Comedian Ola Labib has been popping up everywhere lately, you might have heard her on BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz, or The Lateish Show With Mo Gilligan or, of course, at the 2021 Funny Women Awards Grand Final, where she placed runner-up! We caught up with Ola to talk about the final, starting out in comedy and why representation matters…
Funny Women: How did it feel to perform at the Funny Women Awards final?
Ola Labib: It was exciting! I felt so proud that I am representing my community and have been given a platform to show other women, particularly minorities, that you can reach your goals. It takes dedication and hard work, but it can be done.
FW: How did you get started in comedy?
OL: I am a clinical pharmacist, and have been working in hospitals for over seven years. And as much as my job is rewarding, I knew that it was not my passion. I love making people laugh, whether it’s my friends, family, colleagues or patients. It’s something I have always enjoyed and I’ve been told I am good at. So I took that risk and went to my first open mic night run by a lovely man called Jason at Comedy Balloon. Everything went up from there.
FW: What inspires your comedy material?
OL: What inspires my comedy is my life experiences. Particularly the racism and prejudice I experienced growing up which are the same experiences I face today. I want to show and educate people about the struggle we go through, but I do it through comedy. Coming from an immigrant background, there is so much to talk about, and I’ve never felt listened to. But I have found through comedy, you are not only making them laugh, but you are teaching them things along the way.
FW: What would you say to anyone considering entering the Awards next year?
OL: I would tell them to do it. I never ever imagined that I would be here doing this today. But unless I tried, I would have never know. So do it. Whoever is reading this now, might be the next Funny Women Awards winner.
FW: And lastly, who are your favourite funny women?
OL: Aisling Bea. Because not only is she funny, she is one of the kindest, supportive, and humble female comedians I have ever met.
Photo credit: Steve Ullathorne