This year has been pivotal in so many ways. We were excited about celebrating our 18th birthday and running our biggest and best Funny Women Awards ever! Yet, like so many people in the entertainment industry, COVID-19 has hit us hard. We’ve cancelled nearly 70 events and faced many challenges, the biggest being to run the 2020 Awards without the benefit of seeing the acts in live heats and semi-finals. But we’ve done it!
This is the 17th year we’ve run the Awards and the quality and breadth of comic talent hasn’t diminished. From our very first competition in 2003 with just 70 entrants for one award, getting 1,500 women engaged with five different Awards with their performances, scripts, short films and web series is a true measure of Funny Women’s importance and the resilience of women in comedy.
Funny Women is my life’s work but I can’t do this single-handed. Every one of us in the Funny Women team has made sacrifices to ensure this year’s Awards went ahead, in particular Becky Singh who’s pin-sharp direction has kept everything going even in the midst of a global epidemic.
Thank you for buying a ticket to watch our live stream, to the many industry judges who’ve supported throughout this process, and the acts themselves for taking part and getting this far.
Wordplay, as well as odd observations and surreal storytelling, which are all set to a charmingly uncomfortable rhythm.
As soon as anything amusing, embarrassing or weird happens to me, I write it down. If you go through the Notes app on my phone, all you’ll find is ideas for sets and other people’s wifi passwords.
‘I do stand-up about growing up as a bisexual half-Polish, half-Italian Aquarius. Even though that sounds very specific, I think my stand-up style is relatable and chatty
“Usually frustrated and dangerously aloof at the same time.”
My style is a bold and unapologetic mix of observational comedy and impressions. My set is reflective of my Salvadoran roots and growing up in a bicultural household in California
My comedy is low energy, deadpan and observational. It’s been described as anti-comedy.
I’m the sort of comedian who, when on stage, overshares and gossips about her friends, family and anyone I meet at a bus stop.
My comedy focuses on feminism. I say the word “abortion” a lot and share the wisdom that straight white men have imparted on me.
In March of 2020 Lynne asked if I thought I could keep the Awards running considering the almost certain challenges that lay ahead of us. The conversation was pretty short; if ever there was a time community was going to be needed in comedy, it was going to be this year. Moving a live stage competition from IRL to URL, whilst in the middle of a global pandemic certainly has been challenging but it forced us to refresh and update. It’s been great to use my broadcast and digital experience to orient ourselves towards the future; even finding benefits such as being able to work more closely with the Stage Award acts and the judges digitally. The finalists you are about to see (and the Ones To Watch) have faced unbelievable hurdles and steep learning curves to get to this real life stage and we couldn’t be prouder of them.
This is where the Funny Women Awards all began. Our original and longest standing award has grown from 70 entrants in 2003 to over 430 in 2019.
Many of our Awards alumni, winners and finalists are now household names including Zoe Lyons, Kerry Goldliman, 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 eight 2020 Stage Award finalists, the Funny Women team and a select panel of industry judges scored 320 submissions videos in multiple stages; two preliminary rounds, ten virtual heats rounds and two live online semi-finals, all during Lockdown!
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.
A regular on our screens, Jayde is the host of Channel 4’s brand new, high-concept food show Crazy Delicious, and the co-host of the channel’s culinary entertainment series Snackmasters, while she brought her cult live musical comedy show Amusical to the screen for the very first time for Comedy Central. We’re delighted to have her back to host!
Thank you to the Comedy Store London and the Groucho Club for hosting our (almost) live final broadcasts, to Tatty Devine for the amazing ‘funny woman’ prize necklaces for our winners, to Jon Mountague at Sky, Jane Millichip at Sky Studios for their kind support of the Stage Award and to our friends at Next Up (see their fantastic edit of The Stage Award Final 2019 here).
Special thanks go to Zena Barrie, Tracey Barr, Steve Bennett, Sir Gerald Pringle Taylor Singh, Professor Sue Black OBE, Sue Lister, Simon Mason, Saskia Schuster, Sammy Nunn, Saima Ferdows, Russell Balkind, Robbie Powell, Rob Aslett, Ricky Barber, Richard Lightman, Rachel Barber, Nicole Muldowney, Nana Hughes, Morwenna Gordon, Marina Kobler, Lee Griffiths, Kate Copstick, Karena Johnson, Julian Hall, John Simmit, Jessica Toomey, Jo Fletcher-Cross, Carlos Rodríguez Laiz, Jenny Bolt, Janet Awe, Iain Coyle, Holly D’angelis, Hannah Chambers, Emily O’Callaghan, Emily Kennedy Barnes, Emma Barnard, Ellen Frost, EJ Penalba, Athena Kugblenu, Angela Squire, Angela Ferreira, Andrew Fletcher, Alex Rochford, Adnan Ahmed & Claire Ackling.