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  • So hi, my name is Katerina Vrana,

  • I am Greek, I live in the UK, I live in London,

  • I am stand-up comedian.

  • As far as the power to create goes, I am stand-up comedian.

  • I've got two brothers, one is 30 the other is 14;

  • the 30 years old is a drummer and a photographer.

  • In fact, he is the drummer of the band that's going to be closing

  • TEDThessaloniki this year, TEDx.

  • So our Greek parents are very proud of our professional choices.

  • Like, "Will you ever make money?" "No."

  • The 14-year-old wants to be a lawyer.

  • He is hoping!

  • So yeah...

  • Oh, and my hair, my hair.

  • My hair is like this because this is how it is, OK?

  • No discussion about it.

  • In Greece, this doesn't stand out that much.

  • It's big, but it's not that extraordinary.

  • In the UK, it's become a sightseeing thing.

  • (Laughter)

  • People stop me in the street, people touch it without asking me.

  • (Laughter)

  • And then, there's teachers that bring little children out

  • of the classrooms and go, "Look, look at the lady who looks like a tree!"

  • Is very annoying.

  • I've been in the UK now for 10 years;

  • oh, and also, I am 100% Greek.

  • I was born here, I was raised here, both my parents are Greek,

  • my whole family lives here.

  • I have no idea why I speak English like this.

  • Absolutely none! It's a fluke.

  • The rest of my family doesn't speak English like this,

  • they speak like proper Greek people.

  • (Laughter)

  • So I asked my mum, I said,

  • "How come when I speak English I sound awesome?

  • And the rest of the family sounds like bloody foreigners."

  • And my mum went,

  • "Ah, darling, when you were born, you were so very, very ugly!"

  • (Laughter)

  • Don't clap that!

  • You bastards!

  • And she went,

  • Your father and I thought, "This one will need personality, and language helps.

  • I wanted French and maybe piano, your father wanted English."

  • "Yes Katerina, I wanted English," - that is my father -

  • "I will tell you why: because British royalty marries very ugly women.

  • Go!"

  • (Laughter)

  • No! No. William is already married, and Harry has very red hair.

  • And I haven't got anything against red hair, right?

  • It's because I would totally have the sex with Harry.

  • I am telling you this now.

  • I just, I wouldn't do it in the sun, I'd do it in the shade.

  • Do you know what I mean?

  • (Laughter)

  • If you have sex with Harry in the sun, he'll explode, "Aaa!"

  • It's not a good idea!

  • So, having lived in London--

  • The thing is that I've been living in London as I said, for about a decade,

  • and what's happened is, over there I feel definitely Greek,

  • but what happens is when I come back home

  • there's been a bit of a shift in my identity, and suddenly,

  • I find myself saying things like,

  • "Why can't the Greeks form orderly queues? God damn it!"

  • I am trying to balance out the things to not feel foreign in two countries.

  • One of the things I've really come to find endearing about the British,

  • for example, is how they get angry.

  • They don't!

  • When a British person gets angry, they write you a strongly-worded letter,

  • "Dear Sir..., regret to inform..., ... most upset!"

  • (Laughter)

  • An English friend of mine was in a train.

  • The train got stuck, they stopped in the middle of nowhere between two stations,

  • and they left them there for an hour and a half;

  • they didn't explain why, they just kept apologizing.

  • My friend's telling me this story said, "Katerina, I was so angry, I was livid.

  • I was so livid, I was tempted to complain!"

  • (Laughter)

  • I was like, "What?!"

  • (Applause)

  • I said, "In Greece,

  • there is no strongly-worded letter, there wouldn't have been a train."

  • You keep the Greeks five minutes longer than they need to be anywhere,

  • you know, like in the boat at the time of "disembarkation"

  • (Laughter)

  • you keep the Greeks inside that boat,

  • and it's like, "What? What you keep us here like animals, like animals?

  • You call this an European country? This is not Europe, I don't understand!"

  • (Laughter) (Applause)

  • Wait, there is so much more!

  • And then someone always goes,

  • "Where is the manager? I want to speak to the manager!"

  • "Please sir, please sit down, you are becoming hysterical!"

  • "Who are you to tell me what to do? Who are you?"

  • "Screw you!" "I screw your mother!"

  • Wow!

  • It takes five seconds to escalate that level.

  • And also, as far as that goes,

  • the "Screw your mother!" It makes no sense!

  • Like, "I screw your mother!" "No, really?"

  • (Laughter)

  • What a coincidence!

  • Of all the boats in all of Attiki, you walk into mine!

  • The son of whose mother you are screwing, and it is...

  • Hello, Yannis, the son.

  • The lady who you're having carnal relations with.

  • What a-- A pleasure to meet you!

  • This kind of-- also, right?

  • No one you ever want to say it to you ever does, right?

  • Because if Bill Gates comes up to me and goes, "I screw your mother."

  • I'll be like, "Daddy...! You're home!"

  • "And will all be going to Cannes, on my jet."

  • So I wish the Greeks would temper their rage

  • that immediate "Mmm!" that happens.

  • I don't expect them to become like the English, no,

  • "Dear Sir..., I regret to inform..., I screwed your mother."

  • just a little bit more of a thing...

  • Also, the other thing I've really come to enjoy about the UK,

  • and I know this is weird for a Greek person, is the weather.

  • I know, I know, I know, I know!

  • Oh, one person going, "Yes! You tell them! It rains!"

  • The thing is I keep trying to explain to the British

  • that everywhere else in the world,

  • clouds are functional rather than an aesthetic choice.

  • (Laughter)

  • In the UK, the clouds arriving, just go, "Hi, we are here.

