15 Minutes With Flo & Joan

Flo & Joan (sisters Nicola and Rosie Dempsey) are a British-born, Toronto-based musical comedy duo. They’ve headlined and played to sold-out audiences across North America and internationally, including Montreal Sketchfest, Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, SheDot Festival, and as part of JFL42. They are returning to Toronto Sketchfest on March 4th & 11th with a brand new selection of songs.

Oh, and you might recognize them from this little ditty:

SDTC: What should we be paying more attention to?

Rosie: The things that make us happy. It’s easy to get sucked into that weird internet hate-news hole and let it freak you out. Take a step out of it, especially in times like now; focus on what makes you happy, like truly happy. For me that’s watching First Wives Club a million times over because it makes all the bad stuff go away.

Nicola: Which supermarkets have the best deals on chips and when, because they don’t all have the same deals at the same time and I spend a lot of money on chips but I could spend more if I didn’t pay as much attention to chip prices as I do. For example, at the time of this chat, the cheapest place to buy Ruffles is the Shoppers at King and Peter (at $1.88 a bag). You’re welcome.

Last series you binged on?

N: I am currently mid-binge of The Good Wife. Anything with Christine Baranski is a big ding-dong.

R: Happy Valley. It has that wet, grey, Northern England feel, which gives me life. I recommend watching season 2 first, then season 1, then the whole combo a further five hundred times. I have big dreams to be Sarah Lancashire one day.

One new thing you learned this year?

R: I learned the word anhedonia – when you can’t find the joy in a specific thing. And that the Internet is wonderful but poisonous. And yesterday (using aforementioned Internet) I learned the guitar chords to “It’s Not Easy” from Disney’s Pete’s Dragon.

N: I have learned that I hate amateur guitar players. And that I’m very lucky to be surrounded by kind-hearted, open-minded, liberal people, because not as many humans are as I thought. Until this year I didn’t quite realize quite how differently people of the world think, which is so very naive, I know, but it has been a wake-up call for sure.

R: The question asked for one thing.

N: Okay, so the one thing I learned is we can’t follow instructions.

What memory brings a smile to your face?

N: When we were kids we would make our cousin dress up with us and dance the Charleston. And he did, and he enjoyed it. Just three casual 6-8 year olds dancing the Charleston together.

R: For years we would go on caravan holidays with our aunties and cousins, and if it rained we would stay inside and dress up and make up dances to the Spice Girls. It’s the same memory as Nicola’s really, just in a non-stable home with modern music.

What book/song/lyric is resonating with you right now?

N: “Even if you’re little you can do a lot, you mustn’t let a little thing like little stop you.” from Matilda, by Tim Minchin.

R: “My silence is my self-defense.” – “And So it Goes” by Billy Joel.

Funniest thing in recent memory?

N/R: We’re not ashamed to say that we spent a good fifty minutes in our apartment blowing fart noises onto our hands and elbows the other day and couldn’t breathe from laughing.

And, there’s a viral video of a boy surprise-throwing eggs at his mum, which she catches every time, that’s wonderful.

Best advice?

N: If your first draft takes longer than twenty minutes to write, throw it away and start again.

R: There’s always someone out there who is better than you.

Best part of being your current age?

R: I’m old enough that people treat me like an adult, but if I screw up then they say, “Ah well, she’s only young.” I have lots more witching hours to clock.

N: I like that it is a cubed number; otherwise, I’m honestly not a huge fan of my age right now. Ask me next year.

What word/phrase should we use more?

N: Guff (verb).
“Henry, did you guff?”
“Guffing hell, Henry.”

R: Yeh, guff.

What’s on your night table?

N: A stack of books I haven’t read yet and a notebook.

R: Phone, Metropass, keys, a memory stick (I don’t know why. I’m just too lazy to move it), and a glass of water.

N: Do you call them memory sticks in Canada? It sounds like some Harry Potter dream bank or something.

R: Alright, a flash drive.

One item you’d be lost without?

N: My lungs. Are they an item?

R: They’re an organ.

N: Sure, then rose-tinted Vaseline.

R: Burt’s Bees hand repair cream. I work in a butcher shop so my hands are as dry as a camel’s hoof.

Biggest comedy pet peeve?

R: That women have to be called “women in comedy.” But on the reverse of that, that women aren’t highlighted enough in comedy.

N: The phrase “good job.” Say it to a dog who rolled over for you, not to an adult human after their show. It’s such a nothing compliment, no one ever means it sincerely, and it’s a way to avoid saying you sucked. Just don’t say anything and run away from the person instead, like I do.

What trends are you loving right now?

N: Soup. You know, the trend of soup? Final answer.

R: Homemade clothes. And those transfer things like pizzas and stars that you can iron or sew onto your own clothes. I don’t own any…but good for you, people that do. You look great.

Childhood celebrity crush?

N: Aaron Carter, of the Crazy Little Party Girl era. In contrast, floppy curtain hair on a guy is now a HUGE turn-off. And (surprise) I am not at all, nor have I ever been a crazy little party girl.

R: Ashley Peacock from Coronation Street. Not like, “Oh, I fancy you so much,” I just connected to him. I wanted him to be my husband one day. He was simple, but kind.

What’s great about Toronto?

N/R: The things that we hated when we first moved here are now the things that we love. The city is simple and quiet, but with energy. Slow in a carefree, everything will be fine, way. Toronto has good people. Cool, diverse, interesting and interested, wonderful, weirdo people who have welcomed us and been very kind and given us a lot of time. It’s the friendliest of all the cities we have lived in, for sure. (We should clarify, the people are not one of the things we hated when we moved; they’ve always been great). And honestly, we think the TTC is sweet as doorknobs.

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