And so the winners of the 2016 awards – which took place this week in London – look set for a very funny future.
Carol Walsh, 33, from Dublin, bagged the writing award for her television script Savages, a comedy/drama about a woman who has to move back home to the family pub in rural Ireland. Walsh describes the main character, Cat Savage, as “a woman with her finger constantly hovering over the 'fuck it' button – eventually, she pushes it too far and lands herself in deep water.”
When Cat has to be bailed out by her indomitable mother, she is also forced to reunite with the teenage daughter she abandoned years before.
“Think of it as Gilmore Girls for scumbags,” Walsh tells Stylist.co.uk. “In a good way."
Harriet Braine won the £2,000 Funny Women stage award for her musical comedy act. It seems fair to describe Braine’s act as fairly niche: rather than peddling the easy, cosy jokes beloved of comics like Michael MacIntyre, she instead performs surreal educational songs about art history, set to the tune of modern pop anthems.
Think Outkast's Hey Ya! reworded to tell the story of Auguste Renoir, or a revelatory song about Leonardo da Vinci in the style of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights (spoiler alert: Leo was actually a woman. "History has rewritten me as a gentleman... Fucking typical!" Braine sings sweetly.)
“I really like performing live, so I’m hoping [winning the award] will lead to bigger and better gigs,” Braine tells Stylist.co.uk. “I’d also love to do a full-length show at some iconic comedy venues – which I won’t name as I don’t want to jinx it!”
She adds that she hopes to extend her act into other areas outside of musical comedy. “Hopefully [the award] will also lead to collaborations with other comedians on new projects – I want to try and stretch my comedy skills beyond my songs.”
Listen: Da Vinci by Harriet Braine (in the style of Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush)
The third award of the evening went to Carolyn Goodyear for her short film Ambition, the tragicomic story of one middle-aged man’s dream of winning Employee of the Year.
“The film illustrates that success isn’t typically won overnight and often a prize doesn’t go to the person who deserves it the most,” Goodyear tells us. “On the road to our dreams there are often knockbacks and it’s about perseverance, dedication and keeping the faith.”
Watch: Carolyn Goodyear's short film Ambition, winner of the Funny Women shorts award
Founded in 2002, the Funny Women awards were set up with a noble aim: “to help women find their voice through performing, writing and using humour in business and everyday life”.
“There are still people out there – mostly trouser-less shut-ins eating Pot Noodles and commenting on YouTube videos – that think women aren't funny,” observes Walsh. “That an entire gender are incapable of cracking a joke.
“The Funny Women awards celebrate women finding their voice in comedy. It's flying the flag for funny and has launched amazing careers. It's a joyous thing.”