I’ve been watching the next stage of London Hughes’s career take flight on Netflix over the Christmas period, and reflecting on what success looks like in the world of comedy.
London won the Funny Women Awards in 2009, the year after Katherine Ryan won in 2008. Both are now prominent on Netflix – Katherine’s series The Duchess has won her accolades, and now London has a film in development as well as her show, To Catch a Dick.
I’ve witnessed the extraordinary success of other winners and finalists like London and Katherine over the years including Jayde Adams, Desiree Burch, Sara Pascoe, Susan Calman, Sarah Millican, Rachel Parris, Gemma Whelan, Kerry Godliman and so many more who won or reached the final of the Funny Women Awards.
For some of these women, it’s taken a few years of ups, downs and hard graft to get where they are today and I would like to think that the Awards are a small and hopefully significant milestone on their comedy journey. It’s fantastic when this is acknowledged as it serves to inspire the next generation, especially during these challenging times.
That’s why when the first lockdown was announced back in March, we decided that it was so important to run the Funny Women Awards this year.
It’s more than a competition. I always describe the Awards as the ‘beating heart’ of our Funny Women community, providing a platform for women to showcase their comedic talents to the industry. With the cancellation of over 60 live events, it was going to be a tough but essential call.
Not everybody wants to compete and we work with many acts who have never entered the Awards. We’ve also seen some incredible talent taking part at the start of their comedy careers who didn’t go on to enter again. Maybe their experience with us and other competitions gave them the impetus to keep building their careers.
With all of this provenance in mind, I want to pay a huge tribute to Becky Singh, who mistress-minded taking the whole competition online, and to the Awards team who all worked tirelessly for little reward other than the huge satisfaction of making it happen this year.
Plus, thanks to everybody who took the trouble to enter, judge or watch one of our live streamed final events, generated with the help of our brilliant partners Sky Studios, NextUp, the Comedy Store and the Groucho Club. The online programmes for the shows are here:
Over 1,000 people were involved with the Awards this year from April through to early October and I would love any opportunity to talk more about how the team came together to run the competition and give everybody even more of the credit they deserve than I can here.
We all recognise the importance of the Awards as a way of generating and encouraging new female comedy talent and, no apology for the time worn cliché, it really is all about taking part – everybody who has done so is a winner in my eyes.
Happy New Year!
Details of how to enter the 2021 Funny Women Awards will be announced in March. For more information about past winners and finalists visit www.funnywomenawards.com.