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Bromley comedian prepares to take to the stage

PUBLISHED: 10:52 11 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:08 11 September 2014

Samantha Baines

Samantha Baines

Archant

Sharing a few glasses of wine with her friends, Samantha Baines often had them in fits of giggles.

She was told numerous times that she should consider stand up comedy, and this year she decided to go for it.

The comedian, who grew up in Bromley and attended Newstead Wood school, has now been shortlisted for the Funny Women Awards.

The final takes place on September 22 at The Leicster Square Theatre, and Ms Baines will perform in front of an audience of around 400 people.

“They saw over 150 entrants and the final is down to 10,” she said.

The awards, which celebrate new female stand up comedians, helped launch the careers of well known acts such as Sarah Millican and Sara Pascoe.

“It’s really amazing, I have been acting in comedy for about five years but I only started stand up about a few months ago so it’s been a journey,” she said.

“I have always thought about it.

“People have always been like ‘you’re funny, you should do stand up comedy.’

“I think I just haven’t been brave enough until this year, when I thought right, I’m just going to do it.

“I have a lot of friends who do stand up and a very encouraging family.

“They were just like- go for it.

“Life’s too short!”

Ms Baines has enjoyed a successful acting career after she trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama, playing the role of Steph in Lee Nelson’s Well Funny People on BBC3 and appearing in CBBC comedy Hank Zipzer.

She is also one third of all female sketch group Vinegar, who were finalists in the stand up and sketch showcase NATYS 2014.

So how has the transition into stand up comedy been?

“It’s definitely harder than it looks. You go to gigs and people are just effortlessly funny,” she said.

“It’s hard work but it’s also really fun to stand up on stage and make a room full of people laugh and forget about a rubbish day at work or whatever.

“It’s fun hanging out with other comedians and learning about their experiences.”

Ms Baines said she was advised by a friend ‘don’t worry about making them laugh.’

“At the time I thought- what is he crazy? But actually that’s been really useful advice in that not putting loads of pressure on yourself to write jokes, just thinking about what you want to talk about, and for me it’s more about engaging with an audience.

“I have had so much advice from lots of brilliant comedians and I have tried to take it all on, but I think at the end of the day it’s about what you want to say. You just have to work out where you’re coming from and I am definitely still doing that. I haven’t quite worked that out yet, but I am definitely on the right track.”

Ms Baines is inspired by brave female comedians who aren’t afraid to speak their minds.

“There’s obviously comedians on TV that I think are amazing, I love Victoria Wood and Sarah Silverman. I love how dark Sarah Silverman is, and she just says whatever she wants.”

Ms Baines is also inspired by the late Joan Rivers.

“She was brave and bold and did what she wanted, especially when she started- in an age where that wasn’t necessarily expected of women in comedy or any other field.

“I want to encourage more women to go into comedy.

“It’s definitely getting more and more accessible and we can always have more funny women. I am still sometimes the only woman on a bill of male comedians and in the comedy industry as a whole I think there’s still more men than women. It’s just about encouraging people to get into it. It’s not necessarily a career you would straight away think of trying, but it’s really funny and rewarding.”

To find out more about the awards visit funnywomen.com or follow @samanthabaines on Twitter to find out how she gets on.

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