In Wild Women of Comedy, three bawdy broads delight and disgust with their no-holds-barred style of comedy. One of the ladies, Anne Ferguson Howe, speaks to Garrett Bithell.
One of the greatest devices available to a comedian is the art of surprise. Dress yourself up as a pristine, virginal ivory tower princess in a pink frock, or present yourself as a buttoned-up frigid granny, and the response will be even more hysterical when something crude emerges from your mouth.
It’s a device Anne Ferguson Howe, who is coming to Sydney as part of Wild Women of Comedy, knows all too well. “I’m bawdy, crass, vulgar and very naughty,” she tells SX in her broad Cockney accent. “I deliberately dress lady-like – I get myself gussied up and put pearls on to try and deflect from my vulgarity.
“But I always acknowledge it on stage – I go, ‘listen I don’t mean to crude, but fuck it, you should’ve seen the state of her fanny!’”
As an ex-beautician, Howe has many fanny stories. “I talk about the Brazilian, I talk about my visit to the gynaecologist – it’s very take-no-prisoners and tongue-in-cheek, but I tell it how it is.”
Joining Howe, who has been doing stand-up comedy for just five years, for Wild Women Comedy is MC Sarah Levett and headliner Bev Killick.
“Bev’s along the same lines, except she’s a really brilliant singer so she does really good show tunes,” Howe raves. “She’s got some fantastic material where she talks about her visit to the Asian beauty therapist.
“We’re all very hardcore. I’ve found my tribe at last! I was like this wandering Jew and then suddenly I was discovered by Bev at a gig. It’s great being around bawdy women who don’t freak out when you say ‘my clit’ and shit.”
While Howe hasn’t experience sexism on the comedy scene per se, she acknowledges the historical perception that women aren’t comic still persists today. “All the male comedians are very welcoming and encouraging, but we’ve been indoctrinated to believe that women aren’t funny,” she asserts. “But guys like watching rude, bawdy women, and they think you’re a wanker if you do tame shit. So the bawdier you are, the more confidence you have, and if you present it with a grin on your face that says ‘yeah I’m well fucking out of order’, they love you for it.”
[Pictured] Wild woman of comedy ... Anne Ferguson Howe.
Wild Women of Comedy, The Fusebox at the Factory Theatre on April 27-28, May 4-5, May 11-12 at 10.15pm. Bookings at www.sydneycomedyfestival.com.au.