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Finding Joy: Catastrophe meets Fleabag in Amy Huberman comedy about the search for happiness
The new series, which stars Aisling Bea and Laura Whitmore, celebrates the winging-it lifestyle and explores the fall-out when we start to lose control.
You couldn't ever accuse Amy Huberman of not throwing herself fully into her writing debut Finding Joy.
In the opening episode of the W comedy series, Huberman has a buttock-clenching moment with a postman involving dog poo and a scene where she is forced to abseil down the mammoth Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
"Even though you know you’re going to be playing the character, you forget you're actually going to have to do these things when you’re in the zone and writing it," laughs Huberman.
Huberman is playing Joy, a young woman, who appears to have her life under control. But in reality, she’s still getting over a breakup from her boyfriend Aidan and at work she’s been given the Bridget Jones-esque job of have-a-go presenter filling in for Ireland’s favourite vlogger Flora the Happy Hunter (Laura Whitmore).
Well known in Ireland thanks to her marriage to Irish rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll, Finding Joy will be an introduction to Huberman for many viewers in the UK and we think the nation is about to fall in love.
Here are three reasons you’ll want to start Finding Joy...
1. It's got a universal life message
"We had this idea of a comedy series around how people look for happiness in their lives," explained Huberman, looking back at the embryonic stage of her comedy series.
"This idea of how we want to keep everything together and search for happiness and joy in our lives. We had the idea of deconstructing that."
For Joy, her crumbling personal life and a shock in her career, pulls apart the everyday averageness that previously had brought her contentment.
All of a sudden, Joy is forced to deal with a world she has put a lot of effort into avoiding; one full of oversharing, boundary breaking, messy housemates and one-night stands. All the crazy, uncomfortable and new-age methods people use to find joy.
"I felt like there were a lot of personal parallels because I was doing something I’ve never done before. I was jumping off the ledge, metaphorically," said Huberman.
Delving into the psyche of her character, the comic explains: “[Joy] hasn't emotionally evolved or dealt with the loss of her relationship and the breakdown of that. Her life has been completely about control. Living without control for her is quite terrifying.
"To deal with the unknown, we have all these coping mechanisms. To deal with the disorder, we create order. That fascinates me."
2. Fleabag and Catastrophe comparisons are welcome
It feels trite to compare Finding Joy to other recent successes from female comics, such as Fleabag and Catastrophe.
However, the show has a honesty and frankness that echoes Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Sharon Horgan's masterpieces.
Huberman jokes that she isn’t going to moan if viewers draw a line between her series and two of the most popular comedies of the last 10 years.
"I think it's a very natural thing. I think it's the same with other things like dramas, people will say it’s the next such and such," says Huberman, who is already underway working on Finding Joy series two.
"It's a very natural thing to do that. People will always go back to the last big thing and compare it to that.
"I feel very lucky to be in the discussion with shows that I love. Catastrophe and Fleabag are shows that I love, so if anyone wants to compare the shows and put me in that conversation, I'm not doing too bad.
"I think the more shows that are made by women, the more shows we all watch, it will stop becoming such a niche thing and we’ll look at the shows as made by funny people rather than funny women."
3. It's a total gas
Despite being the writer and lead actress, Huberman hasn’t shied away from putting herself in unusual situations.
We’ve already mentioned the Aviva stadium and doggy doo scene, but things peak in episode two when Huberman finds herself in a wrestling ring.
"You think it will be such a gas, it will be fun to do, and then you suddenly find yourself filming it," she laughs.
However, despite all the large set pieces it was actually the smaller moments filmed in Joy’s flat with co-star and friend Aisling Bea that were the series highlights.
"It was just us playing together and in a bubble.The stadium was great because it was a big set piece. But honestly, I just kept pinching myself," she recalled.
"There was no day on set that there was a drag. To work with my friends was absolutely great. But the flat stuff, playing around the apartment was just great. I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did. I thought as it was my own show it would get stressful, but it was just so much fun."
Finding Joy airs Wednesdays at 10pm on W - BT TV channel 311/383 HD.
Catch up on the series on BT TV via the UKTV app.
Watch this if you liked…
Fleabag, Catastrophe, Flack, Women on the Verge, This Way Up.