Welcome to the first blog post for the Deli Comedy Club! 

Hi, I'm Malachy and I will be looking after you for the duration of this blog post so please make yourself comfortable, kick back and give me a shout if you need a drink or a packet of Hula Hoops. At Theatre Deli, I programme comedy nights for the Deli Comedy Club with the aim of bringing fresh line-ups to a circuit that certainly needs a hard shove in the direction of inclusivity and wider representation of female, LGBTQ+ and BAME artists. 

This week, we have our third comedy night in celebration of International Women's Day with an incredible line-up of female comedians (tickets available here). I got in touch with the artists, as well as others from our previous comedy nights, and asked them to write a small paragraph on their personal experiences of being a woman in comedy.

Here are their responses:

Romina Puma

I have been doing comedy for nearly ten years, starting in Italy and for the last five years here in Britain. In my own experience in both countries, what I have witnessed is that when you are at an open mic circuit level, there's not much of a problem getting spots. The problem comes when you start to go on a higher level where there is more competition and in my case I am not only a woman, but also foreigner and disabled and most clubs don't really want to have too many women on the bill who all talk about vagina or in my case also about disability and being Italian. Which by the way it isn't my case. Obviously I mention those things but only to justify my wheelchair / stick and my accent so that the audience can relax and actually listen to what I am saying.

Emily Ferrier

Being new to comedy, I have found for the most part, bookers, comedians and audiences have been very welcoming and warm to female acts. But there are a few instances where that has not been the case. The worst instance was at an open mic gig- my fifth to be exact, the MC claimed not to be a feminist, said to the audience “women just aren’t as funny as men” all before I went on. Luckily, the audience was smashing and did not have any of it and gave me lots of support during my set. The dream is for things like these to stop happening, but I’m hopeful we are heading in the right direction, the good outweighs the bad. We still have work to do - but I’m prepared to do it!

Jo Fletcher-Cross

I've been gigging for three years or so now, and I've been fairly fortunate to not run into too much blatant or obvious sexism. But it is definitely out there and it's always a bit of a shock to run into it - in my day job if anyone dared say "I don't think women are as good as men at this" I'd haul them over the coals. It's a bit tedious to endlessly be the one woman on a list of blokes at a comedy club, and I can't say I've seen much change in that but there are so many amazing women out there in comedy that I think a change is coming. I hope so, anyway. I could do without any more incidents like the time I schlepped up to the Black Country for a spot, only to have the MC say "and after the break - a split arse. Oops, no, we can't say that any more. I mean, a lovely lady." Though to be fair, on the same night a guy told me how sad he was that he couldn't wear his 'comedy Nazi uniform' any more on stage because of PC gone mad, so maybe that's a gig best avoided anyway. 

Sarah Bennetto

Sarah's response to this question was slightly different, insofar as it being a response to the asking of such a question, and quite rightly so. To demonstrate her point, Sarah quoted comedian Bec Hill's viral tweet:

Why is this a question that is so often asked? Does it help to illustrate the issues within the industry or does it just perpetuate the mindset that female comedians somehow differ from their male counterparts?

Come along TONIGHT to the Deli Comedy Club to see these guys in action, tickets available HERE!