March Guest Space Talk: NO LAUGHING MATTER by Ava Vidal


Ava Vidal had a rather unique upbringing. She grew up in Syria, attended public school, became a mother at 18, studied law and spent five years as a prison officer at London’s Pentonville prison. A chance viewing of a Chris Rock routine inspired her to pursue comedy. In the very first year of her career, Ava turned heads as the BBC New Comedy Awards’ only female finalist. She quickly became a fixture of the stand-up comedy circuit performing in the UK, USA, Canada, and Australia. Ava has appeared on Mock the Week, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Comedy Central’s The World Stands Up, Edinburgh and Beyond and C4 reality show Kings of Comedy. She was the subject of the documentary From the Top, detailing her background and development as a comedian. She is a patron of Show Racism the Red Card and The Stop and Search Legal Project. As well as the many comedies shows, she has appeared regularly as a commentator on programmes such as Newsnight, This Week, Channel 4 News, The Wright Stuff, Daybreak, ITN News and BBC World Have Your Say. She has written for The Guardian, Independent, Huffington Post and New Statesman amongst others. Ava juggles motherhood with a hectic schedule of comedy bookings, TV appearances (both as a comic and commentator), writing and journalism.


For centuries humour has been used to make bold statements and has been the only acceptable way of poking fun at the powerful and privileged. From court jesters to comedy clubs in Ireland during the troubles, these are sometimes the only way that people were allowed to even discuss political affairs. Although as we have seen with the recent Jimmy Carr furore, humour can also be used to punch down and keep oppressed in their place. However, as a Black female comedian (so a minority within a minority) working on both the British comedy circuit and overseas, Ava Vidal discovered quite early on that it was the perfect way to discuss one of her favourite topics – racial discrimination. She often found that as long as she put a punchline on at the end, she was able to make many hard-hitting points. Is this a good idea though? Many countries are seeing the resurgence of the Far Right in politics. Brazil, the US and the UK for example have recently been subjected to the most right-wing leadership that has ever been seen. And with the amount of Black and Brown faces in high places assisting with these policies maybe it’s time to get serious. Maybe racism is simply no laughing matter.

Ava Vidal will be discussing when and where humour is appropriate when fighting for racial injustice.

Register in advance for this meeting HERE.


Mar 18 2022


6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

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