Fiona Goodwin is a Lesbian comedian based in LA and is, of course, British. I first heard of her when she popped up on Alexander Rodriguez’s show On The Rocks. As a Brit myself, I thought I had to meet her and find out more! We recently caught up to chat about her coming shows in the USA and the UK, and to giggle about the state of bread in the USA!
Richard Jones: Well hello Fiona it’s so good to be chatting with you. So, I assume from the title of your shows you really are British, where are you from, and why are you now in LA?
Fiona Goodwin: Yes Richard, I’m very British! From an early age, I learned that good diction reduced my mother’s anxiety! And I learned that being emotionally demonstrative was unattractive and unnecessary! I have paid for at least one therapist’s swimming pool trying to undo that mindset! I was born in Potters Bar Hertfordshire.
I ended up in LA because the culture was so much more accepting of my sexuality. Initially, I had commuted there for two years once a month to do a Masters program in spiritual psychology… I was then an educator, now a psychotherapist when not on stage! As a result of the master’s program and the sunny weather, I gave up the fight to be straight!
Coming out gave me permission to discover and open to other aspects of myself, in particular, the desire to do stand-up comedy! It’s so true that we cannot repress aspects of ourselves selectively… when we repress one part of us, it somehow mutes the whole of us.
How do you find being British and living in the USA in general?
The Americans are far too kind to us Brits! The accent is currency which can be leveraged everywhere you go. I am made to feel more intelligent than I really am, and they are big fans of the British sense of humor. It took some courage to go back to the UK and do stand-up in London because of the generous American audiences. I wasn’t sure if my brand of comedy would work in the UK… happily, it did!
Tell me what you think is the biggest surprise to us British people when we move to the USA?
The bread. It’s terrible! It has so much sugar in it – but then so does everything. The portion sizes in restaurants. Americans are more literal: I had to cure myself of sarcasm and sometimes now when I’m with Brits I find myself going ‘ouch’ and I realize I’ve gone soft! Or more likely, living in California I have become more emotionally literate and Lala! Everyone’s in therapy!
So the show that you are currently touring, what’s it all about?
A Very British Lesbian is an autobiographical play. It tells the story of all the ways that I tried to not be gay, and I did try very hard: dating men, training as a nun, exorcisms and then I ran away to Hollywood.
I took so long to come out because I had a crazy mother and I turned to the church for love… and they really were very loving. They persuaded me that I just had to be cured and that if I healed my relationship with my mother, I would be attracted to men… bingo!
Mostly, it is the universal story of how we are all attempting to find out truest expression, our own voice.
How are the other comedians with you?
I have found other comedians to be very supportive and respectful of me and each other. The circuit is a great way to connect and support one another. There are now so many stand-up comedians. Again, the accent helps I’m afraid!
What’s the venue you really want to play in the USA and the UK?
My show grew out of my stand up but it is also theatrical. It’s intimate and very moving at times – not best suited to the O2 stadium! Currently, in London, I would love to do an event for Stonewall and I also have my eye on the Soho Theatre and a West End run. In the US, I’ve played the Comedy Store and many other Hollywood comedy clubs – I think my dream is Broadway – but in my braver moments I would love to take the play to the Bible belt, if they would have me, to show what happens to someone when same-sex orientation is explained away as demon possession!
Where can we see you next?
Here’s where I’m coming to soon:
Sun March 24, 2pm: Storytelling event
Beyond Baroque, Venice, CA (Tix at door)
Thurs March 28 – Santa Monica Playhouse LA
Info & tix: verybritishlesbianla.bpt.me
Sat April 6 – The Collective, Seattle
Info & tix: verybritishlesbianseattle.bpt.me
July 5/6/10/11 – Hen & Chickens Theatre, London
Info: www.fionagoodwin.com (tickets soon to be released)
Aug 2-26 – The Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Festival
Info: Edfringe.com (tix released June 5)
Thanks Fiona, good luck with the tour, see you soon! You can keep up with everything by visiting Fiona’s website: www.fionagoodwin.com