The Spotlight on … Felicity Ward

felicity_ward3Well, here’s a good thing – charismatic Melbourne stand-up Felicity Ward has upped sticks and moved to London to make you lot laugh for a living! Kicking off with a run of her brilliant show The Hedgehog Dilemma at the Soho Theatre (June 20-22). Here’s everything you need to know about Felicity …

Hello Felicity. Please introduce yourself to the London is Funny readers.
Hello London is Funny readers. I am Felicity Ward: owner of onesies, mother of no one, skin dry as baking paper, and voice like a banjo. And comedian.

Enchanté. Whereabouts in London are you AS WE SPEAK?
I am in a suburb that no Londoner has ever heard of, so I’ll just say Finsbury Park. Is that fancy? I have no idea. All I know is there’s a lot of cheap hummus here. Sign. Me. Up.

On behalf of the wider London comedy community, welcome! It’s wonderful to have you here. What made you decide to move over?
Firstly, thank you. I’m not sure you speak for everyone when you say it’s wonderful to have me here but thanks dude.

I came over to the UK because apparently you really embrace immigrants coming here and taking your jobs. Basically, I want to get better at this stand-up malarkey and the UK is probably the best circuit in the world.
Damn right it is. How have you found living in London so far? Some people can’t hack it. WEAK PEOPLE.
They are weak. They are weak and don’t deserve to live here! (Is that the right answer?) I came here for the first time 12 years ago and hated it. And then, with every visit, London has somehow eroded my resistance, like a pumice stone on a stubborn heel. Now I could not be more delighted to be living here. I’ve been beaming since I got off the plane! Thanks London.

How long have you been gigging for?
As a stand-up, I’ve been gigging for five years. As a sketch comedian, two years before that. As an actor, 15 years, all unpaid. I was also in a kid’s band called Babycino. I was the understudy for Babycino. Mamacino was white, Papacino was Carribean. The racial incongruity between me and “my parents” was never discussed in the group but I always sensed the toddlers’ discomfort when I was on stage.

Best and worst gig ever please.
Best gig – You can’t write about this and not sound like a douche. Last year I did my show at the Sydney Comedy Store. The audience laughed and clapped like they were going to die the next day. It seemed out of proportion. Mum, Dad, and sister were in the audience, so it’s just nice to have them see me do well. Like it hasn’t been a life wasted, I suppose.

Worst gig – (This is the most recent worst gig I can think of. There have been many.) It was last year hosting an outdoor “closing Olympic ceremony” gig in Edinburgh. It was raining, there were about 40 people there, in a space for 300. A hospital-sized screen next to the stage that was showing the final decathlon. They weren’t allowed to turn it off while we, the acts, were on stage. It felt like the audience channelled all their rage, because they couldn’t hear the screen, onto me as if I definitely had something to do with it. I think I actually said at one point, “I have to be here, so you may as well get used to it.” Yeah, that sounds like a comedy show doesn’t it?

What one thing about comedy do you wish people had told you before you started it?
That a lot of comedians suffer from anxiety disorders, but just don’t talk about it. I am one. It’s fully under control now, but about three years in, it came to a head and I thought I was the only one. Oh, and an Aussie comic gave me a very bit of simple advice: before you go on stage tell yourself that you are funny. Someone else told me that my job was to have fun. I think that’s a great way to look at it. That would have been helpful to know in the beginning.

What do your family think of your act?
The more they’re referred to the better. We’ve always torn shreds off each other, especially in the name of a laugh, so now every night is like the dinner table, except they don’t get the right of response.

What’s your favourite bit of your material at the moment?
Before I say, let’s specify that “favourite” is not the same as “best”. So if you don’t like this joke, remember there are plenty more that are a lot funnier in my show. It’s a silly joke that makes me happy when I say it, and I don’t know why.

I was in a spelling bee as a kid. I spelt the word “embarrassed” wrong. I became instantly embarrassed. I wish I’d spelt “wealthy” wrong. For obvious reasons, I’m glad I didn’t get the word “diarrhoea”. I mean, where does the “o” go?

(PS I had to spell check that to get it right. It obviously works better when spoken)
Who makes you laugh?
When I have my headphones on, secretly pretending I’m in a film clip, mouthing the words, and then just catch my shoe on the curb, and eat shit really hard. It’s a good leveller. Oh I just realised you said “who” not “what”.

Errr … Maria Bamford, Ross Noble, Daniel Kitson, Bridget Christie, my dad, Demetri Martin, Celia Pacquola, Sarah Millican, too many TOO MANY!

Do you have a secret talent?
My secret talent is: I can take a selfie of me, and others, and get everyone in shot without having to reverse the camera. I know; it’s surprising I haven’t been offered an OBE, but there’s still time.

If you were to appear on a chat show as a guest, what would be your walk-on music?
Probably DMX’s Party Up. It’s just a great tune.

Describe your dancing.
Furious. Committed. Hip heavy. Uninhibited. Occasionally injurious.

• Felicity performs her superb show The Hedgehog Dilemma at the Soho Theatre from June 20-22, click for details/booking, and she can otherwise be seen out and about on the circuit
Here’s a clip of Felicity …

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