BAFTA nominees Gbemisola Ikumelo, Sian Clifford and Sarah Kendall open up about live comedy industry: “It needs to be supported”

The trio say the live comedy industry shouldn't be "ignored" in these times.

Sarah Kendall BAFTAs

With COVID-19 putting a hold on pretty much anything which requires you to make a public appearance, one field which has really taken a knock is the live comedy industry as theatre doors have had to shut.

Advertisement

As a result, fans have taken to watching scripted sketches, which of course for Gbemisola Ikumelo, Sarah Kendall, and Sian Clifford is a plus, given that they’ve all received BAFTAs 2020 TV Awards nominations for their comedy performances on TV.

However, the trio feel  live comedy shouldn’t be ignored, and are calling for the industry to be maintained in these difficult times.

Speaking at the BAFTAs pre-ceremony, Sian explained: ‘People have to look at what’s kept them going in this time and it’s entertainment. People don’t realise the role theatre plays and how people are discovered. Comedy is in the same position and they need to find some cash!”

She continued: “The economic value that the performing arts provides for this country exceed is over 100 billion pounds. It’s incomprehensible and bearing in mind other things that are being supported in this time. There’s no question. You absolutely have to.”

Agreeing with Sian – who plays Claire in the BBC’s Fleabag – Sarah said: “People move from all over the world to take part in the live comedy scene and that’s why it does produce world class talent. It’s that very obvious food chain, and they need to be supported.”

Sex education
Gbemisola in Sex Education
Netflix

“Comedy plays a part in the healing of community,” Gbemi added. “I think there’s going to be a really big role that theatre comedy laughter plays in the nation. If that industry is crippled, it will have an effect on community.”

When it comes to comedy, they agreed that it’s the most “natural” kind, similar to live-comedy, which makes them laugh.

Fleabag
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sian Clifford and Olivia Colman in Fleabag

“I love stuff that’s really truthful, awkward and hard to watch. The truth is what makes good comedy. Humans are funny!” Sian gushed.

“The comedy that I find funny always seems to come out of some kind of pain,” Gbemi added.

When asked what makes good comedy to her, Sarah, who is best known for Frayed, explained: “I think if I sort of define it by what bad comedy is – when it’s done for effect. There’s a pure heart and a joyousness to a good comedy. You can tell when there is a pure intention.”

Advertisement

The Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards will air on Friday 31st July from 7pm on BBC One. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV Guide.