Tours can be a lonely old business. One minute you're bantering backstage with a load of other acts on a club bill, the next you're wondering about ticket sales and trying to work out where to park at an arts centre somewhere, on your own. Easy solution then: hit the road with someone else.
Sally-Anne Hayward and Hayley Ellis are doing just that, having both supported Sarah Millican in 2018: why not support each other this year? Still, that raises a few other questions: as well as working out what material to do, do they also need to work out who's on last?
"We are going to alternate who goes on first and second," says Hayward. "It's a double headliner if you like! I toyed with what stuff I would be doing and then decided to do all my funniest jokes."
Makes sense. That tour kicks off at Stafford's Gatehouse on Monday night. For further backstage chat, Hayward is also popping over to do Galway's supremely sociable Vodafone Comedy Carnival next month - has she been before?
"I've not done the Galway comedy festival before but have been to Galway," she says. "I just love the place. And I'm going to be there for a few days so I'll get to have a really good look around. I am open to recommendations."
First, though, let's hotfoot it to Highbury, a few years back.
At a pub called the Tut 'n Shive near Highbury Corner in London. It was a night called Hersterics which featured all women, run and hosted by Laura Shavin.
I had an incredible gig. I was coming off set and making jokes about the pictures hanging in the room. I even back-referenced a comedian who had been on before me. A producer from Radio 2 approached me. The next day I was planning what I would be saying when I was interviewed on every TV show.
My second gig was at a place called The Purple Turtle in Islington and I died so hard. Somebody in the audience suggested that I finish. And that was when I really started!
Favourite show, ever?
I'm having trouble answering this question. I think there are favourite moments in gigs as a plural. I really love it when the audience are genuinely funny. I like interacting with audience members and it delights me when funny is found with people.
Watching a comedy show in a pub go to ruins. It was the Friday before Christmas. The gig was free entry. It was really a bunch of new comedians. The microphone broke and the show continued, but using the microphone that is normally used to call out food orders. The cord barely stretched over the bar.
Audience members were dancing in front of the acts. I was closing. The compere called the interval and I couldn't believe she was going to carry on with the night. I told her that I would waive my fee and let's call it a night. She spoke to the manager who came over to me with tears in her eyes (crying tears, not laughing tears). She was trying to turn the pub around from being a rough old hole to a nice place to drink.
She told me that there were people in there who had come for the comedy. I explained that it was unplayable. She then made everyone who didn't want to see the show sit in a back room with the door closed. The people who wanted to see the show stayed. I did my bit and it was actually alright. So really that wasn't the most horrendous gig was it?
Which one person influenced your comedy life most significantly?
I think Joan Rivers. What a talent and what a woman. She was hilarious and so strong. I love every aspect of her.
And who's the most disagreeable person you've come across in the business?
There are a lot of egos to deal with in this business. I was backstage at a gig in Central London recently and there were so many people in the green room. I was MCing the gig and was having trouble hearing what the act on stage was saying.
Everybody was talking so loudly and not listening to each other. I do a lot of yoga (I know) and it was then it really came into play. I totally zoned in on myself and how I am on my mat in class and was able to shut out all the noise. So perhaps I am the most disagreeable person in the business.
Is there one routine/gag you loved, that audiences inexplicably didn't?
I think try it a few times and if it never gets a laugh then either re-work it or leave it. There is no point ruining people's nights just because you're determined it's funny! I find the younger audiences are more easily offended than the older audiences.
This is a generalisation of course but I think there is some truth in it. I'm sure when I was in my twenties I was busy stamping the ground and explaining to people why they shouldn't be saying things. Nowadays I just walk away from people I don't want to listen to. And that isn't an invitation to walk out of my shows.
Do you have any good travel tips, for gigging comics?
Definitely invest in a car. And, if you can't drive, get a licence as well! It means you can get away from places and you can take gigs that aren't easily accessible by public transport.
Also, sleeping on people's sofas is good for a bit but listen to your body and invest in hotel rooms if need be. It's worth the money just for a bit of alone time. You can go to bed when you want and you will probably get a better night's sleep.
I take coffee bags around with me as I like nice coffee. I can't advise on how to pack a case because after all this time I still get it wrong. An eye mask is handy so you can get some good shut-eye anywhere.
And a she-wee. You might be sitting in a standstill traffic jam and you can join all the men weeing on the hard shoulder. If you can wee like a man then you're definitely a real comic. What a time to be alive.
Are there particular reviews, heckles or post-gig reactions that stick in the mind?
I remember a review of my show in Edinburgh commented mainly on the temperature of the room.
At a gig once I asked if there were any students in and a girl put her hand up. I asked where she was studying and she said she wasn't really a student and that she was just trying to help. That is a reflection on how that gig was going.
I've had messages from people telling me that I shouldn't be talking about certain things. They just hear a word and then won't listen to the words around it. They think I am talking solely about them. And ironically these are the sort of people I am talking about. Those who wallow in their own victimhood.
How do you feel about where your career is at, right now?
I love my job. I'd love more exposure, better holidays and champagne for breakfast, but I think earning a living doing what I love is not a bad place to be.