Despite a move to London and a new book, comedian Maeve Higgins is 'living like a granny'
It's 9am on a Thursday morning and Maeve Higgins has already started her working day. That's a bit early for a comedian.
"I know," says the 31-year-old Cork native. "It's like the number one thing comedians complain about – early mornings. But I actually like them.
"I'm not gigging much at all," she explains. "This is how much of a granny I am: I bought wool yesterday, I made stew in the slow cooker and I was in bed at 10.30." Higgins lets out a laugh – she does this a lot.
It's a new way of life for the photography student-turned funny girl-turned author. She's now based in London, too. And whaddaya know? Everyone there is Irish. Sort of.
"The first person I bumped into on the Tube from Heathrow was Jarlath Regan, who is an Irish comedian," she tells me. "I sat on the bus in Hackney the other day next to a friend of mine from Dublin. It's like Ireland, except the restaurants stay open longer, so it's perfect."
Good to hear. Of course, everyone will know Maeve as the awkward country girl who likes to make up her stories on the spot ("I usually write my stand-up on stage"). Or, as the awkward country girl desperate to find a husband on the now-defunct Naked Camera.
Maeve's first book – a witty collection of essays entitled We Have a Good Time ... Don't We? – was published last October. Was writing a book always part of the master plan?
"I wanted to for ages," she answers. "I think, with stand-up, you say whatever it is you want to say, and the audience hears it, but it disappears – there's no record of it. But with the book, it's all on record, so you'd want to be sure of what you think before you say it. And that's always quite hard for me.
"So, to answer your question, yeah, I always wanted to write one, but I didn't have the balls to until last year."
Putting the work in proved difficult – especially for someone so easily distracted. "I can't even wear shoulder pads on stage," she laughs. "I can see them out of the corner of my eye and I get a fright and lose my train of thought ... pathetic. It was a big challenge to sit there and write 70,000 words ... " In the end, she got through it – she always does.
Indeed, Maeve has made a career out of mixing things up, be it hosting a cooking/comedy TV show with her sister, or recording a stand-up album in the International Bar (Maeve Higgins Can't Stop Doing Comedy).
"I didn't really know about stand-up, like, I had never been to a stand-up gig. I saw the Eddie Murphy video, Raw, when I was 17 and I found it funny, but I was like, 'Well, that's stand-up – that's clearly not for me to do'. And I didn't want to be a photographer, either. I just end up doing things. So, I ended up studying photography, then I ended up doing comedy and now I've ended up doing writing, and I'm happy with this."
Come March 1 and 2, Maeve will be bringing her stand-up back to Vicar Street, providing support for Una McKevitt and David Coffey's Singlehood. Having premiered at the Dublin Fringe Festival last September, the production features eight actors discussing the trappings and/or delights of being single.
"I do like what they've done with Singlehood," says Maeve, "because there's a lot of cliches around being single, like Bridget Jones, and I think that's all so tired and boring, you know, 'Oh, a girl wants a guy and a guy won't commit' – it's so much more complex than that, and I like that being explored."
We Have a Good Time ... Don't We? is out now. Singlehood, with support from Maeve Higgins, is live at Vicar Street, March 1 and 2