this again. Why would I do this to myself? And then the following day, oh, yeah, I know. I like it. For me, it's a wave, and sometimes I just have to put it down. Yeah, don't end it on a bad gig. But then if you have a good one, you'll do it again. That's true. And I think that's the same with anything creative. Sometimes you might need a bit of a break from it. It depends sometimes if it exhausts you or you're having a bit of a block, and that's when maybe you're away from it too long and then you need to get back into it. Yeah, I think it's just people that get up and do stand up in front of people. I think it's such an incredible art form. I've gotten up in front of loads of people performed as a musician, not a problem. But if someone said, Go and tell some jokes I don't tell jokes. I like the first one, or stories with comedy elements in. I just think as soon as I felt that first one not land, I'd be like, oh, it's happening. It's happening. This is it. Yeah. It's like a public hanging, but you never actually die. So you're literally living through it. Yeah, you've got to just let it go. You just got to go up, give it a go, see what happens, forgive yourself. And I know people that have been doing it years and years and years, and that's just that it's in their blood and they can handle anything and any audience. But I'm still kind of finding that because I do pull back and then I'll go and do a film project, or I might do the Comedy Stitch projects. And that's what's probably different about me. What do you think? Also, it is about comedians, because you see a lot of comedians that obviously hilarious on stage, make your belly laugh, and then they also go and do really serious roles as an actor, and they'll nail it where they need to lean into heavy, even dark emotions sometimes. What do you think it is, the link between comedy and the ability for people to lean into that stuff? Because we see it quite a lot. We see it Ricky Gervais, we see it. Jim Carrey, when he did I think 23 was the film he did, which was incredible. There's so many comedians that can do that that can go from the comedy into the serious acting world. I think my view on that is that when people say that, I go, well, they're human, of course. They have their dark days. They can draw on that. I think it's harder for people. They've shown you the hard stuff. Comedy's the hard stuff. Not everyone's got that timing. And obviously everyone's so know what you find funny, I might not find funny, but, yeah, it's funny. So when you say things like, because Jim Carrey is one of my faves, and I remember everyone going nuts when they saw him be a human, and I'm like, yeah, the camera goes off. We have normal, everyday things happening in our life. I think he's an incredible human. He's someone I have OD people that I just really love following the journey and tapping into them as a human, and he's one of them. And his stories about manifestation when he was young, before he'd made it, and sitting outside of the theatre and imagining his name on the billboard, and I think he wrote himself a cheque. Yeah. Was it like 10 million by this date? And then by that date, he got a cheque, his first big cheque for Dumb and Dumber. And it came in and it's like you hear these stories and it makes you realise that this stuff is real, that we can bring these things into our realities. I think he's an amazing when you look at his old stuff, and I like to do that. I like to go back and revisit stuff that I've probably not even found, like, how animated he is as a human is incredible. I've got what was his first. Oh, God. Once Bitten. Have you seen that? No. I think he's like 19. Yeah. Wow. And he's a virgin and there's a vampire and blah, blah. Yeah. I used to go a bit nuts for any of the slapstick stuff. I saw some stuff where he was doing a Tonight Show where he just come out and do a short comedy piece and he's been super animated. But there's a lot of comedians I've followed over the years, different forms of comedy as well. I grew up a lot with American black comedians from probably like the age of 16 onwards, and that was like my world for even to today. If I'm feeling low, my go to is like, Cat Williams, Dave Chappelle, like, people that I know that are just going to hit me. Jamie Fox. Some of Jamie Foxx's early stand up before he became the big actor, that he has another one that transitioned into acting and singing. Jamie Fox's early stand up is hilarious. Who are some of the comedians that you kind of look to, who made you realise this might be something you want to lean into? Oh, the people I loved. So Jim Carrey, Rick Mayle. And you know what? People always go what? But I loved Whoopi Goldberg and goldie Horn. Not a stand up, but I liked some of the just the really silly, outrageous stuff. I mean, Goldie Horn and Jim Carrey, completely different. But I'm just trying to kind of think back to who I loved. My room was plastered full of Carey. It wasn't a crush. I don't know, I think maybe I wanted him to be my dad or something. I had this really weird like, I wanted him to be my funny dad or something. I don't know what that is. But, yeah, if you look back to the mask as a kid, you just watch the mask for the mask and it's incredible. As you get old, you realise how much he brought to that character. He was, like, incredible. And how much animation was based around what his face can do. What did I read recently? It was something like they saved loads of money because they didn't have to use any extra animation because they had Jim on board. Yeah. How do you use comedy in your life? And obviously you help