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funny girl

Meet Ruth Hunter, the 'human woman from Dublin' who is the next big thing in Irish comedy

We spoke to Hunter about So You Think You’re Funny, her new comedy club and how to cope as a feminist.

Ruth Hunter / YouTube

LAST YEAR, IRISH comedian Ruth Hunter came second in So You Think You’re Funny, a renowned stand-up comedy competition that’s been held in Edinburgh every year since 1988.

To put that achivement in perspective, comedians to previously finish in second and third place at So You Think You’re Funny include Alan Carr, Nina Conti, Sarah Millican, Russell Kane, Seann Walsh and Rob Beckett.

Indeed, the competition has helped launch the careers of many notable Irish comedians including Tommy Tiernan, Aisling Bea and David O’Doherty.

“It still seems unreal,” Hunter tells DailyEdge.ie. “Just one of many traumatic events of 2016.”

Hunter is a self-described “human woman from Dublin”. By day, she’s a “staying afloat day-job worker” in a “non-specific government office” who moonlights as a comedian and writer on the side.

Hunter started performing stand-up in the summer of 2015 and has quickly established herself as one of the most exciting, unique comedians working in Ireland.

She cites the likes of Eddie Izzard, Dylan Moran, Mitch Hedberg and Steven Wright as among her influences. If Hunter has anything in common with those comedy luminaries, it’s her onstage presence.

She’s less Live At The Apollo, more dour and deadpan.

Ruth Hunter / YouTube

This weekend, Hunter is joining forces with Conor O’Toole to start a new stand-up comedy club in The Workman’s called, aptly enough, Workman’s Comedy Club.

At present, they have scheduled and programmed six gigs with new and exciting stand-up comedians from home and abroad, including last year’s So You Think You’re Funny champion Heidi Regan.

This is not Hunter’s first foray into hosting a comedy night of her own. She previously ran a comedy/music/spoken word night called Kill The Winter.

Workman’s Comedy Club was born out of a desire to offer a regular night devoted to up-and-comers with a slightly different sensibility.

The Dublin scene can be a little closed off to newbies and more alternative comics. Our night has an open slot at each night for newer folk and we are hosting a wide range of extremely talented comedians with a diverse style of comedy.

Hunter says that she finds the Dublin comedy scene to be “fine” but lacking in comparison to our neighbours across the pond.

I went to London last year for a week, I did a bunch of gigs and the diversity and sheer range of nights was really amazing. I suppose it is a lot bigger but I think Dublin could do with adding an extension to the old comedy shack.

“What’s missing in Dublin is a diversity of cliques,” she explains. “In terms of organisers, promoters and bookers it is also a very male-dominated platform.”

Indeed Workman’s Comedy Club is already to be commended for the healthy number of female comedians on their bill — 11 in total.

Among other things, Hunter is also a feminist and last year, she devised a very funny series of “feminist coping cards” designed to be handed out during particularly trying conversations.

Hunter explained that she was inspired to make them after a night out in which her friend, who worked for a charity addressing violence against the LGBT community, was accused by a man of not having a “real job”.

It may have been possible to interpret it as a miscommunication of some kind but he then very overtly kept insisting that her job was stupid in quite a patronising manner. Although angry, she somehow managed to have an incredibly rational conversation with him about what transpired to be his extremely sexist and homophobic views which culminated in her telling him to go away now please.
Dealing with confrontations of this nature is quite a frequent occurrence for many women and although I would feel it’s important to stand up for yourself it can sometimes be a bit exhausting. So we thought it would be easier if we could just hand the offending party a card summarising how ridiculous their opinion was instead of being responsible every single time for teaching certain people just how offensive they are being.

coping2 Ruth O'Kelly Hunter Ruth O'Kelly Hunter

*shoves into purse immediately*

So what’s next for Hunter? You’ll be able to see her gigging in Dublin and Galway, and she is planning on taking a show to Edinburgh Festival in August with her partner-in-crime Conor O’Toole.

Fancy catching her before she becomes the next big thing? You can see her in Workman’s Comedy Club this Sunday.

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