So many actors are lively-minded, creative people who just tread water in this awful way, waiting for the phone to ring and doing their hair for auditions. It feels like a bit of a dreamer's life - as opposed to a sensible ventriloquist's life.
The character of the monkey just grew from something out of his face and my granddad's personality. They fused, and that's what I ended up with! The monkey belonged to a friend of mine, and I saw that it had such a little beguiling face and it grew from there.
I think I've got it pretty easy compared with somebody who works at a desk nine to five. I'm just working for an hour in the evening. I get a bit breathless, as I have to talk non-stop because of the puppets.
Because I'm around comedians all the time, in my downtime I tend not to watch comedy. Something the whole family enjoys is 'You've Been Framed!' It satisfies all of us. It's universal, and we all laugh a lot.
Acting is seductive. It looks so much fun. I did dally with other things. I did pupillage in a law firm, but I didn't like the look of how many files the lawyer I was working with had to take home every night. It looked like a hideous amount of work, when actors were having nice lunches and discussing books.
I looked into studying psychoanalysis, wrote to the governing body and was about to start the year where they psychoanalyse you, four times a week, before you get to do it yourself. I just thought I'd taken the ventriloquism as far as I could. My act is so deconstructive, and I'd made all the monkey jokes anyone wanted to hear.
When I'm gigging, there's an uneasy shift when I pull a puppet out. People look at me aghast and I feel I have about 20 seconds to win them over. You even get the prejudice among other people in your own profession.
I will remember the night I won the New Comedy Awards, as I was young and unformed, so that sticks in the mind. I've also done a fantastic gig at the Royal Albert Hall, which was amazing. Appearing in the Christopher Guest film was also a real highlight, even if I was only in it for a couple of minutes.
I'm training to become a giggle doctor. It's a kind of hospital clown who changes the atmosphere on the ward and helps recovery. It's about making patients laugh but also much more.
My dad is a much more flamboyant character than I am. I think that's why I couldn't see myself going into straight acting. I always just felt daft.
I don't want to tie myself into one area or the other. I think its important not to rely heavily on either TV or stand-up, but to let them work off of each other.
I think acting is overrated. I'm not sure I enjoyed it. You never get to write your own roles. It's wonderful for some people, but I found it nerve-wracking. I was too busy worrying that no one would give me their words to speak.
I was really awful at auditions. There's something about sitting down and saying into the camera: 'I'm Nina and this is the name of my agent.' That makes me just die inside.
I had a terrible dream when I was pregnant; I dreamt the baby had a ventriloquial mouth, but there was no hand hole; I had to flick the mouth down to get words out.
If I'm on my own, I'll speak to 'Monkey' to generate new stuff for the act. I mean, I don't do it for moral support, although I wouldn't say that's out of the question. In fact, I could do it, I might do it... yes, I think I should actually start doing it more.
The most satisfaction I get is from doing a good gig, which really makes you feel in control. If you've worked a room really well, it makes you feel great. TV is a bit more difficult; there are more factors that can screw it up along the way.
I do laugh when I hear myself saying, 'I am a ventriloquist.' I am definitely suited to it, though. I took it and ran with it quite hungrily. It is not for everyone, but it is just the chance to write for a character.