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Isabel Fay Shares Inspiration Behind “Thank You Hater”

Here at Finite we have been in love with funny woman Isabel Fay and Clever Pie Productions’ kooky videos for quite some time. Last week their video, Thank You Hater, immediately went viral. Ironically paying tribute to those filthy internet trolls, the video also features celebrity contributions from Noel Clarke, Josie Long, Richard Herring, Dawn Porter, Steve Furst and Helen Lederer.

Stephen Fry has called the video “a masterpiece” and we have to agree. Big love to Isabel for taking time out of her whirlwind schedule to answer some questions for Finite Funnies.

FF:  Congratulations on success of the Thank You Hater video! Are you surprised at how well it has done?

IF: I’m happily surprised, in as much as not many people normally watch my nonsense films! But the subject matter is pretty wide reaching – most people who’ve put something creative on the internet have had some cute “careers advice” in the form of a death/rape threat. It’s adorable! And given/gibbon you’re told it’s best not to respond which can make you feel powerless, I think some people feel that this is a response that speaks for them too.

 FF: How and when did you come up with the idea?

IF: I had the idea a short while after I’d been forced to close my Facebook page because I’d had repeated rape threats. I’d also been getting heaps of these sorts of comments on my youtube clips; and on a really benign sketch I’d made about Easter I got – “I hope you get cancar [sic/sick] but i’d have a go on ur tits” Not particularly unusual but of its genre a beautifully crafted comment. Sort of a crystallised summation of my experiences on the internet. I couldn’t get it out of my head… which started to become a song with the help of some talented friends. So I thought, sod it, let’s reply epically in song and dance and thank them properly.

FF: Have you had any abusive comments posted about this video??

IF: The film has had shed loads of abuse! It’s kind of like the internet eating itself. Do I thank them again?! It’s become a “no YOU hang up” situation. Lots of people have been saying I “can’t take criticism” which I find odd, because the film is a response to abuse not criticism. Can people really not tell the difference between “I find your comedy derivative and unoriginal” [criticism] and “Isabel Fay should be raped with a knife the cunt whore bitch” [abuse]?!

FF: Why did you decide to get into comedy? Have you always been a performer?

IF: I got into comedy because of the stupid faces I can pull and I didn’t get enough attention as a child. Only one of these is true. I think it was an accident really, I wanted to write funny opinion pieces in the papers like Lucy Mangan and Caitlin Moran, but I found I got a better (or any) response when I said them out loud as characters. Then I got the bug for acting, so I went into the unpaid comedy actor business. I mean it’s a truly safe bet isn’t it, pension wise.

FF: Since starting Clever Pie productions, you’ve made loads of great videos and also won Best Comedy Shortie Short at the LA Comedy Film Festival for With or Without U2. Tell us a little bit about how you and Tom met and why you set up Clever Pie.

IF: I met Tom in a queue for a comedy show at the Edinburgh festival 8 years ago. I’ve been trying to make him laugh ever since. Tom has impeccable taste and a real nose for a good joke, so I constantly strive to write something that tickles him. I have delivered ideas to him that have been met with an awkward fake laugh, they go straight in the shredder. He then strives to translate what he finds funny to screen with me, and we aim for the highest possible production values on feck all money! We fund everything from our own pockets and pay our incredibly talented casts and crews in cakes pies and puddings that I make, hence Clever Pie – i.e. will you be clever at lighting in exchange for pie/cake/pudding? This is why all our casts and crews have been morbidly obese. There’s a lot of work in post.

FF: What’s next for Clever Pie?

IF: Next Clever Pie will be focusing on our jobs for a bit! Tom’s producing and ITV1 show, and I’m writing a sitcom and a sketch show. But after that we’ll be making another film of a completely different genre. It’s extraordinarily silly and deeply ambitious – probably the most ambitious thing we’ve tried, so it could take a while! Watch this pie tin/space. And if course Clever Pie isn’t just Tom and I so if you liked anything we’ve made please check out the credits, our friends are stupidly talented but too numerous to list! X


Thank You Hater! by Clever Pie

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