Wolverhampton's Funny Things comedy festival gets under way

By Luke Bartlett | Wolverhampton entertainment | Published:

It was a true loffin' matter as a new Black Country comedy festival got under way.

Barbara Nice

The best of the Black Country and beyond kicked off the Funny Things Festival at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton.

A packed out venue of around 50 people caught the self-confessed 'wobbly' comedian and writer Francesca Martinez in conversation with funny things guest director Janice Connolly – otherwise known for her comedic alter-ego, the notoriously rowdy Barbara Nice.

Francesca, who has cerebral palsy, was in talks about everything from her 2014 book 'What the **** is Normal?!', to her time on popular television show Grange Hill, to meeting David Bowie.

The writer spoke of growing up without a television and how being bored a child was 'important', how she was 'terrified' at her first stand up show, and of consumerism and the affect it has on our insecurities.

She said: "I don't have a smart phone, my phone is one of those drug dealer burner phones. "I think young people nowadays are growing up with all this technology, in one sense its amazing, but in another is it going to affect their ability to focus?"

Prompted by an audience question about Boris Johnson, Francesca said: "He has a severe disability and it's called being a Tory politician."

Speaking earlier in the week, the comedy writer told the Express and Star how she hoped 'there are not so many normal people in Wolverhampton.'

The author, whose book details the pressures on everyone to try and be normal, was previously nominated for the Chortle Comedy Best Book Award.

The Funny Things Festival will run until November 5 and see a wide range of comedy figures performing across the Midlands.

Big names including Jimmy Carr, Lee Nelson and Milton Jones will perform while there will also be theatre, exhibitions and family activities.

Luke Bartlett

By Luke Bartlett
Trainee Reporter - @lbartlett_star

Trainee Express & Star reporter covering Dudley and Sandwell. Get in touch on 01902 319445 or via


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