Esther Manito: #NotAllMen

Kate Stone

Kate Stone

Good grief, in her new show #NotAllMen Esther Manito is not messing around. You are going to hear some home truths, particularly if you’re in a heterosexual relationship. In fact, while Esther has very good reasons for naming her show #NotAllMen she could also have gone for #AreTheStraightsOK?

The show is inspired by the notorious Twitter tag that is used by sulky men trying to distance themselves from the men who commit offenses such as wanking on the London underground. As though that makes it alright and we should all just shh! As Esther points out, no, it’s not all men but… it’s not any women, is it?

Having both a son and a daughter in a world where songs such as Blurred Lines has made Esther very invested in working out how to educate both her children in feminism for their benefit. Watching Esther’s show made me realise how rarely you see a mum on stage discussing real life and makes me wonder if some comics censor this side of their lives for fear of having their identity reduced to ‘comedy mum’.

I admire Esther for refusing to distance herself from her domestic life onstage, why should she? She talks about her life and being a mother and wife is a large part of that, there’s no reason for it to diminish her and why would you ignore the perfect comedy fodder her loved ones provide? Such as the behaviour of her Arabic side of the family compared with her very English inlaws.

This in turn gives Esther an opportunity to critique the term ‘Middle East’. A year or so of home-schooling in lockdown has clearly made Esther rather deft at boiling a point down and she gives us a very brief but thorough education on why ‘Middle East’ is such a flabby geographical definition. But it’s clearly a rich seam well worth mining.


Esther Manito: #NotAllMen is at the Gilded Balloon Teviot at 19:20 until 29th August. For tickets visit

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