My New Normal: Lynne Parker, Founder and CEO Funny Women

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What social media do you regularly use?

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

What kinds of things you post?

A mix of professional and personal on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and mainly business posts on LinkedIn. Although my biggest response on LinkedIn during 2020 was to a post about my wedding anniversary! Go figure!

What podcasts are you listening to? 

A really eclectic mix of comedy, drama, history and current affairs. My ‘go-tos’ are Fortunately… with Fi and Jane, Grounded with Louis Theroux, You’re Dead to Me, Americast (although less interesting now that Trump is out) and The Archers. I loved Eleanor Rising, a dramatisation about Eleanor of Aquitaine, and an amazing thriller called The Piper. I also produce a Funny Women podcast, Behind the Scenes hosted by Ivy Paige, and I’m working on a new work-based podcast, How to Have Fun at Work.

And on the airwaves? 

I mainline BBC Radio 4 on and off during the day in real time and listen mainly to news and current affairs programmes. I wake up to the Today Programme and then catch updates in News at One and maybe The Archers when I stop for lunch. I enjoy Saturday Live and Broadcasting House on Sunday – Paddy O’Connell is one of my favourite broadcasters. I fantasise about reading the papers with him!

Current viewing habits, film, TV, online?

My current lockdown ‘comfort viewing’ switches between Schitt’s Creek and Call My Agent, both on Netflix. Moira Rose is my role model, although I could never dress as outrageously as she does. I loved the Queen’s Gambit and The Politician. Still to embark on season 4 of The Crown (too close for comfort as I worked for The Princes Trust when Diana Princess of Wales died, so events are still in living memory), and still catching my breath before resuming Bridgerton as it’s very hot to handle! I devour anything to do with home buying and improvement – Love It or List It, Location, Location, Location, and Grand Designs. The words of Kirsty, Phi and George are gospel in my house.

What’s your favourite ad campaign and why?

For humour, one of the best campaigns ever is Specsavers which has created the immortal middle-aged catchphrase, ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’, and consistently makes me laugh. I also love the Libresse (Bodyform in the UK) Viva la Vulva film which combines humour and strong messaging.
The sequel is also incredible and more hard-hitting but I love it for not sugar coating menstruation, childbirth and the general messy stuff of women’s lives.

Your favourite viral, if you have one?

The Marsh Family’s upbeat musical take on the pandemic – they are the modern day Von Trapps. Catch them on a social media stream near you! “Totally Fixed Where We Are” is the one of their videos which has gone viral.

Your favourite maxim for life (and who said it)?

I love a proverb, so most of my maxims are unattributed. ‘What goes around comes around’ – not a great one for these COVID ridden times but emotionally I know that you do ‘reap what you sow’ in this life! Plus ‘The Universe will provide’. It always does, even when you think it hasn’t.

How has your company responded to the challenges raised by Coronavirus?

I could have given up and shut down Funny Women last March and the Universe would have understood. Instead, I decided that I had come too far to give it all up and we had a community that needed us. With the team’s help and support we took everything online, and we ran events and the 2020 Funny Women Awards more successfully that we could ever have imagined. One of our lockdown hits is the Comedy Crash Course and we’re just launching our seventh of these in March.

Proving that comedy is culturally relevant and being awarded a grant by the DCMS Arts Council England Culture Recovery Fund was a career high for me and a huge confidence boost for the whole team who had worked so hard on the Awards. Plus, the pandemic has focused us on making everything we do far more accessible in terms of location, ability and culture. I am proud that our community is expanding around the world.

What opportunities has it created?

We have far less barriers to entry for this year’s Awards and we have grown our community globally with people joining us for workshops and events from Australia, Singapore, West Coast USA and even Iceland. To celebrate this we’re running a 12-hour continuous event ‘Funny Women Around the World’ for International Women’s Day with our regional producers in Australia, America, Canada, Singapore, Netherlands, Europe, Ireland and across the UK on Saturday 6th March.

What future changes do you anticipate needing to make in the ‘new normal’? 

We will have to continue adapting and exploring new ways of working because we don’t know what this new world has in store for us, longer term. As somebody who spends a lot of time ‘winging it’ and improvising my way through life, I know that change gives you a reason to explore and take risks. Being more aware of what technology offers us is an ongoing and exciting challenge but, like everybody in the world of live events and entertainment, I want to find safe and accessible ways to get in front of audiences face to face again.

On a personal level I need to build in more and meaningful time to rest and recuperate as the virtual workplace is a very intense and relentless environment. My mental health and wellbeing has been challenged, like everybody’s, so I need to be as kind to myself as I strive to be to others. What goes around, comes around…