What area of London do you currently live in or most associate yourself with?
I live in South London , Brixton, for 19 years.
How would you describe your act in five words?
I describe my act as punchy, blunt, accessible, empowering and with attitude
How long have you been doing comedy?
I have been doing comedy since April 2014
What is your day job?
During the day, I work as a ticket office clerk for the railway.
What has been your worst job?
My worst job was Store manager. I loved it but the politic within higher management was despicable and made my job unbearable
Why do you love comedy?
We all need to laugh.; it's a feel good sensation. I am glad to be able to do comedy and help people forget about their trouble for few minutes ; or make them realise that we are all going through the same trepidations and it's reassuring in some ways
Who are your heroes?
I don't like the word "heroes" but I really do like Chris Rock_ clever and funny; the late Bernie Mac _ real with attitude; Muriel Robin_ French comedienne, smart observational sketches.. I hope I could be as good as them in my own way.
What made you bite the bullet and start performing?
I always loved performing although I didn't have much opportunity to do it in my youngest years. When I changed job and my boy became more independent, I had so much time in my hand that I realised it was my time to do what I want and not just be a mum and a provider. I wanted to join a local theatre group and enquired to my best friend who know more about the country system etc... He straight away pushed me to stand up and advised me to try a course and see if I like it. I LOVED IT!!! I don't need to rely on someone to give me a role. I write and direct myself, great freedom
What was your first gig like?
I was over eager. My first gig should have been my comedy course showcase but I booked a gig before hand and needed to test it out there, i.e not in the class room. Went down to an open mic " we are funny project" and got a spot because someone didn't turn up. MC asked the audience: " who thinks you can do better?" I said me! Wow! How bold and crazy was I? It was stressful but the atmosphere was very friendly and I could see that some of the other performers were not all that but still received love. Very encouraging behaviour. It motivated me to know that no matter how bad it could go, I won't feel too ashamed. And it went great! What a buzz! Met good friends on that night.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Being booked with pro and semi pro comedians is ground breaking ; despite not succeeding in competitions. It is really overwhelming and motivating to know that you get a bit of recognition by promoters and audiences. Pushing me to be better because you never know who is watching and who can recommend you for shows.
What has been your favourite gig?
It is so difficult to have a favourite gig but I will say it was one I have done in Paris, in French. My first show in my mother tongue; only few months into comedy. Very stressful as I didn't know how it will be and because I am losing my automatism in French... takes me few days to readjust my brain. I did not advertise it to my friends, just few family members. At the end, half of the audience where my peeps! Even my sister, with whom I don't get along, came. I was so happy. My first gig with proper support and so glad I didn't disappoint them. They gave me their seal of approval and that meant a lot for me
And describe your worst?
My worst gig was an urban one. November 2014. I did the venue twice before, and the previous day, I totally owned it at a bigger urban event, performing just before Richard Blackwood! Unfortunately that night, I died. Seeing people getting off, the silence. It was dreadful. My mouth got dry, felt so embarrassed. I would have quit if it has not been for the support of Junior Booker. It was a hard gig, even for the professional I saw that night. Too hard for an overconfident newbie like me. I just couldn't adapt to that audience. I learnt a hell lot . I am still shaken and traumatised but much less scared of urban show now...still a bit because I am not use to it but don't refuse to do them. A gig is a gig; I am who I am and can't be someone else.
I don't get heckled really. I think my posture and attitude protect me from that. People think I am hardcore but I am not really. I think the worst heckle for a comedian is silence. You can't converse , interact with silence.
What is the best thing about being a comedian?
The best thing about being a comedian is the opportunity to give and share my twisted thought; with humour. I am quite a introvert nowadays . More of a listener as well. For the few minutes of my set, I can be heard. It's my time to be extrovert .
What is the biggest lesson you've learnt?
Be who you are is the biggest lesson I have learnt. You hear that a lot as an advice. It only made sense to me when I went beyond writing and doing my set. I now PERFORM my writing and it makes a difference. I no longer focus on wanting people to like me. Can't beat up myself for being me if it goes wrong...it will be worst to go wrong , pretending to be someone else. Now my attitude is " whether you like me or hate me, you WILL remember me". Making a print
Where do you hope to be in ten years with your comedy?
Hopefully, I could work full time in the comedy world. Writing sitcoms. Performing roles. Extending my creativity without jeopardising my personality.
Any other aspirations?
I just want to be able to keep doing comedy, and over time be able to do more of it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop doing comedy now as it feels quite a lot like an addiction.
What's your favourite joke by another act or from your childhood?
I am a fan of "racist jokes" and dark humour. One joke that made me laugh for months is from Tim Renkows. It's something like..." What I enjoy the most about hot weather, is watching white people burn!"
ARIELLE SOUMA // @Arielle_LOL_COM
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