Sass, laughs and vodka: Helen Lederer – Interview

As one of the undisputable reigning queens of comedy, Helen Lederer has lived a life of sass, laughs and vodka. Now a rising author and Hollyoaks returner, we catch up with the comedienne to talk life, Losing It and the future.

Vada Magazine: Hello, Helen. How are you?

Helen Lederer: I’m very well – give me an address and I’ll post you a book! MORTIFIED no one sent you one – GAWD!!!

V: Losing It is the debut book for you. What made you want to take on novels?

HL: I’ve been writing stand-up comedy material since the 80s, on and off! And very bad poems that I used to read to my parents to punish them – so a novel was always on the cards for me.

The freedom of writing is fantastic – when it goes well. And makes you want to have a lie down when it doesn’t.

V: Tell us a little bit about the book?

HL: Millie, the heroine, is about to lose her house due to defaulting on her mortgage. Then she is offered a chance to earn £20,000 if she can lose weight in three months for a herbal diet pill company.

Mostly it’s about Millie’s dysfunctional, funny self – and how she manages with a second best friend and a possible love interest at the same time as wearing spanx…

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V: Do you see a little bit of yourself in Millie?

HL: I DO. I have done all those diety things – colonics, amphetamines, tantric sex workshop…

V: With Millie being the face of a diet pill, how do you think the pressure on women, and men for that matter, has changed about their appearance?

HL: It’s as much about age as it is about being round – we are fighting to stay in the game – what we need to do is redefine what the game is. Let’s be happy with what we are…

V: Looking back to the days of the 80s, how do you think the landscape of comedy has changed between now and then?

HL: There are more chicks around – for a start – and men behave better to us. But there are lots of unfunny imitations of comics as well. The whole landscape has mushroomed so agents and producers can make more money!

V: Speaking to you from Vada, how has your gay fan-base influenced your projects?

HL: I feel very comfortable with Vada and spend my life in Soho hanging. There is an affinity with what we all believe in, which is the same. Thank the lord!

V: Have you been in touch with Dawn and Jennifer and is there any possibility of another show?

HL: Dawn gave me a nice necklace for my (30th) birthday – and I’m standing by for the call from Jennifer re THAT FILM.

[Ed’s Note: Absolutely Fabulous, of course!]

V: How is it being back in Hollyoaks?

HL: I LOVE Hollyoaks – apart from the bevvy of beautiful bodies wherever you look. They are friendly and such a laugh…

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V: Is it just a guest appearance or will you be staying?

HL: Well, I couldn’t possibly say – because they are VERY strict matron about giving storylines away. But maybe if you sign a petition I’ll be back?

V: It was last week you were back, wasn’t it?

HL: I started back on April 1st – WATCH CLOSELY PLEASE. It’s a no-makeup-grunge look I’ve been sporting.

Helen’s new book Losing It is available in stores across the nation and online on Amazon.