We were at the Komedia in Brighton on Saturday for our penultimate Regional Final, with the brilliant Julie Jepson. Cat Neilson was the first in a line up dominated by mothers, as runner-up lowkey parent Katherine Atkinson noted. Sal Drummond cracked jokes about people’s response to her pregnancy and autism. Cat-calling got turned on its head by the hilarious Simone Belshaw while Susie Steed worried she wasn’t being very politically active. Adele Cliff impressed us with her witty writing and Louise Leigh added to the mum count – talking about being an older mother. Runner-up Maisie Adam had us in fits of laughter and Jen Ives cracked us up with her vocal feminisation exercises. Melanie Drew’s friend Wendy had a time of it experimenting with PVC and Cressida Wetton explained how to make typing sexy. But it was Amy Mason who won us over and is our latest finalist.
Funny Women: How does it feel to be through to the Funny Women Awards final?
Amy Mason: I am absolutely delighted and totally gobsmacked. I properly cried when they announced my name and made a teary motivational speech like I was Oprah or something, telling everyone they could achieve their dreams – I had necked three glasses of wine after my set. I used the Funny Women Awards as something to aim for when I started comedy. The other acts were incredible so I’m totally honoured to go through.
FW: How did you get started in comedy?
AM: My ultimate dream has always been to be a stand-up, but it’s taken me a while to get here! I was already a writer and theatre-maker. I wrote a novel called The Other Ida and made two autobiographical spoken word shows with Bristol Old Vic. The last one, Mass, was me leading my own version of a Catholic Mass complete with Strongbow instead of communion wine, and as it progressed more and more jokes crept in, but still I didn’t feel brave enough to make the move into stand-up. After I had my daughter I got really depressed but read Viv Groskop’s inspirational book I Laughed, I Cried and saw how she managed to make a career in comedy with young children. I started going to open mic nights and found it was perfect for me and also ideal if you’ve got young kids and your partner works in the day – you can go out when they get home so you don’t need childcare. The open mic scene is incredibly supportive and I’d really encourage other women – and depressed people – to give it a go.
FW: Who is your comedy inspiration?
AM: I have always loved Jo Brand and find the way she has combined a career as a stand-up, actor and writer really inspirational. Carrie Fisher was also completely brilliant and I admire how she wrote so frankly about mental illness.
FW: Who are your favourite funny women?
AM: Julia Davis, Desiree Burch, Sophie Hagen, Bridget Christie, Amy Poehler, Daisy May Cooper from This Country, French and Saunders (obvs), Sindhu Vee, Abi and Ilana from Broad City, Sara Pascoe.
The 2017 Funny Women Awards Charity Final is at the Duchess Theatre with our host Jan Ravens on 12th March. For tickets click here!