“And then you’ve got this idiot Hollywood bigwig journalist in LA, Nikki Finke, who said that only ugly women could be funny. D’you know something, I don’t even know where to begin. Some women are not funny, and some women are – it’s not a gender thing.
“I don’t know when this misogyny started creeping back into comedy. I think it’s partly the PC backlash; it’s sort of becoming ironic to do a show that’s a bit racist or misogynistic, and to attack the weakest and then say ‘I’m only joking’. But I don’t think that’s quite good enough, really. I don’t believe in there being topics that cannot be touched – I don’t think you can legislate that, and you have to be very careful about freedom of speech. So you can make jokes about rape and cancer and domestic violence, but they have to be bloody good. You can’t just say something offensive without there being any point to it.”
Balancing thought-provoking issues with comedy is a relatively new development in Christie’s repertoire. “My earlier shows were not like that; they were much more character-based, and much, much sillier.
“But what happened was, even though the shows seemed to go down OK, they weren’t generating any work for me. So over the last few years, I’ve tried to have a balance of the things that I really enjoy doing, but are really quite silly and a bit more physical, with material that people might be able to use in other places. And also, because I’m 41 now, I think as you get older, you want to talk about stuff that’s important – but you have to make it funny. You can’t just do a lecture that’s slightly witty at some points; you have to remember that it’s a comedy show, and there has to be lots of jokes in it. So how I get around that is I’ll tell them a fact or statistic or something that’s happened, and I’ll do a crap joke at the end of it so they’ll remember it when they get home,” she chuckles.
As serious as the subjects of her shows can get, there is still always room for, as one review put it, “fart jokes”.
“If it was up to me, I’d probably just keep doing really stupid hour-long shows where I’m just in a series of ridiculous costumes and doing nonsense. But the thing is, you get to a point where you say ‘OK – is this now financially viable, or is it a hobby?” she says, emitting another one of those infectious wheezy laughs. “ I’m also at the age now where I don’t care if I’m annoying people, y’know? This is my opinion and this is what’s happening, and if you don’t like it, well . . . sorry, but you’ve read the blurb on the programme, and it does say ‘What are Tory feminists?’. I hope it’s funny anyway.”
* Bridget Christie’s War Donkey plays at Galway’s Taibhdhearc Theatre on October 25th. See galwaycomedyfestival.com