Luisa Omielan (Om-You-Lan) is an exciting new face on the comic scene thanks to her show, What Would Beyoncé Do?
Following a sold-out run at Shoreditch's Comedy Cafe, her show has been picked up by the Soho Theatre SO we're chatting to the lovely lady to find out all about it.
Hey Luisa, first of all we have to ask, why Beyonce? Why not Lady Gaga or J.Lo etc?
This is a very simple game of snog, marry avoid.
Gaga I love you, but it would be avoid, I really love kebabs and that dress put me off for weeks, J'lo you're amazing, and with all the practice you've had, I am sure we would have a wonderful night together, but I know you're not for life you big tease!
However, I like it and would put a ring on it, even though my lesbian friends say I have c**k written on my forehead, I would marry Beyoncé in an instant. She's such a classy gangsta!
What inspired you to go into comedy?
Since a really young age, I used to always play the clown. Growing up, I loved watching American greats like Eddie Murphy, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin and Robin Williams, watching those people made me really happy and I wanted to emulate those people. I have never wanted to do anything else.
Are you surprised by your success so far?
I'm really happy with my success so far, I am surprised at how it really does all come at once, yet I feel as if I have only just scratched the surface. Its amazing, for years I have been working away by myself, gigging travelling to America and studying at Second City (Improv School).
A lot of most of my friends from school are all settled now, married with a mortgage, where as I moved back in my mum and was still not giving up on 'I wanna be a star!' Its been tough and always felt like a bit of a rollercoaster, just when you think about giving up, you have a good run of gigs and it turns around again.
So to be honest, after what feels like a long time of getting not very far, it feels really good that its finally coming together, I feel really proud of myself for sticking at it and following my instinct.
What made you choose to start off with free shows?
Coming up to the Edinburgh festival, the most important thing was getting the audience in, so I wanted to make it as accessible as possible. I didn't have an agent team behind me, So I became my own PR/ Agent / promoter. I promoted the show as if it was a massive paid production.
I really wanted to build my audience using social media as a platform, and because I have no profile, keeping it free was a really targeted choice, so by making it as slick as I possibly could, it made it hugely accessible and encouraged great word of mouth.
When I got to London, again I wanted to keep it free until I knew people would pay to see it. Keep it accessible and get the public to see and decide for themselves.
My 8 Week London run in Shoreditch sold out half way through from word of mouth alone. That's pretty cool for someone with no TV credits or profile, free helped that.
The show is definitely worth paying for! Why do you think audiences have managed to connect so well with it?
I am very honest in my show, and I think people really connect with truth. The show is a reflection of life in my late twenties. I had my heartbroken, had problems with mental health, moved back in with my mum, and just really had a horrible year.
It was only through talking through my tears to my friends about my problems and somehow finding ourselves howling at the uselessness of our lives, did things get better, we were always like 'Does this Sh*t happen to Beyoncé?! What would Beyonce Do?! Why aren't we Beyoncé?!'
My friends make me howl, I see groups of women all the time laughing and joking with their friends about personal embarrassing stories, whether it be about relationships, families or health. I bring that to the stage with the best possible soundtrack.
I really tried to create a show that's stand up, but also a really fun party with audience participation and a little bit of improv! I'm delighted that I get audience who tell me they leave feeling empowered and want to go dancing.
Do you think you'll manage to get Beyonce to one of your gigs?
Oh my days! Could you imagine, you never know, with six degrees of separation, I think we need to make it happen! Beyoncé if you're listening, come! I'll get you on the door!
What would you do if you saw her in the crowd?
Lets not get it twisted, I think I would have to just stop the show, and just let her come up and sing for us all!
Or Alternatively, I'll still do my show and be like 'Yo B, come sing the live hooks for your girl!' Oh, and take photos, lots of photos, I've already go the image in my head, it will be my profile picture for life!
How do you think she would react to the show?
She would love it! She would be like 'oh my gosh that's so amazing! How the other half live, thank you, thank you.' I talk about how I want to be a diva, but its not quite worked out that way, so I would hope B would feel like she's getting an education into the life on the other side, if anything, she can sit and the back and say, yeah, I wouldn't have done that'
If you found yourself chilling with B, what words of advice do you think she would say?
Oh girl, you're so sweet, now I need you to stop playing my music and using me to sell your show.
What would you say is the main lesson you've learned from B?
To work hard and to follow your dream, she has achieved everything she has through sheer determination and hard graft. I actually love her, she is so elegant and gracious, a real lady.
She is teaching me to be more lady like, so before I tweet something like 'I've just shat myself in a onesie' I think, Would Beyoncé do that? and she stops me from saying something really stupid in a public forum, phew! Thanks B!
So Beyonce is about to make a comeback after giving birth to Blue Ivy. What advice would you give her?
Hey Beyonce, why the hurry? The arenas will wait, just call the promoter, tell him you are having burping issues.
Take some time out, eat some Chinese food, hang with the bubba, don't do your hair, get off the swing /boat/ other romantic instagram image and take a picture of yourself up to your arms in baby pooh. Post that.
Alternatively if you really can't pull the gig, I will happily baby sit, just get me some crispy duck in.
Any plans to take the show stateside?
I LOVE America! I have been a few times by myself to check out the comedy scene, it would be my dream to actually go back with this show. To play WWBD over there and for the audiences to go as mad for it as they do here, that would be an ultimate dream come true. White Whoopi Goldeberg, here I come.
Finally, why do you think people should come to the show?
Because you will have never seen anything like it before and you will love it! Especially all my Single Ladies! Because you know when you fall Crazy In Love, but it all goes wrong and you're like Me, Myself and I, but then you Get Me Bodied, you're like he's the Best Thing I Never Had! I must have bumped my head, because Who Runs The World? Well, if like me, you're an Independent Woman still living with your mumma, come check up on What Would Beyoncé Do? It's a party with jokes in people, Come Say Hello and let's get this party Jumpin' Jumpin'!
Good luck with everything, the show is awesome!
What Would Beyonce Do? will run from 17 January 2013 – 26 January 2013 at the Soho Theatre.
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