Actress Kerry Howard has been making a name for herself as one of the UK’s finest comedy actresses.
During her career so far she’s starred in hit shows such as Him & Her, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and Reggie Perrin. She’s also the sister of comedian Russell Howard. Now she’s starring in brand new Comedy Central show Give Out Girls.
We caught up with Kerry to find out more about the show, talk about why she got involved and to discuss what it was like on the set.
Hi Kerry. How are you today? What have you been up to recently?
I’m very good Entertainment Focus. Thank you! Recently I landed a pilot sitcom for BBC Three. It’s one of the last pilots they’re commissioning which is very exciting and it’s written by two amazing writers who wrote on my sketch show Kerry. I’ve had a baby who’s five months old and called Wesley. I’m going to be working with my brother (Russell Howard) on a new project next year but I can’t go into too much detail about that. It’s very exciting!
Your new show Give Out Girls is premiering soon. What’s the show all about?
It’s about a bunch of girls – there are four girls and two lads in the show – and we’re promo girls so we go round England promoting companies from dog food to fizzy drinks and tampons. Basically the girls do anything but work because they hate working because they have to stand in the street freezing. I play Marilyn who is 30 and should really get a real job, not doing the job of an 18-year-old who is played by Diana Vickers and is very brilliant in it.
What do we need to know about your character Marilyn?
She’s touching 30, she likes leopard print coats, is a little bit cuddly but there’s nothing wrong with that, and she’s a bit frustrated with her lot. She’s positive and she keeps going. She gets in trouble and the world conspires again her but she’s still smiling.
The show has a really great cast. Tell us a bit about what the atmosphere has been like on set.
Brilliant! It was really fun. Alex Carter who plays the assistant to boss Tracy-Ann Oberman’s Debbie, is brilliant and Ben Bailey Smith aka Doc Brown the comedian. There were lots of jokes to be had as there were with Cariad Lloyd, who is a very funny lady, and Miranda Hennessy and Diana Vickers. They’re all very funny and we were often joking quite a lot. We were being told not to laugh so much because we actually had to do some work. It was very bright and fun.
What attracted you to Give Out Girls and how did you get involved with the show?
The character Marilyn because it was the first time I’ve read a part that was kind of close to how I used to be when I was 25. I used to do promo work and I was still desperately trying to be an actress. It reminded me how I used to be upbeat even though the world I was in was a bit crap. It was a bit of a fight to get her because the breakdown was that she was blonde and a size 16 and I was a brunette and a size 8 at the time so I had to really fight for the part. They said, ‘if you put on some weight it’s yours’ so I said, ‘great, give me some crisps!’
What research and preparation did you do for your role?
I ate a lot of potatoes and rice and chicken. They got me a nutritionist and I was like, ‘brilliant! Cake! I can eat anything’ but no it was all healthy crap which was good because it didn’t hurt my heart. I drew on the promo work I used to do in my early 20s so I already had that angst.
Diana Vickers makes her TV comedy debut in Give Out Girls. Has she been asking you for any advice?
Do you know what? That girl is so solid you wouldn’t think she was 21. I thought she was 30 and she’s a constant professional. I was kind of blown away by her actually. There’s a lot more to come from her. She’s in L.A. at the moment and I told her she had to go to America because she’s going to be a huge British star, which is exciting.
If you were to play any other character in the show which one would it be and why?
I’d like to play Debbie because everyone knows I do a good bitch. I’d like to play Cariad’s character Poppy because she gets some really great zingers and great lines. It’s nice to come in and nick a scene!
What else do you have coming up this year?
I’ve got a sitcom with Objective, which we’re filming in November then the project with my brother next year. I’m writing a pilot with Sarah Solemani for the BBC that I can’t say too much about yet. It’s exciting because we’re writing an all-female cast studio sitcom.
Why should people tune in to Give Out Girls?
Because it’s funny! It’s a different show. I think a lot of people compared this to Drifters but Drifters isn’t actually about the job at all because they were supposed to be promo girls but it was more about their lives. This show is a workplace comedy and it’s about the ensemble and how the girls interact with each other in the actual work. Anyone who has had an in-between job in their early 20s will relate. None of these girls want to be a promo girl, it’s the in-between gap year of your life.
Give Out Girls airs Tuesday 14th October 2014 on Comedy Central. Check out a clip from the show below: