Comedy Blogedy: How long have you been gigging in stand-up?
Martha Owen: I did a course at my youth club (Heatham House) about two years ago, but I only really started actually gigging all over the place about a year and a bit ago. I’ve been at Edinburgh twice though with Those Bloody Teenagers (some of my fellow teenage comics).
Comedy Blogedy: How would you describe your comedy?
Martha Owen: Not really very funny. I’m not clever enough to write proper jokes with punchlines and actual laughs, and I’m too scared if I’m honest to be one of those hilarious raconteurs, so I just muck around with ones that everyone knows like ‘What do you get when you cross a sheep and a kangaroo?’ and then change the punchline so the joke doesn’t work, like ‘A mutant’. That sort of rubbish.
Comedy Blogedy: Which comedians influence your comedy?
Martha Owen: I’m a big fan of the Invisible Dot crew (Tim Key, Johnny Sweet, John-Luke Roberts…) and I’d love to think that I’m in some way comparable. And I love a lot of old stuff – I’ve been watching Monty Python since I was about 3 (you’d think my parents would have stopped me but they didn’t), the Smell of Reeves and Mortimer and Morecambe and Wise. And my friend Hatty Ashdown is absolutely wonderful, she is charm itself with lots of laughs thrown in, watching her is brilliant.
Comedy Blogedy: Did you always want to go into comedy?
Martha Owen: As I recall, I wanted to be a spy, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still want to.
Comedy Blogedy: How do you go about writing your material?
Martha Owen: I have to fit it around school work (I’m in my first year of sixth form at the moment) which is annoying, but when I do try and have a writing sesh I mainly just sit around until something happens. Because I’m not writing jokes that ‘work’ it’s a lot easier – if the joke I write is bad, that’s perfect. If I feel stuck I generally just watch Mike Flowers’ version of Wonderwall and that gets me back on track.
Comedy Blogedy: Do you gig as a stand-up full time or is it more of a part-time hobby? If so, do you find that your main job influences your material?
Martha Owen: I’m at school, although reluctantly. So unfortunately my history essays have to take priority. And yes, they do tend to influence each other – I’ve been known to write jokes in Ancient Greek. Not many people get them though.
Comedy Blogedy: What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the amateur comedy circuit?
Martha Owen: The best bit is definitely the people, without wanting to sound cheesy. Everyone’s lovely. The most frustrating part (for me at least) is not being able to get into certain venues. I am basically a child still, and the worst feeling is to prepare, get all the way to a venue and then not be allowed in.
Comedy Blogedy: What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
Martha Owen: Not people my age. Teenagers are really annoying, I hate them. I’m not sure about my favourite though – mainly people who actually came and want to see comedy, rather than unsuspecting foreign tourists from the bar. Mild tipsiness is welcome.
Comedy Blogedy: Have you been heckled a lot since you’ve started gigging? Do you enjoy being heckled? What’s the best heckle you’ve had?
Martha Owen: I’ve never been properly heckled. I suppose that’s because of my age too. My friend did get heckled by a Tory once and there are some things I just never want to have to deal with onstage (e.g. ‘I voted Conservative because I’m cleverer than you’). Still, I think of heckling as some terrifying rite of passage that I’ll have to go through at some point. Until then I’ll blunder on in blissful ignorance.
Comedy Blogedy: What advice would you give to new acts thinking about starting out in comedy?
Martha Owen: I found it was good to create a kind of persona, Will Andrews is a great example – that way you don’t feel so vulnerable onstage and it’s generally funnier. And always write to make yourself laugh, not other people. Unless you’ve got a rubbish sense of humour, in which case don’t do that, do something else. Or don’t be a stand up.
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