Features

Celebrating Funny Women Alumni: the Immaculate Catherine Bohart

The bisexual OCD daughter of an Irish Catholic Deacon, since reaching the 2016 Funny Women Awards final Catherine Bohart has featured in the BBC’s New Talent Hotlist, written for The News Quiz and Frankie Boyle’s New World Order and supported Ellie Taylor on tour. Three years on, Awards Alumni Coordinator Gemma Higgins talks to Bohart about her Edinburgh Festival-acclaimed debut show Immaculate, the dream of performing at Soho Theatre, believing in your own idiot and falling in love with Funny Women!

Photo credit: Matt Crockett

Gemma Higgins: Congratulations on your debut solo show! You’ve just kicked off a
run at Soho Theatre – how does that feel?

Catherine Bohart: Thank you! I have, it’s amazing. Soho Theatre is where I’ve seen so many of my comedy heroes and playing there is a genuine dream come true.

GH: Immaculate received glowing reviews at Edinburgh, and addresses your struggles with OCD, sexual identity and religious upbringing. Do you hope it will help to open up a dialogue around mental health and the stigma that surrounds it?

CB: I don’t know if it will open up a dialogue, I feel like those conversations are already happening but I do like to think it adds to
them and might have made some people think about things they hadn’t considered before. Mainly though, I just hope it provides a space where people can belly laugh at what are usually very serious, heavy going topics.

GH: What is it like to perform such a personal show? Did you find writing it cathartic?

CB: It’s fun and it’s hard and it’s tiring, but yes, I did find it cathartic. I also think it was the only kind of show I knew how to do.

 GH: You’ve been described as having “an easy grace and willingness to engage with the audience that belies [your] newcomer status”. You were clearly born for this. When did you realise you were funny?

CB: I’m really happy to have a job that I love. I’m really lucky. Depending on what day you ask I still don’t always think I’m funny but I guess the start of it was on Logan Murray’s stand up course, he really made me believe in my own idiot.

GH: Who was your mentor for the 2016 Funny Women Awards and did they influence your comedy? How do you feel it has evolved or changed since then?

CB: My mentor was Shazia Mirza who was great and definitely made me think about how long I do or don’t want to leave a gap without a punchline, she made me realise that could be a choice rather than something that happened to me. I think I’m much less deadpan and more natural on stage now. Plus, I had about five minutes of material when I did the awards so I’ve got a lot more room to play now.

GH: Am I right that you actually met Sarah [Keyworth] at the Awards? Are you still in touch with any of the other Funny Women?

CB: I did. I am! I’m in love with Sindhu Vee, Chloe Petts, Helen Bauer, Heidi Regan, Micky Overman and Sophie Duker.

GH: What would you say to anyone out there thinking about entering the Funny Women Awards?

CB: Do it! You have nothing to lose! Go and get a gig and some friends and some advice out of it. That’s literally the worst that could happen and that’s a pretty good outcome.

GH: Who are your favourite funny women right now?

CB: Sara Pascoe, Aisling Bea, Sarah Millican, Michelle Wolf, Samantha Bee, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Katherine Ryan, Mindy Kaling, Maisie Adam, Fortune Feimster, Josie Long, Ellie Taylor, Angela Barnes, Sara Barron, Olga Koch, Kerry Godliman, Zoe Lyons, Roisin Conaty, Jayde Adams, Lou Sanders, Elf Lyons, Bridget Christie, Melissa McCarthy, Desiree Burch, OLIVIA COLMAN. I could go on. There’s quite a lot of them…who knew?

Catherine Bohart: Immaculate runs until 21st March at Soho Theatre. For tickets and more information click here!