Recognition for female stand-ups and comediennes is pitifully low in the current climate. The industry is undoubtedly male-orientated. That’s just a fact. You can see it on panel shows, and at collaborative comedy events, even on shop shelves. We are inundated with male comics, and decidedly lacking in female ones. Which means, as we struggle to vie for a balance between male and female talent, we must be especially grateful for the female comics who have already made it.
They say writing comedy is hard and when you’re part of a minority in such a massive industry, it must be just that little bit harder to prove yourself. But there are comediennes who have succeeded, and in doing so, have paved the way for future female comics. From French & Saunders to Sarah Millican, there are some truly inspirational – and very funny – comediennes out there.
But for this article, I have decided to talk about one of our most beloved homegrown comediennes in recent years: Miranda Hart. An actress, comedienne and writer, Hart has been within the comedy circuit since 2006. At the beginning of her career, she appeared in several well-known British sitcoms, ranging from Not Going Out to Absolutely Fabulous and The Vicar of Dibley. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that Hart got her big break, in her eponymous BBC Sitcom, Miranda.
In the series, Hart plays a heightened semi-autobiographical version of herself: a very tall, socially awkward thirty-something who struggles to navigate the increasingly bizarre situations she gets herself into. As well as being funny, the show is also inspiring. Hart manages to both relate and appeal to the inner child in all of us. Miranda is sensationally silly and she’s unapologetic of the fact, but that’s why we love her. In one of her more impassioned monologues, Miranda makes a case for why we should all stop being so serious in our adult lives, and embrace a more cathartic, joyful life;
“I want to do fun things, that make me happy […] You might call me a child – good. For if adults had even the slightest in-the-moment joy of a child, then frankly the world would be a better place”
Miranda is also an incredibly inspirational figure when it comes to body image. Being both tall and shapely, Miranda uses these aesthetic traits – which are by society’s standards ‘not average’ – to her advantage, and often for comical effect. Her character is unashamedly willing to admit that she would much rather eat a biscuit than something like a ‘savoury muffin’. And this attitude is refreshing to see in the entertainment world. With a culture so pre-occupied with how people look, it’s wonderful to have role models like Miranda who are comfortable in their own skin.
Ultimately, Miranda Hart is one of the finest comediennes we have, and is a shining example and influence – not only to aspiring comediennes – but to everyone.