After the main interview, we continued our conversation to turn towards comedy on the radio. I wanted to ask Jo about her work in radio comedy for those at the Nerve Radio, and the student radio community, who have an interest in creating comedy for the airwaves.
One of my plans as Nerve’s new station manager is to get more speakers in the industry to come to the university to speak to members of Nerve and radio students at BU.
As someone who is relatively new to the stand up scene Charlie Baker has a remarkably familiar face. You have probably seen him playing a cameo role in Doctor Who or IT Crowd, but this all singing; all tap dancing funny man is has more than enough tricks up his sleeve to keep you entertained when he performs at the Plough Arts Centre this April.
This recording includes some questions about his Bournemouth date to for its broadcast on Nerve Radio.
Doug Stanhope has been doing stand-up comedy for over 21 years. The American’s style ranges from “true-life” graphic perversion to volatile social critism”, but whatever he chooses, you can guarantee it will be an alcohol fuelled evening for both Doug and the audience. Before hitting the road, Doug took some jet-lagged time out to speak to Charlotte Gay about his upcoming tour.
Public Speaking is hard but I still try to do my best at it. When I was younger I used to always enter in the talent competitions on typical British holiday park vacations. Regardless of the fact that the sort of talents I possessed didn’t really fall into the usual all singing and dancing variety, I would still get on stage. Usually disguised under the pretense that I was doing (N.B terrible) stand up comedy, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if it was the beginning of my attention seeking ways that would be later satisfied by radio presenting.
Later stumbling over my words as chairman for the local Rotary Club youth speaks – I noted I think I need a bit of private practice before my ability matched my persistence.
SO. Five years later – I returned to the public speaking platform. There were things that had not changed – I still had no idea what to talk about and fell back onto comedy once more. Admittedly more of a critique, and with less cracking of a nervous voice. I’d like to think it gave people a point to ponder on but you can make you mind up on this one.
I think there seems to be a pattern here… Where are all the women? This is a question that often bemuses me. It strikes me as odd that we live in a society which appears to be overruled with male comics. Don’t get me wrong I love them! I can’t get enough of Michael McIntyre’s mockery slash adoration of the middle classes, Lee Evan’s frantic explosions and even the scandalous verbal slips that leave Frankie Boyle’s Scottish tongue. Still when I type into Amazon ‘comedy DVD’ and I can officially tell you no women will be seen in their ‘relevant’ list.
Yet, I can honestly announce that I have friends both female and male who are equally funny yet there is some sort of a keys step missing between this level and that of stand-up comics. This thought first occurred to me when a friend of mine back in school announced ‘Men are always funnier than women – FACT!” I tried to defend our lady kind but unfortunately my lack of substantial evidence of comedians proved my argument to be lack somewhat in credibility. This annoyed me (I’d say a 50/50 split between my beliefs and my stubborn attitude which doesn’t like to be beaten) so perhaps I took this thinking a bit too far, or at least I knew my friend had stopped caring by the time I came up with my logical conclusion and here it is:So why is it that these men get national sell out gigs and television appearances? Whilst the most I can find for someone like Catherine Tate was the odd tired half laugh Either way, surely in this day and age women can be just as funny as men?
Women are not as successfully funny than men because it is a seen as unfeminine.
It has been said that stand-up comedy needs a degree of machismo, clear self-assertion and even aggressiveness. All elements typically associated with men. Apparently there is also a rumour that woman have a higher ‘fear of failing’ – pft! I wouldn’t say that. But my point still remains that women have to choose between how they want to be seen by others and how much they are willing to put up with being seen as a bit ‘blokey’. For instance, probably one of the most successful British female stand up’s is Jo Brand (you may not agree but just bear with me a second). Can you honestly say that Jo Brand tries to appeal to men through her femininity – this may at first seem like a harsh thing to say but Jo herself has easily and often commented that she is not trying to represent what the western world calls beauty (whether that is ‘right’ is a completely different discussion). But this is exactly it. With self-deprecating humour she no longer becomes a target for hecklers but someone who is appreciated for the jokes she entertains us with.
It appears that women have to adopt male attributes in order to become ‘funny’. Joan Rivers’ material can be pretty crude and as result gets that label – yet being a fan of some
of Frankie Boyle’s work doesn’t make his female audience crude does it? I suppose my studies in sociology seem to have created a feminist argument – not one I have intentionally started! Trust me sociology is not a fun subject! But to summarise I guess what I am saying is that women can be funny look at Josie Long and Sarah Silverman. It just seems a shame that there is a trend for women to act more male to get a laugh. I’m waiting for those under the radar females to prove to us girls we’re just as funny.