In March, Maisie Adam was part way through a month-long stand-up tour in Australia when the UK went into lockdown and she had to fly home.
“I think we all thought things would be back to normal pretty quickly,” she says.
“But all the stuff that was in my diary was just wiped out. Every time my email pinged it was something else being cancelled. I worked it out, this year I have done about 15 per cent of what I did last year.”
She certainly hasn’t been resting on her laurels, though, and has kept busy throughout the last few months.
“It’s been tough and quite strange, but also it has pushed a lot of us in comedy to be a bit more in control and proactive. Instead of waiting to be booked by clubs and festivals, we have been setting up our own online gigs.”
One such show takes place tonight. A charity fundraiser for Frank’s Fund, of which she is also a patron, it is a cause close to her heart.
The bone cancer charity was set up by the family of Frank Ashton who died in February 2019 of Ewing’s Sarcoma at the age of 14.
Frank was a student at St Aidan’s High School in Harrogate, Adam’s alma mater.
“I got involved with Frank’s Fund last year,” says Adam. “The school put me in touch with Frank’s family because they wanted to do a fundraiser. Hearing their story made me realise it could happen to anyone and the statistics were shocking. Bone cancer research is so underfunded, the survival rates haven’t improved in over 30 years.”
Since Frank was a fan of comedy and spicy food, a curry and comedy night was organised – featuring Adam, Rosie Jones and Barbara Nice.
It took place at the school and was a huge success, raising thousands of pounds for the charity.
“We decided we would do it every year, then of course Covid happened. I think 2020 has been hard for everyone but small charities have really struggled and we were determined to do something. I thought we could do an online gig – and if anything it would benefit us as we might reach more people.”
It’s an impressive line-up – appearing alongside Adam are Russell Kane, Angela Barnes and Jayde Adams.
“I’m so proud,” says Adam. “They are amazing acts which we wouldn’t have been able to get in normal circumstances. We also have some brilliant raffle prizes. I think it will be a lovely night.”
Since winning the nationwide competition So You Think You’re Funny in 2017, Adam’s comedy star has been on the rise. With rave reviews for her Edinburgh shows, Vague in 2018 and Hang Fire in 2019, her profile has been raised further by TV appearances on shows such as Have I Got News For You, 8 out of 10 Cats and Mock the Week, which she has continued to do throughout this challenging period. She has also been working on new material.
“It’s been quite good for me, normally my excuse for not writing new stuff is that I’m too busy.” While acknowledging it is “worrying and scary” she is looking to 2021 with positivity. “I think people are craving comedy and a bit of escapism. I am hoping to go up to Edinburgh again and to do a tour in the autumn.”
Frank’s Fund Christmas Comedy Fundraiser, tonight, 7pm. Tickets can be purchased via this link.
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