Danish-born UK-based stand-up Sofie Hagen embarks on Shimmer Shatter, her first-ever nationwide tour (Brighton Komedia, Nov 24).
“I suppose it’s now because… well, I am not British, and it feels like about time that I got to see the rest of this country. I have been so London-centric and so Edinburgh-centric so far. I feel that to understand a country, you have got to see all different aspects of it, and the tour is just so personal to me that I feel I have got a message to spread!”
Personal in the sense that she is, she freely confesses, “always extremely vulnerable and oversharing… so much so that my newsletters are verging on the dangerous.
“I think I find some power in owning up to all my vulnerabilities. It is like a defence mechanism. But it is also a mix of power as well, but also just the benefit of sharing. If I mention in a newsletter that I had a massive panic attack and that it was awful and that it just sucked, then I might get like 20 emails back from people saying they had experienced the same thing, and it is nice to know that you are not alone. It makes you feel that you a little bit less of a nerd and an outsider.”
Sofie has been in the UK four years now: “It was a coincidence really. I went on a vacation over here and I did some gigs, and I kept feeling I had more to do, that there was always another gig that I wanted to do, always something else I wanted to see, and that’s still happening now this place is so big.”
Not that she’d realised at the time that Denmark was so small: “In Denmark there is not so much to do, but it was not until I lived over here and went back to Denmark that I realised that it was a little bit claustrophobic there. Anyone who has lived in a small village and then lives in a big city will feel the same. When I go back there, it all feels very safe and very recognisable and everything, but you realise if you stay for a few days that you soon start wanting to go back. I love going back to Denmark, but I soon start wanting to be back here.”
The two countries share a similar humour, but Sofie reckons there is much more political correctness over here – in a good way: “If someone does a horrible rape joke in Denmark, people will laugh. In Denmark that is still the norm. I moved to the UK and I started to learn about sexism and racism.”
But she calls both countries home: “I will say I am home and then say I am going home when I go to the other country. But I can’t see myself leaving here. I just can’t imagine that.”
But she admits she struggles a little with the British politeness: “In Denmark, things are very straightforward. You will see someone and just say ‘Hi, I did this or that last week’, but in England you have got to go through all the ‘Hello, how are you, very well thanks and how are you.’ Sometimes I forget that and it is like I am being accidentally offensive!”
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