As one of the latest guests on Stuart Goldsmith’s Comedian Comedian Podcast, Gina Yashere was brought to my attention earlier this month, and the way she conducted herself on the show, as well as the hilarious and often shocking anecdotes she told, made me interested in learning more about her comedy.
Gina’s stand up career began in England, but in recent years she has dominated the American comedy scene, with her admirably confident stage presence teamed with personal accounts of her observations and experiences. And her flourishing comedy career is not only a wonderful thing for her as an individual: comedy in general really needs people like her at this point in time. Our comedy is changing and it truly is an exciting thing to witness.
I did not intend to write a post about the fact that Gina is a woman. Female comedians are not uncommon (and certainly not overlooked on this website). The Comedian of the Month feature I run here on MoodyComedy does not care for gender politics in comedy. But the thing is, Yashere, the comic in question, is fearlessly and triumphantly tackling the male-dominated comedy industry in a way that gives me great confidence that the situation is changing, evolving and that comedy is becoming a more welcoming art form to reside in. I suppose it might seem patronising if I wasn’t writing this as a seventeen-year-old girl who regularly feels under-confident, overshadowed and unmotivated due to the way society views gender.
Gina Yashere is a fantastic performer. She is refreshingly confident, fierce and relentless, with material that references her Nigerian heritage, her family and her experiences of international travel. I really enjoy hearing about the cultures of others through the means of comedy; I find that the humour adds a personal touch that isn’t simply the relaying of information. It’s interesting to see a comedian with so much direction from the very start of her career, which is something that is perhaps not so noticeable in many other artists, who may approach comedy in a less orderly or methodical way. Gina has goals and is open about it. She knows what she needs to do to reach the next level and wastes no time in getting there.