While live comedy was sadly not able to come back with quite the bang we had hoped for, there was plenty of fantastic comedy available on TV, radio and, for part of the year, on stage! The Funny Women team shared their comedy highlights of 2021 to wrap this year up…
As you would expect me to say, the main live event of this year was the 2021 Funny Women Awards and it was amazing to be in a major London venue with a full house and a stage full of wonderful new comedy talent. I am so grateful to our team and everybody involved with the production. Plus the incredible hosting skills of Jayde Adams, who really held the whole show together and demonstrated why she is becoming such a big star. My advice would be to watch Jayde in anything she has coming up on a stage or a small screen! The good news is that if you missed our Awards final live and in person, it’s all been beautifully captured by our streaming partner, NextUp Comedy, and still available to view here. Look out for our plans for next year’s Gala event when we’ll be celebrating 20 years of Funny Women! Lynne Parker, Founder and Chief Executive
It’s an odd year to pick faves, as there was so little live entertainment, and everything I did have a chance to see actually felt amazing, maybe regardless of how good it was. As a personal highlight, being part of the Princess project with Duckie was wonderful! Seeing a huge immersive production come to life and mean so much for the community really brought that joy back.
A special shout-out goes to Victoria Olsina, who kept multiple live shows going through it all. Jenan Younis’ Jenanistan deserves another shout-out! As someone who’s been following her work for a while, seeing a consistent hour, with important messages and plenty of laughter, was truly great!
I was one of the lucky ones who bought early tickets for Patti Harrison at Soho Theatre, and got to see a really good show, that also came to affirm so much of what I’ve been thinking about my own work. There’s so much talk about what is the ‘right way’ to do comedy, or how a stand-up show or a one-woman show should look like, and Patti’s show is so many things, pulling on a variety of her talents and skills, that in addition to being funny, it was also comforting to think I’m not just a silly person with dumb ideas… maybe I am, but at least they are in a generally logical area.
I was also very happy to be in the audience for The Gold Rush at The Glory, and see what drag can bring into the comedy landscape, with this year’s winner, Brent Would aka Francesca Renée, being a strong showcase. I cannot ‘not’ mention How To with John Wilson, which I’m not even sure is available in the U.K., but was the best thing I’ve seen in maybe years, and haven’t stopped recommending! I don’t think I can even explain why, as nothing I can say can prepare you for it. Just find a way to watch it! Mariana Feijó, Digital Creative Stategist
For me, it has to be Alma’s Not Normal, written by Sophie Willan and featuring 2014 Funny Women Awards winner Jayde Adams. It’s a bittersweet semi-autobiographical comedy. Some of the scenes flashed back to her childhood which gave a deeper understanding of the character. Alma’s enthusiasm for life and constant glass half full attitude is refreshing. It was definitely my top programme for 2021. Kristin Miller, Executive Support
This year it was great to get back to booking live comedy shows, every Funny Women Brighton Nights at Komedia, Brighton felt like a real triumph. I was so impressed at how ready all the people booked for our regular showcase were for their return to the stage after such a long hiatus. TV-wise my pick has to be Channel 4’s We Are Lady Parts, a hilarious show with a brilliant cast, if you like rock and comedy then it’s definitely for you. Kate Stone, Editor
My comedy show of the year has been Dickinson on Apple TV+. It’s an amazing show that pushes the constraints of gender and sexuality in a 19th-century environment. It also perfectly shines a spotlight on oft-forgotten stories of America’s abolitionist history; a hilarious and compelling story with a star-studded cast. It’s 2021’s must-watch for me! James Burns, Web & Technology Director
My favourite comedy release this year is season two of Mae Martin’s Feel Good. I love that the show is both incredibly funny, yet so moving. The whole cast is excellent but it is especially a joy to see Lisa Kudrow as Mae’s mother. It also ends really nicely too which is always good because there is nothing worse than an unsatisfying ending. Go watch it now if you haven’t already! (available on 4od). Carmen Mackey, Awards Coordinator
Whether you’re binging on Netflix or out at a show, have a safe and happy Christmas!