From Fareham to the South Korean Embassy, before diving into the deep end of the world of stand-up and carving out an accomplished writing career, Danielle Ward could hardly be accused of taking a conventional career path.
With her father in the navy, she grew up in Fareham, until leaving for London in her late teens.
So when Danielle comes to the Fat Fox Comedy Club it will be something of a homecoming.
However, she still seems a little unsure about how she got into comedy in the first place.
‘I honestly don’t even know how I got into stand-up. I was working at Fleetlands – I had a temp job there and I hated it. I applied for a job I found in The Guardian as an economic researcher at the South Korean Embassy, and I really wasn’t expecting to get it.
‘I studied philosophy, but this job didn’t really involve much economics, the most economics it involved was occasionally hassling The Treasury for meetings we never got.’
As a stand-up, I still see it as play. I’m not trying to become Michael McIntyre, for me it’s where I get to have fun and enjoy being with the audience and the ebb and flowDanielle Ward
While there she enrolled in a comedy writing course, tried a gig ‘and it went really well’.
‘After 10 gigs, Stewart Lee booked me for this thing at The Albany. I’d met him through music at some gigs, and we’d got chatting.
‘It happened really quickly at the start of my career – I was doing gigs with Stewart Lee and Russell Brand, but all that heat you get – I’d done 10 gigs, I didn’t know what to do.
‘I would advise anyone starting in comedy to spend a good 18 months not knowing anybody famous, so by the time people start paying attention to you, you might actually know what you’re doing.’
Fortunately, a bursary from the BBC enabled her to quit her job at the embassy and focus on her writing, including show like The News Quiz, Mongrels, The Lee Mack Show and Not Going Out.
And it’s writing that she considers her day job rather than the stand-up.
‘As a stand-up, I still see it as play. I’m not trying to become Michael McIntyre, for me it’s where I get to have fun and enjoy being with the audience and the ebb and flow.
‘I’m not thinking about trying to get this really tight 20 minutes so I can get on Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo.
‘The career side is very much the writing, and stand-up is where I get to mess about and have fun.’
She was also invited to write an episode for the recently-revived Danger Mouse, which has yet to air.
‘I was really pleased to be asked to write an episode. It was a really good writing process. Sometimes with British writing, the writing comes last after everything else.
‘I’ve been very lucky to work on two shows where the writing has been absolutely central, and that’s Danger Mouse and Mongrels on BBC3.’
There are plenty of good things on the horizon too, even if Danielle can’t say what: ‘I’m at that really annoying stage where I’ve got three things that are quite far along but I can’t talk about them yet until they’re announced.’
And she’s also working hard to get her musical Gutted made into a film: ‘I now have a producer and director and we’re going to turn it into a movie. We’re in the early stage of script development at the moment.’
Also appearing will be Joe Wells, Michael Frankland, Matt Roseblade and compere Adam Broomfield-Strawn.
comedy at The Fat Fox
The Fat Fox, Southsea
Thursday, March 3