Luisa Omielan’s last show, What Would Beyonce Do?, was a huge hit – one of the most successful debut comedy shows of all time. Now she’s back with a new hour of comedy and, as she explains during this work-in-progress, the pressure is on. But watching Omielan’s confident, brash, charismatic performance, it’s hard to see what she’s worried about. She’s a natural. Despite being a relative newcomer, Omielan has the kind of effortlessness on stage that seasoned performers have developed over years.
Omielan’s show focuses heavily on how much she loves women, and what a raw deal they get in their interactions with men. She wants to settle down – but she can’t find a man who can indulge her sexually, and enjoy her penchant for cheesy rom-com dialogue. Why, she says, does she get called crazy if she shouts at a man in the street, when he acts like he doesn’t know her the day after a one-night stand? Isn’t he the one who’s behaving oddly?
Omielan has no shortage of frank, funny material. She has an excellent joke about the latest concern of the ultra-body-conscious, the thigh gap, and she throws herself into her delivery, getting physical on stage and with audience members. Despite being rooted in Omielan’s frustrations, it’s all joyous. As a work in progress there are a few rough spots, but Omielan’s charisma and charm make them barely noticeable and often as fun as any of the scripted moments.
Omielan represents the generation of young women who grew up thinking feminism was a done deal: that there were laws in place and everyone was equal now. But that generation, taught they were as good and as valuable as men, have found much of society – especially the business of sex and dating – riven with double standards. Her frustrations are the frustrations of so many young, confident, clever women her age, trying to grasp the unfairness of a world where many men think they’ve conquered her body when they sleep with her. She’s crying out for a whole generation who want to know, ‘What about me? What about my needs? If it’s so easy for women to get sex, why am I so dissatisfied?’
Omielan’s voice is every bit as important in terms of feminism and stand-up comedy as those comics who talk about suffrage and No More Page Three. She needs, and deserves, to be treasured.