The first comedy film I made was twenty years ago at university. I went through the course feeling completely equal to my male counterparts. Then I overheard a comment from a local videographer, who was working with some male friends of mine. My sister and I had decided not to work on a project. His response to this was “It doesn’t matter, they didn’t look like good time girls anyway”.
GOOD TIME GIRLS?!
There I was, believing I could be taken seriously as a comedy film maker, but because I wasn’t sexy enough for him, I wasn’t needed in the project. I went straight out and wrote the synopsis for my film 'Sluts On Heat.' The opening title reads “…from the Good Time Girls”. In this film my best friend and comedy partner Gabs Malcolm and I discuss our tits, sarcastically wishing they were bigger/smaller. Much of the dialogue was improvised.
We have continued to make comedy films – which are all scriptless and filmed without a storyboard. Improvisation is a wonderful, thrilling method of coming up with dialogue and storylines. It relies completely on being funny women. Nobody has given you a script- you just have to be funny, live on camera.
We’ve noticed an interesting thing though; when we improvise in character, the women we play frequently demonstrate all our own worst personal traits and expose our inner psyches – the nasty bits we usually try and hide!
If you can imagine taking all the worse traits you possess: such as a propensity for addiction, poor impulse control, the capacity to turn a blind eye to insulting and difficult men, the abysmal selection of friends, business and sexual partners, etc. and distill this entire spectrum into an exhibition on screen – THEN you will have an idea about what it means to work in comedy improvisation for Thon Colin Films. It has meant years of generating and reproducing the most despicable aspects of our alter egos. Interestingly, the male improvisers in our films tend to do the opposite; their characters admit to few, if any failings, and instead seek to utilize a more glamorous alter ego – someone whom they aspire to be, rather than someone that they can’t admit to being. They want to be James Bond not Jimmy Savile!
Being funny women means being able to laugh at the horrid, revolting, unattractive nuances we all naturally possess, and use them to enhance a character.
20 years later I am still regularly encountering difficulties being accepted as a female film maker. I work closely with fellow improviser Mr. Sam Flastic Hughes; we are often on screen together as the South’s premiere ‘funtion band –Boogaloo’. When the public approach us with questions, they naturally assume that Sam is the film maker. He’s a man, he must be in charge. Because my name is Lemon, many people assume that he is Lemon. Even people who know me assume that he has done the camera and editing on the film. I’ve had to add ‘Lady’ as a prefix to my name. It’s sad that so little appears to have changed in over twenty years. Funnywomen.com is a blessing!
As to whether women can be funny? We’ve just screened the latest film ‘Boogaloo’ to a theatre full of guffawing men. So I guess we know the answer to that!
Lemon Otter (who is a lady with tits and makes films)
See more of Lemon Otter and Gabs Malcolm's (also a lady, the funniest person I know, really big tits) work HERE!
Pictured: Lemon Otter and Gabs Malcolm in character