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Alice Frick: Taking a stand for female comics

PUBLISHED: 14:37 14 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:37 14 November 2018

Alice Frick performs her show: What The Frick? at Islington's Bill Murray on November 21.

Alice Frick performs her show: What The Frick? at Islington's Bill Murray on November 21.

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When Alice Frick began telling jokes in comedy clubs across Austria and Germany, organisers paid little attention to her material. Instead, they suggested wearing a dress, high heels and "doing a little twirl after you've finished your set."

Frick covers her crippling back injury, coming out to her religious grandma and other disastrous topics in her set.  Picture: DJ BoldingerFrick covers her crippling back injury, coming out to her religious grandma and other disastrous topics in her set. Picture: DJ Boldinger

Motivated by this sexist, belittling attitude towards female comedians, Austrian-born Frick was moved to arrange her own comedy night – Laughing Labia – which has been selling out intimate venues for several years now.

“When I’m performing in clubs, there’s usually only one woman featured on the line-up,” says Frick, who moved to London from Vienna in 2011.

“Promoters have said to me that women are not funny so we don’t book them. It’s really frustrating (to hear that) because there are so many different styles of humour. Next month at Laughing Labia I have a young comedian – she’s a real newcomer – while in our last show one of our acts was 84-years-old.

“Last season we were in a small venue but we packed out every show. This time we are in a venue for 70 to 80 people and we are starting to do a podcast with it, which will help it reach many more people.”

The Austrian wrote a screenplay - Shop of Little Pleasures - while recovering from her injury.The Austrian wrote a screenplay - Shop of Little Pleasures - while recovering from her injury.

Frick is also a talented stand-up act in her own right, and she’ll bring her new show What The Frick? to The Bill Murray in Islington on November 21. Covering everything from sex talk in German to a crippling back injury and coming out to her religious grandmother, Frick finds humour in topics that could easily have set her back.

There’s more to Frick than stand-up comedy, too. While lots of people recovering from a serious back problem would be taking the opportunity to rest, Frick decided that was a good time to write a feature film.

“I slipped my disc a few years ago, it was really bad but I thought it would heal by itself and that I didn’t need surgery,” she explains.

“As it turned out I was in and out of hospital in Austria for about a year. During that time I wrote a film with my sister; my back was injured but my brain still worked! I was lying in bed while my sister, Julia, was typing. It’s called Shop of Little Pleasures, it just came out last month in Austria and has done quite well in festivals.”

Frick, who points to Ellen Degeneres as her comedy idol, also has plans to transform What The Frick? into a sitcom. A crowdfunding campaign is underway for the next episodes, which she hopes to shoot in the spring.

For now, Frick turns her attention to her upcoming Islington show before the next Laughing Labia, which is on December 2 at Soho’s Ku Bar.

Alice Frick: What the Frick? is at The Bill Murray on Wednesday November 21. More details and tickets here.

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