Sally-Anne Hayward loves being asked what it’s like to be a woman in comedy. Really. Loves it. So go ahead and ask her. Just don’t forget to duck before the punchline.
There is a lot of talk about “women in comedy” (which should be said in a slightly whiny voice). A lot of radio interviews with women in comedy ask women about comedy and what it’s like to be a “woman in comedy” from a woman’s point of view. Generally the women answering are women who quite like the idea of women expressing themselves through the medium of comedy.
I was asked to contribute to one, but I was on my way back from a gig. I was getting a lift and the person driving spent the whole journey telling me about the speed dating evenings he had been on. He had only met accountants and lawyers and, “To be honest with you I have a very high sex drive and I am very visual – I don’t fancy women like lawyers and accountants.” So to summarise; he is saying that all women who have worked hard on their careers have really let themselves go.
He was also the promoter of the gig, and it was more than once that he told me about his high sex drive.
I was asked to contribute to another one, but I was busy answering an email from a female promoter who wanted to book me for way below the going rate (“We aren’t making a lot of money out of this – we are barely covering our costs – you understand, don’t you Sally…?”). She also wanted me to pick up another act from Ross-on-Wye en route and then the two of us could stay the night on the floor of her bedroom. But she is putting on an all-female bill that is helping women in comedy. Hopefully you’ll have worked out whether I did the gig or not.
I was asked to contribute to yet another one, but I was stuck on the M25 as my car had broken down. I was eventually towed back, arriving home at 5am. During the four-hour drive the recovery man wanted to play “guess how old we are”. I was trying to sleep. It was 4am. We had already discussed each member of his wife’s family and their prison terms. Eventually I guessed his age at 55 – I was trying to flatter him. He guessed mine at 28. I said, “That’ll do,” and tried to get back off to sleep. When we reached my home, he switched on the interior light and said, “No, you’re older than that aren’t you?”
So in answer to the question, “What is it like for women in comedy?”
THAT IS WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE A WOMAN IN FUCKING COMEDY.
PS: I wrote this on a rare Saturday night in. I had taken the weekend off. I didn’t have any friends to go out with because I don’t have any left due to always working on a Saturday night.
AGAIN, THAT IS WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE A WOMAN IN COMEDY.