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ASPartOfMe
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28 Sep 2021, 7:53 am

British Comedy Guide

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Fern Brady is writing a memoir, focusing on her autism and the sexism that surrounds the condition.

The comic, who publicly shared her formal diagnosis on social media earlier this year, begins her UK-wide tour, Autistic Bikini Queen, in January, with Strong Female Character to be published by Brazen on Valentine's Day, 2023.

Her first book, it will reflect on her time spent in psychiatric care, which she dramatised in the 2016 BBC Three pilot Radges, and her experience of working as a stripper while studying in Edinburgh.

And it pledges to convey "her voice as a neurodivergent, working-class woman from Scotland to bring issues such as sex work, abusive relationships and her time spent in teenage mental health units to the page", taking "a sledgehammer to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope which is mistakenly applied to neurodiverse women."

Currently appearing with Ivo Graham and Darren Harriott in the Dave travelogue British As Folk, Brady realised that she was autistic "when I first read about it at 16 but the understanding of how it presented in women was so limited then" she told The Scotsman, expanding on her ability to "mask" the condition.

"It's not like it presents so differently in women, it's just that we are better at covering it up. When I tried to get diagnosed at 16 they said you can't have it because you've had a boyfriend, which is so stupid. When I finally got diagnosed this year the doctor said you would not believe how often I hear this from women.”

“I've always had people from my audience coming up and telling me I have autism and also a lot of my audience are autistic" Brady explained to the Scotsman."

Nevertheless, it was the pressures of lockdown that prompted the bisexual comic to seek a formal diagnosis.

"On my last tour I'd been getting more and more ill from the strains of it, but was so busy I didn't have time to address it" she said. "Lockdown was a good opportunity to do that. The odd thing was I didn't feel better when I got diagnosed. I felt really grossed out, like I wished I could take it back. I didn't feel catharsis or anything."

Thankfully, stand-up has been an outlet for the condition: "Definitely comedy's the only job where it's been helpful for me," she said. "I kept getting described as provocative or really blunt and honest as if this was a persona I was putting on, when the persona I was putting on was when I had to go and work as a secretary, or pretty much any other job where I felt suffocated by trying to act normal all the time."

However, "it's not great being autistic in the world of TV and stuff".


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

It is Autism Acceptance Month.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


ASPartOfMe
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30 Sep 2021, 9:56 am

Brazen wins five-way auction for Brady's debut

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Octopus imprint Brazen has won a five-way auction for the debut book from Scottish comedian and writer Fern Brady about her experience of autism.

Romilly Morgan, publishing director at Brazen, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Jess Molloy at Curtis Brown for Strong Female Character, dubbed “a game-changing memoir on sexism and neurodiversity", by the publisher. It will be published in 2023.


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

It is Autism Acceptance Month.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


ASPartOfMe
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24 Jan 2022, 10:30 am

Everything ends up about death and shagging’: Fern Brady on comedy, autism and intrusive thoughts

Quote:
In 2018, Fern Brady’s comedy career was taking off. Fresh from supporting Frankie Boyle on tour, she filmed Live at the Apollo in London, then took a last-minute gig in Manchester the following day. On the way back to the capital, she was offered a last-minute audition for Have I Got News for You. Her brain screamed no, but she said yes. When she got to the audition, she couldn’t function, freezing into silence.

Now, she knows this was an autistic shutdown. Brady was diagnosed early last year. When lockdown brought live comedy to a crashing halt, disrupting her routine, she’d been plunged into frequent “crippling” crises. These can manifest as destructive outbursts (meltdowns) or silent withdrawal (shutdowns) and she discovered they can be exacerbated by “masking” – changing your instinctive behaviours to appear “normal”. It’s taken her all year to “start to unlearn these bad habits”, she says as we sit at either end of a velvet sofa in a cafe in Catford, London.

On stage, Brady is cool, cutting and delightfully deadpan, delivering scathing critiques of social norms. Her performances often escalate from classic standup into surreal finales – at the 2019 Edinburgh fringe she lost her voice after daily shows ended in her screaming about existential dread while a video of a hamster played behind her. It earned her four-star reviews and a BBC standup special.

While she’s now a regular on panel shows and podcasts, she says: “I’ll always feel most relaxed doing standup. When I’m doing standup, I’m being the most myself.

Her diagnosis came nearly 20 years after she’d first read a description of autism and felt a jolt of recognition. A year on, it’s helped make sense of a lot: her bafflement with social etiquette and exhaustion with socialising, sensory overload in noisy and bright spaces, difficulty identifying her own emotions, and a need for routine. She’s now working on her first book, Strong Female Character, a memoir and in-depth exploration of what it means to be an autistic woman.

But if you’re anticipating jokes about neurodivergence in her new show, think again. Yes, it is called Autistic Bikini Queen, but that’s only because Brady, who loves weightlifting, was doing bodybuilding at the time she named it.

While she did write some autism jokes, she’s wary of stripping the topic of nuance. “But I am autistic, so the whole show’s from that perspective,” she says. “I realised every standup show I had done beforehand might as well have been called, ‘Hey Fern, do you know you’re autistic?’” . Her 2016 show Male Comedienne centred on being excluded from a female comedians’ brunch and her difficulty communicating with other women, while 2019’s Power and Chaos examined how women are socialised to be polite.

In Autistic Bikini Queen, Brady will explore “my fear of being attacked when I leave the house. It’s the closest I’ve felt to being able to do relatable stuff, weirdly.” She develops topics from previous shows – such as monogamy and marriage – observing how traditions like wedding vows and stag dos dissolve into farce when examined too closely. There’s material on the royals and kink-shaming too, with characteristic sprinklings of class, Catholicism and death.

“No matter how hard I try to be mainstream, it always comes back to this really goth sensibility,” Brady says. “Inevitably, everything ends up being about death and shagging.”

As she continues writing Strong Female Character, she’s finding the positives of autism. “It’s what helped me go into comedy,” she says. “Autistics tend to thrive when they can make a career out of their special interests. You just have to hope that they overlap.”

The line I bolded was really funny to me.


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

It is Autism Acceptance Month.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


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26 Jan 2022, 10:49 am

Wow, Fern is on the spectrum!

I first encountered her a few years ago, and then only because my Google Alert for "Doug Stanhope" came up with an article about her, in which she mentioned Stanhope as an influence:

https://www.list.co.uk/article/88078-my-comedy-hero-fern-brady-on-doug-stanhope/

I was quite taken by her unusual style of comedy.

Darron


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26 Jan 2022, 10:54 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
“I realised every standup show I had done beforehand might as well have been called, ‘Hey Fern, do you know you’re autistic?"

The line I bolded was really funny to me.

Yep!
And it also reminds me of this meme:

Image

Darron


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autisticelders
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27 Jan 2022, 7:11 am

will have to look for this one thanks for the post!


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27 Jan 2022, 9:17 am

autisticelders wrote:
will have to look for this one thanks for the post!



This is Fern, performing one of her pre-diagnosis specials.

Darron


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Practicing the fine art of Enlightened Self Interest.