Culture Writer Atshiga Bonvin interviews stand-up comedian Esther Manito, chatting all things rage, the Fringe, and her brand-new tour show
Hi Esther, it is lovely to talk to you. First of all, how are you doing? How are you finding the hectic life of being on tour?
Well, I gig most nights anyway, so it feels just as hectic. That said, this feels way more exciting and I am loving the audiences coming to my show!
‘Hell hath no fury’ – what an interesting title. What can we expect from this show?
You can expect rage! You know the things that drive you mad, the little things, the things we are supposed to just accept but actually they niggle and niggle until you finally explode… and this show is the explosion.
If you had to describe your material in five words to someone who hasn’t seen your comedy, what would they be?
Hmmmm, God I hate describing myself, but from what people have said to me I would say my material is: observational, storytelling, anecdotal, family-driven, and feminist.
Lemons – still on one a day?
Oh God, more than one a day! I now have a lemon tree tattoo and I’ve grown my own lemon tree and this summer, got four whole lemons from it!
Some comedians differ from their on-stage persona. Is this the case with you or is feminine rage a significant element of the true Esther Manito?
It is a really important part of me; it has been something that comedy has actually let me hone and be proud of. Growing up (and as a young woman), I was made to feel anger was wrong. It isn’t. It just needs a place for release and the stage is perfect for it. That said, I don’t shout and scream around the house 24/7…
Like many comedians, you have performed hilariously many times at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. How has attending the Fringe over the past few years impacted the way you approach comedy?
The Fringe has so many good things; [but] the hardest thing about the Fringe is the finances. This sadly makes it hard for artists to afford the month. I have taken so many good things from the Fringe, and I hope to go back; like, you get the opportunity to really work on material and get so much stage time.
At the University of Birmingham, we have the 3BUGS Fringe, a society which takes a show to the Fringe once a year. What advice would you give to young people attending the Fringe for the first time?
Exercise every day and eat well. Otherwise, come week three, you look and feel like haggis with eyes drawn on.
What about your writing process? How do you come up with new material?
I note down things that happen that I find funny and then just repeat on stage. It will take four to five times for me to find the rhythm and the beats of where the joke is, and over the months it develops the more you do it on stage.
As a female comedian whose material appears to be geared towards women, what advice would you give to any young women starting out in stand up?
Do not try to please anyone: stick to your guns and your audience will find you. Those that don’t like you are not your concern. Never pander to anyone.
Finally, what projects have you got coming up? Where can we see you next?
After this tour, I have no idea. I never plan anything – what will be, will be.
Hell Hath No Fury comes to The Glee Club, Birmingham, on Thursday 14th September. For tickets, visit https://www.glee.co.uk/performer/esther-manito/
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