The author and Women’s Equality Party co-founder Catherine Mayer is no different from the rest of us, she is is at the end of her tether! She can see a better, brighter, more equal future shimmering on the horizon, yet we seem to be hurtling in the opposite direction. In Mayer’s show FFS she will ask are identity politics to blame? What makes us mistrust everyone but fall for fake news? Why do TED Talks bring Mayer out in hives? And does pee-proof underwear really threaten democracy? Mayer says yes… and we can’t wait to find out why. Our editor Kate Stone talked to Mayer about FFS…
Kate Stone: Tell us what FFS is all about?
Catherine Mayer: The short answer is that it’s about how to save the world. The longer answer is that it’s about why adverts for pee-proof underwear are pants for democracy, why the world became so polarised, why progressives and feminists spend so much time fighting each other, why the BBC invites me to debate whether sexual harassment is actually flattery, and why Piers Morgan. Why. I ask a lot of questions but hopefully, with the help of the audience, I also find some answers.
KS: What inspired you to perform a spoken word event?
CM: I have many things to say and many things I think need doing and I spent years, as a journalist, waiting for someone else to say and do them. Then I realised that was a bit of a cop-out. Plus I got bored with waiting.
KS: What do you hope audiences will get out of FFS?
CM: Stimulation, entertainment, laughs, ideas. And an enhanced appreciation for poetry. I’m running a competition for the best haikus or limericks about some of the themes of my show. The winners get free tickets and signed copies of my book Attack of the 50 Ft Women. Why don’t you enter? Tweet or Facebook using #CatherineMayerFFS
KS: Do you think more humour is needed in politics?
CM: I think more intentional humour is needed in politics.
KS: You co-founded the Women’s Equality Party with Sandi Toksvig, has she had a hand in FFS?
CM: She did give me some advice. Some of it was about structuring the show. Some of it was about the dangers of lecterns that are taller than you are.
KS: Who are your favourite funny women?
CM: I love Sandi more than life itself. And, going back to your earlier question about humour in politics, Ayesha Hazarika, former Labour adviser, is brilliant as a stand-up and a human being. Also I grew up with one of the funniest women on the planet. My sister, Lise, who co-wrote The Young Ones.