Natalie Guest writing in the Independent about “funny women leading the feminist fightback.” She references last Sunday’s Stand Up to Sexism gig at the Harold Pinter Theatre: “From Viv Groskop’s rapping about women’s issues as “Feminem”, to Lucy Porter’s promise to play a tune on her “little button-like organ” at the (ahem) climax of the show, one brilliantly funny woman after another (and a few lovely like-minded feminist men) took to the stage and proved that YES, actually, we can joke just as well and pun just as badly as the next man.” Just as badly? Worse, surely. That is the aim. That is the aim.
Sunday’s Stand Up to Sexism gig at the Harold Pinter Theatre in aid of the No More Page 3 and Everyday Sexism campaigns was a great success. Lucy Porter, Suzi Ruffell, Tiffany Stevenson, Patrick Monahan, Joel Dommett, Joe Wells, Chris Coltrane, John-Luke Roberts, a crowd of 600 and £4,000 raised.
On her blog Not All Who Wonder Are Lost, Hannah Thompson writes: “Viv Groskop’s feminist-Wollstonecraft-Emily Davison-referencing rap gets a mention for sheer, bizarre, entertainment value.” Camilla Turner on Harker: “Highlights included Viv Groskop’s frap (feminist rap).” Something of a turnaround for the frap’s reception compared to the many places I have honed it, which included a dilapidated pub in Croydon where a fight broke out between a teenage boy and a geriatic man while I was performing.
Laura Ashton of Funny Women: “Viv Groskop’s feminist rap, which included the endearing term “mother-lovers”, was a truly sparkly performance.” It was actually “mother-appreciators”. But we will not split hairs, sista!
Performing at this fem-tastic (geddit?) comedy event in aid of the No More Page 3 campaign at the Harold Pinter Theatre, the old Comedy Theatre on Panton Street, Piccadilly, on Sun 18 Nov. Click here for tickets.
I’m sometimes wary of “wimmins activism” in comedy, especially since the time I had to go on after a domestic violence video at the Funny Women Finals. (“And now on with the comedy…!”)
But this is a good cause. I do get some of the pro Page 3 arguments. “You don’t have to buy the paper.” “It’s a private commercial enterprise so it’s their business what they publish.” Or as a man called Geoffrey tweeted me: “You are a killjoy. It is harmless fun.”
But it’s a newspaper. A massive-selling newspaper. Which sits on the front table at the curry house where I pick up takeaways with my children. “Mummy, why is that lady showing her boobies?” “She got a bit warm with her cardigan on. More Bombay mix?” (Quality parenting.) We wouldn’t put up with it on the news on TV. So why put up with it in a newspaper?
I tweeted back to Geoffrey: “Can’t you use back copies? Or do you need fresh ones?” He replied: “My wife uses the back copies for the vegetable peelings.” It’s all they’re good for, Geoffrey, it’s all they’re good for. We all deserve better. Stand up to sexism!
Reviewed HBO’s Girls starring Lena Dunham (above) on BBC Radio 4′s Front Row. Listen here from 23h20 and see a rubbish picture here. Girls is most definitely not rubbish. In fact it is brilliant, extraordinary even. Very difficult to pack a description of the first three episodes into three minutes of radio. I didn’t even get to mention how much crazy, weird, dysfunctional sex there is. Or how edgy the humour is: date rape, abortion, STDs…
Masses will be written and said about how this is a new dawn for “wimmin’s comedy”. It sort of is. With Judd Apatow as exec producer, of course – how else would this have got made? But the best thing is, it sort of isn’t. It’s just a great, original sitcom which just happens to have been written, created and directed by a new talent who just happens to be female.
I got annoyed they even called it “Girls” because it really isn’t about the “Girls” at all. It’s about what it’s like to be young and goofy and hopeful and despairing and trying to be good at sex but failing miserably and not having any money and wondering if you will ever do anything or become anything or be anyone and then going out and getting drunk with very unsuitable people. That is not just a “girl” experience. That is life. They also take opium! Is that a New York thing?
Picture by David Shankbone at Tribeca Film Festival.
Nine gigs and only one cancelled for lack of audience. Welcome to the Free Fringe. Two lovely, packed gigs to finish at Comedy Brass at the Meadow Bar with Anthea Neagle and Scott Adams and WLTM with Phillip Wragg and Elena Kombou, with the brilliant Michelle de Swarte headlining. I have erased all mental trace of the power-surge-afflicted microphone at the So You Think You’re Funny? semi-finals and now only happy, false memories of that night remain. Above, on the chalkboard of the Gilded Balloon for the first time. “Boom.” As they say.
Writing in today’s Independent about comedy, being offensive and the importance of silliness. The most offensive (and silly) thing about Edinburgh is how exhausting it is. Despite the intensely reviving properties of Luisa Omielan’s hi-energy Beyonce show last night, Edinburgh has broken me. Six shows down, three to go. And there are people here who have done over 70 shows in four weeks. They look virtually dead.
Good shows at Domestic Science at Canon’s Gait, Funny’s Funny at the Free Sisters (different line-up every day at 7pm) and Funny Women at Harvey Nichols. Bit hit and miss (code for: NIGHTMARE) on the outer edges of the Free Fringe. Everyone moaning that audiences are low because of the Olympics and the recession. It cannot have anything to do with the quality of the shows. (JOKE, JOKE, alright?) But you can make it work. The (free) Beyonce show is turning people away.
What I’ve loved: The Horne Section, Tom Webb, John Gordillo, Lucy Porter, Tim Shishodia and Pat Cahill’s show, Luisa Omielan’s What Would Beyonce Do (catch it tonight or tomorrow if you can — at the Meadow Bar, 10.45pm). I will be in bed.
Beyonce pic by Naomi Nunez.
Great time at the Funny Women Semi-Finals at Music Palace, Crouch End. Lovely venue, big crowd. Sofie Hagen, a young Danish comic, was the winner. A curse upon her. And it was worse. She was really good. A double curse upon her. I came runner-up alongside Kerry Bilson.
This gives us both a Wild Card for the Finals in September. Meanwhile Bridget Christie did a knock-out headline set which was massively inspiring and massively depressing at the same time. I will never be that good.