Kate Smurthwaite

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Kate Smurthwaite
Born (1975-12-09) 9 December 1975 (age 39)
London, England
Medium Stand-up, television, radio
Nationality British
Years active 2004-present
Genres Satire, political satire, news satire, observational comedy
Website katesmurthwaite.co.uk

Kate Smurthwaite (born 9 December 1975) is a British stand-up comedian and political activist. She regularly appears on British television and radio as a pundit, offering opinion and comment on subjects ranging from politics, religion, and feminism. A clip of Smurthwaite appearing on BBC One's The Big Questions in 2010 went viral when it was shared on YouTube and other video sharing websites under the title Atheist Bitchslap,[1] attracting over two million views.

She performs stand-up around the UK and overseas and is known for her annual political one-woman show, The News at Kate,[2] performed since 2009 at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Early life[edit]

Smurthwaite was born on 9 December 1975 in London but grew up in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. She studied Mathematics at Lincoln College, Oxford from 1994 to 1997. After leaving college she worked in London and Japan[3] doing research in the finance industry.

Comedy[edit]

Smurthwaite started performing comedy in London in March 2004. In 2008 she was a finalist in the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year competition.

Smurthwaite has toured internationally, appearing in Stockholm, Sweden and Tampere, Finland and has appeared several times at the Malmö Comedy Festival in Sweden.[4]

In 2011, Smurthwaite toured as support for Shazia Mirza[5] and also returned to the town she grew up in and opened the Bury St Edmunds Fringe festival.[6] She performs at many charitable benefit shows such as the No More Page Three show at the Harold Pinter Theatre,[7] and appears at regular benefits for Sex Appeal at the Bloomsbury Theatre[8][9] (organised by Brook charity) and for Eaves Housing at Soho Theatre and Bloomsbury Theatre.[10][11]

Smurthwaite also teaches stand-up comedy through the City Academy in London.[12]

Edinburgh shows[edit]

  • 2005 hosted Amused Moose Hot Starlets
  • 2006 solo show Adrenaline at Roman Eagle Lodge
  • 2007 musical show Sing-Along-A-The-Joy-Of-Sex at Mercat Bar, group show Comedy Cocktail with Lenny Peters and David Mulholland
  • 2008 solo show Apes Like Me at C-Soco Urban Garden, host of political panel show Comedy Manifesto at Beehive Inn
  • 2009 solo show The News at Kate at Voodoo Rooms, host of Comedy Manifesto political panel show at Beehive Inn, host of Midnight Hour variety bill show at Canons' Gait
  • 2010 solo show The News at Kate 2010 at Voodoo Rooms, host of Comedy Manifesto political panel show at Beehive Inn, host of Midnight Hour variety bill show at Canons' Gait
  • 2011 solo show The News at Kate 2011 at Ciao Roma, host of Comedy Manifesto political panel show at Voodoo Rooms, host of Midnight Hour variety bill show at Canons' Gait
  • 2012 solo show The News at Kate 2012 at Ciao Roma, host of Comedy Manifesto political panel show at Ciao Roma, host of Midnight Hour variety bill show at Canons' Gait[13]
  • 2013 solo show The News At Kate 2013: My Professional Opinion at Ciao Roma, host of The News At Kate 2013: World Inaction a political comedy chat show at Canons' Gait. Guests included Richard Wiseman, Rebecca Mordan, Peter Buckley Hill, and Danny Vermont
  • 2014 solo show The News At Kate 2014: Leftie Cock Womble at Viva Mexico, solo show The Evolution Will Be Televised at Ciao Roma, host of Late With Kate late night variable bill show at Canon's Gait.

In 2013 Smurthwaite was awarded a ThreeWeeks Editors' Award for her News At Kate shows, citing them as a "Fringe Institution".[14] In 2014 her science show The Evolution Will be Televised was nominated for a Creative Carbon Scotland Fringe Sustainable Practice Award.[15] Other Edinburgh Fringe shows Smurthwaite has appeared in include Spank!,[16] which she has hosted as well as being a guest performer, Political Animal, Nicholas Parsons' Happy Hour and SetList.[2]

Activism and journalism[edit]

Smurthwaite is the vice-chair and media spokesperson for British NGO Abortion Rights UK[17] and a member of London Feminist Network and the National Secular Society. She is also on the board of the Edinburgh Fringe Society.[18]

In October 2009 Smurthwaite took a place on Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth as part of Antony Gormley's One & Other project, impersonating with permission the Irish pro-choice campaigner Goretti Horgan who was unable to attend. She used the platform to highlight the disparity between abortion access in England, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland.[19][20]

In July 2010 Smurthwaite protested at the lavish funeral of writer and renowned user of prostitutes Sebastian Horsley with a sign reading "Where are the horse-drawn carriages for the VICTIMS of prostitution?",[21] attracting both praise and criticism.[22] Smurthwaite has spoken at numerous rallies including the Rally for Free Expression,[23] the rally against Tory MP Nadine Dorries abstinence only sex education bill[24] and the abortion rights rally in London following the death of Savita Halappanavar.[25]

Smurthwaite performed at the five-year anniversary party for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain,[26] and has hosted and spoken at a number of conferences including Feminism In London in 2008, 2009 and 2010[27][28][29] and Intersect in Bristol in 2012.[30] Recently she has given talks about sex and about the intersect between atheism and feminism for student groups and branches of Sceptics in the Pub[31][32] In June 2014 she was a guest speaker at the 50th anniversary of the Birmingham Humanists.

