As 2020 draws to a close the universally agreed upon ‘hot take’ is that it has been somewhat tumultuous. No industry escaped this year unscathed and those in comedy had to find new ways to adapt in order to survive. After a year spent consuming comedy either online or in socially distanced outdoor spaces, the Funny Women team dust off their crystal balls and make their predictions for comedy in 2021…
Mariana Feijó, Funny Women Digital Creative Strategist and comedian: “My prediction, which I truly hope comes true, is that we take what we’ve learnt in 2020 to improve accessibility. We now know two things: we quickly adapt and come up with new ways to deliver our comedy, and we can do it using platforms that reach people who don’t have the possibility to attend shows in those rooms on the second floor of pubs, for a varied set of reasons. Let’s keep that in mind, even when we go back to the musty old rooms.”
Lynne Parker, Funny Women Founder and CEO: “Accessibility is a very positive outcome from the pandemic and opens us up to a bigger and wider community. Global domination is now in our sights! It’s been a joy to have meetings where our regional producers in Boston USA, Melbourne Australia, Amsterdam, Dublin, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, Exeter and London have all been together in one Zoom!
“I also predict a whole new paperless Edinburgh Fringe where the flyering teams thrust iPads in your face or send details to your mobile phones with barcodes. Plus the festival will go back to its affordable and original roots, and reclaim its charitable remit, to support and promote new and experimental talent.”
Becky Singh, Funny Women Awards Director and comedy producer: “In 2021 the UK comedy industry will continue to make the realisations that a stand up career can be more than the accepted progression of club – radio – TV. In the UK we’ve been kicked mercilessly into the digital era, where performers and producers have been forced to recognise multiple platforms as valid career options. We as an industry will be more like our early adopting American cousins and quickly learn to adapt and appreciate the various platforms as opportunities to hone certain skills and entertain different audiences, as opposed to simply poor alternatives to the live stage experience.”
Kathleen Price, Funny Women Community Engagement Officer and producer: “I think we all miss and will flock back to full live performance where we can, but I hope this has encouraged more ways for comedy to reach audiences and generate income. I’ve seen new acts being tested in more ways than usual, which perhaps makes a generation of talent even more prepared and flexible for a professional career. I also hope that the communities and engagement that has come around from online gigs stands the test of time.”
Kate Stone, Funny Women Editor, live comedy producer and writer: “I predict that there will be more of a taste for surreal or quirky comedy. Everyone is tired of Brexit and lockdown material already and will look to comedy for escape, not ‘homeschooling, AMIRIGHT?!’ or ‘…turns out I wasn’t muted!’ gags. I also imagine that, if they can, venues will be installing cameras and streaming equipment so shows can be seen whether or not the audience is physically present. And rocket boots.”
Share your predictions for comedy with us on Twitter, @funnywomen!