Penge comedian Carly Smallman intends to have the last laugh

PUBLISHED: 11:35 05 October 2012

Carly Smallman

Carly Smallman


Described by GQ magazine as the “most exciting female act in the country”, Penge-based singing comedian Carly Smallman disputes there is a lack of funny females on the comedy circuit.

Rob BrydonRob Brydon

She maintains that it’s not just men who harbour such views about women in the industry.

She counts herself as “very lucky” but dismisses the idea that her path has been made harder by her gender.

“Even women will come up to me after a show and say they don’t ordinarily find women comedians funny and I think ‘is that a compliment?’

“There are so many funny girls out there but I wouldn’t say it’s harder as a woman to get into comedy. It might be a little harder to get on television but I haven’t found that personally.

Carly SmallmanCarly Smallman

“It’s not harder if you’re breaking through as a woman comic but it is harder if you’re a rubbish comic.”

Her rise since finishing university and joining an improvisational comedy group has been a “weird one”.

Currently working on her first hour-long show, some of which will be tested on an audience at The Churchill in Bromley this weekend, Carly’s comedy roots were shaped by her early years in Penge and Sydenham where she attended St John’s Primary School in Maple Road.

Her first comedy album Made in Penge focuses on her time spent in her home town and the oddities she jots down in her notepad.

The writing process is a constant battle to overcome lethargy though the end product is worth countless wasted notes and hours of television distractions.

She said: “It can take me anywhere between 10 minutes and a few weeks to write a song. Lately I’ve been making myself write a poem in three minutes and seeing what I get out of it.

“But my dream world would be one where I work at night and spend the rest of the day in my pants, watching television and eating crisps.”

The 27-year-old has certainly put in the mileage on the circuit, travelling Britain’s motorways. She sheepishly admits to having favourite service stations.

“I even have my favourite toilets and know which services have Marks and Spencer or Waitrose. I spend a lot of time travelling.

“I’ve been doing improv since I was about 18 and got a little job working in a comedy club after uni, just checking tickets, but I got to watch a lot of acts.”

From working a comedy club door, Carly penned her first funny song and took to the stage herself at an open-mic night after a little push from a friend.

During an early gig in 2010 she was spotted by a BBC producer who recommended her as a warm-up act for The Rob Brydon Show and her career took off.

She added: “Rob liked my stuff and asked me to be on the show. Then promoters started asking ‘who is she and why have I never heard of her?’

“I had to sort of play catch- up because I wasn’t used to doing professional shows, so I basically had to get good fast.”

Carly will be at The Churchill Theatre on Saturday evening.

Tickets are available from

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