Ellie Taylor: the star of The Mash Report on going viral and having the “maternal instinct of a pitta bread”

The wickedly funny comedian spills the beans about working on The Mash Report

Comedian Ellie Taylor is crazy busy at the moment, what with her UK tour ‘This Guy’ and her weekly appearances on everybody’s new favourite satire show, The Mash Report. “It’s a lot of time on trains, planes, and automobiles. Mostly just trains to be honest,” she tells us. “And Travelodges. So it’s very glamorous.” As funny down the phone as she is on screen, NME caught up with Ellie to talk going viral, the Oscars and having the maternal instincts of a pitta bread.

The Mash Report has just been renewed for another season – congratulations!

“Oh thank you! We’re all really chuffed. We were all really hoping it would get re-commissioned because it seemed to have gone down so well.”

What’s it like working on the show?

“It’s great! It’s so current, because we record it on the Wednesday and then it goes out on the Thursday and things are being amended and changed, right while we’re recording even. So we’ll be trying new things on the floor, the jokes will be changing from the way we’ve done it in rehearsals. It feels really exciting and relevant. And also necessary at the moment actually – it’s just a really good way for people to digest what’s going on. I think that Britain does panel shows so well, but it’s nice to have a format that’s slightly different.”

Did you ever imagine it’d be as huge as it is?

“Do you know, it kind of felt from the moment we started recording the pilot. People who came to see the pilot obviously didn’t know what it was – it was an unknown about how it would go down – but the reaction was insane from the pilot. The audience went crazy and we all came out thinking: ‘Gosh, that was quite special’. From the word ‘go’, it really felt like something good.”

You raise hugely important points, but with humour and tact. Is it important to you that certain topics are chosen?

“Inevitably all the big topics will get chosen because they’re meaty ones that we wanna talk about. It’s been quite tricky in a way because so much of the news is around Trump and Brexit, and it’s tricky to do fresh stuff about Brexit, because everyone is a bit done with it now. All of the writers have done really well at managing to keep it fresh and interesting.”

“We all have personal things that we’re quite interested in talking about. So, the clip that I did with the woman just telling everyone to ‘fuck off’ – I really enjoyed doing that, obviously as a feminist it was just really enjoyable to say those words, and it felt so relevant because it came up around the time of 100 years since women got the vote. It just felt really pertinent, and I think stuff like that, about the #MeToo movement, and stuff that [co-star] Rachel [Parris] has done – it felt empowering to be able to do that stuff, and be a part of that narrative.”

The ‘fuck off’ woman was one of my favourite segments – it felt so empowering.

“It was so great. And the clip has sort of transcended countries, it’s got so many views – like, 42 million views on Facebook now, it’s nuts! Because it’s something that resonates with so many women, wherever you are, and that’s really lovely to see.”

What’s it like going viral with a clip like that?

“It’s a bit nuts. When the ‘women said fuck off’ thing went out, when you see your mentions… it’s just a bit bonkers. Then you can easily get stuck into just staring and you’re like “Do you know what? I’m actually going to get on with my day”. Because it sort of takes on a life of its own, which is lovely. It’s lovely to see people engaging with it and enjoying it.”

When did you first realise you loved to make people laugh?

I always showed off when I was a kid. I’ve always done acting, but I never really thought about stand-up, and it wasn’t until I was in my twenties and was in an office job, bored, and thought: ‘I dunno how I ended up doing this, I always wanted to perform’. And I saw friend doing stand-up so I thought: ‘I’ll have a go’, which was an open-mic night. It just sort of fit my skill-set that I hadn’t quite worked out that I had, which was – I’ve always been good at writing, I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I’ve always loved performance, so to marry the two made sense.

The Mash Report promo shot

Tell me a bit more about the show you’re touring at the moment, This Guy…

“My previous show was about being married and wishing I slept with more people, and this show is about being married and that sort of pressure you get in your thirties, as a woman, to have a baby and all of that. How I feel about it, especially when I have the maternal instinct of a pitta bread. I’m not interested in babies at all. Babies to me are like wasps: pointless, irritating and even one can ruin a picnic. They’re just not my bag at all. So it’s sort of chatting through that. My stuff is always pretty personal, pretty self-reflective. It’s all about me basically.”

And finally looking to the future, do you have one thing that you really want to achieve in your career?

“I would like to go to the Oscars. I’m not even talking about being nominated – although that would be lovely. Even if it was I won a competition on the back of a crisp packet to go to the Oscars I would like to go to the Oscars.

“Do you know what I’d actually really like to do? I’d like to be on Graham Norton. Just because I used to do the audience warm-up for the Graham Norton show, and I just think that would be a beautifully lovely, typical end to a narrative. I like a neat ending. I like a good structure to my shows. That’s what I’m after I think – I’d feel really chuffed with myself.”

Ellie Taylor is currently touring This Guy, with tickets still available for a limited number of shows.