When Lynne Parker asked a misogynist comedy promoter why he never booked any women he told her that ‘women aren’t funny’ and ‘there are no funny women’. Her knee jerk reaction was to prove him wrong and, over 20 years later, the rest is history. Lynne is now an award-winning producer best known as the founder of Funny Women.
Lynne created Funny Women in 2002, when she was 46, and it is now a leading comedy community, empowering women to find their voice through performing, writing and creating narratives through humour. Now at 65, Lynne is as about as far away from slowing down as the many women she supports on their journey into the competitive world of entertainment and comedy. She describes Funny Women as her ‘life’s work’ with the acclaimed annual awards at the heart of a continually growing creative community.
The Funny Women Awards have run since 2003 and despite the repeated disruption of venue closures and lockdowns due to COVID in 2020 and 2021, everything continued with support from the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund and Arts Council England. The Awards went online in 2020 accepting submissions and registrations via the website, and moved to digitized presentations on social media platforms. The grand finals still took place – ‘behind closed doors’ and streamed live from the world-famous Comedy Store London in 2020 and back on stage in 2021 to a sold out audience at the Bloomsbury Theatre in central London. Plans are afoot for a big 20th anniversary celebration later this year.
The Funny Women Awards has been a showcase for many now ‘household names’ at the very beginning of their comedy careers including Katherine Ryan, Sara Pascoe, Zoe Lyons, Susan Calman, Sarah Millican, Bridget Christie, Kerry Goldliman, London Hughes, Rachel Parris, Jayde Adams, Desiree Burch and many more who’ve become well known as performers, writers and broadcasters.
In addition to producing comedy events and workshops all over the UK and at international arts festivals like the Edinburgh Fringe, Lynne is a renowned performance coach who uses her knowledge and experience from working in comedy to encourage people in business and public life to ‘Stand Up to Stand Out’. Using techniques based on comedy she now leads a team of experts to deliver workshops and events in the workplace under Funny Women’s ‘sister’ HERlarious brand to improve self-confidence, develop presentation skills and build teams.
Lynne believes that humour is both ageless and central to women’s lives. It is an important coping mechanism and women use it intuitively from soothing their children to mediating relationships the workplace. It’s a powerful way of communicating within the community, a process reflected by female stand up comedians of all ages.
Lynne discusses this and more in her own podcast series, ‘How to Have Fun at Work’ where she talks to guests from her two very different worlds of business and comedy covering topics as diverse as authority and resilience, to menopause and motherhood.
Lynne originally trained as a journalist and worked in public relations and marketing before she had the opportunity to follow her passion for giving women their voice. She recognizes that female humour is the vehicle by which we can open up the conversation about women’s lives today and that the possibilities are endless, regardless of age.
Lynne’s work has changed the face of comedy by empowering many women to find their true voice.
Read more from Lynne and 20 years of Funny Women in this latest interview https://www.shots.net/news/view/weird-seance-summons-lynne-parker