When Mumsnet met Sharon and Rob


To celebrate the third series of Catastrophe we've put together the highlights from our webchat with Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney when they joined us for a chat at the end of series two.

How did you meet and what are the mechanics of working together?

Rob: We met on Twitter and just liked each other’s thing/vibe/filth level. Generally, we try to be in the same room and just talk it out. We want to make the other person laugh so we're always talking, talking, then writing, reading out loud and refining.

Is it more fun writing or acting together?

Rob: They're both super fun, writing and acting. If I had to pick one, I'd pick writing by the TINIEST margin. I kind of feel like a lot of people can act but only we could write this exact sort of silliness.

Was it a deliberate choice to make Rob and Sharon quite unsympathetic as characters?

Sharon: Yeah defo, They are flawed like all of us. Or most of us. We wanted realistic reactions to real problems not TV reactions to sitcom problems. Also, we all love a bit of arsehole.

Catastrophe cast with Carrie Fisher

What was it like working with Carrie Fisher? Did you ask her about Star Wars?

Rob: Haaa! SHARON asked her about Star Wars. I played it cool even though I'm not cool at all. I think I was too in awe and just had to hide from her. But in series two we talked a lot more and she's a very, very sweet woman who has quite literally SEEN IT ALL.

Do you intentionally have a prescribed serious stuff/funny stuff/filth ratio? Or does it just turn out that way?

Rob: I think our only golden rule is that every episode better be fucking funny. It can have serious stuff too, if appropriate, but shame on us if you're not laughing throughout every episode, even if you have to pause to cry or gently wank under a blanket when Mark Bonnar is onscreen.

How hard it is for Rob and the other bloke to film those wanking scenes. They're so er, graphic…

Rob: Honestly yes, my wanking scene was embarrassing to shoot. There's a crew there and I'm trying to make it seem like I'm genuinely wanking, so no getting around it, it's embarrassing. I don't know if Daniel Lapaine was embarrassed “masturbating” in front of the crew because he would often do it even when we weren't filming, at lunch, etc.

Sharon mentioned that Rob had a two-and-a-half inch penis. That was a joke, right?

Rob: My penis is proportional to my body I think? Like it's not remarkably large. Nobody ever was like “No, ow! Get it out!!” or anything. So I haven't measured it since I was like 12 or 13 but I know it's bigger than 2 1/2 inches at least.

How the hell do they afford that house?

Sharon: We worked out that Rob left his job in Boston, got a severance package AND owned a portion of the business. So he had some money. And with selling Sharon’s Hackney flat they would have been able to afford a bigger house in a less trendy area. But also Rob sold his soul and works at a pharmaceutical company that he hates. The time jump made us think that their situation should have changed. They have more money but similar problems/issues.

Which of you is better looking?

Sharon: So obviously Rob "Desperate Dan' Delaney.

Rob Delaney in Catastrophe

Best and worst bits of working with each other please!

Sharon: Best bits are the laughs. Worst bit is the smell.

Are either of you Mumsnetters?

Sharon: I’m a Mumsnet virgin.

In the first episode of series one Rob says “A terrible thing has happened. Let's make the best of it.” That kind of sums up Catastrophe, doesn't it?

Rob: I think in many ways it does. That's life, right? It might not be THAT bleak but it's a way I personally feel often.

Rob and Sharon from Catastrophe

Catastrophe series three is on Channel 4 at 10pm, Tuesday, 28 February 2017