Twisted Loaf won the Funny Women Award in 2013 and will be heading to the Edinburgh Festival this summer, having headlined the Fringe last year.
Delivering two sketches from their new show Stale Mate, their interactive set at first drew nervous titters from the audience, followed quickly by guffaws and the odd gasp of disbelief.
I spoke to them about their sense of humour, inspirations and reactions to them on the comedy circuit.
“Our comedy is mimicry,” said Libby. “It’s things that make us laugh and also that annoy us. We’re quite political people in a way and social, and we need comedy to understand and grapple with it.”
Twisted Loaf describe themselves as fearless, and their brand of comedy has been called grotesque, weird, genius, edgy and dark. It’s also brilliant, unexpected and refreshing.
“We’re totally different to male stand ups, and our humour is based a bit on being shocked and uncomfortable”, explained Nina, “although the darkness isn’t standalone – it’s more the twist at the end.”
“We’ve had some really surprised faces at our sets and shows,” said Libby. “From the female angle, people have said it’s not often that women don’t care what they look like or will push themselves in that way.
“Some of the comedy that happens spontaneously is because of what we look like, and we have no awareness of that. Every night in the last show, our faces were getting ruined with make up, fake blood and all sorts.
“At our last show it was actually the audience who were saying to us ‘when you moved into the light you should’ve seen how horrific you looked,’ but of course we have no awareness of that.
“I don’t think a man would ever be questioned about what they look like on stage.”
Twisted Loaf are indeed fearless, and unapologetic. Taking their material from what they see in everyday life, their comedy inspirations include Spike Milligan, Monty Python, Julia Davis, the League of Gentlemen, Chris Morris, Lucille Ball and their own families.
“I don’t know if there’s a person or act who has specifically influenced our sketches. Each other’s humour is an influence, and if anything it’s more related to our families or mates,” said Nina.
“It’s observational. When we’re together we’ll notice something, one of us will do an impression and we’ll put the emphasis on a bit more. Or we’ll do it in a different style.”
Libby added: “We’re careful in that we’re quite economical with words, so we’ll pick up tag lines of that character, and the audience doesn’t have to know any more than that – they instantly know that person and can visualise them.”
Laugh out Loud also featured Alex Edelman, Bobby Mair and Elis James for another night of top comedy acts, including observations about the paedophilic moustaches of seals, a couple of burps and Bobby Mair’s declaration that “I kind of attract weirdness.”
Future show details are on their website and the next Brixton night is on the 21st April.
Written by Kate Corry.