Russian born, London-based comedienne Elena Fedotova is not one to be easily put off. In 2016 she won the Comedy Store’s King Gong, one of the toughest stand up competitions in the UK, despite having only been on the circuit for eight months:
“I did the Blackout at the Up The Creek once before that and lasted 3 minutes 30 there. I knew the mistakes I had made to get gonged off, so felt ready enough to take on the King Gong. That is until I got to the Comedy Store. With around three hundred people in the audience it was the biggest gig I had done by that point. There were thirty comedians on the list, plus two people from the audience volunteered. I was second in the second half, so I had to watch seventeen other people get on stage and get booed, heckled and gonged off in some cases in as little as 15 seconds. I saw people get gonged off as they talked about risky subjects that I also had in my set, such as Brexit, and was sure that I wouldn’t last past my first joke. At one point I turned to my parents who came to support me and told them I wanted to go home!
When my time finally came I was past feeling nervous and was very angry. I decided that I was going to own that stage and my material, and no one was taking it away from me. So I got onto the stage and I think my attitude came through in my delivery. After I told my first joke and the crowd laughed I felt my shoulders relax.
Winning the King Gong was the scariest and the best thing I’ve done in my comedy career so far. But I am in no rush to do it again!”
Since then she has reached the semi-finals of the 2016 Funny Women awards and has just got through to the semi-final of “So you think you’re Funny?” one of the UK’s biggest stand up competitions, whose past winners include the likes of Peter Kay and Lee Mack.
Elena found her way into stand up through writing a speech about her Russian family applying pressure on her to get married for the Toastmasters Humorous Speech competition, which she came third in overall . Hooked on making people laugh, she enrolled on a stand up course and has been sending audiences into hysterics with brilliantly blunt and politically-charged material ever since.
Elena uses her Russian heritage to hilarious effect in her razor- sharp stand up that calls the audience and our pre-concieved ideas on Russia to account. “Most British people think Russians are crazy, so I like to play up to this stereotype. I have a new thing where when I go to the gym I put my water in a vodka bottle and as I run on the treadmill I take massive gulps and shout “I’m going to get you, you capitalist fucks.””
Never afraid of making herself the punchline, Fedotova’s material is a brilliant commentary on xenophobia and cultural stereotypes, and rips everything from being English ( ” I feel very English, because Scottish, Irish and Welsh people hate me”) to people’s own ignorance ( “My family is from Uzbekistan, so people always say to me “Oh, I didn’t know there were any blonde people in Pakistan””) to shreds in seconds.
Elena is a confident performer who delivers her ingenious material with the pace and timing of a seasoned comic. Her blunt viewpoints on taboo issues make her a joy to watch and one to watch.