Gina Yashere returns from across the pond to her ex-home country with her brand-new show for a date at the Old Market, Hove on Wednesday, April 1 (www.theoldmarket.com or 01273 201801).
She admits the UK hasn’t got any better for all her years away: “When I come back, it always feels a little bit more depressing each time,” admits Gina, who moved to the States in 2007. “People seem to have less money each time, and it all seems less appealing each time... I can’t see myself moving back to live in the UK. I am not saying I will always live in America, but I can see myself moving to Thailand as more likely than me living in the UK again. Thailand is beautiful and hot. The people are nice. Things are cheap. And it is just such a lovely place.”
In the meantime, the States are home: “I would never say I am American, but that’s where I live. I suppose I was just wanting to reach out to a bigger audience, and it was always my dream to move to America ever since I was six because I always thought the toys would be bigger and better! But really, for me it was a question of starting again, different challenges, different people. I suppose you have to be either courageous or crazy!”
Her comedy works over there, she believes, because she is not the quintessential English comic. As she says, her comedy isn’t droll or dry: “I am much more in your face. But you have to remember to use American words. It is trunk, not boot. It is sidewalk, not pavement. But I have been there long enough that that comes more easily now. But they just don’t get broad Cockney. I have got posher since I have been living there!”
It hasn’t been without its challenges, though. Comedy in the States is very much about celebrity. It’s not how funny you are which counts; it’s how famous: “You go to a club and they don’t want to know whether you have performed in that kind of venue before. What really matters to them is how many Twitter followers you have got.”
But she’s now made a good move to New York: “I was in LA for seven years. I loved the life style, but a lot of the comedians were actors pretending to be comedians as a stepping stone to getting into films and getting acting jobs. I am a bit of a purist about that, so I moved to New York, which is fantastic. It’s such an exciting place. It is like London on steroids! You can be doing four or five shows a night, and then you have to slow down and take a break.”