With International Women's Day coming up this week on Wednesday the 8th of March, I wanted to highlight the women who I believe did a great deal for others in stand-up and comedy writing ...
Unfortunately, getting into any aspect of comedy, such as stand-up or writing, has always been harder for women. Yet, there have been inspiring waves of British female comedians who began to pave the way many years ago.
A rather splendid music hall comedienne who had the ability to add lewdness and hilarity to any lyric, no matter how innocent. She was censored for singing songs such as 'She Sits Amongst the Cabbages and Peas'. She changed the lyrics to 'She Sits Amongst the Cabbages and Leaks' to get around it, which I thought truly funny! She was able to do this at a time when women comics were almost unheard of. She was that good, she's even been commemorated with a blue plaque at 55 Graham Road in Dalston.
Another was Hylda Baker who was a very funny comedienne probably best known for her role as Nellie Pledge in 'Nearest and Dearest'. Irene Handl was a comic performer who was not only very funny in her own right, but she had an impeccable sense of timing. Her performance was always memorable because she made all the characters she played so real and believable. She made a mark in comedy and certainly set the stage for the next generation of female comics.
Dame June Whitfield was a household name and a superb comic actor. For 70 years she graced the airways and screens with her great and versatile acting talent, perfect comedy timing and range of funny voices. She was excellent in every performance, from Miss Marple on Radio 4, Terry and June and even Absolutely Fabulous! She was incredibly inspiring to everyone she worked with and even to me as an actor.
A pioneer for British women in comedy. She could turn her hand to anything - comedy, writing, acting, singing, plus much more. She had this fantastic ability to turn the totally boring and mundane into something so funny that had us all rolling about.
Her stand-up shows were so witty and insightful. She wrote some fantastic sitcoms over the years, including 'Victoria Wood' and 'Dinner Ladies'. Her comedy is still very relevant, and her legacy will undoubtedly live on.
These are just a handful of my favourite funny women who really made me laugh, and still do. There are some great female comediennes coming out, but I still haven't found any as funny. Which female comedy actors do you admire.
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