a lot of people with the work that you do. How do you use comedy for yourself? When life is shit. When life is shit, how do I do it? Might change the podcast name to that. When life is shit. When life is shit. What do I do? God. Like if when you're in a bit of a hole, okay, well, you know that negative voice that you've got in your head? I've got one, she's a right bitch. Just called Jessica. And that's what I've had to do. I've had to give her a name and a look just to kind of make it more playful and humorous for me. Yeah. So yeah, do that. Maybe if things even like things that you consume what you're reading and stuff, I think I'll always kind of twist it to be a bit more humorous. Or I'll just see a little moment in life where it might be really bleak, it might be dark, might be heavy, it might be something that will pass. But I'll see a little moment where I go, if you just cut to that, that would be really funny. And it helps me through day to day stuff. Yeah. I think for me, like I said before, is when I'm going through those dark moments, I don't really have any vices now. I used to used to smoke a lot, so if life was heavy, I'm just going to light a split, get high, forget about that. Sounds great. Yeah. Why are we not doing that now? My God. So that used to be my go to. Never been a drinker, so that's not really ever been a thing. Still, snack chocolate is probably a vice. But if things get really difficult, it is comedy that I turn to. That is a thing that I look to uplift my spirits. Even if I'm not laughing, I'm soaking it in. And I know that's going to transmute into something and do something in my internal system, which maybe the next day I feel a bit lighter. I feel like there's so much power in comedy. I think what I'll do is I'll go and help someone. So if I'm feeling a bit pants and I know someone else is feeling pants, I'm like, right, I'm here. And I'll go in and be like and I'll just try and make them feel better, which then makes me feel better, which makes me sound really codependent. Is that a natural thing or do you think have you witnessed someone else do that? No, I think that's been with me all my life. Yeah. That's just something that's like hardwired into you. Yeah. And I think that possibly comes from always. Just being really helpful and helping my mom and stuff. So growing up, yeah. So maybe I did that. I just always wanted to make things I just always wanted to make things lighter. If someone was anxious or something, I'd be like, okay, how can we solve it and fix it and turn it into something a bit lighter? When people say, yeah, because people go, Is that a coping mechanism? And I'm like, yes, of course it is. Why would it not be? Like, it's a negative. Yeah. That's how I like to cope with the world. I like to see it through this lens. I'm still looking at the same thing. I just like to view it through that lens, that colour. Yeah. I think that's the great thing about comedy isn't not everyone looks through the same lens. So, like you said, what one person finds funny, another might not. But there's something that runs as a thread of comedy that when we all do and we're all in a room or watching something with someone and it hits that chord and that note, it's just such a beautiful thing. Something I always think to be a comedian. And then there's a big part of the site. No, you don't. Don't do it. Don't cheat yourself. It's a tough scene. Like I said, I've not been working on the circuit for, like, ten years. Like, some people I know yeah. And I think it's a lifestyle. And some people I know have gone they just can't they just don't like it. They prefer to write something and just do one off shows. Some people love to gig and gig and gig. I think you've got to find your own path with it. And at that time, when I was doing the circuit, it was great, but then certain things changed for me and I wanted to put my humour somewhere else, and that was writing short films and working in radio as well. It's the chopping and changing for me. That's probably why the whole comedy stitch thing works with the different projects. Yeah. Because that's what I bring. Not just the stand up. Yeah. You take all different aspects of these worlds and bring them into one place. Yeah. What's nice about the stand up world is it's so fast. Like, you can get up, do something with a play. There's all this development, doing a film, all the pre production stuff, there's a lot. It's just so instant with stand up. When you were doing the stuff, when you were younger, with your mum, what was, like, your mum's involvement? Was she on the performing side of things? Was she writing? Was she yeah, she was performing and she was on the committee, so yeah, I was just always dragged into it. Yeah. And that's obviously how I know that community arts is a really powerful thing, because it changed my world. And what I liked about the community arts is that I wasn't just working with people my own age. It was all different ages, all different backgrounds. It was great. Yeah. And I know you mentioned when we obviously do NLP, I know that's been a part of your life. How are you finding that journey? Neuro linguistic programming. Mauryan would show up and probably shoot both. I actually got it wrong on a podcast. It was hilarious. I think I edited it out because I went to pronounce it and I went, Maureen, you're going to have to. Have I said it right? Yeah. Neuro linguistic programming. That's it. But when I say it to my friends are like, what's that? So I just say, you know, Darren Brown? They go, yeah, I'm going to be like him. He's incredible at what he does. How