Celya's AB fab | French comic scoops Birmingham Comedy Festival award © Dave Freak

Celya's AB fab

French comic scoops Birmingham Comedy Festival award

French comedian Celya AB has won this year’s Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award.

Originally from Paris, Celya has been living in the UK’s second city for five years.

Picking up her award from BBC WM presenter Lisa Smith at the Glee Club last night, the comic said: "It means a lot for me to be considered a Birmingham talent; it was huge just to have been nominated!"

She made her stand-up debut at Sutton Coldfield’s Comedy Junction in early 2017, encouraged by comedian Karen Bayley.

‘I’ve always had a love of stand-up, but never thought I’d do it. I kept talking about it for so long,’ she said. ‘Then Karen said I had to do something, and she gave me three days’ notice. 

‘I did five minutes, and went on with a glass of wine. I got my first laugh and thought about it for the next three weeks.’

Celya acknowledges that she still has much to learn, saying: ‘For the first year of doing stand-up, you’re just getting used to being on stage – I wasn’t very good for the first year, I wasn’t a natural performer, I was really shy. The second year was learning to write jokes I liked. But you’re constantly learning in comedy, it’s always evolving.’

Discussing her comedic style, she says: ‘It’s really stupid, a bit daft, maybe a bit surreal, and a bit on the weird side. I just want to be myself on stage, as much as I can.’

Celya, who is of French/Algerian heritage, also runs her own monthly comedy nights at the Queen’s Arms and Red Lion pubs, both in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. She was also in the Funny Women finals at The Bloomsbury Theatre in London last month.

Belfast-born TV researcher Mary Flanigan, who relocated to Birmingham’s Kings Heath at the beginning of the year, was also highly commended by judges at last night’s final.

Also performing were  Erdington's Jay Droch, who is just 18 months after his stand-up debut; darkly challenging Adam Elmi, from Edgbaston; and Doug Carter, who recalled growing up in Bedworth, Warwickshire, during the 1980s.

A spokesperson for the Birmingham Comedy Festival said: ‘Deciding on a winner is never an easy task, but our judges were impressed by Celya’s relaxed and confident stage presence, and the unpredictability of her material. 

‘She’s made significant strides in her comedy, particularly over the last 12 months, and has great promise. We very much look forward to seeing how she continues to grow as a comedian in the months ahead.’

For full festival listings, visit bhamcomfest.co.uk

Published: 5 Oct 2019

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