Julie Jay is a writer, presenter and stand-up comic. She is co-host of the Up to 90 podcast with Emma Doran which will be recorded live on Sunday in the Spailpín Fánach, as part of Cork Podcast Festival, talking all things Nineties. Julie currently lives in Co. Meath with her partner, comedian Fred Cooke.
Best recent book you’ve read:
I’ve just started Michael Palin’s The North Korea Journal. I used to collect all his travel books as a youngster and it has been a lovely dose of nostalgia coming back to him. Also recently read ‘Educated’ by Tara Westover which was fantastic.
Best recent film:
I don’t go to the cinema that often because COMJEE is not the cash cow my online stand-up course promised to be; but I did rewatch The Florida Project on the telly recently and I think it is still now of my all-time favourite movies.
Best recent show you’ve seen:
Starlet by Alison Spittle was just an absolute joy — so funny and so clever.
Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old):
Office Politics by Divine Comedy, and I’m hip hop mad — anything from Tyga to Cardi B to her nemesis Nicki Minaj to Lizzo.
First ever piece of music or art or film or gig that really moved you:
I remember watching Before Sunrise and being utterly carried away with the romanticism of it all. In musical terms Rufus Wainwright performing ‘Halleujiah’ live in Dingle for Other Voices was not the first time I was moved at a gig, but it was an unforgettable one.
The best show you’ve ever seen:
Watching Tommy Tiernan perform ‘Paddy Crazy Horse’ was just an education in the art of comedy. He really operates on a whole other plane of thought. Every word was pitch-perfect, like a Flann O’Brien novel. Astounding stuff. Music-wise there have been so many, but the Rolling Stones in Croke Park was special as it was one of the first dates with my partner Fred.
Tell us about your TV viewing:
The Apprentice is my absolute fave. For nothing else I just love the candidates pretending to laugh Alan Sugar’s terrible jokes.
I’m expecting him to turn up at an open mic in the Roundy any day completely unaware he is not funny, like when I arrived in Junior Infants convinced I was a child model only to have my illusions of grandeur quickly scuppered by catching a reflection of myself in the side of a staff room kettle!
Radio listening and/or podcasts:
I am a true-crime freak. Fred falls asleep to murder and wakes up to murder. Current favourite is Culpable, but I loved Who The Hell is Hamish, and of course Teacher’s Pet. I also adore The Guilty Feminist and Behind The Bastards.
You’re curating your dream podcast episode – what three artists are on the bill, living or dead?
Dolores O’Riordan (because she was the coolest person going); Oprah (to tell me how to live and guide me through all decision making); and Frankie Boyle (for his comedic genius.... I am a superfan).
Do you have any interesting ancestors or family?
No, I’m definitely the star! They’re great but unlike me don’t need validation of strangers so are more heroes of the unsung variety. They consist mostly teachers and guards, just like Coppers The Musical.
Favourite ever item of clothing:
I have a pair of lucky red boots I wore most nights in Vicar St when I supported Tommy Tiernan. When I’m feeling nervous about something I put them on and instantly feel empowered because I have such lovely memories from that time.
So many. MASI and NASC do amazing work with asylum seekers and I am currently trying to organize a gig to raise money for those living in Direct Provision — I genuinely believe it’s the Magdalene Laundries of our time. Shameful stuff. Also so many teachers and SNAs do so much for the kids they encounter everyday and I feel sometimes they don’t get the recognition they deserve. My beloved Auntie Ger is case and point: she has been teaching for over 40 years and still enjoys her students so much. It’s inspiring!
You are queen for a day — what’s your first decree?
Homes for all.