have you found building on the skills of language and programming, and have you worked any of it into your work? It's probably being able to understand the person in front of me more so the language they're using, so I can maybe translate what they're saying better. How have I used it? Probably use it more on myself. Yeah, I found that really useful, having a little conversation with myself and Jessica the other day. It's like, right? Jessica. And she's like I'm like, what if you are wrong? Yeah, there you just went quiet for a minute. Yeah, she did. So, yeah, I use it on myself so then I can move forward with the stuff I enjoy doing. Yeah. I've always tried to be a good listener and create space for people. Yeah, I probably used it in dating, to be fair. What do they really mean? Yeah, I've probably done that. You've done it as well, haven't you? I've used it, but not, like, not to produce them. No, because that doesn't work. It was more to find out what's really going on, what someone's intention is. Yeah, definitely. I think that's for me, the reason I wanted to learn it was a protection mechanism to understand language more, because I'd come out of a relationship which I felt like I allowed myself to be manipulated via words. I was like, hey, how do I make sure this doesn't happen? Similar. Similar. And I found NLP, which chance meeting with Maureen. And then obviously you go deeper with that personal development. Figure out yourself. As you're figuring out yourself, you get better at figuring other people out. Yeah. It's just a really beautiful thing that I would encourage anyone to look into. And obviously there's charlatans out there that might sell you a full NLP course for$7. You're like, how's that possible? I can't say what they're trying to do as a business model. They might just be trying to get it out to the masses. But I think when you bring the value of something down to that level, it makes it look like it's like pseudoscience and it's not quite real, but when you actually involve yourself in it, it definitely helps me with this. It's helped me in interviews, negotiate things that I want, get more of what I want, become more confident. I've even noticed it worming its way into lyrics, thinking more about how this lyric is shaping an individual's mindset, rather than just going, oh, this sounds great, really going in and thinking about the power of those words definitely helped me in my writing. Okay. It's probably helped me with me writing my emails. That's another big one. Yeah. But, yeah, I definitely relate to just kind of seeing when I was saying that if someone's not feeling too great, I want to create a space and it'll be me just going into silly M mode. Knobby M as we call her. And sometimes I then don't really see maybe what's happening. You were saying about just the connections that you can have relationships and if you want to help, but that's not their intention, or you're going to get sucked in to something that's not very healthy. So, yeah, I think that can be quite helpful. Well, this has got very serious of it. My God. There's another part of your life that you shared, if you're okay for us to go into it. You briefly mentioned when we were on our course, about your mum and the role you play in your mum's life to being someone who cares for your mum. So I've always been a support to my mom since I was really young. She'll hate me saying that. I will not tell my mom about this podcast. My mom's, like a big hoarder, really struggled with mental health. Again, she's going to hate that I've said that. Sorry, mom. So supporting her through that as I was quite young and staying local to her as well, instead of going away to uni or I stayed local and obviously I've constantly tried to fix it. So then she will be okay. She's all right on her own, that's okay, I can go off and do my thing. But obviously she's got older and now she's got Parkinson's, actually, so I hit a wall with it. So I actually had to bring in some friends to help me out. Yeah, my mom would hate that as well. Yeah, she's going to hate all of this. God. Yeah. She has care now and I've put care in place, so I am classed as an unpaid carer. I didn't realise that I always thought I was just a daughter and that's what you do, but there are some things that if I wasn't around my mum's life would look very different. There are other people in the family that help as well, but these are my mum's words, so I'll say that. Yeah. So I've tried to just support my mom as best I can. And when my mom became I mean, she's been she's had she's had Parkinson's for a long time, but it's only recent that she's got, like, a diagnosis, and I was trying to support her with she was in hospital. You say? And I tried to find the care and sort out the flat and just make it so she was comfortable, but also just trying to make it perfect. I think I got into a place where I was always trying to make things perfect for my mom. And this organisation got in touch with me and I thought they were calling about my mom, but they were actually calling about for me. And I was like, I don't get it. And they went, we want to know that you're okay. I'd never, ever had that before. Yeah, they're called gadam. They were brilliant. They gave me emotional support. There's this thing with caring for someone is you can feel really guilty for having those moments of resentment and you want to go off and you want to play and you want to do something funny. And I was having these and I'd feel awful for having these moments of being frustrated and angry because it's always been there and they allowed me to express that