The comedy couple chat new podcast You’ll Do and lez/bi love in the time of lockdown 💘
BY DANIELLE MUSTARDE. IMAGE BBC/ROBERT SHIRET
Catherine Bohart and Sarah Keyworth’s BBC podcast You’ll Do is all about love but, you know, “not the perfect, filtered kind, but the realities of how people make relationships work” – and it’s bloody brilliant.
We spoke to the London-based comedy couplet about You’ll Do and how their love life is holding up under lockdown…
DIVA: Hello both, how are you fairing in lockdown? Happy to be sharing it with each other (rather than in some dodgy London flat share?)
CATHERINE BOHART: Oh yes! You can be open-space rude to each other!
SARAH KEYWOTH: Yes. That’s the bright side we’re all looking for…
CB: There’s no need for passive aggression, you can get straight to the root of the problem.
Yes! The last time we met Catherine, we spoke about your Edinburgh Fringe show Lemon and some of its content – long term relationships, the ever-fabled lesbian bed death. Did You’ll Do come out of that?
CB: It came out of both of our stand-ups, but really, it came out of a complete frustration with the general representation of love, which is always #couplegoals and holds being in a couple as the end goal. As opposed to the start of a difficult and ongoing negotiation, which you are in because you love the other person, but not necessarily… In short, it’s not all roses and it shouldn’t be.
Is that the biggest issue, do you think?
CB: Yes, that love is constantly represented as either this ideal or you’re doing it wrong. But actually, it’s hard and tedious and repetitive and lovely and romantic and exciting and wonderful. There’s space for all of those things to be true without anybody failing at it.
Was #couplegoals something you’d been seeing a lot of on social media?
SK: Yeah, I mean, it’s the same for anyone looking at social media and comparing any part of their life to it. The Instagrammable view is really damaging if you’re not meeting it and that can be really detrimental to your mental health. We wanted to create something that actually shows the reality of relationships.
CB: And that, you don’t have to be this perfect person to be loved either. Hopefully people will listen to it and be like, “Oh, we do that…” or “Thank God I’m not in a relationship with one of those two.” I’m fine with both.
SK: If these goofs can find love, then we can!
You’ve had some great guests too – Zoe Lyons and her wife Sindy De Jong, Deborah Frances-White and her husband, Tom Salinsky. Did Deborah and Tom plan to chat about their open relationship beforehand?
CB: The thing is, we really wanted – whether or not people’s relationships were monogamous – that to be a question, as opposed to presuming monogamy. Because it is always presumed. And that means that, in order for people to say that they’re in a non-monogamous or polyamorous relationship, they basically have to come out, which we really didn’t want.
SK: We wanted it to be inclusive of all different types of relationships.
CB: I think that [Deborah and Tom] hadn’t necessarily planned to talk about that but, maybe because I mentioned that I’d been in a non-monogamous relationship before and it wasn’t assumed that they were, they felt a bit safer talking about it. I’m really glad that they did too because… the nicest thing about it was, [Deborah] came out as bi, and they talked about having a non-monogamous marriage and the messages that we got after were all, “Oh, my god, they’re so sweet!” And that’s like, “Oh! There are some good things about 2020!” Not many, but that was a good one.
It was lovely that they came off as even more wholesome.
CB: Yes! So wholesome! And so ridiculously romantic.
What else did you really want to get people talking about?
CB: The thing we really wanted to talk about was conflict resolution. How people argue and how they resolve those arguments. And I know you really wanted to talk about jealousy, Sarah…
SK: There’s a narrative around emotions like jealousy that it’s an “ugly emotion” and that you should feel ashamed if you feel professionally jealous or romantically jealous. It’s a really negative quality to have, when actually it’s a really natural emotion. Just hearing people being honest about having feelings of jealousy is something that we wanted to explore and to communicate to people that actually, it’s something that you can have within a relationship and talk about and manage in the same way as any other emotion.
Well, I feel better about jealousy already.
CB: We are always in a rush to tell ourselves that jealousy is an insecurity that is ugly. We don’t ever necessarily take the time to examine that usually it’s an indicator of something else, something we’re not able to express or identify.
SK: We’ve found that, in our relationship, if you’re able to say, “Oh, I’m really happy for you – but I’m a little bit jealous,” or, “I’m a little bit insecure,” that’s way better than pretending that you’re fine all the time.
I think that’s why people have loved it so much. It’s getting permission to start those own conversations in your own relationships. And, having a queer relationship at the heart of it, it opens that door a little wider.
