Ginger and Black
Girl & Dean
Born in Bethnal Green, East London, to a Nigerian family, Gina Yashere turned to comedy after working as a lift engineer.
She made her Edinburgh debut in 1995, and in 2000 completed her first stand-up tour, and has been regularly on the road ever since.
Her first TV exposure was as a regular on the BBC Two comedy show Blouse and Skirt (originally called The A Force) in 1996. Other TV credits Live at Jongleurs, The Comedy Store, Jo Brand's Hot Potatoes and talking heads shows such as the I Love...series for BBC Two. In 2001, she briefly hosted a BBC Choice chat show, Up Late With Gina Yashere and she provided the voice of Keisha Marie in the Channel 4 animated series Bromwell High
In 2007, she took part in the NBC reality show Last Comic Standing, giving her a foothold in the US. In 2008, she became the first British comic to appear on the influential black stand-up show Def Comedy Jam.
She has also branched out into acting, appearing in the films Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Mr In-Between, as well as in the West End show The Vagina Monologues.
She was named best female at the Black Comedy Awards in 2002, and nominated as best female stand-up in the Chortle awards the same year.
Gina Yashere: Brighton Comedy Festival
SHE'S five stone lighter and lives in the States now, but Gina Yashere's brand of comedy remains resolutely unchanged.
Posturing cheerfully in a pulled-up hoodie, she spits out her greetings like a pumped up performance poet before launching into a string of typical Yashere anecdotes: rap stars think they are so street but then they have chandeliers in their ‘cribs’, colonic irrigation is brilliant but – ew – so disgusting, black women don't like getting their hair wet. The audience relaxes in familiar territory.
Yashere is a shrewd entertainer and knows exactly what buttons to press to keep her audiences happy. With a little bit of politics, a little bit of the personal and a good smattering of knob gags, her pick 'n' mix material has something for everyone.
It's not hard to see why she has retained her position as ‘that woman off the telly’ or why she keeps getting flown to war zones to perform gigs for Our Boys. She is a formidable presence on stage, with a self-aware swagger that nips heckles in the bud. It certainly takes a confident performer to break from routine to confiscate an audience member's bleeping mobile phone and shove it down her pants.
All very slick but not exactly innovative. There is no doubt Yashere is capable of better - she hints at it now and then with a genuinely incisive observation or a flash of ad-libbed genius - but too often she falls back on the safe pay-offs, the middle-of-the-road material disguised as something more daring, those bloody impressions of her mum.
When the formula is so well received, it's not hard to see why she would be loathe to meddle with it, but it's a depressingly calculated approach to comedy.
|Date of live review: Tuesday 19th May, '09|
Review by Nione Meakin
Saturday 1st May, '04-
Show - Tour -
Show - Misc live shows -
Breathtakingly bad. How hasn't someone heckled the confidence out of her yet? `
She was awesome last night at the Red Card comedy club in Norwich - had everyone from the second she stood on the stage to the moment she left. Top of the bill and well worth the tenner
Gina is fantastic, fresh and ballsy - absolutely hilarious
The absolute best thing on Celebrity Fame Academy. Hilarious! Absolutely gutted when she left
As funny as a death in the family
Gina is a uniquely engaging talent. She's locked into the 'Marmite factor': you either love her or hate her. Either way, she has made a big impact on the British comedy scene and has a long, successful career ahead of her.
This woman is not funny. She wheels out predictable formulas and is generally a woefully inept performer
I think she is hilarious. can't wait for her to get her own show.
|Yashere: TV's racism drove me to the US
'It's not the same for black comics'
15/05/2008 Permanent link
Gina Yashere: Skinny B*tch
Misc live shows
Just for Laughs: Montreal Festival Showcase 2009
Britcom gala 2009
Nasty Girls 
Gina Yashere: I Don't Think So
Gina Yashere: Skinny Bitch