Comedy’s New Funny Lady
With news of a new female comic giving people belly aches, Hotminute’s Rachel took a trip to Kat Francois’ gig to find out whether she would suffer a similar fate!
A completely forward-thinking, non- chauvinistic male friend once said to me, with a fully serious expression on his face, “there isn’t a single comedienne in this country who is actually funny; women just aren’t as funny as men”. I was shocked to hear this, from someone like him in particular, and set about arguing with him that it’s just a matter of personal taste. Humour, like many things in life, is completely subjective, and there are plenty of successful comediennes from the UK. But I have come across this statement that women are by definition somehow lacking in a stand-up comedy gene, even from other women. This, coupled with the real shortage of Afro-Caribbean comedians in general on the mainstream comedy circuit, means that when a female comic like Kat Francois comes along, I stand up and pay full attention.
So I was excited and intrigued about seeing what Ms. Francois had to offer at her July show in Stratford, ‘Kat’s Got Your Tongue’, especially after seeing glimpses of her comedic style and writing abilities whilst at a live music event she was hosting recently.
“There isn’t a single comedienne in this country who is actually funny; women just aren’t as funny as men...”
The stage setting at the Theatre Royal Stratford was simple: a chair, dressing table, mirror and coat stand. Minimalist, yet all Kat needed to make her entrance as one of her best acts, ‘Grenadian Granny’, and then proceed to change back and forth between this, her ‘normal’ self (“regular Kat”) and a myriad of other characters with the help of just a few props – a Rasta headwrap here, a wig there!
Kat’s character performances were interchanged with her take on various topics. From young people receiving appropriate parenting and guidance whilst manoeuvring their way through the awkwardness of puberty, to her sister’s disability and Kat’s role as her main carer. Despite the seeming weightiness of these topics, Kat wasn’t afraid to take it there, effortlessly touching on the serious subject of the commitment and love involved in being a carer, whilst hilariously depicting the funnier moments within that context, such as being in the throes of passion only to be interrupted by visiting home-carers.
One of Kat’s undeniable strengths is that of her ability to perform and bring the topics she deftly writes about to life. It’s no mean feat commanding a whole stage show on your own, and for Kat to do so with such energy and comedic precision was really impressive.
‘Kat’s Got Your Tongue’ may not be to everyone’s taste, but the full house at the Theatre Royal absolutely loved every minute of it. So James, I still beg to differ: there are funny women! Go and see for yourself. Kat will be performing at Camden Fringe between Tuesday 23rd to Thursday 25th August. For further info please go to www.katfrancois.com.
Words: Rachel S.
Photography provided by Kat Francois