MEET 2023 STAGE AWARD FINALIST: Rachel Baker

Funny Women

Funny Women

Rachel Baker

Rachel Baker was one of the 10 brilliant comedians who made it through to the 2023 Grand Final of the Funny Women Stage Award. Currently working on a BBC radio play commission about OCD, Baker is a stand-up, writer and actor. We spoke to her about the Birmingham comedy scene, supportive fellow funny women and controlled chaos.

How did you get into stand-up?

I haven’t really doubted it was what I wanted to do since I was very young and watching comedies such as Dinnerladies, The Royle Family and Absolutely Fabulous. I was introduced to performing stand-up at university, then in 2022 I decided to try it out on the Birmingham circuit properly. I went to a local new material night I heard was friendly and built up from there. I live laugh love it.

What was it like being a finalist in the 2023 Funny Women Awards?

I was so blooming nervous, but actually getting to stand up there, with Jo Brand bringing me on, I thought I might as well try and have the best time – and I did. It was such a joy, on stage and off. I met a lovely group of new mates and also got some free reusable sanitary pads and a beach towel, which was a bonus because I love a freebie.

Why is Funny Women important to you?

It can be an intimidating environment starting out in comedy, but from the first time I entered this competition I met a host of other brilliant comics who were welcoming and supportive. It was such a lovely environment backstage, and that’s down to the supportive culture Funny Women have cultivated. Also, just looking at the host of comics who have been involved with Funny Women was a great inspiration in looking ahead to a career in comedy.

Tell us about your comedy style.

I have ADHD; I can’t ignore that in any other part of my life and I don’t in my stand up either. So I’m a bit chaotic but in a controlled way. I know the jokes I’m going to tell – I just might take a diversion on the way. I was told early on by a comic I look up to that I have a unique method of delivery and not to get rid of that; instead lean into it, being my authentic self on stage.

What’s next for you?

I recently worked on a community podcast, Bathcasts, with Moseley Road Baths, an arts venue and Victorian bathhouse. I interviewed six guests who are all linked to the baths in different ways. I got to work with such a lovely team and a load of poets and musicians, it combined my love for community arts with comedy and really was the perfect commission. What’s next is trying to better my craft, gig a bit more in other cities and work on my first half hour, for the upcoming Edinburgh Fringe. In terms of future goals, I want to create a night at a comedy venue for working-class stand ups. I think it’s hard being a working class person in the arts and/or comedy, especially with the cost of living crisis. The plan is to get working-class talent in front of industry figures, in the hope it might bring more opportunities for the acts.

Who are your favourite Funny Women?

It would have to be Janice Connolly and Jo Enwright as they are such brilliant women to look up to on the Birmingham comedy scene and I love their comedy acting, community approach – and of course their stand up. You never fail to have an absolute laugh watching them, they’re brilliant.

What do you love about stand up?

I like doing a lot of interaction with the audience and occasionally you’ll have a wonderful interaction that can’t be replicated anywhere else – a great shared moment between act and audience. For example, I asked a woman in Leicester what she had done with her day and she said: “I had laser hair removal on my arse crack”. I just love that we all got to learn about that collectively.

Follow Rachel on Insta and Twitter

You can follow Funny Women on TwitterFacebook and Instagramand read more of our 2023 Awards Q&As here.

Images by Steve Ullathorne: www.steveullathorne.com

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Get notified when registration opens

Comedy Shorts Award Entry Requirements

The deadline for registration for the Comedy Shorts Award has passed.

Funny Women NextUp…Comedy Shorts Award

Are you a budding Director? Producer? Screenwriter? Are you collaborating with friends to make a funny video? Then we are looking for YOU!

If you have a short film or sketch that you think is hilarious, then enter your work for our Comedy Shorts Award to be in with a chance of winning some life-changing support and mentoring from comedy professionals.

WHAT KIND OF FILM ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

A 1- 6 minute film that can take the form of anything comical. It’s a great opportunity to show us your creative flair and have fun!

WHO CAN ENTER?

This award is open to all women filmmakers and content developers. The film must be an original narrative created, produced and devised by a woman, or women, although male cast and crew members are allowed.

ARE THERE ANY ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR MY FILM?

Yes – we require all films to be 6 minutes or under, to be entirely original dialogue, to not feature brand logos and most importantly, to only use music with the written consent of the performer and/or publisher either personally or via the PRS system https://www.prsformusic.com/ .

WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH MY FILM?

We will broadcast selected entries on our Funny Women YouTube channel and social media (so keep an eye out) and the top 10 finalists’ films will also hosted on a dedicated Funny Women Comedy Shorts Awards page on our website. We will also broadcast the final 3 entries as part of the grand final night.

HOW IS IT JUDGED?

Films are judged for production, concept, delivery/performance, creativity, writing and overall funniness. The top 10 films are then viewed by an independent judging panel of top television and film industry professionals who will choose one overall winner and two runners up. The final three will be invited to attend the grand final in London on the 23rd September.

WHAT CAN I WIN?

2021 Funny Women Awards Prizes

The deadline for registration for the Comedy Shorts Award has passed.

If you need further information please contact us here