“I don’t think a bill of straight white men is the most exciting offering.” | Christina O’Sullivan on feminism, clowning and the Funny Women 2020 finals

Tell us about you/your act.

My comedy tends to focus on feminism as I started doing comedy after I went home to Ireland to canvas for the abortion referendum. I wrote down a lot of what people said to me while canvassing and things just went from there.

What’s your favourite thing about working in comedy?

That feeling when an audience is really connecting to your material and getting to meet great people. 

What challenges have you faced working in comedy?

Balancing doing comedy with my day job as an environmental campaigner can be tough in terms of having enough time and getting enough sleep. Also ensuring that spaces are safe for female comedians. 

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

Taking more steps to ensure that you are providing a welcoming and safe space for performers and also creating more engaging and representative shows for your audience – I don’t think a bill of straight white men is the most exciting offering. 

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

Excited and a little nervous. 

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

I practiced with my friend who has done a lot of clowning and tried to get myself to focus more on what my face was doing in terms of expressions. I also added a couple of props. A nice thing was my friends from home could watch the semi final. 

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

I think it will make me consider how to best use whatever environment I am performing in and be more adaptable in general.  

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

I hope there will be a renewed appreciation for how nice it is to be in a room laughing in a group but on the flipside I think the pandemic has showed that we can make comedy more accessible to audiences by having live streams, etc. – not everyone lives near a comedy club or has the capacity to go to one.

What are your hopes for after the competition?

Just to continually improve and try different things. As Beckett said, ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better’.

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

I have been singing lots of Sondheim songs in my room, growing tomatoes, baking bread and making collages.

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

I would say just try it, it took me a really long time to get on stage and it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.

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

Book your ticket here.

You can keep up with Christina’s work by following her on Twitter.