My West London Life

Actress & Comedian Juliet Cowan


Juliet Cowan on motherhood, being a TV veteran, & her new show at The Bush Theatre!

Do you live or work in west London?

I live in west London. All my children were educated here. I consider it my home.

My favourite thing about the area is the people. It is such a mixed area with so many people involved in the community, close second is the parks and trees.

What’s your favourite thing about the area?

My perfect day and evening is… walk the dog, mosey around portobello market on a Friday, bump into loads of great people I see either often or seldom. Friday on Portobello always feels like an impromptu party. I like to be at home with my kids in the evening but if I were going out I am most likely to be found at Fitou Thai restaurant or at a friend’s.

You’re an actor, writer and comedian who came up alongside comics such as Jimmy Carr and Russell Howard. Your acting CV is equally as impressive, with a long list of shows from comedy royalty, including Phone Shop, Dolly Alderton’s Everything I know About Love, Daisy May Cooper’s Am I Being Unreasonable and Dylan Moran’s Stuck! Has comedy always been your main passion or do your TV roles come hand-in-hand with being a standup?

I became a stand up as a means to an end. I always wanted to be an actor and couldn’t think of any other way. Having said that, I loved being a stand up. You don’t have to wait for the phone to ring, you can shape your own destiny. Weirdly enough, although I love comedy, straight acting is my favourite. I love sad, slightly introverted low energy characters.

Has your sense of success changed over the years?

I have had moments of mild success throughout my career and when my kids were young. I loved that I had a lot of time with them, even though money was always a worry. Now they are grown and I don’t have to split my professional and personal life so much, I find that I am more ambitious than ever and more interested in having a voice than ever. So personally, my sense of success is all to do with being a mother but, professionally, I don’t feel like I have scratched the surface and am more ready than ever to do so.

Tell us about your new show, F*** Off and Leave Me Alone. What is it about?

My new show F*ck off And Leave me alone is basically about the similarities and differences between being a middle aged woman and a teenage girl. It is about how women are deemed to either have a cunning plan or no fucking idea what they are doing. It is about how Adam was the first pussy whipped man and how, like all first wives who were never invited to THIS IS YOUR LIFE, Lilith, Adam’s first wife is never spoken of. It is about how desperate I was not to die a virgin in a nuclear attack and it is about how important Hamsters and gerbils were in my Museum of me. And so much more.

You say women are expected to ‘have a cunning plan or no idea what they’re doing,’. Where have you experienced this the most in your life?

With regards to the cunning plan, I am often told by men that, for example, something I have done totally innocently was 100% a move by me to manipulate them. A for the no idea end: I was at an audition, and my character was a terrible mother, so each time I said the name of my son I hesitated first as if I couldn’t remember it. The producer said to me, “You don’t know how funny it is when you forget his name,” and I replied, yes I do because that was a choice I made, rather than a mistake.

What inspiration do you draw on when writing and creating work?

I mostly am obsessed with people and their feelings, their quirks, and their motivations but I also love nature and science and consider myself to be very politically motivated. I also find the need to earn money very inspirational. I very much consider myself to be a professional, I think there are all sorts of weird attitudes towards earning money in my industry as if it shouldn’t be an issue. Making a living is an important aspect of human existence.

Who inspires you?

Oh wow, I am inspired by the people I see: the teachers who have given up their time and often their health to make sure that the kids have a chance to flourish, the people in my local shops who worked tirelessly during the pandemic – and it is local shops now, with so many public places closing down, that many vulnerable people consider being a safe space. But also, Audre Lorde, Maya Angelou, and Russell Brand: people who speak out even though it takes its toll on them.

And you have a full-length play coming out next year at The Playground Theatre! Is this one quite close to your heart?

My play Mum is so close to my heart as it was written when my mum was alive and was an exploration of the shifts between her realities as she was suffering from dementia. It was my way of accompanying her into the often terrifying hallucinations she used to have, but it is also full of love.

What else are you working on right now?

I am also very excited to be working the incredible Bijan Sheibani at The Hampstead Theatre on The Sons of the Prophet.

It is odd to have so much stage work in my life at the moment, scary but so exciting and sandwiched between filming, which is my first love and the show I am filming at the moment, Brassic is disturbingly hilarious and fun.

Juliet Cowan’s debut comedy show ‘F*ck Off And Leave Me Alone’ is being held at The Bush Theatre, London on 11th and 12th November at 7:30pm. Tickets are available from Eventbrite.

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