All the single ladies
When Luisa Omielan’s life ran into trouble, the London comedian realised she only had to ask: What would Beyoncé do?
Hit show: Luisa Omielan
Beyoncé. Photograph: David M Benett/Getty Images
Your lover’s dumped you, your career’s in the doldrums and your derriere has grown so big that it’s declared itself an independent state. So who do you turn to when life goes a bit pear-shaped?
When Luisa Omielan, a stand-up comic from London, found herself on the wrong side of the success/failure equation and needed some guidance, she just asked herself one simple question: what would Beyoncé do?
Tonight Omielan’s role model, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, plays the first of four sell-out concerts at the O2 in Dublin. Omielan herself won’t be far behind: she’s coming to the Sugar Club on April 3rd with her show What Would Beyoncé Do? It may not be as big as Mrs Carter’s world tour, but it has proved a critical and commercial success.
“It was my debut solo show and I took it up to the Edinburgh Festival myself, on the free fringe. I didn’t have an agent or promoter,” says Omielan. “And people really responded to it. It caters to an audience that I don’t think is being catered to: girls and gays. If you love Beyoncé, you’re going to really love the show.”
The show’s hook is that Omielan’s and Beyoncé’s lives are at opposite ends of the dream scale. At one, you have one of the world’s biggest pop stars, happily married to one of the world’s biggest rap stars (Jay-Z). At the other, you have a struggling comedian who had just had a break-up and had to move back in with her mum at the age of 30.
“My show isn’t about being jealous of Beyoncé. It’s more, why is she where she is and I am where I am now? It wasn’t that I wanted her life. I just wanted what she had for myself. It’s not about Beyoncé. There are a few references to her, but it was more to give it a structure.”
Is this her way of laughing off the misery and dancing away the heartache?
“Oh no! I think it’s important to be miserable about it and absolutely wallow in it. You see, I didn’t write this show, the show wrote itself. I was in a mess: a family member made a suicide attempt and the boy I was in love with for about four years, we broke up, and he started dating someone else almost immediately. The only thing that made me feel better was talking about it on stage, because I was so hurt, and I felt such low self-esteem. It was really cathartic. And off the back of that this comedy show has grown.”
And now that her break-up is long behind her, is her love life back on track? “Are you joking? I’ve been totally living like a nun. I haven’t had even a whiff of penis in God knows how long.”
Now what would Beyoncé do about that?
What Would Beyoncé Do? is at the Sugar Club, Dublin, on April 3rd. Beyoncé is at the O2, Dublin, tonight, tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday