As Covid restrictions relax next week I expect our anxiety levels to rise. I’m not that happy about relying on the common sense of other people so I will still be exercising a certain level of caution in crowded places and on public transport.
Comedy is a good conduit for hidden emotions and this has been reflected in the hundreds of submissions we’ve received for this year’s Funny Women Awards. Content is coloured by the state of the world and, as to be expected, recurring themes are mental health, anxiety and what it’s like to be in constant close proximity to our nearest, and (not always) dearest.
Comedy is an amplification of real life, from mundanity to profundity, everything is laid bare, sometimes flying a bit too close to taboos for comfort and touching on tragedy. It takes no prisoners and laughs are mined out of the shocking, surprising or ludicrousness of everyday human experience.
Anxiety creeps up on us, lurking invisibly underneath the confident performance. Unsurprising, since we’re fed a constant diet of bad news and government edicts that confuse the best of us. I have had to remind my poor elderly mum, off the anxiety scale as she recovers from a minor stroke, that she’s lived through far more terrifying times. As a young girl she slept in underground tube stations while the London blitz raged overhead night after night. Imagine coping with the extremes of warfare now?
That said, I am still anxious. Very. There’s a big unruly world out there and as live show producers, we are taking responsibility for your safety as well as maintaining a programme to entertain and sustain your comedy appetites. So, we’re adopting a hybrid approach right now to build your confidence, and ours, slowly.
This Thursday evening 15th July, we’re preparing you for going back to the workplace with HERlarious Back to Reality. We’ll be safe in the virtual space networking, exploring, examining and discussing what reality will look and feel like with some of my favourite women from across the Funny Women Community.
Then, this coming Saturday 17th July, I’m running my first in-person Stand Up to Stand Out Comedy Workshop in 18 months at one of my favourite ‘workplaces’ the Groucho Club in London’s Soho! It’s pretty much sold out and I can’t wait to meet some of you face to face (but not too close…) and get my own ‘comedy chops’ back into working order.
Next week on Tuesday 20th July we have our first new look community event here in downtown Rochester, Medway. Comedy Workout in real life will take place at Store 104 a fantastic book and craft emporium. This will feature some improv games, networking and exercises to get you match fit and we’ve lured Ivy Paige away from her podcast boudoir Behind the Scenes to give you some extra special advice on body confidence and physicality, just in case we’ve all forgotten how to move from the waist down!
And, in line with the long-awaited revival of live comedy, our longest standing gig Brighton Nights, returns to Komedia on Thursday 22nd July with an incredible award-winning lineup of Funny Women faves. Plus we’ll be returning to our monthly Saturday night slot in the Komedia studio soon.
Meanwhile, back at Funny Women Awards HQ, we’ve been busy deciding which 100 plus new acts to present to you in the 2021 Stage Award heats over the next two weeks. We are staying online and on Twitch for this stage of the competition for maximum accessibility. One of the big advantages of our virtual strategy born out of lockdown is that there are no barriers to watching great new comedy wherever you are in the world and despite the restrictions of time zones or family life. Put the kids to bed and watch us at a time to suit you.
Still feeling anxious? Hopefully, we’re covering all bases whatever your circumstances so please help us get this comedy express train well and truly back on track.
All our events are listed here. Please book ahead to avoid disappointment as some social distancing at live events will remain in place.