Comedian reflects on the "Peter Pan" generation


Stand-up comedian Angela Barnes’ latest show comes from turning 40 a couple of years ago.

Called Fortitude, it brings her to Shoreham’s Ropetackle on March 1.

“Really the show is looking at where I am in life and also looking at where we are in the world.

“It is a show about being 40 and about the fact that I am not married, I don’t have kids and I don’t have a mortgage. I am part of the Peter Pan generation apparently, the generation that doesn’t need to grow up.”

Angela’s point is that these are things she doesn’t actually want… though she admits the mortgage might not be too far away. But certainly not the children.

“These are all my decisions, but sometimes you are made to feel like you are in some kind of arrested development because these are the choices you have made.

“But it fact, it should all be about doing the things that are right for you.

“I particularly talk about my decision not to have any children.

“A lot of people will ask you ‘When are you going to have children’, and I just think it is none of their business.

“They will say something like that as if it is just small talk.

“But I take the view that it isn’t small talk… and that it just wasn’t the right choice for me.

“I wouldn’t go round asking people ‘Why did you have children?’

“And yet often people will ask me the opposite, and you think don’t they realise that there could actually be an awkward or embarrassing answer.

“There isn’t, though for me. It is just that I don’t want to have any.

“It’s about how different people make different choices.

“I can’t see into the future, but it gets to the point where people are actually judging you, saying things like ‘Ah, you don’t want them now, but when you have them it will be totally different’ – like they know me better than I know myself.

“But it doesn’t make me any less caring or any less compassionate. And it is not like I hate children. I love being with my friends’ children.

“I will baby-sit and things like that, but I just want to give them back afterwards!”

The point is that Angela is happy as she is.

“I am in a good place. I am loving being in my 40s, and I think that comes across in the show.

“Some people find it a difficult stage in their lives, but I think I was always a 40-year-old in waiting. It’s the fact that you can do what you want. If you don’t want to go to a party, then you don’t and that is fine, but it was different when you were 25 and you didn’t want to go a party. That was a problem.

“I think you get to a stage where you are a lot more confident in who you are. I have become this person that I am now.

“Certainly in my 20s, I had very low self-esteem and was always doing the things that I felt I should be doing.”

With the years has come confidence, which explains why Angela was able to launch into stand-up – at the age of 33 eight years ago.

“I would never have been able to do it in my 20s, to stand up in front of a room of complete strangers and try to make them laugh.”

She feels there is an advantage in coming to it later: “You want people to relate to you, and they won’t so much if all you have ever done is stand-up comedy. I have done different things. I have had difference experiences. It all comes into it.”