Representing female experience in comedy
This panel focusses on how female comedians and writers use comedy to represent their experience and negotiate issues of autobiography, authenticity, genre, comedy and class. The presenters of this panel are Dr Glyn White, Lisa Moore, and Katrin Kugler, all from the University of Salford.
Representation of female experience in Fleabag (Dr Glyn White)
Senior Lecturer in Twentieth Century Literature and Culture, University of Salford
Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag (2016-2019) appears to approach the autobiographical by having the protagonist look and talk to camera. In its taboo-breaking honesty about contemporary metropolitan female sexuality it invites the viewer in ('You know when..' it begins) conspiratorially. In many ways it is parallel to Miranda Hart's sitcom Miranda (2009-2015) with its upper middle class unsuccessful small businesswoman protagonist talking to the audience, but it also sets itself up as an anti-Miranda; dramatic rather than cosy, raw rather than openly stagy, angst-ridden rather than awkward. Where Miranda closes each episode by acknowledging the cast Fleabag's second series scrutinises its own method: how does the camera look work? Why don't other characters notice? Is the intended recipient of the look the audience at all?
The unmuted women of stand-up comedy (Lisa Moore)
Lecturer in Performance, University of Salford
This paper discusses the emergence of a new and vibrant female comic voice in the UK. Referring in particular to comics Luisa Omielan and Tiff Stevenson the paper explores how these performers bring to the fore contemporary social, political and cultural issues through their female comedic voice(s).
Life-storying and the use of humour in autobiographical texts and performances by stand-up comedians: Sarah Millican – a case study (Katrin Kugler)
2nd year PhD student (English Literature), University of Salford
More and more popular stand-up comedians publish an autobiography after having completed several successful stand-up tours. In my PhD project, I am exploring the relationship between text and performance in autobiographical texts written by stand-up comedians. In particular, I am looking at the presentation of life-narratives and use of humour on stage and in books written by the comedians. By using the works of the British comedian Sarah Millican as an example, I will demonstrate how Millican’s life-stories are being told in the two different media, showcasing differences and similarities. On top of that, the use of humour will be illuminated in the context of literary voice and authenticity. To date, my findings show many parallels between the autobiographies written by stand-up comedians and their on-stage performances, and an interesting impact of humour on the reliability of the texts.