In these trivial times feminism appears far removed from comedy’s agenda (unless it’s being laughed at). Girl power, perhaps,or the right to twerk, but when did you last hear a comedian talk about issues like rape (not you, Dapper Laughs) or female genital mutilation?
Yet Bridget Christie has been flying the flag for fundamental feminism since winning the Edinburgh Comedy Award last year with a show inspired by a Bic biro made especially for women to write with.
‘It’s not for everyone is it… a woman speaking,’ is her opening gambit, backed up by her experiences touring some of the less enlightened reaches of the British Isles (Jersey and Salisbury, hang your heads).
She frequently sends herself up, downplaying her agenda with an amusing line in self mockery that serves only to make her themes more reso nant. Success has backfired on her, forcing her to tour end lessly and abandon plans to be supported by her husband. ‘Just because I believe in equal employment laws doesn’t mean that I personally want to work.’
In a killer sequence, Christie explains that she used to be a part time feminist, but then she had a daughter and, far more significantly, a man broke wind in the women’s section of a bookshop and ‘it tipped me over the edge’. She wishes her epiphany had not come from a man’s posterior. ‘I wish Mary Wollstonecraft’s ghost had appeared to me, but it didn’t.’ She conjures up an image of a ranting feminist her family are utterly sick of. ‘I’m never off. I’m like Rob Brydon in The Trip.’
Her skill is to make light of her concerns – her family nickname was Breezy Bridget – continually turning the humour on to herself yet never leaving any doubt as to where she’s coming from.
It’s comedy as a weapon.
Britain, she claims, has some of the world’s best sexists, name checking Russell Brand for his ‘light hearted Seventies sexism’ and Steve Davis for saying that women lack the mental focus to play snooker. Could it be, she wonders, that women simply don’t have nine free hours in a day to practise ‘pushing a ball into a hole with a stick’?
From sarcastic sex with her ‘fictional onstage husband’ (she’s married to fellow comic Stewart Lee) to her own rape fantasies (‘more prosecutions and longer sentences’), Christie doesn’t miss a trick. She mocks the notion that she’s now ‘done’ feminism… ‘So, Bridget Christie, what’s next?’ ‘Feminism’s not a fad,’ she says, ‘like Angry Birds… though it does involve a lot of them.’
Annoyingly for misogynists everywhere, Christie has tamed her anger magnificently to produce a mighty hour. Blokedom has met its match.