“Hopefully the nervous energy will make me a better performer.” | Izzy Askwith talks deadpan comedy, bringer gigs and the 2020 Funny Women finals

Tell us about you/your act.

I’m a production assistant from Banbury and I started stand up last year. My act is pretty low energy, awkward and deadpan and might be a character act, but it’s not a huge stretch for me to be honest.

What’s your favourite thing about working in comedy?

Getting to watch people be funny all the time.

What challenges have you faced working in comedy?

I’m still pretty new so I guess it’s just balancing late nights at gigs with a full time job, and also finding willing friends to be my bringer. 

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

Well my particular challenges feel like my problem rather than the responsibility of the comedy industry, but I wouldn’t say no to general support.

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

Very confused, but excited to be a part of it. Which, to be fair, is how I feel most of the time. But this is better.

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

I’m feeling more unprepared than I’d like to be – I’ve only managed to schedule one proper gig before the final, but hopefully the nervous energy will make me a better performer. It’s not happened before, but there’s a first time for everything.

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

I’ll be much more grateful for stage time in the future! Not that I wasn’t before, but I’ll definitely think about it more.

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

I’m not sure – I’m assuming it’ll be a while before things get back to normal, but I hope it means people are more interested in going to see live comedy and other live events rather than less interested? And I guess there’ll be more hand sanitiser about.

What are your hopes for after the competition?

Hopefully more opportunities for gigs, please book me.

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

I’m working full time and living with my parents, so not much! I can’t remember what I used to do with my free time before comedy, I’m starting to think maybe I’ve never had any other interests before but that seems weird…

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

It’s not detailed advice, but I would say just do it – once you’ve got the first gig out of the way it gets a lot easier! And then you get to have people tell you how brave you are all the time, which is something I really appreciate, as a coward.

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

Book your ticket here.

You can keep up with Izzy’s work by following her on Twitter and YouTube.

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