Some of my best friends are funny… yes, really!
Genuinely, gobsmackingly, hilariously funny, without even trying.
Although this is my ninth year working in comedy, my best belly laughs still take place in the company of close girlfriends usually accompanied by lots of wine! It’s this that continues to drive me – the quest to find genuinely funny women who can take this to the stage.
They are out there, and that’s why it’s so important to keep organising the Funny Women Awards each year.
This year is my ninth and it amazes me that the weight of public opinion still holds women back in the debate about whether they are funny or not, and if women can really ‘do’ comedy for a living? Surely the facts win out?
Biologically the fairer sex is not conditioned to use humour – this is reserved for the male of the species, a tactic to woo us into heady sexual submission with a stream of one-liners. The animals in us subscribe to ritualistic behaviour. In the animal kingdom males provoke females to throw back their heads and expose their necks in a submissive display of attraction. The neck is sensitive and delicate so a woman is displaying trust and openness when a man makes her throw back her head with laughter.
Yet equality brings about change in all professions with comedy being no exception. I We’re not showing our necks to any old tom, dick or harry any more! n my ninth year on the frontline of one of the last bastions of male chauvinism, I am keen to even things out even more and dispel the myth that women aren’t funny once a for all. So, it’s time for us to broaden our search for the next funny women beyond the comedy circuit.
I love working with women from all walks of life. I train them in workshops and business challenges but the Awards are the beating heart of Funny Women. So, if you’ve ever felt the whiff of the grease paint as a stand up, character act or performance poet we want to see you. We will accept registrations right up to the very last heats at the Edinburgh Fringe in August and our call out is for women who really think they have something genuinely funny to offer. Like Britain’s Got Talent, we’ll look at all genres of comedy: stand up, character, sketch, musical, magic, impressions, acrobatics… as long as its female and funny, we want to see it.
We’re already looking to 2012 which is our 10th Anniversary. I was once told by somebody in the comedy industry that ‘after five years there would be no more need for Funny Women because ‘there’s quite enough already’ but we’ve almost surpassed this milestone twice over. Funny Women isn’t just about women who are brave enough to take on a gruelling career around the circuit – they really do have to be admired as it is still very tough – it is a platform that goes beyond into writing, public speaking and general communications.
Women’s networking will never be the same again as we’ve brought our brand to a whole range of organisations over the last two years since we launched our Funny Women in Business programme. We’ve already worked with Women in Journalism, Women in PR, Seed Network, Sister Snog, Network She, Women Unlimited, Athena Network, Women in Technology, We Are the City, European Professional Women’s Network, Hoxton Apprentice Women’s Network, Women in Film and TV, the Women’s Institute… just to mention a few! And the list continues to grow. Women clearly want their voices to be heard and comedy is one path towards this – we have a programme of Funny Women Challenge Events taking place this year, where we train comedy virgins from business, academia and industry to perform comedy to a live audience. So successful is this format that we’re in planning for a gala challenge event next year to celebrate an amazing 10 years.
We’re not planning to take anything away from those women who work the comedy circuit for a living and, in fact, many of them work with us on our Challenge events. We’re about giving the world a broader perspective on what the two words ‘funny + women’ really means, particularly to those of us who enjoy a good laugh with our friends.
The competition is very important to Funny Women – we want women from all walks of life to explore their funny side. For just £15 entrants can try out five minutes of material in a great venue with an audience, get feedback, meet some other lovely women, and assess their comic potential. We’ve even introduced a Comedy Writing Award this year which gives those women who prefer to write the opportunity to have their material performed by somebody else, which we will help facilitate. Just think – comedy might just be a real career option for some of you instead of a fun night out with the girls.
To register NOW for this year’s Funny Women Awards please visit http://www.funnywomen.com/awards.php and if you’re not ready to perform, book one of our workshops, details here http://www.funnywomen.com/workshops.php. If you are interested in taking part in or helping to organise a Funny Women Challenge please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Funny Women is at the vanguard of nurturing and promoting female comedy talent – from finding and developing new acts through its annual competition, the Funny Women Awards, to working with established performers.
Founded in 2002 by Lynne Parker, former journalist, broadcaster and marketing consultant, Funny Women has become a leading comedy brand, promoting new female talent through live events, workshops and training programmes.
Funny Women recognises that comedy is all about passion and fun and we take this with us into everything we do. We produce our own shows and tours as well as bespoke events for companies and brands.