Funny Women Awards Final 2011
26th September 2011
Women just aren’t funny so the saying goes. Having attended the Funny Women Awards 2011 I see exactly what they mean. Just kidding ladies!!
The superb Leicester Square theatre, in the heart of London, was a suitably glamorous setting for a Bakers dozen of very funny women battling it out for the title of ‘Funny Woman Award Winner 2011’. A night which well and truly destroyed any doubts some might still harbour that women can be funny.
Having attended previous rounds and finals over the years I have to admit that the standard had been somewhat hit and miss. This year, overall around ten of the thirteen contestants had me laughing and even some of those that didn’t move me, seemed to be getting laughs from the audience, which is the most important thing.
The night had double acts in the form of Checkley and Bush and Ladies Live Longer, with musical comedy from Gabriella Burnel. We had a range of talents from all over the country, from Mel Moon of Burnley to the youngest contestant Sarah Callaghan, aged 19, from London.
Talk about awkward moments. I was sat next to Sarah’s mum as she ripped into her mum’s terrible cooking and sagging boobs, quite amusing really in normal circumstances, but how can you laugh out loud when the victim of the gags is right beside you looking stony faced? Answer is you can’t, so I held it down!! Slyly glancing over I noticed she did laugh at her daughter’s other material though, which meant I could finally belly laugh out loud. I’ve a feeling we might not see too much of Sarah on the circuit for the next month or so, as I daresay she was grounded for that cheeky set.
Janet Bettesworth was the, elder Stateswoman of the finalists, probably aged 50 plus. Nothing wrong with older comedians, Joan Rivers and Ruby Wax are hilarious. Alas Janet was more Joan of Arc than Joan Rivers and mystified the audience with a very odd, mostly laughter free routine. I would like to think she had better material that got her this far, but alas the set she delivered on the night just wasn’t a patch on the other performers.
The winner is…
I think Emily Lloyd-Saini, Mel Moon, Sadia Azmat and Bekka Bowling all delivered very funny sets and I can see a bright future for them in the comedy world. As females who are funny they should be in demand, as they are few and far between and if they continue to work at their craft and develop their funny bones there’s no reason they shouldn’t go far and make a career on the comedy circuit.
The King is Crowned Queen
Most impressive set of the night by far though was from Lara A King who was voted, unanimously by the judging panel as the Funny Woman of the year 2011. A star was born and the undisputed winner Lara A King was crowned Queen of Comedy 2011.
It was clear to me that unless basically someone stunning came on, well basically unless Joan Rivers walked out on stage, it was obvious she was going to be the winner. She opened the second half of the evening and simply stormed the stage. Lara A King was simply hilarious, with layer upon layer of jokes that brought the house down. She came across as quite a seasoned performer. Lara has a musical and comedic pedigree and seemed entirely comfortable and happy on stage. A joy to watch and definitely one to keep an eye on for the future. Dare I say it, there are a “lara, lara” laughs to come from this newcomer.
Runners up and Compere
Katherine Bennett was runner up, whilst Ladies Live Longer, placed third.
The show was superbly compered by Suzy Bennett, winner of the 2006 Funny Women Awards. I’d never seen her before and her stage presence is reminiscent of Dawn French, with plenty of self-deprecating jokes about her significant size. All good fun and she held the show together well which is not at all easy. With 13 acts to introduce and a 3 hour show, to keep proceedings humorously moving along as Suzy did was no mean feat at all.
The Funny Women judging panel included an interesting collection of entertainment people, most of whom rather puzzlingly have nothing whatsoever to do with the comedy business. They included Louise Court, Cosmopolitan Editor, Kate Garraway, Entertainment Editor, Daybreak and Founder of Goodypass, Will Gompertz, BBC Arts Editor, Lucy Lumsden, Head of Sky Comedy and Dr Linda Papadapoulos, TV Psychologist.
Overall the standard of comedy was very high. I understand that most had been put through a short, intensive comedy course in the run up to the final and that certainly seemed to have paid off as the quality was so much higher than I’d seen before at other shows. That’s great testimony to the work and effort put into developing female Comediennes by Lynne Parker, Executive Producer and Founder, Funny Women. Well done Lynne and especially Lara A King, Funny Woman Winner 2011.
Funny Woman’s charity for 2011 was Cancer Research 2011.
2nd October 2011
Tiemo Entertainments are organising and hosting the 9th Black Comedy Awards 2011 on 4th December 2011. Nominees, voting process and ticket information are available on http://www.tiemo.co.uk/