CB: I hope that’s the case because I do feel like people’s options are limited by their exposure to them and so it’s nice that, even if people hear something and they think, “Oh that’s not for me.” It’s like, well, at least you’re consciously making that choice now, as opposed to blindly pottering through thinking the only option you had was what you’re already doing. I’m not saying it’s as simple as that, or that people don’t know that non-monogamy exists but I do think that it exists in a space where it’s like, “Oh, that’s over there,” or maybe, “Queerness is over there.” Those things are really important to talk about because, like you say, people can start conversations that are difficult to have. And do so in a loving way. It doesn’t have to be the be all and end all, which is nice.
Absolutely. It’s already – very organically – opened up conversations between myself and my girlfriend just because the setup is so conversational, it gives you the opportunity to be like, “Hey, so that’s a thing…”
CB: I’m really glad! We wanted to be like #couplegoals are nonsense, everyone is doing it their own way. But we also didn’t want to be like this is how it should be done. We didn’t want to end up closing the circle and telling people how they should be. I think the three of us should convince your girlfriend to be in an open relationship…
Well, it’s on the table now guys…
CB: Well, if it wasn’t for that… what were we making a podcast for?
You also ask couples how they would describe their relationships in each episode. How would you describe yours right now?
SK: We are monogamous… I didn’t mean to say that with such a question in my voice.
CB: Monogamous, but which feels like a choice. I feel like, when I was in monogamous relationships before, it was because it was what I was supposed to do, rather than it being a choice.
Have you learned anything within your own couple through making You’ll Do?
CB: I have a tendency to speak over Sarah because, well, I’m Irish… We just talk until somebody else is talking louder than us. Sarah speaks at the pace of lava. Can you please… I’ll just finish the sentence for you….
SK: I don’t! I hate you…
CB: I swear to God, sometimes her and her family will be talking on Zoom and I’ll think it’s frozen but it’s just someone from the Midlands finishing a sentence.
SK: My dad, my brother and I can be mid-conversation and Catherine will come into the room and be like, “Have you had a row? Why are none of you talking?”
CB: Someone’s just taking a breath…
What’s been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned?
CB: One thing that Sindy and Zoey talked about was actually making time for fun with each other.
SK: Also, something that hadn’t occurred to either of us, if we’re together in like 25 years time, we’ll both have to go through menopause. That shouldn’t have been a shock, but was quite a shock.
That is shocking information.
CB: The main thing I found surprising was that people get emotional at the end of a lot of the episodes and – we get emotional too. It made me realise we take so much time, all of us, to tell our partners when they’re letting us down or when they fail to do something, but I don’t think a common thing for us to take time for, is to tell our partners why we value them. I mean whose got the time… we’ve got jobs usually! But it meant that when people did, that was like oh! This is actually really lovely and important and people need to hear it.
I’ll say something nice to my girlfriend when I go upstairs.
CB: Don’t spoil her!
She has been categorically ignoring me for the past eight hours… On that note, what are your top tips for coping as a couple in lockdown?
CB: Take time alone. Very important.
SK: Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m going in the other room now.”
That’s a very London sentence – “I’m going in the one other room!”
SK: I’m going in the bathroom! You stay in the kitchen/living room.
CB: …/bedroom. I think jigsaws have been a lifesaver for us. We bought a ping pong thing for our dining table. That’s kept us occupied. Exercise too, so you burn off energy that doesn’t just turn into rows you didn’t need to have. And that’s to use your energy, I’m not saying it as your time to “glow up.” Because fuck that – we all just need to get through this. Treat yourself like a puppy. Use up your energy so you can sleep.
SK: Also, if your partner is going to give you a haircut, do a small tester where they just take a little bit off first and then trust them with the whole shebang.
Have you come across the phenomenon that, as a rule during lockdown, all of our single friends are ridiculously horny, but all couples are like goodbye forever sex…
CB: I have never felt less sexual in my whole entire life.
SK: It’s hard to get in the mood when the world is burning.
CB: Like no, absolutely not… what would you do? Come in from your walk, wash your hands and get down and dirty?
Right? You’re “in the office” all day and then the office becomes the restaurant and the only free time is in the bathroom… There’s literally no transition period.
SK: Also there’s no mystery about your partner right now.
CB: Yeah, I don’t ever wonder what you’re thinking.
SK: Tell me about your day baby….
CB: God, we’re bad at sexy talk… No, completely in agreement.
We’re all feeling incredibly un-sexual right now.
CB: I haven’t had my eyebrows tinted in six weeks, which makes me look like I don’t have eyebrows. I can’t have sex without eyebrows.
SK: Shall I just shave off mine and we’ll just do full no-eyebrow sex?
CB: No… none of that.
Is there anything in particular you want listeners to take away from You’ll Do?
CB: Oh, just that the podcast is supposed to make you feel better in whatever your relationship is. So many people have messaged us being like, “This makes me feel so relieved I’m not in a relationship,” and others being like, “Well, if you people can find love, maybe I could too.” How exciting. Both are very lovely and valid reasons to listen!
You’ll Do is available on BBC Sounds now. Give it a listen.
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