Regardless of who gets the keys to 10 Downing Street this Thursday, the 2010 election has cemented how essential performance is when it comes to capturing audiences’ imaginations. It’s also highlighted that despite the importance of rhetoric, we’re still easily swayed by style over substance and heart throb looks you’d normally attribute to Colin Firth.
A few months ago, people were still tittering at ‘Nick Who?’ jokes but the scoffs were subsequently silenced by the uncontrollable hysterics of Clegg-Mania, when Nick became an overnight sensation after his first appearance in the election debate. Like a comic who has made the leap from back-room pub obscurity to the Apollo spotlight, he basked in his ‘Best Newcomer’ success, well-deserved from all the years of slogging it behind the scenes, building up his confidence and material. Perhaps, as some might argue, too much confidence or, as Alan Johnson ranted, arrogance. You’re only as good as your next gig Clegg.
Gordon Brown learnt the painful way how not to deal with a heckler when his emotions prevented him from maintaining a professional manner. I’m sure there has been many a time when a stressed-out comedian’s left the stage choking back expletives under their breath, but it’s always best to leave any resentful murmurings to the guaranteed privacy of your own bedroom (you just never know what the mic could pick up) or a supportive Sarah Brown figure – no promoters or fellow comics want to witness a bad sport. But in all honesty, Gordon could have said a lot worse. I probably would have. He’s no doubt thanking his lucky stars he didn’t allow “ugly old bag” to just roll off the tongue.
And David Cameron. He probably thought his crowd-pleasing, if rather cliched slogans (one of them even goes back to Maggie Thatcher times) were a cheery contrast to Gordon’s rather blunt verbatim and characteristic gruffness, however self-aware and ‘down to earth’ it might be. I doubt he was even paying attention to Clegg until the sexy young thing sidled up unawares beside him, stealing all his university groupies right from under his nose.
Whatever the outcome the three will soon be saying goodbye, with a mixture of regret and fondness to the tireless campaigning and on-the-road lifestyle they’ve put their heart and soul into, par for the course for many professional comedians.
For Funny Women, the campaign trail is only just beginning. This Sunday we’re launching the Funny Women Awards, traveling the country for the next few months in search of 2010’s funniest woman. Please spread the word to all the female comics you know across Britain and come along to our showcases to give them your support. As the election has shown, stars can be created overnight, although hard work and tenacity is also needed to create a comedy sensation. Apologies for the bad and tenuous link to election slogans of past but… please join us, as things can only get funnier.
Awards showcase and workshop dates for 2010 confirmed as follows:
Sunday 9th – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre Studio, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX. 0844 847 2475. BOOK NOW. Hosted by Suzy Bennett and featuring Miss London.
Thursday 13th - LIVERPOOL – Unity Theatre, 1 Hope Place, L1 9BG. 0151 709 4988. Liverpool Comedy Festival. BOOK NOW. Hosted by Janey Godley.
Tuesday 18th – BIRMINGHAM – The Rainbow, 160 High Street, B12 0LD. 0121 772 8174. BOOK NOW. Hosted by Barbara Nice.
Wednesday 19th – MANCHESTER – Frog & Bucket, 102 Oldham Street, M4 1LJ. 0161 236 9805. Queer Up North Festival. BOOK NOW. Hosted by Barbara Nice.
Sunday 23rd – BRIGHTON – Komedia, 44 Gardner Street, BN1 1UN. 01273 647 100. Brighton Festival Fringe. BOOK NOW. Hosted by Miss London and featuring Katherine Ryan and Annabel Giles.
Thursday 3rd – BATH - Komedia, 22-23 Westgate Street, BA1 1EP. 01225 331 558. Bath Fringe. BOOK NOW. Hosted by Katherine Ryan and featuring Suzy Bennett, Eve Webster and Miss London.
Friday 4th – WALES - Guardian Hay Festival, The Drill Hall, 25 Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5AD. 01497 822 629. BOOKING SOON. Hosted by Carrie Quinlan and featuring Suzy Bennett.
Saturday 12th – WORKSHOP LONDON – 3.00 – 5.00 p.m. Leicester Square Theatre Studio, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX. 0844 847 2475. BOOK NOW.
Sunday 13th – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre Studio, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX. 0844 847 2475. BOOKING SOON.
Thursday 17th – LONDON – Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, W1G 7LP. 020 7307 5454. BOOK NOW. Hosted by Sajeela Kershi, and featuring Joanne Lau and Shazia Mirza.
Saturday 19th – HUDDERSFIELD – Laurence Batley Theatre, Queen Street, HD1 2SP. 01484 430 528. Tickets on sale BOOK NOW.
Saturday 19th - WORKSHOP HUDDERSFIELD - Laurence Batley Theatre, Queen Street, HD1 2SP. 01484 430 528. Joint ticket for show and workshop BOOK NOW.
Tuesday 22nd – WORKSHOP RICHMOND – Orange Tree Theatre, I Clarence Street, TW9 2SA. 020 8940 3633. BOOKING SOON.
Thursday 24th – RICHMOND – Orange Tree Theatre, I Clarence Street, TW9 2SA. 020 8940 3633. BOOKING SOON. Hosted by Suzy Bennett, and featuring Miss London and Shazia Mirza.
Sunday 11th – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre Studio, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX. 0844 847 2475.
Friday 16th – SOUTHWOLD – Latitude, Cabaret Arena. 020 7009 3001.
Saturday 24th – WORKSHOP LONDON – 3.00 – 5.00 p.m. Leicester Square Theatre Studio, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX. 0844 847 2475. BOOKING SOON.
Saturday 7th August – LONDON BRIDGE - Platform, 56-58 Tooley Street, SE1 2SZ. – London Festival Fringe
Sunday 8th August – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX. 0844 847 2475 – London Festival Fringe
Saturday 14th August – WORKSHOP LONDON – 3.00 – 5.00 p.m. Leicester Square Theatre Studio, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX. 0844 847 2475 – London Festival Fringe. BOOKING SOON.
Saturday 14th August – LONDON BRIDGE – The Bridge Lounge, 186 Tooley Street, SE1 2TZ. 020 7403 4112 – London Festival Fringe
Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd – LONDON NORTH – Camden Head, 100 Camden High Street, NW1 0LU. 08444 771 000. Camden Fringe
Monday 23rd & Tuesday 24th – SCOTLAND – Assembly @ George Street – EDINBURGH FRINGE