Louise Leigh on the Funny Women Awards and Bristol’s Comedy Scene

Louise Leigh and Funny Women South West attendees

The Funny Women Awards are where some of Britain’s best comics – some of them from the South West, of course – make their name.

Funny Women, the UK’s female comedy community, launched a South West chapter at the start of 2019, and it’s already nurtured some super-talented local acts based in and around Bristol. Louise Leigh was a regional finalist of the Funny Women Awards in 2017 and a regional semi-finalist in 2018. Now she runs the South West Chapter and hosts the regional heats of the 2019 awards (all this whilst preparing an hour-long show for the Brighton Fringe and Edinburgh Fringe – we can only assume sleep isn’t high on her list of priorities).

We caught up with Louise to talk about the awards, how Bristol supports women in comedy, and why her local pub’s comedy night is one of the best around.

The Kettle: Tell us a bit about the Funny Women Awards – what makes them so good?

Louise Leigh: The awards started in 2003 and there’s a sort of hall of fame of the finalists and winners – Desiree Burch, Kathryn Ryan, Jayde Adams, London Hughes, Suzy Bennett, Harriet Braine, and people like Susan Calman coming second. There’s also a One to Watch award, for up-and-coming comedians, and it’s great for their CV. Overall, I think there were about 400 entries this year.

It’s a great launch pad for new comedy.

Exactly – Kerry Godliman shared an article on Twitter recently on the best stand-up comedians to see live, and there were about five mentions of Funny Women. All competitions are subjective, but it’s basically asking if you’re marketable and if you’re different.

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Bristol’s comedy game show is back – This Next Act Presents: Is This Enough?

Bristol comedy panel show with James O'Donoghue, David Hoare, Richard James and Louise Leigh

If you’re a regular Kettle reader or Bristol comedy-goer (in which case, we love you), you’ve probably noticed This Next Act at the Kingsdown Vaults on the comedy calendar. This long-running night is normally hosted by Alex Kitson, but occasionally he ditches Bristol for exotic climes (or, erm, Leeds), and a crazy little show called Is This Enough? takes over. Cancel your plans for tomorrow night, because it’s back with a bang.

We grilled James O’Donoghue who, along with David Hoare, is the brains behind the show, on what happens when Bristol comedians and improv performers tackle some off-the-wall challenges. Ever wondered what happens when you try to sculpt Lionel Richie’s face using mashed potato? Then this is the show for you.

The Kettle: TL;DR for our busier readers – can you summarise the show in three words, if that’s even possible?

James O’Donoghue: What’s this then?

Intriguing. For anyone who hasn’t seen it before, what actually happens at Is This Enough?

Is This Enough is a show for idiots by idiots. It’s a game show with a twist – the twist is different each show, and the purpose is to be stupid.

This sounds great.

It’s all the most stupid ideas we’ve had, forced upon hard-working comics and improvisers. You’ll laugh; you won’t cry; it won’t change your life, but I love it.

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