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 ...
Victoria Wood was a pioneer for British women in comedy and she could turn her hand to anything!
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.
"One of those was Marie Lloyd!"
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.
"We, of course, cannot forget the great Victoria Wood!"
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.
Until next time ...
Would you like to know more?
If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about my love of female comediennes, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 07879 414110 or 01234 241357 and let's see how I can help.
David is the owner and Artistic Director of The Arches Theatre in Clifton Reynes near Milton Keynes. Productions are underneath some flood arches on the disused Midland railway line (Bedford to Northampton). It is equidistant from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes. You bring your food, drink and chairs and enjoy the varied shows that are produced. This year - 2022 - there are 12 productions on throughout the season, from Shakespeare to Ripping Yarns plus a music weekend.
David has been involved in 'Light Ent' for many years, working with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson adapting the scripts of 'Steptoe and Son' and those of Tony Hancock to the stage. He has produced shows for Norman Wisdom (which makes him feel old), Al Murray, and Joe Pasquale amongst others, and also worked in the music business promoting and producing shows with Chas and Dave, Neil Inness, Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk and others of that ilk.
He is also the director of a film school for young people in his home town of Olney as well as supporting many local events.
He recently negotiated permission from Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to stage a short run of 'Porridge' on stage which proved a success.
This year the annual charity performance at The Arches Theatre will be the last of 'Ripping Yarns' by Michael Palin and Terry Jones, with the profits being donated to The National Brain Appeal' for research into dementia as David's father and uncle died of it, as did Michael Palin's friend and writing partner Terry Jones. Last year they raised an astonishing £10,000 and are hoping to get somewhere close again with the support of audiences and sponsors.
David also has a stage hire company and his wife Julie runs a livery yard, so they are surrounded by horses, dogs, light entertainment and and a 17 year old daughter.
He plays in a comedy jazz band and collects strange props such as the Spitting Image puppets of Denis Thatcher and Alan Bennett, the child catchers bike from the stage show of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and various other 'things' all of which he sells to raise money for the Arches Theatre, although he always finds it hard to part from these props. However as the theatre receives no funding at all, he is always devising ways to keep it going! Sponsors are always welcome!
no unauthorised use, duplication, distribution or modification to any original content contained within this blog is permitted without prior written permission of the author. All other trademarks and registered names are acknowledged.