and they said it was okay and it was normal. I've not done it. Do probably the length you might have been doing it, but I had a moment where my dad was unwell, had a really huge dip in his mental health, and when he came out of hospital, I had to be there and be in his environment and be sticking to his routines. And it really weighs heavy on you, even though I'm exactly like you, it's like, I'm his son, I'm his only son, this is my duty. But it does start to weigh heavy on you. And I have a massive respect of people that dedicate themselves to looking after another individual because it's no easy task. And it does affect, especially as a creative, like you said, you're not doing the things that you love. We naturally start wilting, and caring for someone is quite time consuming. It can take a lot of your week, your month, your year. And how have you found that balance? Obviously, care coming in. I assume that's took quite a large weight off your shoulders. It has, yeah, it has. It's taken a lot of weight off my shoulders. There's a real guilt thing. Like, I haven't spoken to my mom in a few days and I suddenly be like, oh, my God. But I'm trying to balance it so she's okay, but someone else going in and doing that, I suddenly felt really useless. For me, the dynamic sometimes is that I am useful for my mum. Yeah, it's complex. It's complex. Everyone's case is, like, individual as well. Everyone's different and affects us in different. Ways and it's certainly not funny. Jeez I did actually start writing something during Lockdown, and it was nice because it was writing something. It was an autobiographical piece and in writing it without purpose, it wasn't to pitch to someone. It was just a story, and it was about my point of view, my version of events as a 14 year old, and constantly trying to make sure my mum was okay so I could live my life and be a 14 year old. But it's a comedy and it's a dark comedy. Yeah. Read some of it to my mom and she went, Emma, please wait until I'm dead. Okay, mom. Yeah, I'm very honest and open with my mum. Yeah, we are very close. Yeah. Very different. I'm the same with my mum. I tell Mom, I can tell her anything. We've got that relationship. What does your mom think of you kind of like carrying on the torch in a way? She got you into things as a kid, like performing arts, being around workshops and funding, and now in adulthood, you're doing the same. That must sit and really warm her heart to see that. Yeah, she loves it. She's very ploughed. Yeah. She always says really lovely things and the comedy. So when my dad was in his darkest moments, there was always something that happened that you could crack a joke about, and this is what I wanted to touch on with you as well. I saw my dad come back in the moment of the joke. Okay. He was back. So there's always, like, light in these difficult scenarios. Does this side of your life, does it present inspiration for the comedy? So my mom and I had a hospital appointment a couple of weeks ago. She had a hospital appointment, I took her and the doctor was he was brutal. He was brutal. And I felt like everything he was saying, I had to dive in front of it, turn it into something humorous and then translate it to my mum to just soothe her. He was saying that this is going to get worse. He was, like, really direct and he said, about memory and my mom can hear this and she's taking it in. But then I suppose me going into protective mode and knobbie M mode, it's literally like I dived in front of that, grabbed it and tried to turn it into a joke. And I went, oh, so you'll forget where you've left all of the sweets, then? Because he was like, you need to change your diet. And I was like, brilliant. So you'll forget where your sweets are. Fantastic. But obviously I know how heavy that is and how dark that is. And I suppose I'm using it as a tool to soothe my mom, but also to soothe myself as well, because it was quite heavy. Some of the things he was saying, he probably thought I was an absolute idiot. Like, does she understand what I'm saying? Because I was yeah, I just kept turning it into something funny. Do these moments inspire writing as well? For me as a musician, anything I go through, whether it's three months later, a week later, could be six months later, a year later, it weaves its way into my art somehow and I go, oh, you've arrived. I realised what I went through is here, coming out now. Do you find that a lot things that you might be going through in those scenarios do eventually weave through to your writing as well? Yeah, you've just got to wait for it to be funny. Sometimes it's just waiting for that. So I'm working on a show at the minute at real early stages, and it's called Mess. And I've played around with a lot of these ideas for a while and it's all about just, like, the not fitting in, feeling like chaos, the ups and downs, the mental health of women as well, because that were ever changing. And some of that was not funny. A lot of that was not funny back then, but now, oh, my God, yeah, the ideas are coming. And I'll go to things as well, really random events, just to see what nuggets you can find. Is it a character? Is it something maybe I'll never use, but a little story in my head? It doesn't have to be something that you have to pitch or you sell it. It's just something for me. Yeah, I do a lot of that. I do a lot of writing where people are just never going to hear it and I feel like sometimes it's exercising my writing skills or just, I just want to write this. Today goes nowhere past my hard drive. That's the battle. Also, being a creative, like, we had this