What’s happening? Scottish-Pakistani comedian Zara Janjua has been shortlisted for two Funny Women Awards this year. She is one of 10 comedians listed for the Comedy Writing Award, sponsored by Sky Studios and is also up for the Comedy Shorts Awards, sponsored by NextUp Comedy.
What are the Funny Women Awards? Funny Women is an important industry platform for women looking to break into comedy. So far, over 4,000 talented comics have taken part in 17 competitions, and their alumni include, Sarah Millican, Zoe Lyons, Sarah Pasco, Katherine Ryan, London Hughes, Desiree Burch, Kerry Godliman, Rachel Parris.
Zara ‘s work: Comedy writer, Zara Janjua entered a pilot for her sitcom ‘Doulas’, a story about a Scottish-Pakistani Muslim news presenter who is having baby with a sperm bank.
Zara’s entry for the Comedy Shorts Award ‘Match of the Yesterday: Euro 1314’ was a collaboration with Mid-Brow and was released during the Euros ahead of the Scotland-England game. She plays a medieval news presenter during the Battle of Bannockburn. It is available on the BBC iPlayer.
The former STV News presenter turned to comedy in 2016 and won a spot in the BBC Comedy Writers Room, ITV 50:50 Female Pilot Club and was recently awarded a runner-up prize for comedy writing with the David Nobbs Memorial Trust.
She said: “I am genuinely thrilled to be on the shortlist for these two awards, alongside some incredibly talented women. The awards are an exciting platform for women and help to create opportunities for us in the industry.”
In 2018 a study revealed that less than 11 per cent of comedy on TV in the UK is written by women.
Zara said: “I wanted to be part of the solution and break into the boy’s club. The industry is dominated by white, middle-aged, privately-educated men.
“The lack of diversity means there are so many untapped pockets and untold stories out there.”
Finalists will be announced on September 14th and award ceremony takes place on 24 September at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London.
Winners receive cash prizes, mentorship from Funny Women and the Comedy Shorts winner will also receive a funded development prize.