This August I took two solos shows to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For those of you who don’t know, I am a comedian and writer and this is my second pilgrimage to this vast festival. Edinburgh Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world. Performers like myself take a whole month off and it is a gruelling month but often a rewarding one and worth the hard work.
However the real stand out achievement of this years Edinburgh, the absolute thrill, the cherry on the cake, the climatic peak of my career, was the privilege of being reviewed by Paul Whitelaw for The Scotsman. I am so proud to say he very kindly came to my little show and behalf of said publication, labeled me as an ‘unfunny self obsessed maniac’ and gave me a one star review. The professional thrill of this is beyond words. It’s like all my birthdays, Christmases have been rolled into one whilst sitting on David Gandy face sort of thrill! A career dream come true to have such a dedicated, insightful and professional review of me. That’s exactly right-the review was of me. Not my show. ME. He is so good at what he does is he focuses solely on the performer instead of a productive criticism of their work.
However as the fringe went on and arriving back in London, it turns out, there were five other lucky comedians who were reviewed by him too. AND just like me they were lucky enough to get six lines of critique, not about their shows, just them and receive one or two stars. Best of all, he so thoughtfully reminded us all that none of us are funny. By the way, did I mention we are all women? He’s so good at his job too that he only change one or line of each review and thank god because it’s what we really REALLY needed at such a crucial time in careers and during one of the most professionally trying months our careers. Did I mention we are all women?!
So in honour of this privilege we thought we would pop a night on in respect of his work and just remind ourselves how fortunate we are to be reviewed by such a man. OH DID I MENTION WE’RE ALL WOMEN?!!!!
If you hadn’t noticed I am being violently sarcastic. All the above is true and I suggest at this point, you take a break from reading this and go read the reviews on the Scotsman website. Jokes and piss taking aside, myself and the other comics targeted by Paul Whitelaw review style, decided to turn a negative experience into a positive. We wanted to make a stand against such poor journalism and encourage a better standard within the industry. More importantly we wanted younger generations of comics, especially women, going up to the fringe that should they get targeted like this, not to let the bastards grind you down. We saw the reviews for what they really are (dogshite) and encourage others to not take them personally as we initially did. So what have we done? Put on a night in honor of said reviews that consists of all said unfunny comedians and all proceeds go to the charity WomanKind. Every negative has a positive and for us we are privileged enough to be considered some of the un funniest women of the fringe and shall embrace it!
So when life throws you, jumped up journalist who can’t write decent reviews, say fuck those journalist and put on a night for charity.
Now that enough for me, I asked my fellow unfunny women to tell you why they wanted to put on this night…..
‘I wanted to do the night to show that we’re not intimidated or put-off by these sorts of dismissive, patronising reviews, and because it was a great excuse to get some very talented comedians together’
‘Smart, biting and funny’
**** The Wee Review
* The Scotsman
-I think it’s nice to put the weird energy you have from negative feedback into a positive night. That’s science.’- KAT BOND
‘Perceptive and consistently funny’
**** The Skinny
* The Scotsman
“At the Fringe, waiting for a review to be come out can be very stressful- even if the show went great, you never know what that particular reviewer is going to like. Unless it’s Paul Whitehouse, then all that worry goes out the window: you know he already hates everything about you, just by virtue of your gender. The only question is why did he agree to come to the show in the first place?” –CAROLINE MABEY
‘An absolute delight to watch. Fantastically ditzy and spectacularly absurd’
**** The Skinny
** The Scotsman
‘Bold and honest and exciting… an extremely talented musical comedian’
**** Edinburgh Festivals Magazine
** The Scotsman
(Not from Paul Whitelaw this time but from a woman who really, really hates funny women)
PLUS special guest reviewers Hayley and Ruth from Two Stars Podcast, @twostarspodcast
This is PWYC night and all proceeds go to the terrific charity Woman Kind @woman_kind
Womankind Worldwide is a global women’s rights organisation working in partnership with women’s movements to transform the lives of women and girls. We believe in the power of women to change their own lives and work to strengthen women’s movements with the tools and resources they need to change the everyday lives of women, in the home, the workplace and the community they live in. Together with local, national and international women’s movements, we are working towards…
· An end to all forms of violence against women and girls
· Women’s economic rights and control over resources
· Women’s equal influence in decision making and ability to exercise political power.