Evelyn Mok: 'In my private life I'm very prudish but on stage I'm very, very crude'
- Jay Richardson
- 22 January 2018
For Evelyn Mok, performing a debut show about being a virgin into her mid-20s shifted between cathartic and traumatic. Her heavily-anticipated follow-up will be informed by #MeToo
Many comedians dream of being approached by appreciative virgins after a show. However, Evelyn Mok has found the reaction to her candid debut hour (in which she recounts not popping her own cherry until she was 25) occasionally unsettling but, ultimately, empowering and cathartic. 'Excuse the cliché, but performing Hymen Manoeuvre was like owning my story again,' explains the Chinese-Swedish stand-up. 'I wanted to tell everybody my secret so that nobody could hurt me with it again, making fun of myself first so others couldn't. It was definitely a way of taking power back and it turned out to be more therapeutic than I expected.'
On good nights at last year's Edinburgh Fringe it was a comedy show in which she showed the audience that she'd moved on. 'But on the bad, it was much more of a therapy session,' she elaborates. 'I only saw it as being honest while others saw it as revealing. And when I realised that people saw it as revealing, that's when I started to feel vulnerable about it.'
Mature virginity has become a taboo and niche fetish in our increasingly pornified culture. 'I'm Swedish but then I'm also Chinese, I have an American accent and I'm also plus size,' states Mok. 'So, I'm already set up to play the outsider card.' Experiencing a steady rise in profile since she moved to London in 2012, she enjoys playing with the tension her honesty provokes. 'Though some nights it definitely got away from me and it became more uncomfortable than I intended. In my private life I'm very prudish. But on stage, for some reason, I'm very, very crude; I find it so much fun. It's a weird outlet but then tension-release is what comedy is all about.'