The Funny Women Awards were created in 2003, and have been an aspiring platform for so many talented female performers, writers, creators and short film makers. The Awards are at the core of Funny Women where their mission is to encourage women to have a stronger, funnier and memorable voice across media, business and beyond. Two of last year’s finalists were Scottish women, Megan Shandley (MS) and Susan Riddell (SR), who spoke with The Fountain about the importance of this award and Scotland’s comedy scene.

TF: What are the Funny Women Awards? 

MS: I heard about the Awards when I had just started doing stand-up in London. Funny Women have such a prestigious list of Alumni and I’d always hoped to make the Grand Final one day!

TF: And you were one of the finalists last year, that’s pretty exciting? 

SR: It was a really good experience! Everyone was so good on the night and it was a buzz to play a big theatre room.

MS: It was – I couldn’t believe it when Lynne [Parker, founder of Funny Women] called me and told me I would be taking part!

TF: And as a previous finalist why would you advocate that other Scottish females put themselves up for these awards? 

MS: There is such a thriving comedy scene here in Scotland, with new clubs opening all the time, plus the launch of the new BBC Scotland channel – now is definitely the time to be a funny Scottish lady! Funny Women have always been so supportive of me and are always keen to hear about what I’ve been up to and help in any way they can. I’ve also met friends and seen some of my good pals on the circuit come through the Awards, and it’s lovely to see them do so well and to have shared similar experiences being part of the Funny Women community – it’s a brilliant support network. Being part of the Awards was a great experience and I recommend it to anybody – you’ll have a blast! 

SR: I just think it’s a good way to get noticed. There’s so many funny lassies in Scotland, on and off the comedy circuit. The more the merrier! 

TF: Why is it that you feel that these awards are required? 

Susan Riddell

SR: Things are getting better in the industry and on the circuit but it’s still not the norm to have more females on the line up than males without people batting an eyelid.

MS: I think comedy has been heavily male dominated for a really long time, and it was harder for woman to get the gigs and establish themselves in the same way that men could. There has been a massive shift in recent years, and rightly so, with comics like Katherine Ryan and Sara Pascoe (but the list is endless) absolutely blowing up! Funny Women is a great platform for women to show how funny they can be and I think that’s incredibly important, in terms of building both craft and confidence. 

TF: What are you, yourself presently working on, you have some project or other up your sleeves?

MS: I’m currently working on my first solo Edinburgh Fringe show! It’s called Megazoid and will be on at the Nightcap bar on York Place for the whole of August at 8.30pm. It’s about keeping connections in the modern world, and there will probably be a Leonardo DiCaprio joke in there too. I watched Titanic again the other day; is there anything better than Leo D circa 1997? I THINK NOT.

SR: Yes, I’m doing my debut show at the Edinburgh Fringe this year called Duvet Day at Monkey Barrel. I’m also working a couple of scripts with the BBC and I’m part of a sketch show that’s just been commissioned by BBC Scotland called the State of It. Also, just hosted The Comedy Underground, which has also just been given ten episodes at BBC Scotland. Loads of stuff! It’s been great!

Megan Shandley’s show Megazoid is at Nightcap during August at 8:30pm, and Duvet Day is at Monkey Barrel 5 from 2nd until 25th August at 7:15pm