Saturday, 15 September 2012

Open mic comedians - where are they now? The girls

Diary of a stand-up comedian Entry #55
Yesterday I posted on the two-year anniversary of the day I first ever took to the stand-up comedy stage. After that little trip down memory lane, I started to wonder about all funny people I had met along the way and what might have happened to them.

Well, the internet is a  wonderful tool and here is what I found out about the girls who I used to see on the open mic stand-up comedy circuit (click here for the boys).

Stand-up comedian Gemma Beagley
The girl who got me into comedy: Gemma Beagley
Gemma Beagley was one of the main reasons I decided to give stand-up comedy a go. I had actually known Gemma since we were at school, and she had been performing stand-up comedy for about a 18 months before I first gave it a go. "It is the best hobby in the world," were Gemma's exact words when I asked her what stand-up comedy was like, and that was enough to convince me to get up on that stage and die a slow and painful death...!

I'm pleased to report that Gemma is still going strong. She still hosts Comedy Virgins at the Cavendish Arms in Stockwell, and over the last 12 months she has been in the final of Funny's Funny Female Comedian of the Year, as well as a show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she blogged about her experiences.

Up-and-coming comedy star Harriet Kemsley, stand-up comedy,The shy, but very funny girl: Harriet Kemsley
Harriet Kemsley is fast on her way to becoming a very big name on the comedy circuit. I was lucky enough to see Harriet a few times on the open mic scene. At a Comedy Bin gig at The Carnivale in Whitechapel, I had a chat with her, and couldn't believe how this shy and softly spoken person could be so outrageously funny. In her first year of comedy she was crowned Funny's Funny Female Comedian of the Year 2011, as well as picking up the Up The Creek One To Watch 2011 gong and was a finalist in the Reading New Act of the Year.

And 2012 has been just as good as Harriet was the winner of the Bath New Act of the Year, Brighton New Act of the Year, and was a finalist in the Laughing Horse New Act of the Year. The praise and plaudits have come from the likes of Chortle and talent agency Sternberg Clarke, with comedian Rhod Gilbert naming her as one of his top ten comics to see in 2012. She is now writing and working on a pilot for the BBC - watch this space!

Naomi Hefter, open mic comedy, stand-up comedy, comedian, Loaded magazine, lads mag, glamour model,
The lads mag model: Naomi Hefter
I only met Naomi a couple of times, but she was certainly not the type of girl you failed to notice, especially when she wandered into a dingy open mic comedy venue in her stiletto's and that long mane of blonde hair. She was also pretty easy on the eye it has to be said, which she has certainly played to her advantage having done a photo shoot for lads mag Loaded earlier in the year. And that's not it -Naomi has been a busy girl this year. She went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and put on a show with her comedy partner Catherine Povinelli (who I never met), has been blogging on the Huffington Post, and has also got a TV presenting gig.

On the comedy circuit, Naomi made it through to the final of Jongleurs Comic Idol 2012, which got her exposure in The Sun newspaper, which is further proof that the Hungarian is on track to become a comedy star.

Michelle de Swarte (right) with her Fashion Show co-hosts Abbey Clancy and George Lamb
The catwalk model and TV presenter: Michelle de Swarte
Feisty, fierce, and feckin' beautiful! Unknown to me at the time when I first met Michelle at an East Meets Jest comedy gig in Covent Garden was that she was already carving out a TV career for herself, having presented The Fasion Show in 2008 alongside George Lamb and Abbey Clancy.

In 2011, she co-created and hosted E4’s satirical celeb roast Dirty Digest, and then presented for eight hours straight alongside Tom Deacon when the BBC filmed the UK’s first ever 24-hour panel show for Comic Relief entitled Panel People, hosted by David Walliams, and was streamed live around the world. More recently she has been working alongside Jake Humpheries on the BBC3 current affairs debate show Free Speech. This year Michelle made her debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Stand-up comedian Hannah Deasy
The Essex Girl: Hannah Deasy
Okay, okay - before you say anything, I know you might be noticing something of a pattern here with the girls I am choosing, but I can assure you I am picking these girls based on my ears, rather than any of the other senses that might be going through your filthy minds! I saw Hannah perform open mic comedy lots of times, but perhaps the funniest was when I saw her take to the stage at The Railway after a pretty heavy drinking session, and she brought the house down. Granted, then I think she fell down flat on her face, but she got the job done first!

Perhaps her Bowled Over comedy CV describes her best: "Often seen clutching a pint in one hand and a mic in the other, this is when she is at her most dangerous, and should not be approached." Hannah has been busy working with comedy partner Michael Kossew, and has also taken a couple of shows to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, including Gagstronomic! with Mark Jeary and Gemma Beagley.

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