Where are all the funny women and when do they get to make us laugh?

Convener(s):   Catherine Pinhorn 

Participants: Madeleine Bowyer, Wendy Buckley, Aleasha Chaunte, Monique Sterling, Louise Kemeny, Eva Liparova

Julie McNamara, Hazel Maddocks, Sally Marie, Lian Bell, Louisa Norman, Denise Heard, Catherine Eccles, Ros Philips, Lias Hammond, Sharon Smith, Frank Wurzinger, Phelim Mc Dermot


Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:


There are lots of funny women

They are invisible


Reasons for this….

Men do not like women being funny/ women want to please and fit it / You have to laugh at his jokes ( as funny sperm is quicker)

Being pretty and attractive takes time – the stars spend a life-time and thousands of $ looking that great- and there is no time to be funny

Theatre reflects society’s reluctance to see women as naturally funny – the archetypes restrict female casting/ the funny one is the ugly one/ old woman ( trad theatre casting keeps women in non-funny roles 

There are solo funny women doing their own work

Difference in Stand-up and theatre work

Female perception of self is / can be restricting in approaching role and auditioning ( the internal dialogue)

Women being sensitive and unused to piss-taking mockery general mucking about from an early age ( this can be regional as well as gender based)

There are different kinds of humour – male jokes often work on puncturing a structure ( Phelim) whereas women can build character and story more readily

We need to get more interested in building this aspect


Stick at it

Keep working – it is hard

Get used to it not working and stick at it

Book a space

Have a deadline

Make a group and establish a tone that sets out a female model of practice

(no status ego bullshit just get on with work)

Use banter as practice for getting the habit of funny / taking the piss

Be allowed to indulge in the naturally arising funny and developing that aspect of the performer for the audience

Go and see other funny women  - request mentoring and support

Be more generous with support of other women

Take responsibility for the process of getting out there and doing it for the audience.


Added: There are lots of funny women working in street theatre/street arts