Candy Gigi: 'Some audiences don't quite understand when I'm breastfeeding a raw chicken'
- Marissa Burgess
- 26 July 2019
This article is from 2019
A thrilling rollercoaster comedy ride is in store for anyone who steps inside a room where Candy Gigi is set to perform. The clowning musical-theatre aficionado just wants you to leave all preconceptions at the door
There aren't many acts who push an audience's buttons like Candy Gigi. In the past she's spat out lettuce at the front row, covered them in lipstick and graphically created a young woman getting her first period. All of which was executed with a hefty amount of terrifying audience participation. Her shows are frankly glorious. Unsurprisingly, she's generally influenced by comedians who 'inspire discomfort' as well as those that use clowning, but it might be a surprise to learn that Gigi originally trained in musical theatre and has an incredible singing voice.
Never the leading lady at college, she decided she'd rather be a comedy actress. Soon she was delving into that delicious seamy sense of humour that seems to be in her genes, for inspiration. 'A lot of my darkness comes from my dad and family generally. We have always been a family that uses humour as a kind of coping mechanism, as evidenced by how quickly we were doing impressions of my grandfather after he had a stroke. That sounds awful, but that kind of thing actually brings us closer as a family and means we are all quite honest with each other.'
Gigi draws on her Jewish heritage greatly in her work – the bat mitzvah, her version of famous musicals starring Topol – but not all audiences realise what they're letting themselves in for when they come to see a female Jewish comedian. 'Unfortunately, some audiences expect it to be some darling future daughter-in-law singing songs from Fiddler on the Roof, and then don't quite understand when I'm breastfeeding a raw chicken. I suppose that might say something about expectations of Jewish girls in comedy. The worst experience I've had was at a Jewish arts conference, when within five minutes of the show a group of rabbis stormed out, possibly because I had an audience member bent over and was miming doing him from behind. I think they were most upset about the fact that we weren't doing it through a hole in a sheet.'
This year, Gigi's on safer ground starring as a Jewish, newly-married maniac in a comedy horror musical. Or maybe not. 'It's got all the DNA of my previous shows: clowning, slapstick, grotesque set-pieces. But it's integrated with original songs that challenge expectations of musical theatre in content and style.' There's little doubt that it's going be spectacular.
Candy Gigi Presents: Friday Night Sinner!, Monkey Barrel, 2–25 Aug (not 12, 20), 8.35pm, £7 (£6.50) or donations at the venue.