Flexing her multitasking muscles as an actor, writer, presenter and stand-up comedian, Ellie Taylor has been described as “sharp, sassy and one to watch for the future”. Although you may recognise her as the host of BBC3’s Snog Marry Avoid or as a panellist on C4’s 8 out of 10 Cats, Ellie has been on the stand-up circuit since 2010. The following year saw Taylor reach the semi-finals of the Funny Women and Amused Moose comedy awards, as well as being named Company magazine’s Lady Haha – so it’s safe to say things are going well.

And, as if that were not enough, the future looks pretty darn good too, with Taylor recently finishing the filming of a brand new sitcom, Brotherhood, for Comedy Central. However, the project that will be heavily flagged in Ellie’s diary right now is the 14-date debut tour of her show Elliementary, which follows its sell-out performance at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We spoke to Ellie to check in on how she’s feeling.

So you’re finally taking you stand-up show on tour. Are you feeling fraught? I think we saw the word ‘yikes’ on your website.

Open quote, “I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it, I’m about to lose control and I think I like it,” end quote.

Do you have any tricks or rituals to help control your nerves? We’ve heard imagining the audience naked is a winner.

Having a wee before you go on is a good one, but that’s just good advice in general. Go for a wee. Even if it’s a safety wee. Better safe than soggy.

How would you describe your comedy stylings and what can we expect from Elliementary?

Silly, funny, dead nice, funny again, jokes about life, love, Matalan. Come and see it. It’s hard to explain in a sentence, just like me in general, ‘cos I’m an individual, ya, not a number. Don’t pigeonhole me, Manchester!

Elliementary did its rounds at Edinburgh fringe as an hour-long performance. How has your stand-up developed for the tour?

It’s got 7%-10% better and sometimes I bring Mini Eggs with me.

What are you looking forward to most from your tour debut?

Just seeing what different places make of it. As a London comic you get very used to your usual crowd, which is pretty similar to the usual Edinburgh punter, so it’ll be great to see how it goes down around the rest of UK. Really bloody well, I’m hoping.

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt recently proclaimed himself a feminist and praised Emily Blunt for her ability to make him laugh and avoiding being ‘pigeonholed’ in Hollywood. Do you feel there is a stigma around women being funny?
There’s no stigma, no, but I think some people find it hard to believe that a person with tits can be amusing, which is obviously massively Yawnsville. People is people. Some people is funny. Some people is not funny. Some people can’t use ‘is’ correctly.

Who do you think is funny personally? Was there anyone you took inspiration from?

All my schoolmates are hilarious and I am still super close to a gaggle of them. Plus my family. I love family in-jokes that have been doing the rounds for decades. ‘Do you remember when your sister sprayed the fly spray on her head thinking it was hair spray and was blinded, etc.’ Oh how we LOL.

Your TV career has credits such as 8 out of 10 cats and Snog Marry Avoid. Are you going back to your roots with stand-up?

I suppose I don’t think of it as going back to my roots, as I’ve never stopped. Acting is where it all started for me, which led me towards stand-up which is at the heart of everything I do.

Where do you feel you’re in your ‘Ellie-ment’ (see what we did there?) – TV or stage?

Oh wow. That’s good. I’m having that. I love them both to be honest. Both are great when they go well and horrific when they don’t. TV pays better and it’s lovely working with other humans, but TV has a ‘threat’ almost of lingering. Stage is transient and there’s something wonderfully freeing about that. No two shows are ever the same. Once that night ends, that audience, that venue, that collective feeling and experience which adds up to that night’s individual alchemy disappears and disperses and will never, ever happen again. Beautiful.

Have you ever had to hold your tongue when meeting a contestant for Snog Marry Avoid?

Na, they were all wonderfully bonkers in their own way, but isn’t everyone? Right guys? Guys? Oh… you’ve gone.

You can see Ellie’s show Elliementary at The Lowry on 21 February.
Background photo courtesy of Amy Melson.

Kate Morris