On Tuesday, The Comedy Store is opening to do it’s first ever gig since Lockdown with a very special event, The Funny Women Awards 2020 Final. Since the 1st of April this years event has been running online with 320 entrants all competing to win in a place in the final that has seen comedians such as Katherine Ryan, Sara Pasco, Desiree Bunch, Sarah Millican and Kerry Godliman all make it and gone onto become household names. Over the next few days we have exclusive interviews with the finalists! This afternoon we speak to Fiona Ridgewell.
Hello Fiona tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am a single working class lady from Kent. I have been a bridesmaid 8 times, which suggests I’m popular but I think it’s because my friends don’t trust me enough to make me godmother to their children!
How did you get into comedy?
I have always performed, I trained in dance and musical theatre. I was always sitting at home waiting for auditions, then I found out in Comedy you can get on stage 5 nights a week and no one can stop you!
You are one of the finalists of The Funny Women Awards 2020! How did you react when you found out?
I rang my dad! He’s my number one fan, I would guesstimate he’s been to around 500 of my gigs.
Why is it important to have awards such as this one?
I think the Funny Women awards are particularly important because at the moment we’re outnumbered in the industry and this gives us a platform to showcase our talent.
You have the live final coming up – how are you feeling about it?
I’m really excited, gigs at the moment are few and far between so I enjoy every second on stage!
And it is in a venue! That must be exciting to be performing back on stage?
Being back ‘onstage’ is going to be brilliant especially since my last few gigs have been in torrential rain in random fields!
What one of your jokes are you most proud of?
I have a joke about being demisexual and I’m proud of it because it feels unique to me!
Who are your comedy heroes and why?
Kathy Burke, Sarah Millican, Ali Wong and Rob Beckett. I think all of these acts are honest and authentic, I could imagine having a pint with them down the local pub and it being a good night!
Tell us about the writing process for your shows – do you have any specific ways to motivate yourself?
My recent show was called Contender, it was nominated for Best debut show at Leicester Comedy Festival and I hope post corona I can take it to Edinburgh. I wrote all of that show from experience and went with my instincts. I think the key is to do the work but not overthink it, never try and guess what an audience might want to hear because you can’t please everyone!
With everything happening in the world this year have you been able to do any shows or content online?
This year I’ve performed at some of the strangest gigs to date, I’ve performed in car parks, in fields and at home online where my biggest worry is being heckled by my grandma!
What three things have you learnt about adapting to performing online?
Always have zoom set to gallery view! Other than that I think the tips are the same be yourself, enjoy it and if you don’t get a laugh always assume the WiFi cut out.
What are your plans for 2021?
Plan for 2021 is to get on the tele and build up a social media following so that if we go into lockdown again audiences won’t be able to get away from me this time!
If people want to find out more about you, where can they go on social media?
Finally in three words, why should you win the Award?
“Protect the nhs” I mean “control the virus” sorry it’s been a long 6 months, “because I’m funny?”