This month’s Comedian of the Month is Sophie Willan, who, having begun her career with cabaret and live art theatre performances, is a performer who is clearly comfortable on stage. And this seems to be a widespread opinion, as earlier this year Sophie received the first BBC Caroline Aherne Bursary, which gives her the opportunity to go on to create more comedic projects, such as a sitcom.
Having grown up in foster care, Willan is very involved with organisations that support young people in foster care and supported living. And it seems that this background has become the basis for her comedic message; her motive is to incite social change. This comic’s stand up is structured as a means of challenging societal assumptions regarding certain people and circumstances, it combats negative prejudices against mental health and social services, and this surely has to be commended.
As a viewer, I trust in Sophie’s message and motives, because why shouldn’t I? One of the unquestionably best ways to challenge societal assumptions is to speak about such issues from personal experience. And it’s quite clear Willan knows what she is talking about; she has practical yet forceful and driven ambitions, and the most refreshing positive attitude towards it all.
During an interview with Stuart Goldsmith on the Comedian’s Comedian Podcast, Sophie tentatively describes her comedy as ‘darkly optimistic’, and it seems she has hit the nail on the head. Her comic voice is unlike any other, not least because her angle is so personal and specific to her own unique experiences, but also due to her down-to-earth, no-nonsense delivery.
There are exciting things ahead for Sophie Willan, and to get a flavour of what her comedy is about, I’d recommend you listen to her recent interviews on the Comedian’s Comedian Podcast and Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast.