Technology has its ups and downs for rising star Andi
Twitter is a big part of Andi Osho’s life on and off stage, but it has landed her in hot water
�It is somewhat surprising to hear that Andi Osho’s comedy career began because she lacked confidence. “Going into comedy was a mixture of necessity and desire really. I had a job at the Royal Court, an audition for a play, I was so nervous, I had really terrible stage fright. I thought, ‘I can’t be an actress who is scared to be on stage.’ I knew I needed to be on stage more regularly. So I enrolled on a stand-up course.”
Within a year, Osho was firmly on the circuit and, by 2010, a knock-’em-dead performance on Michael McIntyre’s Roadshow cemented the shift. Osho’s palpable professionalism returned when she auditioned for McIntyre: “I didn’t get nervous at all. I just thought, ‘It is such a good opportunity, I can’t get nervous.’ I blazed in, did my audition and then left immediately afterwards. When I got the gig, people were saying how I was the only person to have done that – just left at the end.”
Although she cites her influence as “everything that’s around me”, technology talk has become a leitmotif of her act recently, with her weekly Channel 4 slot being dedicated to anomalous activity on the internet.
Osho dismisses this as a “part of everyone’s life” and “a natural thing to talk about”, but admits that a careless tweet has often had serious consequences.
“I was referring to the phenomena on the X Factor of contestants looking normal and then acting crazily or vice versa. I tweeted something along the lines of ‘that will be a special act – having a good-looking person who actually turns out to be mental’.
“I got such a bad reaction, with people tweeting and saying how bad it was that I said that. Even my friends were messaging me saying, ‘Andi, how could you,’” she says. “I think it’s quite depressing that people would react in that way. That kind of thing can bring down a career.”
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“Sometimes I say things that I can’t stand by and I have to apologise and take it back,” she adds. “I did apologise for that tweet about the X Factor but I didn’t remove it because I didn’t want to cover it up.”
With the sizzle of complaint still on her fingers, Osho is still learning that the anything goes attitude of the stand-up circuit often doesn’t extend online.
“People complain about the most ridiculous things,” she says. “I tweeted the other day a comment about Sean Bean’s accent and someone tweeted back saying, ‘I used to think you were a good comedian but now you are against people from Sheffield, I’m from Sheffield.’ I thought, ‘Do people really take it this seriously?’”
The sharp attitude with which Osho conducts her stand-up surfaces when I question how she feels being a black woman in stand-up.
“ I don’t think that there’s anything against me because I’m a black woman. There’s fewer black women in this country, so probably there are the right number of black female comedians on the circuit. I don’t think there is anything stopping black women from getting on the circuit – stand-up is open to everyone.”
Osho’s attitude is admirable. She is talented enough not to rely on her differences. But the story of the origin of her stage costume – often a glamorous dress and heels – betrays another side of her character.
“It sort of came about because I went for a stand-up audition and the people who were making the programme were taking a big risk. I was wearing my normal clothes and the producer suggested that I go and get some new clothes, which I thought was quite nice. I’d never worn a dress for comedy up until that point but they gave me some money and I thought, ‘This is great.’” The result is that Osho is possibly the most glamorous woman in comedy at the moment, whatever the implications for the industry that story may have.
Osho also continues to be one of the busiest women in comedy, with a string of gigs scheduled throughout the summer. “I’d love to do some scripted comedy at some point,” she says – her casual manner skimming over the fact that she will probably have the chance to do it and, no doubt, do it well.
n Andi Osho is playing the Map Studio Cafe, 46 Grafton Road, Kentish Town, on Wednesday June 22.