Breaking glass ceilings in the entertainment industry is often difficult for women, especially black women, but that didn’t stop Angie Le Mar. She has had a career spanning 30 years in the British comedy scene which led her to become a writer, director, producer and show host on television and radio. The popularity of her work across demographics earned her the title “The Queen of Black Comedy,” and we couldn’t agree more. Now, she’s doing all that and more, with a book out, ”Full Circle: Turning Your Gift Around,” Le Mar adds author to her list of skills.
What first interested you in stand-up comedy?
I was always the class clown growing up and loved the sound of laughter. I was always drawn to the comedic roles when I was in drama club, but I started taking it seriously in my mid teens as I watched the likes of Whoop Goldberg and Joan Rivers doing stand up. I thought “I can do that,” so I took myself to the club’s and asked for the mic.
What made you want to pursue stand-up comedy as a career?
I love comedy and telling jokes was my gift. After understanding what Stand-up comedy was, I felt I have the confidence to try it; no one was surprised. As I started to get paid, it was a no-brainer; there was no turning back as stand-up comedy was opening new doors.
What, then, inspired you to become an actress?
I just wanted to be in that world. I loved playing roles, I liked being someone else. It also makes you understand people. I also wanted to see more black actresses in entertainment. The roles I didn’t see, were the roles I created.
Would you say the film and television industry, from an actress point of view, differs from the comedy industry, especially in how women of colour are represented?
Not at all, the problems we face are right across the board, from lack of roles to racism.
Then, how do you stay motivated to continue working in the industries?
I see everything as an experience, making me an expert eventually, this helps me to feel confident to try anything. I also love what I do, I get ideas in my sleep, I work with a two-year plan, so I’m always excited. Life keeps me motivated.
Who inspires you to keep going?
Obviously my amazing mother, a woman who believed in herself and built a great life. And Oprah’s power also truly inspires me, the way she has built her career and just keeps going, with style and tenacity.
Some would describe stand-up comedy as a “boys club,” do you agree with that?
Maybe in the 80s when I first started, but now women have earned the right to be here and doing just as well as the old boys.
Why do you think it’s important to have diversity and representation in the stand-up comedy industry?
It’s very important because we exist and we should be represented everywhere, it's the world we live in, and the wake up is global.
What does beauty mean to you?
Being comfortable in who you are, being able to express yourself knowing you are work in progress, so keep going until you find yourself.
Are you working on anything new?
I have plans for another book, Take Me Back tour and Movie, Live workshops and a few TV projects.
What do you hope your work says to the world?
I hope to inspire, make you laugh, and let you know it’s possible.