conversation with a friend, it's like, you can leave too much stuff on the hard drive or too much work that you've written that never sees the light a day. I think a good message that you've said is a great reminder of just have fun with it. Just have fun with it. Remember when you just used to make music and have fun with it? Sometimes when I'm writing something, my friends or someone will say, what are you going to do with it? I don't want to do anything. Why? You should. What do you know who that would be good for? I'm just killing it, man. I just want to have fun with. It. And I don't want it to die because I've shown it to someone and they've got it's not for me. I'll do that with some things, but not everything. A question I like to ask a. Lot of guests is now, is this the big one? Oh, God. If you take away Emma the writer yeah. Emma the comedian. Right. Emma the person who's involved in performing arts and drama, take away these things that we identify as yeah. If you think about a time in your life where all the walls started crumbling around you and nothing made sense and you're, like, couldn't make sense of anything, this is really difficult. What was the thing that got you through that. What was your toolkit? This is we're getting vulnerable. I need to get comfortable. Oh, no. Right, okay. Vulnerable. Right. A moment in my life there's been so many where I had to survive what was in my toolkit. When nothing made sense, you didn't have control of anything. It was kind of out of your hands. And it's like, what was the driving force that got you through that? Well, there was a situation once I had a relationship that was really tough. I had really beautiful moments, but really tough ones on the other side. And I remember getting to a point where it was the worst thing in my life. And I remember a moment where it got so bad without going into all the personal stuff and their stuff. There was a moment where I remember this, like, I had this big button in front of me, and I just imagined it, and I just needed to either hit the button and get out of here, or I needed to pull myself out of this. And I just did it visually. Obviously, I had to talk to this person and really get out of this situation. And I remember I didn't want to push the button, but when you're in distress and you're in this awful place, you just want out. You just want the pain to stop. And I was like, no, that's not an option. Come on. So I ended up seeing a wall, and I had to climb over this wall. And for weeks after this event, this is an imaginary wall, my arms were in pain. Wow. Yeah. Really? So weird. I'll never forget it. That's how powerful the vision was of what you'd created and how significant it. Was in your life. I felt like I'd done, like, lifting myself up on one of those door weights. Wow. Yeah. That's incredible. Yeah, I'll never forget it. I had to visually pull myself out to make a change. Are you a visual person? Is that how you process information? Yes. And we talked about that, didn't we, on the course? Visual? Yeah. So for people that don't know that I'm auditory, so I process things via sound and hearing things, and that's kind of like someone like me will speak in a slower rhythm, pretty much at the same tone. Someone that's more visual might speak a lot with the hands, fast paced, more expressive. Is that what I'm doing? No, I'm just saying that that's kind of obviously in terms of NLP, like Maureen, that's obviously a friend of the show and a friend of ours is a visual, so she's going to give you a million things really quickly. And I'm a bit more slow then obviously the Kinesthetic people. There you are. You're really calm, aren't you? Cool. Kinesthetic are more like they take in information via touch and movement. So someone that's probably a hugger, or they might chat to you and put the hand on the shoulder. So, yeah, we all use things in different ways. And I think that visualisation the fact that you felt it in your arms, that means there must have been so much attached to that. I just remember feeling knowing that it could be better. Things could be better. Yeah. That was really personal, that one. There you go. What was the other side of that wall like? The other side of that wall? Calm. It was calm. Calm and safe. Yeah. But then you end up on another shit show, another journey. There's something else, like you hate your job or there's some family issues and you're like, oh, God, why can't it just be like an 80s comedy with a lovely little montage of you getting everything together and doing really well and then you win a trophy at the end. Why do we have these ups and downs? How do you view that wall? Now, when you look back at that part of your life, if you were to visualise that wall in the distance and you are obviously taking the step of climbing over it, when you think about that moment in your life, what is it that comes up? That wall is gone now. I think there's just a lot of peace there and a lot of forgiveness. Amazing. Yeah. I think that's a really powerful visualisation. And I believe I'd created that wall. Yeah. I'd ended up in this corner. I'd ended up making this not making it happen, but allowing abandoning myself, almost. That was deep, wasn't it? I think a lot of people will relate to this because a lot of us find ourselves there in a relationship or something in life. I've definitely been in there. When you know it's like, come on, it's time to get out of this, and you just stay. Maybe I'm trying to be too much of a nice person, or you can see what's going on with that person, so you stay. And it's kind of like a punishment. And I