Despite bringing us many of our funniest TV moments, Kathy Burke has faced some dark and troubling times. Here, she talks to Sophie Heawood about solving her problems, the joy of young people, and why we should all ‘laugh at death’
When I meet Kathy Burke, in a recording studio in north London, she is talking about how much she loves young people and their desire to improve things – their life force. She can’t bear oldies like John Cleese “complaining about wokeness because he doesn’t get it. It’s because you’re old.” she says. “You’ve had your time, it was great, now fuck off! Why this need to remain relevant?” At 58, having already enjoyed a huge career, first as a comic actor and now as a director, Burke has “a lot of hope for young people. Once us old cunts have gone.”
All of which makes it more surprising that we are actually here to talk about death, and specifically a new podcast that Burke has surprised even herself by launching, called Where There’s a Will There’s a Wake, in which she talks to her comedy friends about how they would like to die. Dawn French, James Acaster and Stewart Lee, among other guests, go deep in what Burke describes as her “fantasy football” version of death and funeral planning.