“Remember to have fun” – Six Comedians on International Women’s Day
Ahead of International Women’s Day, we asked six women performing at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival (GICF) to give their advice to women who might consider stepping on the comedy stage. GICF spoke to women at different stages of their comedy careers, and here is some of the advice they had to offer.
Zoe Lyons, host of TV quiz Lightning and Mock the Week panellist, said: “Go and see as much live comedy as you can, I know there is a lot available online now but nothing beats a live performance. Gig as much as you can and run with whatever it is that makes you a bit different , your unique view. Don’t worry too much about the tough gigs, believe me, we all have them. Remember to have fun”
Jay Lafferty, regular MC at The Stand and Glee comedy clubs, said: “Just get out there and do it! Take every chance to stand on a stage and perform your material. Watch the whole show – so often I notice new acts not staying to watch the headliner. I don’t get that. There is a reason the pro comics are where they are. Watch them, laugh, learn from them, ask questions. It’s such a privilege to do this job, to make people laugh, remember that and enjoy it.”
Ria Lina, regular on Have I Got News For You, News Quiz and Breaking the News, said: “If you are a workaholic to the detriment of your social life, an obsessive to detriment of your diet and hygiene, and always getting in trouble with HR for the things you say around the office – then comedy is for you. Watch all the comedy you can, spend time with other comics as much as you can (car shares, green rooms, writing sessions), and practice, practice, practice. Remember comedy is all about being you, so be yourself. It’s the one industry where we welcome it!”
Krystal Evans, who brings her debut hour to GICF this year, said: “For new comedians: Build a really solid 5 minutes instead of completely changing your material every gig. After you’ve got a solid 5, then build on it to get a solid 10, etc. Clubs are running a business at the end of the day and want to feature acts that deliver the goods consistently instead of acts that do 5 minutes pretending to be a racist unicorn with herpes or trying to eat a whole rose (both things I’ve actually witnessed).
“For young women: When you doubt yourself, think of all the confidence dumb people have. Compliment your pals on things other than aesthetics. Don’t diet. Hang out with older women. Puff puff pass.”
Hannah Elizabeth Morton, writer and performer of Sad Girls Club appearing at Strathclyde Union said: “My advice for women wanting to get into comedy? Just start writing. Even if you think it’s not funny. Or if you think it’s dumb. Or that you’re dumb. Not smart enough. Not funny enough. The first hurdle is putting pen to paper. Acrylic nail to computer key board. It’s a cliche but write what you know. Write how you feel. Write how you live and let’s be honest, being a living women right now is pretty shit. Write it even if it is shit. Your partner dump you? Great. More for your 15 minute comedy routine. That guy at work mansplaining a little too much? Amazing more content for your sketches. That creepy guy at the bar take offence when you told him where to go? Write. It. Down. Make it yours. Find the fun. Find the funny and then you’ll smash it babes!”
Susan Riddell said: “My advice is find other comedian lassies and hang on to them for dear life. Start a group chat. There are loads of lovely guy comedians but they don’t really know what we go through as we’re often the only girl on the bill and it can feel lonely. So aye, find other lassies and talk to them!”
Commenting, Krista MacDonald said: “We have some really fascinating women coming to Glasgow for the festival this year – bringing all their own personal stories – and it is really important that we continue to lay foundations and build women up so they know they belong on the comedy stage.”