Fresh from recording her BBC Radio 4 series Deborah Frances-White presents an evening of live stand up comedy featuring material from her hit show How to Get Almost Anyone to Want to Sleep With You plus lots more brand new hilarious comedy developed for BBC Radio 4 and her upcoming Edinburgh Festival show. “Hilarious” The Guardian “Extraordinarily talented” Time Out.
Venue: Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BX
You’re a stand up comedian? That’s a fairly male dominated environment, right?
Yes, you read in the newspaper about once a week that women aren’t funny, you can let that get to you or you it can spur you on, because comedy is one place you can still feel like a suffragette in 2015.
Is it harder to get opportunities as a woman?
Yes, just this week a news story came out about a female comedian being dropped from the bill because a large party of punters wanted to book but said they didn’t like women and would only book if she were removed. The promoter decided that was reason enough and dropped her. What’s interesting is that he didn’t think it was a problem to tell her she was being discriminated against for being a woman, so she went on Twitter and shared it. It’s not uncommon. I’ve had an email saying, “We can’t consider anyone of the female persuasion.” But the more funny women keep doing it, do a great job and refuse to leave the scene, the more we’ll become part of the scene. There was a time when people refused to be seen by a female doctor. Now the medical profession is dominated by women. In ten years time, it’ll be totally different but only if we hang around!
How does comedy inform your work as a corporate speaker?
My signature seminar is called How to Be a Charismatic Woman in A Man’s World. It’s all about how to walk into a room and own it and how to be compelling to look at on stage or when you speak up in a meeting. I directly lift stuff I do when I do stand up to get the audience to want to look at me. An audience in a comedy club isn’t polite. They have to want to pay you attention. I love doing the seminars. It’s like doing stand up about something I really care about – getting women to step forward, without apology and be seen and heard.
How do you deal with hecklers?
Honestly, it can be fun. The audience love something spontaneous happening in the room. You’ve got to come back quickly and with confidence – but the main thing is to trust your instinct. You have to say the first thing that comes into your head. If you stand there and second guess yourself, someone else will chip in and then you’ve lost. I never like to put down an audience member. I play with them but I enjoy raising the status of my audience. I want them to feel better because they came out. If I have an interaction with anyone in my audience I want other people to think, “That looks like fun” not “Glad it’s not me.”
You did a show called How to Get Almost Anyone to Want to Sleep With You – any tricks you can share?
Yes – wear a hat. To find out why, come to the show on 16 February at Leicester Square Theatre, I’m including some highlights from the show – so you’ll get the main points. Enough to get you started.
You’ve just done a series for BBC Radio 4 – can you tell us about that?
It’s called Deborah Frances-White Rolls the Dice and it’s four stories about times in my life when I’ve taken a big risk – including finding my biological mother and leaving a cult. It’s been amazing to make and I can’t wait till it airs in April. There’ll be a couple of highlights from the series on February 16 too. As well as that there’ll be a lot of brand new material and stuff I’ve written for my upcoming Edinburgh show. Come – it’ll be the best show I do in 2015.
If you would like to come to the exclusive after-party, please email [email protected]