Performing at the Funny Women Awards Grand Final is no easy feat, and it’s even harder if you have to open the show. But someone’s got to do it and, due to the cruelty of what is known as ‘alphabetical order,’ Abby Wambaugh was the first finalist on, setting the bar high for their fellow finalists! We spoke to Abby about getting started in comedy, a need for adult attention and dressing room etiquette…
Funny Women: How did it feel to perform at the Funny Women Awards final?
Abby Wambaugh: Oh my gosh. I felt so lucky. The best part was being in the dressing room with the other finalists. I don’t think it’s ever happened to me before that I was in a room with nine strangers and I could tell I wanted to be friends with every single one of them. I was the only parent, so I got to give people bandaids and tweezers, and the people who knew about make-up told me I was doing it right. We were all nervous about the same thing which was really cute. There were mirrors everywhere and it felt like we were in the first episode of one of those extremely rare, friendly, and uplifting reality tv shows.
FW: How did you get started in comedy?
AW: Jokes have always been central to me- I did improv and acting stuff when I was teenager and then got my bachelors degree in Humour and Social Change. But last year, courtesy of Pandemic Times, I was at home all year with my kids climbing all over me, and I finally started stand-up when my need for adult attention won out against my fear of embarrassment.
FW: What inspires your comedy material?
AW: Gender identity! Loss! My kids! My mom! Snowpiercer! Latin and Greek Prefixes! Hummus!
FW: What would you say to anyone considering entering the Awards next year?
AW: I have been telling everyone I know to enter. Some of them are like “Give it a rest, Abby, I’m really satisfied with my career as an accountant.” But if you want to do comedy, let this help you! If nothing else, you get a deadline, and you make something for it, and that’s huge. But wow, I did not expect the kind of support and opportunities I have gotten through this process from the Funny Women team and the folks they introduced me to. Funny Women is an incredible organization and resource. DO IT DO IT!
FW: And lastly, who are your favourite funny women?
AW: Sam Jay, Christi Chiello, Maria Bamford, Patti Harrison, Roz Chast, Natalie Palamides, and my mom.
Photo credit: Steve Ullathorne