Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Esther Manito: Hell Hath No Fury

By | Published on Friday 11 August 2023

Headed to Soho Theatre this week with her latest comedy show is the brilliant Esther Manito, whose work you may well have witnessed at edfringe, in the media and, I guess, at any number of live appearances.

In any case, I have long been an admirer and the name of her latest show – ‘Hell Hath No Fury’ – rather intrigued me.

I spoke to Esther to find out more about the show and her comedy career.

CM: Let’s start with the obvious: the show. The title ‘Hell Hath No Fury’ will probably give readers a clue about the content, but can you tell us more? What can we expect to hear you talking about?
EM: The little things, the small things that build and build until you explode. Everything from kids, using the tube, work place interactions, going to the doctor, social media and my porch, which is driving me insane.

CM: Presumably your own personal experiences have contributed to the content? To what extent?
EM: 100 percent personal experience. All totally anecdotal and totally relatable to anyone living with a partner in a house in today’s society.

CM: What made you want to cover these topics in a stand-up show? Why did you think it would work?
EM: I realised I take so much pleasure from ranting on stage and seeing people nodding along and laughing in recognition.

It creates an environment that is different from me delivering a show. It feels like a group sitting in the pub letting off steam.

CM: Does the show have a message? Would you regard it as political?
EM: I guess you could say it looks at heteronormative roles, the expectations on dads v mums. But I always like to look at why we have those different expectations and how it boxes us and limits us.

I think there is discussion to be taken further, but just by telling stories from my perspective these issues are presented.

CM: Who will this show appeal to?
EM: Women for sure! I think a lot of couples enjoy the show and I think women who have had a family relate a lot.

Children are not a huge theme but they are referenced, the main view point is my experiences of life right now turning 40 and how you’re treated. Also about how there is still a taboo regarding loud angry women!

CM: We loved the show you did in Edinburgh last year. Were you not tempted to return to the Fringe this year?
EM: I like that at the Fringe I can do my show daily and I genuinely loved my audience last year. The simple fact is I am not in a position to not earn and the cost of the Fringe cancels out the profit.

This is the sad truth. It’s a little hard to tell my kids “you can’t go to university cos mummy spent all the savings on being a performer”.

CM: Can we talk a bit about your background now? What made you want to be a performer and how did you come to be working in comedy?
EM: I was on maternity leave with two kids, I felt I was going a little mad… like I was losing a bit of my ability to think and be creative. So I did a comedy course and you had to do a five minute set at the end.

I did it and was bitten. It took so much work to make this my career and to earn enough to replace my previous job as a teacher, but I’ve done it and I’m really proud of that. Which I don’t often say cos I feel like a bellend.

CM: What would you say have been the highlights of your career thus far?
EM: I was the first female comic to perform at Dubai Opera, which as an Arab was beautiful and I even had family come from Lebanon to watch.

‘Live At The Apollo’ was INCREDIBLE. Performing at the London Palladium was so wonderful with Celeste Barber!

Also, going on ‘Parenting Hell’ with Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe, as I was a massive fan of theirs. And finally being tour support to Shappi Korsandi, who was a massive influence in my career and I’m so blessed that she has become one of my closest friends!

CM: What aims and ambitions do you have for the future?
EM: I don’t believe in setting goals, I’m far too pessimistic! What will be will be and be grateful babe, you got far more than you ever expected.

CM: What’s coming up next for you after this?
EM: Two things I’m focusing on – my tour and running the marathon for my girl’s favourite animal charity. Which I’m doing to compensate for always forgetting her wellies on forest school day at her school.

‘Esther Manito: Hell Hath No Fury’ is on at Soho Theatre from 17-19 Aug, see the venue website here for more info and tickets. For upcoming tour dates outside London see this page here.

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