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 morning we speak to Izzy Askwith.
Hello Izzy tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m a production assistant from Banbury – I did stage management at uni, so didn’t have any plans to end up performing, but here we are.
How did you get into comedy?
My work sent me on a stand up course to help me with my confidence and it sort of worked in that respect, but mainly I realised how much I loved stand up and just kept going with it.
You are one of the finalists of The Funny Women Awards 2020! How did you react when you found out?
Genuine surprise – everyone did so well in the semi finals. I know it’s cliché to say it, but I never thought I’d get through.
Why is it important to have awards such as this one?
It’s a really good chance for gaining exposure at a time when things have quietened down a lot, and a great opportunity to meet really talented comics. It’s also so exciting to be involved in something that so many people I look up to have taken part in in previous years.
You have the live final coming up – how are you feeling about it?
Honestly I’m so excited to be able to perform with people in the room again, I’m not freaking out yet. But that will definitely change closer to the time, and I’ll read this back and think “You’re a stupid idiot, me.”.
And it is in a venue! That must be exciting to be performing back on stage?
Yes! I’m worried I’ve forgotten how to use a mic, but if I’m honest with myself, I was never that good at that anyway. I’m pretty pumped for there to be proper lights as well.
What one of your jokes are you most proud of?
It changes a lot – usually whichever one gets the least pity from the audience.
Who are your comedy heroes and why?
Sara Pascoe, because I’m obsessed with her (but in a very cool and normal way) and think she’s a genius and really, really funny. Nate Bargatze, because everything he says is hilarious to me. And Mr Blobby, because I like his vibe.
Tell us about the writing process for your shows – do you have any specific ways to motivate yourself?
Normally I just motivate myself by giving myself a deadline for when I’m going to perform new stuff. Obviously, that hasn’t been an option with no gigs available, so I’ve been writing with other comics and I’ve been motivated by shame instead – I don’t want to be the only one that isn’t writing new material.
With everything happening in the world this year have you been able to do any shows or content online?
The semi-final was my first proper online gig! I’ve found it quite hard to be creative these past few months, and have been mainly having to focus on staying calm, but I’ve been doing a lot of online writing sessions which have really helped.
What three things have you learnt about adapting to performing online?
Point some lights at your face, don’t let anyone in your household stream when you’re performing, and stand up to help yourself get in the zone. Seems like a bad idea to take any advice from a person who’s only done one zoom gig though.
What are your plans for 2021?
I just want to gig regularly again, and maybe at some point get proper headshots done so I don’t have to use my picture of me eating beans anymore.
If people want to find out more about you, where can they go on social media?
@izzyaskwith on instagram and twitter, although all they’ll find out is I’m not good at social media. But one day I might figure it out…
Finally in three words, why should you win the Award?
Honestly, great question.