When Creative Black Country were looking for a Guest Director for Funny Things there was, of course, a wealth of comedy talent from the area to choose from but it was one funny woman that stood out. Luckily actress and comedian Janice Connolly jumped at the chance to take part. She might be known to some as the zany and ever-so energetic Barbara Nice while others might remember her playing the adorable Holy Mary in Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights but in whichever guise you might recognise Janice one thing is for sure; she is going to do her very best to get the giggles going around Wolverhampton during the festival.
As the Guest Director of the new comedy festival Funny Things how are you hoping to shape the event?
I am so pleased to have been asked to be guest director of the very first Funny Things comedy festival in Wolverhampton. I have a great interest in strengthening local communities and having a laugh together is a great way to do that. At the heart of the festival for me is making sure that as many Wolverhampton people as possible feel the benefit of Funny Things happening in the city .
Can you tell us about some of the ideas you’ve had that we’ll be able to see during the festival?
Look out for one-liner jokes being paraded up and down the city centre as placards for The Joke Exchange and I really hope people will engage with The Orchestra of Chaos as they make their way round the city and it’s outskirts collecting people’s favourite gags. We are really thrilled to be premiering the first performance of a recently discovered unperformed script, Vacant Lot, written by Larry Stephens as a vehicle for the comedy genius that was Tony Hancock.
We know you are very busy so what was it about Funny Things that made you want to get involved?
I love Wolverhampton and I was attracted to be part of planning a comedy festival that aims to put arts and communities at its heart.
We’re hoping that Barbara Nice will be making an appearance or two – what kind of things can we expect from our favourite funny lady?
Barbara will be making an appearance as part of the Funny Market on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th October where she’ll be hosting the Kid’s Corner. She will also be compering up-and-coming talent from comedy courses I will be running at the first Midlands heat of the Funny Women Awards on the 1st November at The Slade Rooms.
What are you most excited about for the inaugural Funny Things festival?
It’s hard to pick one particular event out. It’s going to be a fun packed fortnight and I really hope that this is the start of something big that will become an annual event.
What other projects are keeping you busy at the moment?
I am touring my show Raffle nationally and developing more radio ideas. I will be taking a new show to Edinburgh next year so I will begin working on that soon – but first it’s all hands on deck for Funny Things 2017.