Entertainment

Interview with… Ava Vidal

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Stand-up comedian and writer Ava Vidal has been turning heads for years and continues to reach new heights with performances across the globe as she makes her mark in UK comedy.

Vidal recently featured on the Parenting episode of Davina McCall’s The Davina Hour where she confesses that she definitely has a favourite child, watch the clip here:

The rising star talks to Pride about her life as a comedian, balancing motherhood, laughing at the wrong time, female empowerment and more. 

1.What do you most enjoy about being a comedian? 

I enjoy the travel. I have been to places I never thought I would go such as Australia.

2. Have you had any shocking/awkward experiences being a black woman in the British entertainment space? 

It’s always harder as a black woman. I have had to deal with the most horrific racism. It’s frustrating when you try and tell your stories and you are essentially blocked. I was told by a TV producer that this country doesn’t need a black sitcom. I was also told that black wasn’t ‘in’ and it was all about Muslims now.

3.What are your methods of balancing motherhood with a busy professional life?

 I didn’t get it right with my older children but with my 18 month old she comes 1st, 2nd and 3rd. If it inconveniences her, then it isn’t happening!

4.Comedy is similar to acting and singing and those type of careers where it’s very hard to make it big as there is so much competition. How did you continue to take it seriously and persevere?

It’s really strange because I have changed so much during my time in comedy. What I thought was success in the beginning is not what I think it is now. I have realised that you can’t be mainstream and fight for all the things I want to fight for. So, at some point you have to choose. I am more interested in using comedy for activism and you have to understand that not everyone wants to hear that.

5.Can you name a time where you’ve used comedy at the wrong time/situation?

 More times than I can count. I am a lot more light hearted than people realise and I have a very silly sense of humour. So, I often say things to wind people up and they think I am totally serious.

6.What has been your favourite/memorable show?

I did a show for homeless BAME youth and it was so painful. They hated me and enjoyed watching me suffer. I stopped caring after a while and we pretty much battled for the whole of my set. No audience can upset me after that.

7.What has been your favourite moment overall in your career?

The first time I visited South Africa. In our downtime they took us to Soweto and I stood only the only street that housed 2 Nobel Prize winners. It was amazing that it was comedy that brought me there. 

8.Where does your inspiration come from for your sketches – you talk a lot about racist abuse, does that come solely from personal experiences or friends and family experiences?

It comes from both. One of my favourite jokes is about a Muslim friend being told to apologise for 9/11. The absurdity of that request blew my mind so I wrote a joke about it.

9.Can you describe what it’s like on stage. Do you get nervous no one will laugh?

 No I don’t. I accept that sometimes that happens. The best thing about my delivery is that it is conversational so I end up giving a slightly amusing speech. I am not afraid to interact with audience members and really work for it though. 

10.What are you working on now and what is next for the future?

In the past couple of years, I’ve become obsessed with strengthening my Caribbean roots and seeing how I can incorporate what I do with that. I am currently working on a project to empower Caribbean women using comedy. The domestic violence and abuse over there is no joke at all. I decided to try and help tackle it especially as I want my daughter to spend a lot of time out there. Please read more about the project here: https://www.gofundme.com/empowering-women-through-comedy

The Davina Hour is on Mondays on W at 9pm.

 

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