Search

Love for Phoebe Waller-Bridge's BAFTA acceptance speech



I don't need a reason to love Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Her talent and success in writing compelling tragi-comic storylines full of unflatteringly real yet endearing characters, who we all feel we've at some point worked with or dated, has created excitement within parts of the entertainment industry that have rarely trusted a woman in her 30s to let loose and experiment.


So as a nod to how Phoebe Waller-Bridge's writing is helping us all stand a bit taller while acknowledging our most private imperfections through shows like Fleabag, which debuted as a stage show right here in Edinburgh, and Killing Eve, which contains one of my favourite TV scenes of all time: Villainelle wearing that flouncing pink Molly Goddard dress to her assassin's psychological assessment, I've put together three reasons her BAFTA acceptance speech hit all the right notes.


She is unapologetic about her success

Acknowledging your own achievements as a woman is something that audiences can make a female speaker regret. Women are judged more harshly - by audiences of men and women - on how they sound, how they dress and how they come across. Women have to work harder to be considered funny, likeable, knowledgeable or insightful, so using your speech to acknowledge your own career success as a woman can feel like an unfairly brave leap. The more often women take that leap however, the more audiences will learn to reserve judgement.


She takes the time to thank her colleagues with detailed anecdotes

Rather than running off a list of people she'd like to thank without sharing any context with the audience, which is part of the breathless acceptance speech genre that we've all come to expect, Waller-Bridge uses her speech to acknowledge how one or two of her colleagues have played a role in her success through detailed storytelling. The result is that, as an audience, we all feel like we've gotten to know her a little better; we've got a better understanding of the work that went into her TV series and the people behind them.


She showcases her comic talents

Public speaking can be a challenge for anyone, but for women there are additional hurdles. I once asked a White House speechwriter what he thought the biggest challenge for his female speakers might be and his answer was immediately "humour". Women can be funny he said, but audiences are less willing to respond to female wit. In fact, a woman can tell the same jokes as a man and be viewed not only as having lower status, but as less capable.


In her acceptance speech Phoebe Waller-Bridge, puts the myth that female comedians "just aren't as funny as male comedians" to bed, by reminding the audience why she deserves her hard-earned BAFTA accolade as a talented comic writer regardless of her gender. Waller-Bridge isn't a fan of being asked what it's like to be "a woman in comedy", because in 2019 we no longer need to persist in making that gender distinction, as if women in comedy are some kind of fluke of nature.



Interested in arranging a training for your team?

© 2020 Vocalcoach by Vocaldata Ltd
 

Should you provide contact details via this website they will only be used for the purpose of replying to your enquiry

This site uses Cookies. You can change your Cookie permissions at any time via your browser settings.