Comedy nights

Q&A: Caroline Hardie, Boom Jennies on Bring It Home Comedy night


May 18th is an important date. Not only is it three days after my birthday, it is also my dad’s birthday and four days before the birthday of both Morrissey and my first girlfriend.

But a new event has come to town to top them all – the Bring It Home comedy night at the Union Chapel!

For it is not just any old comedy (store, cafe etc) night, but it is an awesome all-female (Roisin Conaty, Aisling Bea, Cariad Lloyd, Mae Martin, Holly Burn, Grainne Maguire and more!) line-up to raise money for two very worthy charities working in female homelessness: St Mungo’s and Margins.

We spoke to three of its organisers and performers, Caroline Hardie (of Thomas Hardie) and Lizzie Bates and Anna Emerson of the Boom Jennies.

Hallo Caroline, Anna and Lizzie. How are you?

Caroline Hardie: Very well, thank you!

Lizzie Bates: Quite well, thank you.

Anna Emerson: Mediocre, thank you.

This Union Chapel gig looks pretty great. What’s it all about?

CH: We’re bringing together an unprecedentedly awesome line-up of female stand-up sketch and character comedians for one big night of comedy at one of the most exciting venues in London.

AE: And the money we raise will help homeless women in London through St Mungo’s and the Margins Project.

LB: It’s going to be amazing, we can’t wait!

It’s a very strong all-female line-up covering different all different styles of performance. Why are women so great at comedy?

LB: Obviously both women and men can be brilliantly funny, but there haven’t always been so many women on the circuit. We really wanted to celebrate how many excellent ladies there are doing amazing, innovative and wonderful things at the moment.

CH: Yep, we’ve got some of the top emerging stand-ups Roisin Conaty, Aisling Bea, Mae Martin and Grainne Maguire, character comedians like the amazing Cariad Lloyd and brilliant Gemma Whelan, sketch acts like Trodd en Bratt, Birthday Girls, Margaret  Cabourn-Smith and Zoe Gardner, and Holly Burn, whose material is extraordinary and original (It really is – Ed).

AE: And it’s all being held together by the brilliant Alison Thea-Skot and her house band. She has literally the most incredible vocal skills you’ve ever heard. It’s going to leave a lot of people in shock.

CH: Good shock.

St Mungo’s and the Margins Project seem like very good charities. How did you get involved and how do we find out more?

CH: Yes they are both ace. When we started planning the gig it was January, in the middle of one of the coldest winters in 100 years, so it felt like an important cause to back.

LB: St Mungo’s runs a project called Rebuilding Shattered Lives, which specifically deals with female homelessness. People don’t tend to think about it, but women living on the streets face lots of different issues to men, and homeless services aren’t always to provide specialist services, so what St Mungo’s is doing is really important.

AE: And the Margins Project is run by the Union Chapel to support homeless people in the local area. They’ve been really supportive of the gig and we really want to raise lots of cash for our hosts.

CH: We would really, really like to sell every ticket. If we do, we could raise more than £12,000.

Are you excited to gig in a chapel? Where’s the most interesting place you’ve performed?

CH: Very excited! It’s the most fantastic space and so many good gigs have taken place there. Thank you church/comedy/music architects of the late Victorian era – you knew what were you doing!

AE: We once did a gig at a heavy metal club in Croydon. I think they’d got the dates muddled up and all these angry, leather-clad teenagers with facial piercings turned up expecting a thrash metal night, only to find us dicking about on stage pretending to be gardeners.

LB: A career low point.

AE: Or an interesting meeting of fascinatingly diverse art forms.

LB: Or a career low point.

What else are Thomas Hardie and the Boom Jennies up to?

CH: It’s just plain old Caroline Hardie at the mo – Joy (Thomas) has had a baby and won’t be back in action until her daughter says she’s funny enough. I’m taking a show up to Edinburgh called ‘Does my face look big in this?’ with the Underbelly, directed by Thom Tuck. I’ve got lots of previews over the next few months so do pop along. 

AE: And we’re working on getting some of our stuff filmed and working on the follow up to our Radio 4 series, Mission Improbable.

LB: We’re taking a year off from doing the Edinburgh Fringe this summer for the first time in six years. I intend to sleep a lot and remember what it’s like to see the sun again.

AE: And I intend to bring the essence of the Edinburgh Fringe to London by surrounding myself with haggis, rain and debt.

Bring It Home is happening on Saturday May 18th at the Union Chapel. Nearest station is Highbury and Islington. 
Doors are 6.30pm.

Full line-up and tickets on Bring It Home Comedy

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