Emma Thompson as a stand-up comedian? New interviews with the “Love Punch” star

Lately Emma Thompson has been doing a number of interviews promoting her film The Love Punch (you can read a couple of them here and here), and in anticipation of the film’s US release tomorrow, she recently sat down with Vanity Fair and Reuters.

The Vanity Fair interview is the meatier of the two, where Thompson discusses not only her upcoming film, which also features Potter co-star Timothy Spall, but also her views on comedy, feminism, and modern technology.

She reveals that she briefly performed stand-up comedy and discusses her favorite kinds of routines.

I think I was a fairly militant feminist at the time, and I wanted to do material about the sexually transmitted diseases and them being largely to do with blokes who hadn’t washed themselves properly. The question of male hygiene was high on my list… and [the audiences] and I used to get on really well because the girls would be yelling with laughter. And the blokes would be clutching their crotches, going, ‘Oh no, God. Please leave me alone.’ It was very satisfying.

The interviewer also asked Thompson about her feminist views and how that may have affected her career trajectory. As ever, Thompson gave an eloquent and powerful reply:

I’ve never been someone who would have been asked to do the sort of juvenile romantic lead in American films, I don’t think. I don’t think that was on my dance card anyway. In the comedy world, when I was working as a young woman, it got up people’s noses. But I don’t think it has [in Hollywood]. I am sure I have the reputation as someone who will give an opinion, and I don’t think that is popular at any time with any woman. I think the new misogyny at the moment is that people with strengths or strong opinions are often not very popular.

To end the interview, Thompson gives her very strong opinions on the value of social media in today world.

Listen, I’d rather have root canal treatment FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE than join Twitter. That’s not my scene at all. I can’t bear the thought of being connected all the time. God knows what it’s all doing to us. I hope that everyone does realize that we are all just one giant human experiment at the moment. We are just a great big bunch of little gerbils on wheels.

In about 25 years time, maybe, a sudden generation will just drop dead. Everyone will just die on the same day. And I’ll say, ‘Oh, what do these people have in common? Hang on.’ They were connected every day 24/7, you know! And no one knew what it was going to do to them. No one knew! Because we didn’t bother to find out. Because we’re stupid! We invent stuff; we just fling it out there. We let anyone use it.”

You can read the Vanity Fair interview in its entirety here.

In her interview with Reuters, Emma sticks mostly to the topic of her upcoming film, but it’s still an interesting read.

Though the film has been playing in the UK since April, it’s only opening in the US tomorrow, and the film’s firmly British feel had the Reuters interviewer wondering if it would appeal to foreign audiences.

If Americans can adore and enjoy Monty Python, they can deal with a bit of mangled French. God knows the most extraordinary bit of Python is mangled French, isn’t it? In the ‘Holy Grail’, you know? So I don’t think there’s any problem with that at all. A lot of very American humour goes down very well over here, and very, very British humour goes down very well across the pond.

Near the end, she offers her definition of “success” in terms of her own career:

If you’re spurred by the desire to be successful, then I would strongly recommend you don’t go into this business. If that’s what spurs you, then blood will flow. What spurs me is a curious and mysterious resonance inside a story that makes me think, ‘Oh, I want to do that.’ I want to be part of that story. I want to tell that story.

Success is nice and necessary if you’re going to have a long-term career. You have to have a fair degree of success, otherwise you just don’t get the opportunities … I would say success is useful. It is very useful in … that you get the chance to choose from a slightly wider variety of projects.

I feel incredibly fortunate because I’ve got so many choices. I think there aren’t many women of 55 who can say that.

You can read that full interview here. If you haven’t yet seen the trailer for Thompson’s new film, you can watch it here.

Are you planning on seeing The Love Punch?

Jessica J.

I've been making magic at MuggleNet since 2012, when I first joined the staff as a News intern. I've never wavered from the declaration in my childhood journal, circa October 2000: "I LOVE Harry Potter! If I clean my room, my mom says she'll make me a dinner a wizard would love!" Proud Gryffindor; don't hate.