Helen Lederer

Comedy Women In Print: Taste, Connection, Empowerment

Legendary comedian, actress and writer Helen Lederer shares her views on comedy women in print.

The wonderful content you see here is uncensored; the views and opinions expressed by the speakers at the Festival of Ideas Reimagined are their own and do not reflect the views, opinions, official policy or position of the University of Hertfordshire.

About Helen Lederer

A comedy legend, a LGBT icon, actress, broadcaster and writer Helen Lederer has been charming the British public with her unique brand of humour for decades.

As a member of the 80s London Comedy Store she was in the first wave of emerging stand-ups, first tapping into the public’s funny-bone with her ‘sloaney-girl-at-the-bar’ creation in the BBC comedy sketch show Naked Video. Then came Saturday Night Live, The Young Ones, French & Saunders and Bottom. Her early success was followed by her role of Catriona in six series of TV comedy Absolutely Fabulous – a role she reprised in 2016 film.

The comedy art of surviving the business as well as her own, well-documented self-doubts, has always set Helen apart and inspired the critically acclaimed 2015 novel Losing It, which was nominated for the PG Wodehouse Comedy Literary Prize. After completing the novel, she realised that there were no female comedy literary prizes. Helen therefore set up the Comedy Women in Print Prize (CWIP) in 2019 to recognise burgeoning female comedy fiction writers in various categories as well as presenting a lifetime achievement award. The judges for the 2019 competition included Marian Keyes, Katy Brand, Jenny Éclair and Kathy Lette.

In 2018, after an absence of fourteen years, she returned to The Edinburgh Fringe with her acclaimed confessional stand-up show I Might As Well Say It, a searingly candid biographical journey.

Helen has always worked a lot with charities including ambassadorships for Eve Cancer, WaterAid and The Princes Trust and is a trustee for Trent Park Museum. On a more personal note, her Czech heritage involves a love of food and wine as well as an obsession with fabrics and cushions.

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