It couldn’t have happened to a nicer or more deserving person, an award that is, for being a great compere. This was the honour bestowed upon Susan Calman in the recent Chortle Awards.
As one of only two women out of 54 acts nominated in the awards run by the comedy website Chortle, which honours the great, good, and significantly successful acts working the comedy circuit around the UK, Susan took the crown for ‘best compere’.
Comedy compering is a real art as you have to keep up a witty repartee with your audience throughout the the show – lifting the atmosphere after it flags when somebody ‘dies’ a little on stage, and preparing the ground for the next act when the previous one has lifted the roof. It is truly skilful to hold an audience in your thrall throughout a show, without upstaging your fellow acts, particularly the headliner!
As a general observation, quite a few great female comperes have come through the Funny Women Awards, (Susan was a finalist in 2006) and, as the world’s greatest ‘housekeepers’, quite a few women go on to host or organise their own nights.
Take Zoe Lyons who runs 'Bent Double' at Komedia in Brighton. As our Awards winner in 2004, she has compered for us many times, including two finals. Other winners who host brilliantly are Andi Osho (2007) and Suzy Bennett (2006) both of whom have hosted the Funny Women Awards final for us, Andi in 20010 and Suzy last year. Katherine Ryan (2008) is both hosting and booking for our next London Nights show on Friday 30th March.
Our current title holder, Lara A King, is about to launch ‘Sunday Sundae’, her own entertainment show on Sunday afternoons, and Funny Women favourite, Mae Martin, hosts a regular night called 'Candy Bar' in Soho. Just take a look around and it seems that sisters really do it for themselves when it comes to comedy!
So – congrats to Susan. Keep supporting live comedy and remember that the compere is often the glue that keeps the audience army on its feet when all around are dying! Metaphorically that is!