“Wear that. It’s kooky and cute. That’s your thing.”
This was my first taste of feedback from a professional comedian before my first proper gig in London. In this moment, I realised I would rarely be judged equally beside my male counterparts. How silly I was thinking it should all be about the quality of my jokes! But there was no womb for sensitivity or ovary-action; if I wanted stage time it was made clear that this kind of mansplanation was part of the package. And so I began my journey into stand up comedy.
Whilst there are brilliant women slaying on the comedy scene in Reykjavík, like everywhere, we are few. When I ask myself why there aren’t more, I only have to remember all the times it was my appearance that was “complimented,” instead of my jokes. I’ve been told I have to work 20% harder because I own a vagina, and numerous guys have said to me “If you weren’t a lesbian I’d hit on you,” and much worse. But as a comedian—necessarily, with a certain degree of ego—the last thing you want to lose is the mic. So you put up with it.
This thing that I love is so often a bastion of misogyny, often under the guise of free-speech, that it is rendered an intimidating world to be situated within, both here in Iceland, and further afield. But as the scene begins to diversify in Reykjavík, I watch other comedians carve out new paths. The most beautiful thing about humour is that it’s a spectrum. Whilst I may be considered biologically unfunny by many, fortunately there are some who find my story about the time someone did a shit on my car quite amusing. Which is something of a relief.
Striking out on my own and running my own nights is terrifying. It means I have to work not just 20%, but 100% harder; but I’m doing comedy on my own “kooky” terms. So thank you Iceland for affording me the privilege of a platform—thank you from the bottom of my lovely-kooky-lady-ovaries.
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