Queen of All Media (podcasts, musicals, karaoke, TV writing, playwriting, acting, plus book and film project on the go), the indefatigable Danielle Ward is in live stand-up mode this week. "I'm doing two shows at The Leicester Comedy Festival," she explains. "Which has pleased my nan no end because I'm spending three days with her in Nottingham, eating nothing but carbs and watching a lot of daytime TV.
"Anyway first up I'm doing my solo show Seventeen at Just The Tonic, 10th Feb. It's last year's Fringe show all about being 17 in 1996 and what it's like to be 17 now (you're fucked...) and there are lots of jokes for 38 year-old men and women and also men and women of other ages.
It certainly is. But the issue we're now discussing: which gigs can she never forget?
My first proper 'non-course showcase' gig was at Downstairs at the Kings Head in Crouch End. The MC was Russell Brand. I think Sarah Kendall might have been headlining and I suspect Debra-Jane Appleby was also on because we gigged a lot together when we started out, for moral support. My closing joke was deeply offensive towards a B-list celebrity.
Favourite gig, ever?
Easy. Performing Gutted: A Revenger's Musical at the Leicester Square Theatre with a 24-piece orchestra. All the cast wore black tie. Martin White scored everything for a ONE OFF performance (although we did end up doing it twice). It was glorious. This thing we'd all created came together beautifully and I was so proud of everyone.
Edinburgh had been 'difficult' (I'm being pragmatic. It was a fucking nightmare. Ask any of my gorgeous cast about Black Saturday and they'll look at you with the horrified eyes of a War Veteran) so getting to lay those demons to rest was wonderful. You can listen to the whole thing for FREE on SoundCloud
I got actually, physically booed off-stage at the Comedy Cafe in 2006. Noel [Faulkner] had been so utterly supportive of my career, giving me paid ten [minute] slots and a couple of Thursday night 20s. It was my first proper weekend club gig. Rhod Gilbert was on first I think, and did brilliantly, pretending to be annoyed about his luggage. I was nervous. Too nervous.
My first joke landed. My second joke I stumbled over and they smelt blood. My teeth went dry, I did that hiccup thing. I tried to carry on but I was losing them. Then the booing started. I wrapped it all up in about six minutes.
As soon as I walked off-stage I told Noel not to pay me because I'd been shit. He laughed, handed me an envelope full of cash and said he loved my material. He's a wonderful man.
The weirdest gig?
I can't remember any weird gigs, I'm sure I've done some but they've clearly all been erased from my mind. Weird is just another word for bad.
Who's the most disagreeable person you've come across in the business, and why?
Ha ha ha ha ha. Ha. They know who they are.
Is there one routine/gag you loved, that audiences inexplicably didn't?
Most of my material? But I'm not going to let that stop me, eh lads? My biggest failing as a comic is, if I think something's funny, I will totally say it on stage. And if I don't think it's funny, I absolutely cannot sell it. I can't put together a club set of material that works, but that I don't love. I admire people who can. But I really can't.
What's your best insider travel tip, for touring comics?
You can get sandwiches for one pound from Boots. They're quite nice.
The most memorable review, heckle or post-gig reaction to your stuff?
Loads of comics and actors came to see mine and Martin White's first musical Psister Psycho when we did it at the Caves in Edinburgh in 2007. I think because my management assumed it was the pointless workings of a mad-woman - but they got paid anyway - they'd not really promoted it, so we got proper cool word-of-mouth buzz.
Every night we'd be backstage going "Oh my god, Paul Chowdhry is in" or someone equally as eye opening. One night, an unconventional yet hypnotically beautiful-looking man enjoyed the show so much he stayed right until the very end, while we played the exit music, giving us a one man standing ovation. That man was Benedict Cumberbatch.
And not only that but he STILL talks about it. You ask him. My dream is to turn it into a film/broadway show with him playing the eponymous lead. If his people are reading this, do reach out. I'm 100% 4reals about this. #cumberbatchforpsisterpsycho
How do you feel about where your career is at, right now?
I'm at a very exciting point in my career right now. All of it off camera/off stage. Really boringly, I'm motivated by leaving a body of work behind, rather than getting on a side-bar on the Daily Mail. I think I've done that.
I've created some brilliant things that I'm really proud of. The musicals, Karaoke Circus, Do The Right Thing. I'm writing a book. I'm writing a feature film that's got a bit of interest. I've done Shakespeare in New York. Plus the stand-up, of course. I'm doing ok.
Obviously none of this will matter when we all tool up to fight the next wave of fascism, though.