think taking that step, lifting yourself up, is such a strong visual, so empowering to do that and see yourself going over the wall and landing in a safe space, I think you. Can forget that things can be different. And I think some people who have never felt the difference will find it harder to get out of because they're so used to it. It's all you know, it's all you know. Yeah, but I knew I'd felt much better, and I just didn't I didn't want to just abandon myself. And I've got these hopes and dreams and goals, and I've set it up and I'm doing it for this inner child that I have. And I'm like, Right, come on, we've got stuff to do. That's incredible. I think one thing that's coming up a lot for me is that in a child, what did you enjoy when you were younger? What did you enjoy doing? Are you still doing that? Thing for me. I've just been getting visuals recently. I realised why I made music. My mum bought me a little Casio keyboard and I remember you could play drums on it. I remember just being fascinated with it. I don't even know if I was good or what, but I just remember that's probably the thing that made me do what I do now, which is press a drum machine with drum sounds on it. And I enjoy that. So when I'm feeling that wilt, like we said, not being creative, I go back to that and I think a lot of us can easily forget about that in a child. Yeah. So I think there's loads of people that have complete they just don't have any creativity in their life at all. And I don't feel like I've really changed from being a child. Like, I'm still the same, I'm wiser, but what did I used to do? Hello, wise child? Yes, a wise child. Yeah. I had a radio show with my friend. We were the EC Hippies. We were pretending to be these really cool hippies and we would change all the songs that are on the keyboard and we'd change like, Little Brown Jug to the Happy Hippie or something. I don't know what we would I don't know. Anyway, we loved it. So, yeah, radio shows. And then I was definitely that person that would someone's birthday would come up and I said, I'll do a show for you and your friends. I don't know their friends and they probably thought I was the OD one. An OD? Yeah. I would do a show like hide behind the Sofa and change. Do a costume change. Yeah. Not changed. I probably got more into the writing as I got older. I think it's so important just to remember those elements of ourselves that we do when life gets busy, we just forget about there is a version of you in there saying, hey, I still exist and I want to do the things we used to do. And I think that integration of acknowledging that part yourself is such a powerful process, and a lot of us just miss it as we go to adulthood and we don't realise maybe why we're feeling down or unhappy and it's, what did you used to love? What did you used to do? Just going into the kitchen and just having a little dance off with your housemate or your partner and just being silly. But then there is the other side where some people are so silly that they can't look at, they can't look inward. You can never have like, a really deep conversation. So I think it's balance if someone's. Listening to this and they want to get into a bit more of a world that you find yourself in, what would be your advice for them to take the first steps to do that? Give me a call. Yeah, but I think it depends on which area. If it was about doing stand up, then I'd say just go to an open mic night and just go go for it. And there's lots of comedians that do stand up workshops. There's loads of comedy improv stuff in Manchester as well. If you wanted to get into the short films and filming, there's loads of short film nights, so you could mix with directors and producers, writers, actors. There's a lot out there. It's just showing up is probably the first. That's what I'd say. Show up. Yeah. I just want to say a big thank you for coming to do this today, because I'd just mention it to you and you were like, let's do it. And I just love when people are so in the moment and show up and are able to open up and be vulnerable. So big thank you for coming to do this today. And without a doubt, your story will ripple out and help people in some way. That's what this podcast is about, having these conversations and reaching into those moments that have shaped who we are, that ripples out to other people and it can help them on their path as well. So thank you for sharing everything that you're about. I appreciate you being here. And to the listeners, thank you guys for returning. Every time we put an episode out, either watching or listening, I really appreciate you guys tapping back in. If you are watching, please hit that like button and subscribe. It helps us grow this podcast. If you're listening on whichever app you are listening, leave a review. It helps us grow in that area as well. And the next episode, we're going to be building we're going to be building this podcast. We're going to be going weekly, so look out for that soon. I want to say a big thank you, Emma, for being here today. You're welcome. And I think your story is exactly why I wanted to get you on the podcast. It's remembering that no matter what we go through, we can get life back to a good place. And for me, comedy is a perfect thing to do that. So I really admire what you do in the world, especially, like with your workshops. I think it's a really powerful tool. So thank you for being here and sharing your story. Thank you. And to the listeners, exactly that. Remember, no matter what you go through, life is good, life is sound. Thanks for listening. We'll see you on the next one. Bye.