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INTERVIEW: Comedian Francesca Martinez talks to Journal2

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

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TEP aside fellas – there's a new comedienne in town and she's here to change the definition of what we think is normal, writes Francesca Taffs.

The top comic Francesca Martinez will be bringing her latest tour to the Queen's Theatre and says she much prefers performing at smaller venues.

Francesca said: "It is my first time to Devon in quite a few years. I haven't been that far south in ages. I was in Plymouth but that was in 2004.

"I love venues where you are right with the audience and you are not separated from them. I think stand-up works better when you are right near the audience."

After being born with cerebral palsy, at the age of 20 Francesca came to the realisation that she had never actually met a "normal" person and decided to base her show on this.

She said: "I wanted to do a show that was very much me and I didn't feel I could act. It is really nice to deliver an hour of truth and honesty. This show was sparked off by my intense relationship with the word normal. Being born wobbly I have been haunted by the idea of normal, especially in my teenage years.

"I felt so isolated and I hated who I was. What happened was when I got to 20 I realised, hang on a minute, I have never met a normal person and that realisation changed my life and liberated me from all my insecurities. That was such an immense change. Because of the shift in my attitude my whole life became different and I was amazed by that. I thought, wow I want to put that in the show."

"No matter what body you are born into, everybody struggles to live up to certain ideals. Especially the young generation. It is really hard to escape from those pressures."

Francesca says every show she does is slightly different and she would relish the chance to keep it going for more than the 40 dates she has planned.

"Touring is quite intense but I absolutely love doing this show. I would be happy to do it for two years. I really believe in it and it is a real joy.

"There are parts that are different every night. Every live show is different. It is a different audience, a different room and it never feels repetitive. I believe in the show and I love delivering it and if I didn't it would be a problem."

She says the show is generally aimed at people aged 14 and over and that teenagers often relate to her content.

"It is an adult show in the sense that there is a bit of fruity language in there and I challenge conceptions. I often perform in schools and colleges and it is such a relevant age.

"I never look at myself and say, 'Francesca, you're a role model', but I am flattered if anyone finds anything I say inspiring. I don't set out to be a role model. I set out in the hope that what I say is inspiring to people. I am very passionate about communicating things that I think are important and comedy is such a good way of doing that, so it is kind of the perfect package."

Francesca calls herself "wobbly" as opposed to saying she has cerebral palsy after a young neighbour once used the word to describe her.

"I realised a few years ago that I hated saying, 'I have cerebral palsy'," she said. "It sounds scary and like a monster. It is a label that initiates fear in people. I think it is a scary label and dwarfs the fact that I am human. One day one of my neighbours said, 'you are a wobbly lady' and I thought how great is the word wobbly. It is non-judgmental and I thought I am going to call myself that."

Francesca Martinez is at the Queen's Theatre, Barnstaple on November 23.

Tickets: £13.50 (adult), £9 (student) on 01271 324242 or www.northdevontheatres.org. uk

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