Janice Connolly Talks Funny Things

Funny Women: You’re hosting our 2017 Funny Women Awards heat at the Funny Things festival in Wolverhampton, what are you looking forward to most about it?

Janice Connolly: I am a big fan of the Funny Women Awards, over the years the stars of the future – Sarah Millican, Zoe Lyons, Bridget Christie, to name just three – were given a leg up because of exposure through their involvement with the Awards. It’s important to provide a platform that spotlights female talent.

FW: We love your character Mrs. Barbara Nice, how did she come about? 

JC: I wanted to create a character that could fit into the comedy club scene as an older woman. I figured most people had a mother figure of some sort in their lives and Barbara was born. I also wanted to challenge the adversarial nature of stand up comedy that was prevalent at the time and offer the audience fun without fear of being harangued for being different in some way. Barbara loves the audience and the act is a celebration of people enjoying each other.

FW: Do you think there’s a sense of humour peculiar to the Midlands?

JC: I think there is a tradition of down beat humour. In practice I find midland audiences to be nobody’s fools. They are individualistic and honest and know a good thing when they see it.

FW: Have you got any advice for the women performing in this heat?

JC: It’s all about preparation before and commitment in the moment of performance. I would also say it’s good to remember that it’s our job to get people laughing and that though there are many ways to do this, it is really good to find a style that is authentic and your own.

FW: Who are your favourite funny women?

JC: My mum is very funny. Professional funny women who have inspired me include Victoria Wood, Caroline Aherne, Hilda Baker and Joyce Grenfell. Some current established female comedians that I particularly enjoy are Jen Brister, Zoe Lyons, Francesca Martinez, Susan Calman and Jo Caulfield.
Up-and-coming newcomers that I find very funny include Hannah Sylvester and Lindsay Santoro.
Of course there will loads more that I haven’t seen and that is what’s so great about the Funny Women Awards, it brings all that new talent and ambition together!
You can see Janice as Mrs Barbara Nice hosting the Funny Women Awards Heat on Wednesday 1st November at Wolverhampton Art Gallery at 8pm. For tickets and more information click here!