'I don’t really feel it’s about me, it’s about women – it’s about changing. You had better watch out, we’re taking over!’
Bridget Christie, female comedian
Edinburgh is alive with fringe fever and it’s contagious. With over 3100 shows offering a diverse range of performances at what is the biggest Fringe Festival yet, Scotland’s capital of culture is brimming with colour, creativity and laughter. From politically charged drama to laugh-a-minute comedy, awe-inspiring dance to literary treats at the International Book Festival – you won’t ever find yourself bored. But it’s the female comedy circuit that has seen the biggest, and arguably most exciting, growth this year – with a 62% surge in the number of female performers. Perhaps this is in part down to female comedian, Bridget Christie, winning the Fringe Comedy Awards last year with her controversial and hard-hittingly hilarious A Bic for Her. Christie was the third woman in the 33-year-old history of the awards to have won, and hopefully not the last. This year she’s back with her new, even funnier and just as unapologetically feminist show, An Ungrateful Woman, which has received raving reviews and has already sold out.
With more women breaking into the male-dominated world of comedy, not only does The Fringe offer a fantastic platform for female comedians to flaunt their comedic prowess, but they are also increasingly using their funniness as a powerful tool to explore important issues of the day – be it rape-joke culture, female body image or everyday sexism. But this is just the beginning: female comedians still only account for less than a fifth of all comedy shows at the Fringe, and it’s surely not simply because men are five times as funny. So, if you are lucky enough to be in Edinburgh right now, make sure to go along and support this encouraging display of feisty female funniness. And so you can do exactly that, we’ve cherry-picked the very best female comedians that this year’s fringe has to offer.
Carly Smallman: Made in Penge
Where Laughing Horse @ The Counting House (Venue 170)
When 5:30pm Aug 12-17, 19-24
Why In defiance of those who called her a ‘fat whale’ and ‘Miss Piggy’, Carly Smallman is back to offer a witty fingers-up to the cyber bullies who launched a vicious viral campaign of abuse after she appeared on the ITV2 series, Viral Tap. Although Smallman was deeply disturbed and hurt by the, at times threatening, influx of hatred directed at her for merely being a female comedian who was size 16-18, she is determined to not let them win. This show tackles the ever-increasing issue of online abuse, female body image and the struggle for gender equality – in a way that is funny, intelligent and spot-on.
Sara Vs History
Where Assembly George Square Studios (Venue 17)
When 8:15pm, Aug 12-25
Why Over the past few years Sara Pascoe has been winning audiences over with her engaging mix of the personal and the political, of the philosophical and the silly. In her new show she does exactly this all the while being both thought provoking and entertaining, with a healthy dose of self-deprecation to make her all the more likable. Her style of almost thinking-out loud allows her to explore serious and relevant issues, be it female sexuality, the ‘page three debate’ and the sexism of Robin Thicke, in a way that never feels contrived or heavy, but rather like an intelligent rant framed by her own experiences, often sexual.