We have been chatting to the Scummy Mummies about the world where glam rock meets motherhood. Helen Thorn and Ellie Gibson are the comedy duo that make up the Scummy Mummies, their refreshing ‘not quite perfect’ approach to parenting has brought them a great following and wide audience. They have a #1 podcast, new book and live stand up shows around the country. Alongside appearing on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour and featuring in many a broadsheet, their Instagram feed is full of daily anecdotes on silly, funny, real-life happenings. As well as having a mutual love of metallics, Helen and Ellie have been great supporters of Seven Boot Lane, most recently spotted bringing added shine to this Spring’s luxury sneaker, Jemima in Animal.
We enjoyed talking podcasts, books, friendships, inspirations and gold catsuits, laughing a lot and listening to their stories.
Where did the name Scummy Mummies come from and why did you choose to make SM a podcast?
E: We met on the stand-up circuit and then became mum friends. At night we’d go to gigs together, then during the day we would hang out with our kids together. We used to try and make each other laugh with stories of how scummy we were, just the dreadful things that happen to you as parents and we would laugh a lot.
We thought we can’t be the only people feeling like this so why don’t we record it and put it on the internet? This was before podcasts really exploded, it was a slightly odd new medium so we were like f*** it lets give it a go!
H: With a podcast you can put it on in the background and do your washing or go for a walk. As mums you are always doing 20 things at once, so having a podcast was a really good fit for our demographic. When it began we used to record on a Friday night at Ellie’s house where we would have a few glasses of wine (bottles) with a guest and have a really great time, it’s like listening to a party.
A lot of people have said that they enjoy listening to the podcast as it is like chatting with friends. Did you know you had something special straight away?
H: No, we were just being show offs on the internet but actually people found it really useful, which was a delight, an accident. A delightful accident.
E: If you listen to the first two episodes it’s really earnest, a bit silly and all a bit formal. I’d like to think it has progressed; if nothing else because we have guests on every week. Our friendship has grown over the years with the podcast, I like the idea that you can listen to our friendship growing if you listen to the whole back catalogue.
H: The guests and listeners have grown and we hear from people in Indonesia who are diving instructors listening to us on a boat, or there’s somebody in Cuba, Nigeria or Iceland or Russia – I think that’s great.
I really like that it is recorded in Ellie’s lovely South East London home.
Your book launched last week, was it strange seeing it in a bookshop for the first time?
E: I can’t pass a bookshop now; I have to go in, find the book, ask them how many they have sold and how many they have in stock. I walk out with 5 copies, I have 200 in my lounge. I went to Bluewater on Saturday and went into Waterstones, and they said ‘Yes, we do have it, there’s one copy left’, and I was like, ‘OMG it’s the last copy, you’ve sold out already!’, and they were like ‘Yes, we originally had 2 copies.’. So I bought the last copy, so that’s 20p to me.
H: It’s a slight obsession reading the reviews, but so wonderful that we’ve had great feedback from readers.
Who are your comedy heroines, who do you take inspiration from?
E: We love French and Saunders, obviously.
H: I completely and utterly adore Tina Fey, I think she is incredible. Also Ellen Degeneres, who is a hilarious interviewer, bold and not afraid to be herself, she has carved out an amazing career.
E: I do like some men, I’m a massive fan of Stewart Lee. Bridget Christie’s amazing as well. One of the things we bonded over was the film Spinal Tap, so we love Christopher Guest and the woman who plays Bobby Flekman (Fran Drescher), is possibly the best comic actor of all time. We like comedy rooted in reality, but can be very silly and stupid. We like stupid and we like costumes.
H: It’s like glam rock meets motherhood.
Where did the gold catsuits come from?
H: In our first show we wore leotards then we thought why don’t we just go cat suits? We had been to Camp Bestival and there was a catsuit store, I remember seeing them and thinking yes, let’s do it!
E: They weren’t gold, they were just blue, red and leopard print and Helen was like ‘Why don’t we go gold?’ and I was like ‘why don’t we go gold?’ If you’re going to go, go!
So you’ve produced a successful podcast, toured the UK with your comedy show and written a book…what’s next for the Scummy Mummies?
E: We’re launching a line of quality footwear called 8 Boot Road, targeting fashionable young mums.
H: Yes, that’s the plan, there are lots of big plans, we’d like to host the Oscars next year and do a season at Vegas.
E: We’re going to keep taking the show around the country because England is relatively big when you start to think about it and we love going outside London.
H: It’s a really good night out; we do a comedy show for an hour and a half. In Bath we had to drag ourselves away from the dance floor at 1 am because the mums were out, which was a really jolly thing.
Thank you so much for speaking to us Scummy Mummies, it’s been a pleasure, stay gold!