Ashley Storrie is a comedian best known for her Harry Potter parody #tanyapotter, which was picked up by the national press and Lad Bible and is currently at over 24 million views. Ashley Storrie is a regular guest panellist on BBC Radio Scotland’s Breaking The News. In 2017 she guested on Fred MacAulay Live At The Edinburgh Stand (BBC Radio 4) and was heard on BBC Radio Scotland’s sitcom jailmates. Ashley Storrie can also be seen in new web series The Graduettes. Ashley Storrie wrote and performed in her first comedy pilot, Cat’s Crime, a comedy about a mother and daughter crime-solving duo for BBC Radio Scotland in 2010. In 2014, she wrote and performed in ‘Conundrums My Dad Says’ a radio comedy about a Man with Asperger’s and his overwrought son. In September of 2015, Ashley Storrie was asked to step in as a guest host on the late night Radio show “The Music Mathree-houree hour music and chat show for BBC Radio Scotland, and continues guest presenting after her episodes garnered the most online engagement of the series, with celebrity fans including William Shatner. Please enjoy my interview with Ashley Storrie.
How do you describe your occupation?
I’m a comedian and online content creator.
Talk us through a typical day for you…
I wake up and try to remember my dream, if I’m successful in my remembering I’ll annoy my parents with it. I go out for a walk and have a think about what I want to do that day, I’ll work on some scripts or jokes or edit and then I’ll play computer games, while I listen to an audiobook or a podcast.
What are you reading at the moment and what made you want to read it?
Faking Friends by Jane Fallon, I don’t often relate to ‘chick lit’, but Fallon manages to create characters, situations and stories that speak to me. She manages to tap into a lot of my anxieties, which is enjoyable but also stressful, so it’s taken me longer than usual to finish it.
Can you remember the first book you read by yourself?
Are you a page folder or a bookmarker?
I’m a bookmarker, I make little paper corner tabs and get really vexed if people fold pages in my books… or crack the spines before me.
When did you fall in love with reading?
I’ve always loved books, I can’t think of a time when there wasn’t at least three half-read books in my bed. I genuinely can’t pinpoint the moment because loving stories has always been a part of who I am.
If you could gift yourself books at age 16 and age 25 – what would they be and why?
At 16 I’d give myself The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett, I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to find him. I wish someone had pointed me in his directions when I was 16 and needed a place like the Discworld more than ever. At 25 I’d give myself The Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry, when I did finally read it, it helped me understand a lot more about gender identity and strength than I had previously.
What are perfect reading conditions for you?
In bed with my reading light and a cup of tea.
For someone starting out in your career, which three books would you make required reading and why?
Live From New York By Tom Shales, it’s full of stories and memories of Saturday Night Live. It’s the tales of the people who made it funny and the people who stuck with it even when it wasn’t, it showed me that being a comedian doesn’t just mean one thing and how important it is to be authentic.
Bossypants By Tina Fey, she’s one of the most successful comedy writers/ showrunners/ actors of the past decade, her drive and dedication are inspirational plus she’s super funny!
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, Sedaris is the master of crafting a laugh out loud story from his own personal pain, Mark Twain said ‘Humour is Tragedy plus Time’, but I think there’s something else too, some sort of magic dust that makes comedy great. Whatever that ‘magical something’ is, Sedaris has it in spades!
If you could invite 5 authors (dead or alive) to a dinner party – who would they be and why?
Terry Pratchett: I love him. It devastated me when he passed on, I didn’t just mourn him, I cried for the world he created and the people he made me love. I’d just want to sit and listen to whatever he wanted to talk about, I think he could make anything sound magic.
J.K Rowling: The Harry Potter books have been massive parts of my life since I read that first one in school, I’m wearing my Hogwarts Jumper and custom-made Gryffindor sweatpants as I type this. I don’t actually know what I’d say, other than ‘Thank You!’ I sometimes get this anxiety, that she wouldn’t like me if she met me, I hope that doesn’t make my dinner party awkward.
Margaret Atwood: I read Alias Grace when I was 14, I read The Handmaid’s Tale soon after and from that point on was a diehard Margaret Atwood fan. Years later I made a video called “If the Handmaid’s Tale was Scottish” Atwood saw it, liked it, retweeted it and quoted it at a conference. I wish I could tell 14-year-old me that one day she’d make Margaret Atwood laugh, but the fact she did laugh indicates we’d probably be best friends…
George R.R. Martin: besides sharing my love of the A Song of Ice and Fire series with George, I’d invite him to my dinner party because I think the scorn of a disappointed Scottish girl might be just the thing he needs to get him to finish the story!
Kate Atkinson: I read Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson in a day, as soon as I started I couldn’t stop. So much of it felt entirely relatable to me, the fictional fiction writing class in Dundee university felt exactly like my own experience studying scriptwriting in Ayr. Atkinson’s characters feel so relevant, it’s so easy to connect with them. I’d love to meet the author of that kind of ‘realness’.
What was the last book you purchased, and why did you buy it?
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, my friend has been badgering me to read it. It’s sitting on my bedside table, untouched, taunting me with its small print and many pages.
What is your favourite thing about reading?
The escapism, as you can probably tell I really like fantasy, I enjoy nothing more than being swept into another realm, full of adventure and excitement. I particularly enjoy a well-crafted world, somewhere I can visit in my own imagination, years after I’ve read the book.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
I reread Soulless by Gail Carriger recently, it’s one of my go-to books when I need a pick me up, and despite the fact this was my fourth read of it, it was still the best thing I read in the last 6 months.
If you could insert yourself into any book, which would you pick and why?
Guards! Guards! By Terry Pratchett, I’d give anything to walk the streets of Ankh-Morpork, solve cases with Sam Vimes and take a big whiff of the river Ankh.
Name a book that you feel everyone would benefit from reading and explain why.
Bleak House by Charles Dickens, this work is as relevant now in 2018 as it was in 1852. It paints a brilliant picture of how flawed humanity can be but at the same time redeemable, how connected we all are despite our differences and the value of compassion.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life? What impact did it have?
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling, I hate to harp on about it, but it changed my life. I was a very lonely child, and most of the books I’d read up till Harry Potter had been ghost stories, world war 2 books or just general fiction. I’d never read a series, and I’d never really read anything that fantastical. Harry Potter’s world was a place I could go to when everything else seemed hopeless. It made me feel significant, and even though I was just a kid, it made me feel like I could affect change in my world.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
Anything by Bill Bryson, Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway and The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder.
Which book sat on your shelf are you most excited about reading next and why?
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, I’ve put off reading it because so many people I know talked it up so much, I don’t like to dive into things with too many expectations. I feel like I’m ready now, and I’m excited to read something different. I’m a bit of a homebody when it comes to books, I tread familiar paths of fantasy and adventure, this seems a bit more cerebral and experimental.
Image credit: Steve Ullathorne