Smurthwaite has written for The Guardian, Cosmopolitan, The Independent, Stylist, The Scotsman, The Huffington Post, New Internationalist, The F-Word, Liberal Conspiracy, Progressive Women, Big Smoke and London Is Funny. She also has a regular column in the NUT's official magazine, The Teacher, as well as making regular posts to her own blog, Cruella blog.[33] Her writing for The Independent has included articles about her grassroots work teaching English to female asylum seekers with the group Women Asylum Seekers Together, supported by Women for Refugee Women.[34][35]

TV and radio appearances[edit]

Smurthwaite was a morning show presenter on Radio Jackie in 2006[36] and co-presented a show on Leith FM during the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe.[37] She appears regularly with Jason Mohammad on BBC Radio Wales's lunchtime phone-in show and as part of BBC London's Lady Lounge with Kath Melandri. In May 2012 Smurthwaite recorded a 15-minute program for the BBC Radio 4series Four Thought about sexism in comedy.[38]

Smurthwaite has made hundreds of appearances as a pundit on local and national TV and radio shows. In particular several appearances on BBC One's The Big Questions covering abortion, Mother Teresa and religious themes. Smurthwaite has also appeared on BBC Breakfast (including the first edition of the show broadcast from Salford[39]), ITN News, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky News. Radio appearances include BBC Radio 2's The Jeremy Vine Show, BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, BBC Radio 5 Live's The Stephen Nolan Show, Tony Livesey Show and Richard Bacon Show, including appearing as Richard's "presenter's friend".

In July 2012 Smurthwaite appeared as a comedy teacher in the Channel Five reality series The Bachelor, in an episode which culminated in the contestants performing a comedy roast for bachelor Spencer Matthews.[40]

On 25 October 2013 Smurthwaite took part in the 100 Women event hosted by the BBC. The day featured debate and discussion on radio, television and online, in which the participants were asked to give their opinion on the position of women in the 21st Century.[41]

Smurthwaite was a credited writer on the second series of The Revolution Will Be Televised, which was first broadcast on BBC Three on 10 November 2013.[42]

Smurthwaite appeared as a panellist on Question Time on 30 January 2014[43] which was broadcast from St. Andrew's Hall in Norwich. The other panellists on the show were Ken Clarke, Emily Thornberry, Lord Oakeshott and Mark Littlewood.

Awards[edit]

  • Hackney Empire New Act of the Year finalist 2009
  • Platform 51 award April 2011[44]
  • ThreeWeeks Editors' Award 2013

Personal life[edit]

Smurthwaite married American comedian and journalist David Mulholland in 2010. The couple separated in 2012.

References[edit]

  1. ^ YouTube, Atheist Bitchslap
  2. ^ a b The News at Kate
  3. ^ Metropolis Magazine, Life In Japan
  4. ^ Malmo Comedy Festival
  5. ^ The British Comedy Guide, The News at Kate 2011
  6. ^ East Anglian Daily Times, Festival of arts kicks off with comedy acts
  7. ^ Not All Who Wonder Are Lost, Stand Up To Sexism and No More Page 3: How one night of comedy proved sexism is still no laughing matter
  8. ^ Look To The Stars, Al Murray Has Sex Appeal For Charity
  9. ^ Sex Appeal II: Come Again
  10. ^ Eaves Charity, Eaves and comedian James Mullinger to host comedy night
  11. ^ Eaves Charity, Comedy night raises over £3,500 for Eaves
  12. ^ City Academy, Profile
  13. ^ Chortle Profile
  14. ^ ThreeWeeks,ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards Presented
  15. ^ EdFringe, 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Award Winners
  16. ^ YouTube, Kate Smurthwaite takes on some drunk hecklers at Spank
  17. ^ The Huffington Post, Profile
  18. ^ The Edinburgh Fringe Society, Board of Directors
  19. ^ BBC Living Forgery
  20. ^ The F-Word, Kate on Fourth Plinth in abortion access protest
  21. ^ Too Much To Say For Myself, 1 misogynist down, but so many more to go….
  22. ^ Mumsnet, Kate Smurthwaite of Cruella Blog pickets Sebastian Horsley's funeral
  23. ^ YouTube, Comedian Kate Smurthwaite on Free Expression
  24. ^ YouTube, Kate Smurthwaite at the Stop Dorries Sex Education Bill Rally 20/01/2012
  25. ^ Irish Times, Husband highlighted 'barbaric laws'
  26. ^ YouTube, taking a mickey out of god - Kate Smurthwaite - CEMB's 5th anniversary - June 2012
  27. ^ Feminism in London, ...speakers at Feminism in London 2008
  28. ^ Feminism in London, ...speakers and workshop facilitators at Feminism in London 2009.
  29. ^ Feminism in London, ...speakers and workshop facilitators at Feminism in London 2010.
  30. ^ Intersect
  31. ^ Tunbridge Wells SitP, Why Good Sex Matters and How We Can All Have It
  32. ^ Wherevent, Cambridge University Atheist and Agnostic Society (CUAAS), Kate Smurthwaite: Why atheism needs feminism and feminism needs atheism
  33. ^ Cruella-blog
  34. ^ Progressive Women, Women for Refugee Women
  35. ^ The Independent, Blogs, Asylum seekers: When the questions tell us so much more than the answers
  36. ^ Radio Jackie
  37. ^ Chortle , Laugh Tracks 2011: The playlist
  38. ^ BBC, Radio 4, Four Thought
  39. ^ The Daily Mail, Well that's one way to end the London bias on BBC Breakfast! Now the show is dominated by the North-West
  40. ^ Cruella-blog, The Bachelor and Me!
  41. ^ BBC News, 100 Women: Who is taking part?
  42. ^ BBC, The Revolution Will Be Televised: Episode 1 broadcast dates
  43. ^ BBC, Question Time episodes
  44. ^ Platform 51, Woman of the week