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  • Georgina Mayhew

A review of Sheffield’s Queermageddon: Where funny remembers to be fun

Lucy Smith-Jones at Queermageddon

Is it just me, or do you ever think that comedy can sometimes take itself a little too… seriously? Mainstream comedians can seemingly tie themselves in knots trying not to offend anyone. Or perhaps worse, they don’t understand why the low-hanging fruit of making other people the butt of their jokes has become boring. The jokes often come out painfully self-doubting, or arrogantly unbending. In either case, it’s rare that you feel the performers are having fun.

Enter here, Queer Comedy Sheffield’s ‘Queermageddon’ – a refuge of cheek-achingly funny, smart, self-aware and expressive queer acts, where their comedians prove that it is possible to make people laugh by gently poking fun at others (and yourself) without the judgment and put-downs. What these brilliant acts demonstrate is what happens when you don’t have the easy quips that rely on tropes and stereotypes to cling onto – when you have to actually make your jokes funny.

Ella Nobre Watts at Queermageddon

Queer Comedy Sheffield (and Queermageddon) is the brainchild of Lucy Smith-Jones and Ella Nobre-Watts – best friends who met at Sheffield Hallam University. After moving away and returning to the city of couple of years ago to find that there was little offering representation or an inclusive space for queer folk in comedy, they decided to start their own venture. Fast forward a year and a half, and their events have become sold-out shows that celebrate all forms of queerness, and a tonic for those who don’t find themselves represented by mainstream comedians of a particular – ahem – demographic.

Co-founder Lucy was the MC for the night, and effortlessly put the crowd at ease with her quippy one-liners (and an unexplained fondness for cows), perfectly reflecting the night’s informal (if slightly chaotic) charm. To say that the event helps showcase the voices of those who are often sidelined in society and ‘othered’ as one homogenous group, there was a great diversity in the speakers’ perspectives and jokes. No topic was off limits and over the course of the night we covered everything from being trapped in tents with bigoted aunts, the classification of ‘danger poos’, and experimental vibrators.

Being an entry point for comedians, as you might expect some acts were better received than others – but even with the jokes that landed less well, it was great to see opportunities given to those who want to (and in my eyes, are brave enough!) to give comedy a go. All the acts were brilliant, but for me it was Emerson Young with his endearing and effortless eccentricity, and the flirtatious, easy charisma of Hannah Braggins who stole the show.

Stevie Yardy at Queermageddon

After the acts took their curtain call, the night went on with an after-party disco DJ-ed by Nightowl. I’m told it was great fun, but being a 61-year-old trapped in a 31-year-old’s body, I was at home with my cup of decaf tea and Ted Lasso by then.

I was told to expect a night of laughter, music, drag kings, and queer joy all round – and I can safely say I was not disappointed. While these events provide a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community, the night is absolutely open to allies too. I will be taking the first opportunity to return to Queer Comedy Sheffield Events and the sweet relief of fun, inclusive comedy – and would encourage anyone who fancies a different night out too!

Queer Comedy Sheffield events will be taking a short break for the rest of the summer, but their monthly open mic night, QUACKS, will return to Theatre Deli on 28th September.

If you have any questions, contact or find them on Instagram @queercomedysheffield.

Audience at Queermageddon


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