Since the Awards Marjolein has been on a roll. She took some time out to catch-up with us and discussed what she’s been up to, her comedy style and how she always seems to be a bridesmaid but never the bride…
Funny Women: What have you been up to since the Funny Women Awards final?
Marjolein Robertson: I was in another final! The BBC New Comedy Awards, where Dan Teirnan won. I was on right after him, like I was on the Funny Women Awards final right after winner Lorna Rose Treen, I think I must be a lucky charm, that or the judges watch me after the previous act and think ‘no, definitely not as funny as the act before.’ Lorna, Dan, you’re both welcome.
I’ve also just generally been gigging, travelling for the Scottish Storytelling Festival to tell folktales and writing my show for next year’s Fringe! Oh and getting ready for the Glasgow International Comedy Festival in March, I’ve put in three different shows because I’m an idiot. Also I do have more exciting bits of news coming out in December but I can’t say till then!
FW: How did you get into comedy?
MR: Ah, well it was when I moved to Amsterdam, where I was working in McDonald’s and spending my weekends attending Easylaughs improv workshops.
After a series of unfortunate incidents, being kicked out of my flat, being fired (from the restaurant I worked in before I went to McDonald’s) and the house I eventually moved into being robbed. They took everything I had, computer, ipod, kindle, fiddle, lots of clothes… packed it into my own bloody suitcase! Well, Easylaughs felt that bad for me that they signed me up to their stand up course that I was interested in but couldn’t afford at the time. I was so grateful.
Then I didn’t do stand up for years after as I was living in Shetland, but after nipping down to do a few runs at the PBH Free Fringe I eventually took the plunge and moved from Shetland, south, to try and gig in 2019.
FW: Can you describe your comedy style to us?
MJ: Ah yeah, so I’ve always said: observational, but then I got reviews saying I was surreal. Then I realised, growing up in Shetland, on a small island, and also this brain I have, maybe the matter-of-fact way I look at the world is not factual in any way at all.
I also love telling stories within my stand up and bringing in different things, being experimental on stage, having a laugh, to hopefully make the audience laugh.
Plus, I have my Shetland accent and sometimes folk literally just laugh at the way I say ‘Hi’ which is great when you don’t even need a set up for your first word. Absolutely destroys at eulogies.
FW: Any advice for people thinking about entering the Awards next year?
MR: So, because I got into comedy back to front (Fringe shows THEN five-minute sets) I never had a tight five for a long time… until this year. So I would say make sure you have a tight five down, make it original to your own story, authentic to your own voice. But also get as much stage experience as you can, the stronger your voice the greater you carry that five. Also I’d like to see more fire. More fire on stage. Not magic. Just fire.
FW: What’s next for you? Where can we see you?
MR: I’m gigging a lot up in Scotland just now mainly, hoping to head south for more gigs soon. Next big solo show I’m doing is taking my sold-out Edinburgh Fringe Show ‘Marjolein Robertson: Thank God Fish Don’t Have Hands’ to the Glasgow International Comedy Festival on Wednesday 22nd March at 7.00pm in the Stand Comedy Club, Glasgow.
FW: And lastly, who are your favourite Funny Women?
MR: I always find this question so incredibly difficult because there are so, so many. Firstly, can I say Lorna Rose Treen, who absolutely smashed it at the final, a well deserved winner! And I met Dee Allum recently, also a finalist in the BBC Comedy Awards, and she is just incredible. Had the pleasure of gigging with Ria Lina the other week and I already knew she was hilarious, but to see her just riffing on the audience at a new material night highlighted how quick and funny she is.
I’ve been watching Taylor Tomlinson’s Netflix specials on repeat, so good. Margaret Cho, I love, and she was one of the first women I ever watched a special of and she just blew me away.
Michelle Wolf is hilarious, so, so sharp. And I’ve never seen anyone hold their own so well, when she performed her set at the White House Correspondents Dinner, where her material was on fire, but the room hated it and yet she held her own and still delivered it so well.