I set up Funny Women in 2002 as a ‘knee jerk’ reaction to a misogynistic comedy promoter. When asked why he hardly ever booked any female acts he said there weren’t any and furthermore ‘women aren’t funny’. The rest is history and this is my 15th year of proving him wrong!
At the heart of Funny Women is a desire to help women find their voice, whether that be through performing and writing comedy or using humour in business and everyday life. Our life blood is the Funny Women Awards which I launched in 2003 and now sets the gold standard for women breaking into comedy.
Alumni include great talents like Bridget Christie, Susan Calman, Katherine Ryan, Andi Osho, Kerry Godliman, Sara Pascoe, Zoe Lyons, Roisin Conaty, Holly Walsh, Sarah Millican and many more, who have all gone on to have sustainable careers as comedy performers and writers.
The Awards have diversified to reflect the changing profile of women in the comedy industry over the last 15 years and as well as the Stage Award we introduced new categories for Comedy Writing and Comedy Shorts, and a public nomination award for Best Show. We offer agency introductions, script options and mentoring as part of the prizes.
I have also followed my passion to encourage women to build their self-confidence and develop their own distinctive voice. Our ‘Stand Up to Stand Out’ comedy workshops show women and men how to use stand-up comedy techniques to perform, speak in public, grow in confidence, build teams and improve diversity. We run these publicly in London and in the workplace for corporate clients and individuals on request.
Once a month we offer friendly mentoring and a safe performance space for beginners at our aptly named Time of the Month nights in London and, more recently, Dublin. We showcase new and established acts at various venues in London, Komedia in Brighton and the Edinburgh Fringe. We are currently looking for collaborations with other venues and promoters across the UK to help us expand.
The cycle is completed with this website and an active online community where we encourage budding writers and performers to sharpen their comedy writing and communication skills.
Funny Women continues to be my life’s work and I am so proud of what it has become. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I look forward to meeting you in person or virtually very soon!