Interview with Lauren Hayward and Francis Hadid otherwise known as Hayward and Hadid

By Phillip Lescaut

First off, tell me a little about your show for this year, This Is An Excuse.

This is our first comedy festival, and we wanted to find our voice. We wanted to make a show that spoke to women, which was equal parts silly and smart. We’ve put on stage the things we always talk about with our friends but have never seen in a comedy show.

What’s your earliest experience of making people laugh or entertaining? Was it at school, putting on shows for family, etc.?
Hadid: I would say definitely at home. Everyone in my family is funny and with a dark sense of humour. They’re a tough crowd, my grandmother especially; she’s a tough bitch so making her laugh has been reassuring.

Hayward: I always hoped I was funny (I still do). I was a gangly oversized only child with Hollywood dreams and a penchant for Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller movies, but I wasn’t funny yet. Through serendipity and osmosis (and good training) I think I’ve become funnier in my 20’s –away from my parents’ disapproving eye.

Was comedy always the dream? If not, how did you find your way to comedy?

Hadid: Writing has been the dream and Comedy is where I often find myself.

Hayward: Comedy was always the dream, comedy and an unlikely friendship with Tina Fey.

Who or what inspires you in comedy? Do you have a preferred type of comedy you like to watch (eg. standup, sitcoms, movies, etc.)?

We love satirical comedy, with a dark twist, but can’t deny our love for a dick joke. We’ve loved watching The Characters (Netflix), Broad City, and Bob’s Burgers. 

Tell me a bit about your creative process. Do you write a lot? Do you do it alone? Do you only write when you’re inspired or do you have a disciplined schedule like a Jerry Seinfeld?

For us the creative equation is COMEDY = FOOD + LAPTOPS. All we do is eat, gossip and write. We’re our funniest with a full mouth.

Do you prefer to be immaculately rehearsed or are you very loose and ad-lib-by on stage?

Hadid: on the loose side.

Hayward: immaculately rehearsed.

Hayward and Hadid: happy together

If it’s not too painful to think about, what’s the most awkward experience you’ve had on stage? What did you learn from it, and how do you get past a weak night?
We took our show to Adelaide to workshop it in front of a crowd, and boy did we learn some lessons. On our opening night we had four (uninvited, anonymous) reviewers in the audience, and both of our computers crashed 5 minutes before show time. We pushed on (read: flailed) with no tech, had a front row walk out and were heckled by Siri chiming in from an audience member’s phone.

We were crying between changes backstage because it was such a disaster. To make things worse, we had a review in The Advertiser the next day: “In comedy, timing is everything, and the sometimes lengthy pregnant pauses between “costume changes” meant any momentum quickly evaporated”. No shit dickhead, “costume changes” took too long because we were sobbing silently backstage! We learnt to always triple-check our backups, and that nothing can stop us.

What are you proudest of in your career so far?

We’re proudest of our show right now. Since Adel-geddon, we rewrote, refined and reworked the show and we are super proud (and we couldn’t have done it if we hadn’t learned the hard lessons). Our audiences have loved it, and we’ve had so much fun putting it on every night. Not a single tear shed back stage.

Is there anyone at MICF this year that you really want to check out?

Well we’re right at the end of the festival, but we’ve seen so many awesome shows. Of course, everything at our venue, The Improv Conspiracy; it was a treat to see some hilarious and deliciously weird comedy at Feeble Minds (Zanzoop/Sam Campbell) and we were absolutely blown away by Butt Kapinski (Deanna Fleysher) – completely different to us, but totally inspiring. 

What’s been the biggest surprise of your career so far?

Selling out half of our run at our first MICF show has been surprising and pretty special.

One piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out?                        

Be nice: everyone is trying their hardest and probably not getting paid.

Be brave: the hardest nights show you what you’re made of, and will definitely pay off.

Be rebellious: not everything has to follow the rule of threes


Hayward and Hadid’s debut show This Is An Excuse is on at The Improv Conspiracy