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Former BBC New Comedy Awards finalist Helen Bauer’s new show looks at self-esteem

Coming soon to Cambridge with a new show about self-esteem will be comedian Helen Bauer, who has already picked up a number of awards and nominations in her burgeoning career.

Helen Bauer. Picture: James Deacon
Helen Bauer. Picture: James Deacon

These include being nominated at the Chortle Comedy Awards for Breakthrough Act in 2022, nominated for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards in 2019, winning the 99 Club Comedy Bursary also in 2019, and being a finalist in the BBC New Comedy Awards in 2018.

Helen tells the Cambridge Independent that she’s been very busy with live shows of late. “I’ve been gigging like every single evening,” she says. “I feel like it’s completely back to how it was before lockdown – just running all over the place and jumping on stage looking for attention. All the normal healthy stuff...”

Helen admits that she missed performing during the pandemic. “The amount of comedians who were like, ‘Oh, it’s so good [to have a break]’ but I felt like I was just really getting into the swing of things,” she reveals, “I’d quit my day job and then I was like, ‘not now!’”

Helen Bauer. Picture: James Deacon
Helen Bauer. Picture: James Deacon

Helen, whose day job had been working in a bakery in London, says it felt great to leave “and then the pandemic hit and I was like, ‘This is terrible’ – but now it’s all come back and I’m so excited. So it’s all good”.

Helen’s first UK tour started last Wednesday (September 28), following a run at the Edinburgh Fringe at the Edinburgh Stand, and hits the Cambridge Junction on October 15. The show is called Madam Good Tit and it is about self-confidence, self-esteem and self-care. “I think it’s just a really nice, confident name,” she says of the title, “don’t you think it’s adorable?”

Helen, who previously lived in Germany and is fluent in the language, confirms that it has nothing to do with birds. “I unfortunately do not mention a single bird throughout the whole show,” she says, “I am 100 per cent just referencing what’s inside my bra.

“But I think it was like a natural progression for me because the first show I did I was in my 20s, I called it Little Miss Baby Angel Face, all adorable, all about how I’m perceived, but now I feel like I’m very much more confident. And I am exploring confidence in the show and I feel like Madam Good Tit is such an out there, confident name – I love it.”

After a childhood spent in museums riding the earthquake simulators and going into museum trench and blitz experiences, Helen believes she can take on these challenges with no real-world training. In the show, she also explores her experiences with secret eating, reality TV shows and her mother being thinner than her.

Helen Bauer. Picture: James Deacon
Helen Bauer. Picture: James Deacon

Helen says she is “obsessed with this massive self-care movement that’s swept the nation, just before lockdown but really took a hold during lockdown”. She adds: “I just think there’s so much fun in it... It’s such a good money-making industry but I’m obsessed with how we genuinely believe it and put so much on it.

“And it’s sort of comparing that to the toxic culture that we maybe grew up with, like diet culture. We’ve still got it – it’s just framed differently. But it’s still control.”

Helen, who also co-hosts two critically-acclaimed podcasts: Trusty Hogs with Catherine Bohart and Daddy Look At Me with Rosie Jones, grew up watching the ‘damaging’ reality diet TV shows that were on in the noughties.

“There aren’t many makeover TV shows anymore,” she notes. “I do understand they’re toxic, like when it comes to diet TV shows, I get the idea that we look at the fat person and we’re disgusted, but I’m fat and when I watched them I wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed, I was inspired because I thought the people were amazing. I was like, ‘You can put a kebab on pizza? They’re a genius!’”

So might Helen’s comedy appeal to fans of, say, Sarah Millican? “I wish it would. I hope it would,” she says. “I can’t speak to that myself, but I feel like anyone who watched TV in the noughties, or in any way has engaged with the culture of having to take care of yourself and being ridiculously positive about your entire body, I think 100 per cent will identify with this.”

Helen’s television appearances include Live at the Apollo and The Stand-Up Sketch Show – she also had her own BBC Three show, Small Doses, released at the end of March on BBCiPlayer – and further credits include judging the BBC New Comedy Awards 2021, The Emily Atack Show, The Dog Ate My Homework, Fat Chat, and Hypothetical.

Radio appearances include Unexpected Fluids, Wheel of Misfortune, and Scarlett Moffatt Wants to Believe (BBC Radio 1) and Radio 4’s Comedy Club, while during lockdown Helen also co-ran a weekly online comedy show called Gigless with Catherine Bohart and Andrew White, which went on to win a Chortle Award for Legend of Lockdown.

Helen Bauer. Picture: James Deacon
Helen Bauer. Picture: James Deacon

[Read more: Catherine Bohart interview: ‘Eating is my only hobby...’, Russian-born comedian Olga Koch coming soon to Cambridge]

Helen Bauer will be bringing her show to the Junction’s J3 at 8pm on Saturday, October 15. For tickets, priced £16.50, visit junction.co.uk. Visit helenbauer.co.uk for more.

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