Interview: Sally-Anne Hayward on Ever So Nice, ‘It’s basically all about my life’

by Jim Keaveney

Sally-Anne Hayward has earned her status on the UK comedy circuit with her dry, playful look at how we live our lives. She’s picked up awards along the way, including the Best UK Compere 2019 and the Holsten Pils ‘Fans of Comedy’ award, toured with Sarah Millican, most recently in Australia, and is a regular compare at Glastonbury Festival.

Funny and educational, her current show “Ever So Nice” will teach you how to indulge another break-up story, jazz up an office full of passive-aggressive colleagues, and create fake tears to blend into any situation.

As she gears up for the final show of her current tour in Barton-Upon-Humber, we checked in with Hayward to talk about the show, as well as her podcast, Spit or Swallow.

Q&A with Sally-Anne Hayward

Hi Sally-Anne, thanks for talking with us! When did you realise that you had a talent for comedy? Was it something that you were always aware of?

When I was about 7 years old, I was in a short sketch for Harvest Festival at Primary School. I was playing a grandmother sitting in a chair. Children were bringing me food. I took the chocolates they brought me and then mistakenly dropped them.  Rather than crying (like Kathy had done when she wet her knickers in the nativity play) I said “ooh I’ve dropped my chocolates” and I picked them up and carried on with the sketch. Mrs Edgington, the school secretary, took me to one side afterwards and told me that I should be on the stage. It’s her fault!

How did you first get into stand-up?

I did a degree in Drama and Theatre Studies (Mrs Edgington’s fault) and there were two modules within it that I really enjoyed. One was storytelling and the other was stand up comedy. I just loved being on the stage alone, telling my own stories, with nobody (other than the audience) relying on me. I then started doing open mic gigs in London until I got paid. Also, my dad was a professional stand up so I could see that it was possible to earn money doing it.

What can you tell us about your show Ever So Nice which comes to Barton-upon-Humber next month?

It’s basically all about my life. The pitfalls and the joys. My relationships. My homelife. My diminishing eggs. It’s funny. I’m so excited to bring it to Barton-upon-Humber.

You’ve already had significant success, playing festivals and touring with acts like Sarah Millican, Russell Howard and Russell Kane; are there any standout moments for you?

Well, I’m typing this from a nice hotel room in Perth Australia after supporting Sarah Millican on her international tour. This is pretty stand out!

Tell us a little about your podcast with Lou Conran, Spit or Swallow.

It’s so much fun to record. Lou is hilarious and I love working with her. We invite celebrity guests to have a drink with us, and share their drunk stories. Jimmy Carr told tales of drinking with Stephen Hawking, Jason Manford confessed to a family member pretending to bring a present out with them when really it was a box of wine wrapped up, and Carol Decker played games on tour titled names you wouldn’t be allowed to publish.

How different is your approach to your podcast work versus how you approach stand-up?

I try to make them both funny. But I guess with the podcast it’s at least 3 people talking whereas with stand-up it’s just me talking. I basically have to shut up sometimes on the podcast.

Sally-Anne Hayward plays the Ropery, Barton-upon-Humber on 17 March