“I’m mostly just frustrated with banal things that don’t matter.” | Mary O’Connell on represenation, Zoom gigs and the Funny Women 2020 finals

Tell us about you/your act.

I’m mostly just frustrated with banal things that don’t matter.

What’s your favourite thing about working in comedy?

Trying out a joke for the first time and it working.

What challenges have you faced working in comedy?

Being a woman, you have to prove yourself a bit more, you have to be funnier than the men to be thought of as being just as good. Being a woman of colour you have to navigate a circuit that will only aim for ‘one diverse person’ on a lineup, if that. And then having to be a representative when you’re put on that lineup.

How do you think that comedy as an industry can better address these issues?

More representation, promoters, TV and talent industry need to actively look for for diverse performers.

How do you feel reaching the final of the Funny Women Awards 2020?

It’s a real nice thing to have come out of lockdown.

How has COVID and the restrictions on live performance affected your approach to this competition?

I think it’s helped me loosen up a bit. Obviously in a competition you try your hardest, but also have to laugh at yourself as well because you can literally see yourself performing over Zoom.

Has doing this competition in the current circumstances changed how you’ll approach comedy when things go back to normal?

I really enjoyed the semi final Zoom gig. I don’t usually like Zoom gigs, but in the current climate, I think they’re worth getting good at.

How do you think comedy in general is likely to be different post-pandemic?

I think people will produce more online content, whether it’s Zoom gigs or videos for social media.

What are your hopes for after the competition?

I’d like to get used to gigging again – if it’s possible – and just write a bunch of material.

Aside from the competition, what else have you been up to over lockdown?

I did couch to 5K which I’m super proud of.

Do you have any advice for other women looking to get into comedy?

It’s hard work, it’s important to remember to enjoy it, because you definitely won’t always enjoy it.

Mary is performing at the Funny Women 2020 finals on Tuesday 22nd September 2020.

Book your ticket here.

You can keep up with her work by following her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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