Viral sensation Luisa Omielan: “My audience has more hot, sexy women than you’ll ever see”

After 33 million YouTube views for her thigh gap routine, the comedian is heading to “big f***-off venues"

What Would Beyonce Do? comedian Luisa Omielan
Thigh's the limit Luisa Omielan's routine about the thigh gap went viral with 33 million views.

When Luisa Omielan played her biggest show at Melbourne’s International Comedy Festival, her routine on how ridiculous it is that women are expected to have “the thigh gap” went down OK.

Or so Omielan thought. Then she posted the routine on her Facebook page. And it’s now been seen by 33 million people.

It’s a routine with a serious message, but it’s one that the 33-year-old wishes she could have been better prepared for.

“I looked like a tramp!” wails the talkative Omielan. “I had literally no idea that routine was going to be so popular. What you can’t see from the clip online is that people in the audience were going to the bar while I was showing my pants off.

“I came offstage thinking ‘Thank God that’s over, now I can go for a cocktail.’”

But Omielan’s message – that women are bored of being told how they should look – was always going to resonate.

“The bullshit message that ‘If you don’t have a thigh gap, men won’t want to have sex with you’, that’s crap for men as well as for woman,” insists Omielan. “Guys don’t care either way, give them more credit than that.

“I get so many messages from guys who say ‘I’ve never seen my girlfriend laugh so hard as at your thigh gap routine, and I think she’s beautiful.’ That’s huge.”

The routine was part of Omielan’s second solo stand-up show, Am I Right, Ladies? But the comedian from Farnborough, Hants, is revisiting her debut solo show What Would Beyonce Do? for her next project.

Although Omielan is about to film a pilot for her own ITV2 sketch show, she is rarely on TV, proud that her gigs are selling out through word of mouth. It’s led her to hire the 2,000-capacity London Forum theatre for a one-off Valentine’s Day performance of What Would Beyonce Do?

Thigh gap comedian Luisa Omielan
All the single ladies Luisa Omielan sees her gigs as ideal places for men to pull.

“I took out a £10,000 loan to hire the Forum, but it costs £11,000 to put a show on there, so I haven’t worked my maths out,” she laughs. Omielan had a part in Miranda Hart’s BBC1 Christmas special, but has since left her agent so she manages herself. Unafraid to “run myself as a brand”, she relishes managing her own career.

“If I can spend hundreds of pounds on a pair of shoes, then fuck it, I can get a loan for an amazing show. You’ve got to speculate to accumulate.”

Hart and David Walliams’ production company is making Omielan’s ITV2 pilot, and it’s Britain’s Got Talent judge Walliams who has been one of her biggest cheerleaders.

“Guys who come to see me are totally intimidated at first,” she admits. “But men love it. My comedy is not man hating, I don’t go ‘Let me tell you why I hate you dudes.’ It’s just really fun, and guys come out going ‘Oh shit, my girlfriend is like that.’

“If men are put off by my show because it’s got Beyonce’s name in the title, then that’s sad. What am I meant to call it? Breasts And Arsenal?”

“A stag do came to a show, to take the piss. They were all ‘Lads on tour!’ but by the end they had tears in their eyes. I was going ‘Haaaa! Your face! In your face, dickheads.’”

The fact men feel intimidated does irk Omielan. A friendly, inclusive presence, her only flash of anger is when she discusses comedy clichés about female comedians. “Being asked ‘What’s it like being a female comedian?’ is so annoying,” she sighs. “I don’t know, because I’e always been one. What am I meant to say to that question? Funny is funny, doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or a girl.

“If men are put off by my show because it’s got Beyonce’s name in the title, then that’s sad. What am I meant to call it? Breasts And Arsenal?”

The half-Polish comic began putting on shows on Valentine’s Day three years ago, fed up of being “single and at home” on February 14. She views her Forum special as an ideal place to pull.

“My audience is 90% women,” she laughs. “But they’re hot, single women dressed up for a good night out and on the cocktails. Dudes, seriously: if you’re single and wondering what to do for Valentine’s Day, how about a roomful of hot, sexy women? I need more emotionally mature men at my show!”

Omielan talks about mental health during her set, having been addicted to anti-depressants three years ago. Although she’s now more comfortable in her skin, she’s passionate about the pressures put on men and women to conform.

Beyonce, who has a comedy show named after her
Valentine's Day treat Beyonce ponders what Luisa Omielan would do.

“There’s a huge pressure on guys to be a certain shape too,” she ponders. “It’s good to be healthy, but it’s unhealthy to be obsessed with it. Women can talk about body image, but can’t guys can’t and that’s a real shame.”

Not that Omielan is entirely settled away from the stage. “On stage, I’m my favourite version of myself,” she admits. “I can run about and motorboat guys, talk about mental health. But if I meet a new guy, I’m terrified of talking about that stuff.

“But if I’m with a guy, I do think ‘Yes mate, you’re fucking lucky!’”

As well as her ITV2 pilot, Omielan publishes a book of her What Would Beyonce Do? show this year, though she admits “I hate writing and I didn’t think it through. I didn’t think it would be so hard. I’m delaying it like mad and my bedroom has never been so clean.”

She’s also writing her third show, which she plans to call Famous With A Baby “although it’ll be called Anonymous And Childless next year if it doesn’t go to plan.”

And she’s also determined to get the attention of Beyonce herself. “I’m sure Beyonce is aware of my show,” she says. “One of Jay Z’s stylists saw my show in New York and Whoopi Goldberg is aware of me too. I’m playing New York and LA again this year. I’m getting closer every time…”

Luisa Omielan performs her show What Would Beyonce Do? at London Forum on February 14.

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Loaded’s deputy editor John Earls has covered entertainment and sport across a range of national newspapers, plus several football and music magazines, since 1990. Follow him on Twitter at @EarlsJohn

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