Welcome to the 2021 Funny Women Awards and it’s brilliant to be back at the Bloomsbury Theatre with a live show. Thank you for attending and for all the love and support you’ve shown us throughout the various lockdowns. One thing never changed which was our commitment to showcasing brilliant new female comedy in all its forms and we are proud to celebrate this with you this evening.
With sponsorship from our friends at Sky Studios and the support of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund and Arts Council England, we have been able to deliver our most accessible and biggest Awards ever in terms of entrants and engagement with performers, writers and creators from all over the world.
We’ve learnt a lot too and go into our 20th Anniversary year with a renewed commitment to increasing diversity and building a safe and nurturing creative space for all women. We are working with our new charity partner, TIMES UP UK, to stem the tide of abuse that continues to plague women in the world of entertainment and developing an extended outreach programme with our network of regional chapters in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia, the USA and Canada. I look forward to announcing our plans for 2022 very soon.
Over the last 18 months we’ve all been challenged and given that Funny Women is my life’s work, there have been times when the mountain has looked too big to climb. Fortunately, I don’t do this alone and everybody in the Funny Women Team has worked over and above the call of duty to make this year’s Awards extra special and bring them back to the stage as a live show. You know who you are so ‘thank you’.
Finally, congratulations to all the finalists across our five Awards. Getting to this stage is an amazing achievement and the journey doesn’t end here. Funny Women is an incubator of new talent and as we continue to collaborate with our extended community of promoters, producers and managers who help us to judge and define these Awards, we are committed to providing a platform for you to grow and thrive.
Enjoy your moment!
This is where the Funny Women Awards all began. Our original and longest standing award has grown from 70 entrants in 2003.
Many of our Awards alumni, winners and finalists are now household names including Zoe Lyons, Kerry Godliman, Sarah Millican, Bridget Christie, Susan Calman, Katherine Ryan, Sara Pascoe, London Hughes, Sindhu Vee, Jayde Adams and Desiree Burch.
They’ve set the benchmark for the future of female comedy incredibly high.
The Stage Award is open to all new acts with no or under five years of agency representation.
To enter this year’s Stage Award contestants submitted a 5-minute video of one single continuous performance. This did not need to be a professional standard video and could have been a home self-tape using a smartphone.
In our search for the ten 2021 Stage Award finalists, the Funny Women team and a select panel of industry judges scored 372 from around 20 different countries. there were, two preliminary rounds, thirteen live virtual heats and four live online semi-finals, and here we are today!
Hometown: Brooklyn NY (now based in Denmark).
Occupation: Parent to 2 kids and Summer Camp Director.
Comedy Heroes: Sam Jay, Julio Torres, Christie Chiello, Roz Chast, Maria Bamford, Gary Gulman.
Occupation: Comedian, Actor.
Comedy Heroes: Julia Walters, French and Saunders, Victoria Wood, Maria Bamford, Tina Fey and Ali Wong.
Hometown: Galway (Now London).
Comedy Heroes: The staff of Joyces hardware store, Sharon Horgan, Diane Morgan and Dylan Moran.
Occupation: Creative director in Advertising
Comedy Heroes: Iliza Shlesinger, Hannah Gadsby, Catherine Tate, French and Saunders, Joe Lycett, Dave Chapelle, Beau Burnham & Mr Bean.
Comedy Heroes: Maria Bamford, Eddie Izzard, Dylan Moran, Bridget Christie, Simon Amstell, Gina Yashere and the delightful sausage.
Hometown: Mexico City/Miami (Now based in Amsterdam).
Occupation: Teaching Comedy.
Comedy Heroes: Sarah Silverman, Maria Bamford, Beau Burnham.
Hometown: St. Helens.
Occupation: Communications and Content officer at the UK Video Game trade body.
Comedy Heroes: Dylan Moran, James Acaster, Shappi Khorsandi, Catherine Cohen and Ahir Shah.
Occupation: Theatre Maker.
Comedy Heroes: Victoria Wood, Mr Bean, Whoopi Goldberg, Eddie Murphy, French and Saunders, Vic and Bob, Ricky Gervais, Peter Kay, Ross Noble, Bill Bailey, Sean Lock, Lee Evans, Stewart Lee, Friends, Kerry Godliman and Romesh Ranganathan.
Occupation: Hospital/Clinical Pharmacist
Comedy Heroes: My Dad, Dave Chapelle.
Occupation: Secondary School Teacher.
Comedy Heroes: Gina Yashere, Rory Scovel, Andi Osho and Abbie Edwards.
2014 Funny Women Stage Award winner and proud Bristolian Jayde Adams is an uncut gem; a force of nature; dangerous and unafraid; the future.. it’s safe to say that when Dawn French says “Jayde Adams is the 3rd funniest woman in the world. Fact,” she might just be onto something.
Izzy is the 2020 Funny Women Stage Award winner. Izzy is signed with Dawn Sedgwick Management.
A grand total of 163 Shorts were entered into the Award this year, from which 25 made the longlist, 10 then made the shortlist, with the process culminating in deciding our brilliant Top 3. We were delighted that each of the videos in the Top 3 represented a variety of genres, styles and topics and have been so pleased that 2020 hasn’t dampened any creative spirit when it comes to creating new comedy shorts.
Each if the Top 3 will be played throughout the night.
Women writers have been turning the comedy world upside down with their innovative scripts lately.
We launched the Comedy Writing Award in 2011. The Award encourages women to develop their comedic skills in script format and our panel of carefully curated commissioners, agents, writers, performers and producers have selected the top three scripts from 235 entries, one of which will win tonight.
New for 2021 the heat Content Creator Award was entirely publicly nominated. We had a staggering 882910 votes cast for this award.