  • We're going to just sit here, maybe a bit lower, do nothing, hi."

  • In other countries, when the clouds arrive,

  • it's going to rain and the heaven is open, water pours down,

  • water so thick you cannot see through it.

  • So it's like, "Where is my Tzatziki?" "Behind the rain? Who knows?"

  • That lasts for two hours, then stops, the sun comes out, and we forget about it.

  • In the UK, the same amount of water, takes 24 hours to come down.

  • Because in the UK, rain is that really soft mist,

  • it's like a cat spraying your tent to show it's its territory,

  • you know what I mean?

  • It's a very gentle thing. It's a tipi-tap, it's called drizzle,

  • and that's what I've come to love

  • because drizzle is rain being quintessentially British, right?

  • (Laughter)

  • It's rain going, "I'm terribly sorry, I'm coming down,

  • I don't need to be in the way, I'm just going to came around you,

  • I won't get anyone wet, I promise, just pretend I am not here.

  • Shh, no, no! Everyone's gonna know I am here! You are not-- Missing the point...

  • I don't-- Did I get you wet?

  • How clumsy of me! I do apologize. I didn't mean to do that,

  • I'm just going to come over here, I'll be gone in 5 minutes. I promise!

  • I am so sorry, I do apologize. 24 hours, and I am still here,

  • It's getting awkward now, isn't it? I don't mean to be doing this.

  • I'm going to be go. Really.. I'm so sorry. Really, don't-- I am just going--

  • I am the Hugh Grant of moisture."

  • (Laughter)

  • And my hair absorbs moisture! So whenever it drizzles my hair goes pfff!

  • And a mile radius around me stays completely dry.

  • And I look like I've all of the Jackson 4 on my head.

  • Because he is dead!

  • The thing is that I am in the UK;

  • well, I went in the UK to act.

  • And that's when I discovered that I am not Greek enough

  • because I used to be sent up for auditions for Greek and Mediterranean parts,

  • only to be told that I don't look Greek enough.

  • I'll translate that for you;

  • it means that I don't have a mono-brow and a mustache,

  • because Irini Papa has cast a very long shadow.

  • I usually got feedback,

  • "We are looking for someone who looks like Salma Hayek."

  • She is Mexican!

  • So I went up for casting for the movie "Troy";

  • Do we remember? The movie "Troy"?

  • So I went up for one of the small parts,

  • one of the slave girls that had only one line.

  • And my line was, "More chicken, my Lord?"

  • (Laughter)

  • And I did that really well,

  • so I ended up in the final five,

  • and they line us up, and the casting director comes in,

  • and goes, "Oh, no, no, no, no. You're too fair to be Greek!"

  • I said, "Who? What now...?"

  • "You're too fair to be Greek!"

  • I was like, "I am too fair to be Greek? I am the only Greek in the room!"

  • (Laughter)

  • I am too fair to be Greek in a movie where the Greek warrior Achilles,

  • is played by Brad freaking Pitt!

  • (Laughter)

  • I'm too fair to be Greek?!

  • I didn't get the part.

  • An Albanian girl got it.

  • Go over there, take our jobs.

  • (Laughter)

  • Where is Kaplani?

  • But even, I mean, acting and comedy are just steps

  • for my final twelve-step-plan for global domination!

  • I'll find the pose, it'll be better than this, I promise!

  • Because you know, I think I'm Greek, we did it before I can do it again.

  • Bring it on!

  • I think the world will be lovely place if everyone listens to me.

  • It's going to be a little bit like Hitler,

  • with less genocide, more hair, and really good shoes!

  • So more like Dubai.

  • I am going to wear a crown and a robe, tell people what to do and they'll do it,

  • it's going to be lovely!

  • I've recently realized

  • I'll probably end up looking like a kindergarten teacher

  • trying to manage an unruly classroom,

  • so I'll turn up in a crown and a robe looking a bit stupid,

  • making grandiose announcements like, "Hello! I am Katerina Vrana, hello!

  • I am going to be your global dominator for the foreseeable future!"

  • Please lay all gifts by my-- What is it, Thailand?

  • Yes, Thailand, you may massage my feet. You are very good.

  • Israel, Palestine, be quiet! They don't shut up.

  • Somalia darling, why are you dressed up as a pirate?

  • No, that's slightly inappropriate. What...? Well done, America.

  • Everyone, America has done a drawing.

  • Yes, dear. No, we can all see, yes! The black man is in the white house!

  • And he's still alive. Hasn't America done well, everyone?

  • OK, now darling stop drawing and and look to your sums,

  • because the numbers are all wrong.

  • England! Stop copying from America!

  • You're old enough to know better.

  • Greece, you're making me look really bad!

  • I don't know-- Palestine, I don't care who started it.

  • Israel, give Palestine her Gaza back, now!

  • The two of you, learn to share!

  • Iran, put the stone down!

  • (Laughter)

  • No my love, that's not democracy, no dear...

  • I know, I am Greek, I gave it to you!

  • (Laughter)

  • Bloody Persians. And what's that in your mouth?

  • Spit it out, spit...

  • Who gave uranium to Iran?

  • (Laughter)

  • You know they don't know what to do with it.

  • I just... I don't...

  • (Applause)

  • OK, Italy! Italy, tell your dad

  • to stop playing with the little girls in the class.

  • What's that? Cyprus, I don't understand what are you saying.

  • Say it again.

  • Slower...

  • Twelve points to Greece! That's really going to help her.

  • (Applause)

  • Don't clap this.

  • Israel, just because your book says so does not make it right.

  • OK. Palestine