Luisa Omielan’s show Am I Right, Ladies? is so brilliant that I went to see it twice last year. I follow her every move on social media, have introduced her as a role model – through her (self funded) DVD – to my teenage daughter, and am absolutely thrilled to a million pieces that she is to pilot a new sketch show for ITV2. It’s frustrating that she isn’t already a huge, well-known, household name – she should be a predictable member of every panel show going. I guess that’s the nature of the business sometimes. After seeing the way she’s worked her arse off to reach this point, I can imagine that others would have long ago thrown in the towel. (Having a pint of beer thrown in my face, as she did at last summer’s Edinburgh Fringe, would have been my breaking point.) The woman is perseverance and determination personified.
At the start of her show, Luisa Omielan strips to her bra and knickers (she removes her Spanx on stage…not the simplest of feats at the best of times) and metaphorically screams “deal with this shit” at everyone in her audience. She reminds us that her “What Would Beyonce Do?” shows were critically applauded (the Guardian loved her). And off she fires.
This woman talks about loving yourself, hating yourself, having sex when you want to, having sex when you just think “oh what the hell, I’ll give this one a go”, being regarded as crazy for preferring recognition after said sex, depression, love, feminism (she couldn’t really care less about it…just don’t be a lazy bitch, OK?), not giving a shit about your age (I’m particularly happy to hear her touch on this) and upgrading yourself. Always upgrade. Never (as most of us are wont to do) do yourself down.
Exhaustingly physical, tirelessly emotional, empathetic, kind, touching (in every way) and simply goddam hilarious, you want to be Omielan’s new best friend. Twice during her act I wanted to shout “I love you”. Some of us shed tears of relief as she talks about depression – her insight is spot on – and tears of laughter when regaling us with anecdotes about the likes of brief holiday encounter Errol and his irresistible, erm, charms.
“Thank you for the opportunity” is the catchphrase my friends and I have hijacked from this comedy masterclass, teasing one another every time we slip into “need to upgrade” mode, ever since. At the end of the show (the second time I went), my friend and I helped Luisa into the Dirty Dancing lift. It seems fitting, as the show itself is so uplifting. Omielan is hilarious, kind, strong and all round brilliant.
At the end of her show, in the queue for her DVD and a selfie, I run into her mum. I gush about what a fabulous mum she must be, and explain that the DVD is a present for my own daughter as I’m hoping she’ll adopt Luisa as one of her role models. Mum is, absolutely, chuffed to bits.
With my own quiet, motherly embarrassment I hastily try to convey this to Luisa and apologise for probably being a bit OTT. She says she doesn’t mind – says she loves it. This is her last show though and she’s exhausted (I know because I read all of her updates) and she must, in reality, be tired of fawners like me.
Luisa Omielan could not have worked any harder. She’s got it right, and she deserves for her show to be an outrageous success.
On Saturday 13th February Luisa Omielan is holding a Valentines Party show with an after party that is sure to be yet another truly life-affirming experience!
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