As someone who is about to enter her thirties, Emily Atack knows only too well about the contemporary pressures and expectations on those in their twenties.
She describes her live tour of Talk Thirty To Me as “a stand-up show for twentysomethings who are trying to get their lives together. Having a great job, finding ‘the one’, not going to the pub every night: it’s hard. I hope the show pokes fun at all of the things we’re meant to have done by the time we are thirty.”
Atack spent her twenties in the public eye, appearing in a diverse range of TV programmes such as The Inbetweeners and a Birds Of A Feather Christmas special, while being herself in Dancing On Ice, co-hosting stint on This Morning and claiming the runner-up spot in 2018’s I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!. She has also fronted her own four-part documentary series, Adulting, and co-presented ITV2’s Singletown.
Now that Atack is on the cusp of a brand new decade and further challenges (her memoir Are We There Yet? and is due for publication this month and she is also filming a new series of CBBC’s Almost Never), is there anything she will miss about the one that is about to disappear into the rear-view mirror? “I think not being able to say ‘I’m in my twenties’ might hurt a little bit, but I definitely won’t miss being young enough to care about what everyone thinks of me.”
She has already taken Talk Thirty To Me on a sold-out first leg, and this next stage of her tour will keep the positive message bubbling along. “It’s absolutely fine to not have every box ticked by thirty. I also think we’re fed this idea that people come without flaws or imperfections (you can thank Instagram skin-smoothing apps for that). In the show, I tell stories about my life, my friends, and my relationships: girls seem to really get it, and funnily enough the lads do too as they’ve all had wives or girlfriends going on about the same things.”
Of course you can’t discuss millennials without mentioning social media, those in their twenties seem to take the biggest flak for anti-social tech-obsession. “Social media is part of the air that we breathe,” admits Atack. “I’m lucky that I was part of the last generation where I do remember life before the internet and Instagram. I do wonder how it will all unfold over the coming years. I hope that we’re entering into a more mindful stage.”
When people talked of the first set of Talk Thirty To Me shows, the modern buzzword ‘relatable’ cropped up a lot. While that brand of comedy chimes strongly with Atack, her tastes are broad. “Growing up I loved (and still love) Ricky Gervais, and god I love Kathy Burke. She was the whole reason why I wanted to end up in a sitcom. I also love Amy Schumer: I think the female American comics are brave and brilliant. It used to annoy me that I ended up constantly playing the tarty girl without the funny lines, although I don’t regret a single part: those roles gave me a career. But I wanted to play against type and felt like comedy could do that for me one day.”
At St George’s Hall, Bradford, November 4. Tickets bradford-theatres.co.uk