Lynne
Parker

Since 2002, our founder Lynne Parker has worked hard to create a vibrant, collaborative community of like-minded women. The Funny Women Awards have launched a few comedy headliners who you *might* be familiar with, along the way! We sat down with Lynne to find out what she thinks the future holds for those of us who like to laugh and make others laugh.

Since 2002, our founder Lynne Parker has worked hard to create a vibrant, collaborative community of like-minded women. The Funny Women Awards have launched a few comedy headliners who you *might* be familiar with, along the way! We sat down with Lynne to find out what she thinks the future holds for those of us who like to laugh and make others laugh.

So Lynne, what made you set-up Funny Women? 

I created Funny Women because I got angry with a misogynist comedy promoter while working as a publicist for his club. When I asked him why he never booked any female acts, he told me that ‘women aren’t funny’ and ‘there are no funny women’. 

Nineteen years on, that promoter has been proved (very) wrong and I’m proud that my work has empowered many women, both professionally and personally. It’s through them that I have also been able to find my authentic voice. Funny Women is my life’s work. 

Why is comedy important to you? 

I’m not a comedian myself, but comedy is incredibly important to me, because of the creativity and collaboration that comes with it. Society has always turned to comedy in tough times, and especially right now, we all need lightness in our lives. 

When theatres, clubs, and venues went dark during the first and subsequent lockdowns, everyone felt the impact. Still, something magical happened, and the comedy community gathered online. Funny Women has become a valuable virtual hub and resource for anybody looking for a way to have their voice heard. Comedy is another way for women to get their message out there; it’s an outstanding campaigning tool.  

What advice do you have for women looking to get into comedy? 

Network and collaborate. You don’t need to ‘reinvent the wheel’. Use existing platforms, like Funny Women, to hone your craft and meet other like-minded performers, writers and creators.  Going online has made comedy more accessible, so it’s never been easier to meet experts and get advice.  Follow your favourite acts and writers on social media, and don’t be frightened to put yourself forward. 

What are your hopes for comedy in the ‘post-pandemic’ world? 

Great question! Whilst I accept that venues and bookers will want ‘banker’ acts to sell tickets when everything opens up, I’d like to see equal opportunities created for new talent. 

The hardest-hit are those starting in comedy as there have been no ‘live’ opportunities for them to develop their acts and practise material over the last year. I hope that those already well established in their comedy careers will support newer acts by giving back where they can with open spots, writing commissions, and generally offering advice and counsel when everything opens up again. 

As we know from our outstanding Funny Women Awards alumni, they inspire the next generation, so their encouragement and support is priceless. For every well- known ‘established’ act that a venue or a promoter books, it would be great to see an ‘as yet undiscovered’ act on the same lineup. Mix it up, take a few risks, or we’ll end up turning off the talent pipeline, which would be a tragedy.