A Nice Cuppa Rosie Heehee (Wilby)

How do you write a blog post about a BBWI meeting that was our very own comedy gig without feeling like it ought be a review or else giving away all her best material?!?

Here’s my attempt at neither of those things…

For our April meeting the Belles were lucky to convince Rosie Wilby to ditch date-night in favour of performing a comedy set with Q&A for us at Better Bankside (big thanks to Rosie’s partner for her goodwill and patience!).

Rosie is a comedian, musician, writer and broadcaster whose comedy set started life as the bits between songs as a soloist after her band went their separate ways – she felt being funny between songs balanced the sometime bleakness of performing alone. The seed of comedy was sown which she followed up with a place in the final of the 2006 Funny Women competition. This success led to gigs that paved the way to her first Edinburgh Fringe and the huge leap from ten minutes of material to an exhausting hour. She’s now done Edinburgh several times, toured those shows in clubs across the land, writes pieces for websites and national press, does a comedy podcast called Odd Ones Out, presents her own radio show on Resonance every Tuesday evening (Out in South London), oh and somehow has squeezed in the time to write a book that’s out this July (details below)!

So to the amusement… the Belles chuckled along to Rosie’s unique take on subject matter under the broad themes of love, relationships, sex and sexuality with personal highlights of stories describing a future world populated by giant lesbians and short gay men and revelling in old tech – why use a Kindle when the Bayeux Tapestry is just so good! We enjoyed Rosie’s expressive storytelling which can be seen in the rubbish photos I took from the front row – as a seasoned pro of the circuit, Rosie was very kind to perform on our modest ‘stage’ in fading evening light because we were so rapt nobody thought to switch the lights on and surrounded by all sorts of trip hazards!

At the end of the performance Rosie generously answered questions from the Belles about her experiences in comedy some of which are summarised below:

Q: Is the predominance of men on TV panel shows changing?

A: There’s a way to go as broadcasters have their female ‘quota’ to fill and tend to choose the same funny women time and again. The industry needs to see female comedians at all-female gigs to see them in their best light

Q: Is it necessary for female comedians to talk about stereotypically ‘female things’?

A: It’s important to find you own persona and voice. Male performers can sometimes predominately talk about ‘male things’ like wanking and shagging (soz) and people don’t tend to see that as the same thing

Q: What’s your favourite comedy night/gig?

A: Maureen Younger (MY Comedy) and Funny Women

Q: How thick-skinned do you have to be?

A: You do need to be thick-skinned and if you have lots of gigs at least you can write off bad experiences as a one-off and head towards your next gig as a new experience

Q: How do you find out if you’re funny or not?

A: There are Funny Women workshops monthly on the Embankment in London – they’re very friendly and lots of people use the night as a place to practice and try things out

Rosie was very, open, honest and encouraging and there may well be one or two Belles inspired and brave enough to start exercising their comedy muscles… watch this space!

To see Rosie in action soon do check out these gigs:

Femmes by the Thames (Breakup Stories), 11th May, The Bedford (Balham) – the “lesbian Eddie Izzard” (Rosie) will be hosting a night of relationship disaster stories

Femmes by the Thames (A Night of Reinvention) as part of the Wandsworth Fringe, 18th May, Battersea Barge – Rosie is also hosting this night of reclaiming identity by doing something completely different!

And lastly, her book is out on the 3rd July this year!