CB: How long have you been writing and performing comedy?
Four Femmes: We started off 5 years ago as a vintage girl band and we slowly realized that the vintage scene was jam packed and wanted to steer away from it. The first time we decided to do comedy was when we realised the characters we had created clashed in personality and outlooks. We changed up the lyrics to a few songs, for example, Anything you can do I can do better and Beatles medleys and they were going down very well. The first original song, The Shard, was written 3 years ago by Katy Baker (Lyrics) and Gavin Whitworth (Music) and from that moment on, we decided that this was the route we had to take to make Four Femmes on the Thames more than just a comedy covers band.
CB: How would you describe your comedy?
Four Femmes: We are all about London, girl power and feminism, including the Hommes, so a lot of our comedy comes from real situations that affect or relate to women. What we’ve tried to do is make the comedy relatable to both men and women by personalising the stories of the characters instead of being general about a particular topic.
CB: Which comedians influence your comedy?
Four Femmes: Tim Minchin is an obvious influence because he’s just so incredible and we also have 2 Aussies in the band… Fascinating Aida are another influence of ours, they are older now, but I went to see Dillie Kean in Edinburgh last year and I feel like she’s even better now than they were years ago. Also, although not strictly a comedian, but she’s bloody funny, is Caitlin Moran. We all have her book ‘How to be a woman’ and it’s like our bible.
CB: Did you always want to go into comedy?
Four Femmes: Not really no. We all trained as actors and singers at Central School of Speech and Drama so the main aim was going to be acting. We’ve had a few good acting gigs Grace (Femme Fanciful) starred in ‘The Railway Children’ and ‘Great Expectations’ in the West End. Emma (Femme Free-Spirit) was in ‘Good night Mister Tom’ in the West End. Abbey (Femme Frivolous) was is ‘Inbetweeners’ and Katy (Femme Filthy) won an off west end award, but has always loved comedy and wanted to pursue it. Adam, our bassist, has always said we should go down the comedy route and I’m glad we listened.
CB: How do you go about writing your material?
Four Femmes: We’ll have a brainstorm of ideas and then Katy will go away and write some lyrics and Gavin puts them to music, although on a few occasions Gavin changes some of the lyrics to fit his melody. It’s very much collaborative throughout the whole band though in terms of musical inputs from Adam and Huw and harmony or character ideas from the rest of the Femmes.
CB: Do you write and perform comedy full time or is it more of a part-time hobby? If so, do you find that your main job influences your material?
Four Femmes: Well, at the moment it is a part-time thing that we want to make full time in the near future. Our other jobs definitely influence material though. Katy wrote ‘Woman Up!’ while she was selling cigarettes in a corner shop (Don’t ask!)
CB: What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the comedy circuit?
Four Femmes: Well, we haven’t really been in the circuit so’s to speak. We’ve done a lot of variety nights and cabaret shows. I think the one thing that is both enjoyable and frustrating is that we don’t fit perfectly into a box. We’re not stand-up and we’re not burlesque.
CB: What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
Four Femmes: A warm, drunk audience. Which is the audiences we have most the time. We like to perform on stage with glasses of wine so we look like we are one of the people, ha!
CB: Have you been heckled a lot since you’ve started performing comedy? Do you enjoy being heckled? What’s the best heckle you’ve had?
Four Femmes: Hmmmm…The only heckling we get is from Abbey’s Dad. That’s a joke. I think people are too scared to heckle 4 loud, confident women. I dare someone to try!
CB: What advice would you give to new acts thinking of starting out in comedy?
Four Femmes: Go for it! And don’t be afraid of taking time to find what you’re about. We are only just figuring out what we want and we’ve been together for 5 and a half years!