We were looking for new voices that might otherwise be overlooked by mainstream networks. Hidden Gems of comedy that you find on social media network and we found them in abundance. Here are our top 17 the voting was fierce and frenzied and tonight we will crown the first heat Content Creator.
Our industry nominated award created to recognise the women writers of television, radio and digital entertainment is nearing its conclusion. This award includes script writers, and those who write the all important unscripted, and often unseen, gag, sketch and additional material.
Through our involvement with Comedy 50:50, it became increasingly clear to us that whilst women comedians were beginning to get a much better deal on screen and on the airwaves, female comedy writers were still vastly outnumbered by their male counterparts.
The Funny Women Best Comedy Writer Award with Comedy 50:50 sought nominations from producers, head writers and executives of television and radio’s comedy shows through the months of August and September and the winner will be revealed tonight. A cash prize will be awarded to the writer with the most nominations.
Over 60 women writers have been nominated by a pool of industry professionals.
Our Top Three for the 2021 Funny Women Comedy Writer Award with Comedy 50:50 are:
TIME’S UP is an organisation that insists on safe, fair and dignified work for everyone. TIME’S UP UK exists so no one has to say #MeToo again. In response to the growing TIME’S UP movement in the US, a group of UK-based women: actors, activists, producers, writers and others from the film, TV and theatre industries catalysed a sister initiative in the UK. For maximum impact it is set up under the TIME’S UP brand and aims to amplify and reinforce the message already promoted in the US.
Advisory Board: Tracey Barr (chair), Ali Powell, Rachel Creeger, Deb Leary, Harriet Minter, Karen Rosie, Becky Singh, Sue Lister, Jo James, Hannah Steele, Jenny Bolt, Jo Fletcher-Cross, Misa Von Tunzelman.
Regional Producers: Rachel Barber, Louise Leigh, Justine Sless, Maisey Whipp, Beth Westbrooke, Gillian Graven, Roxy Jiminez, Louise O’Toole, Raven Lim, Robin Golinski, Mona Whitton.
Thanks to: Alice Heggie, Ciara Reidy, Debbie Charleston, Dame Heather Rabbatts, Rebecca Ladbury, Ade Rawcliffe, Russell Balkind, Millicent Binks, Ivy Paige, Zoe Paskett, Lucie Cave, Kay Ribiero, Carl Smith, Kerry Meakins, Sally-Anne Hunter, Mel Brown, Tom Brandt, Sarah Henley, Saskia Schuster, Emma Barnard, Nick Boocock, Alice Barnes, Rosie Wolfenden.
And thanks to everybody else who supported judged, promoted and presented at this year’s Awards: Amy Spinks, Amy Tokel, Amy Williams, Andrew Fletcher, Andrew Hide, Angela Ferreira, Angela Squire, Anil Gupta, Bruce Dessau, Carla McGilchrist, Christian Knowles, Daisy Francis, Dom Maxwell, Ed Chappel, EJ Penalba, Ellen Gallagher, Emily Gough, Emily O’Callaghan, Eugenio Perez, Farah Rocliffe, Fiona Allen, Flo Robertson, Gabrielle Jenkins, Gail McQuillan, Hannah Chambers, Harrison Feltham, Holly De Angelis, Ian Dulson, Jane Millichip, Janet Awe, Jarrod Ball, Jenny Ryan, Jessica Toomey, Jo Hunter, Joanna Duncombe, Jon Mountague, Juliet Darroch, Katie Churchill, Katy Atkinson, Lee Griffiths, Lucy Chesterman, Lucy McCarthy, Marco Di Pinto, Marina Kobler, Melissa Mensah, Michelle Diep, Michelle Welch, Mick Perrin, Morwenna Gordon, Natalie Wood, Nia O’Driscoll, Oliver Double, Olivia Lee, Philip Ilson, Richard McCann, Saima Ferdows, Sammy Nunn, Sharon Lougher, Sian Rowland, Sophie Quirk, Sukey Firth, Susie Hall, Tillusha Ghellani, Viki Sever, Vivienne Egan, Ysobella Lopuszansky, Zena Barrie
And everybody at BAFTA Nucleus, Bauer Media, the Bloomsbury Theatre, BeComedyUK, Impressive PR, Mick Perrin International, NextUp Comedy and Sky Studios.
If we’ve forgotten you, not intended! You’re still very special to us!
Thanks to our Patrons: Alexandra Mason, Ali Jay Lawrence, Alice Mary Cooper, Alison Palmer, Ann Hirst, Annie Maguire, Beau Holland, Carola Lange, Charlie Cook, Charlie Vero-Martin, Claire Pearce, Eleni Young, Elizabeth Mee, Gabrielle Jenkins, Harmony Hewlett, Jaye Nolan, Jennifer Benavidez, Jo Carnegie, John Simister, Lauren Allpress, Leanne Heath, Lily Maryon, Louisa Lockett, Michelle Brooks, Natalie Wood, Philippa Baines, Rachael Amazebury, Razan Abdelrazig, Roberto Tyley, Robin Golinski, Shardene , Teresa Bailey, Tracey Barr, Trio Watson, Victoria Nicholls, Vikki Llobera.
|Lucy Chesterman – Comedy Agent|
|Nosheen Iqbal – The Guardian|
|Sharon Lougher – Metro|
|Sukey Firth – BBC|
|Stephen Armstrong – Journalist|
|Bruce Dessau – Beyond The Joke|
|Tristam Fane Saunders – Telegraph|
|Steve Bennett – Chortle|
|Chris Lander – Comedy Agent|
|Nicole Muldowney – Sky Studios|
|Kate Copstick – Writer|
|Lee Griffiths – Soho Theatre|
|Morwenna Gordon – Expection|
|Nana Hughes – TV Producer|
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