Comedian Anne Gildea has used menopause and the fight against cancer as tour material

Sharing her lived experiences is what makes Anne Gildea’s comedy so tangible, visceral and hilariously funny.

When the 56-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, she took on the Big C with her usual observational charm. Now its brand new show How to get menopause and enjoy ithit the road, and no Mooncup is safe.

“I was plunged into breast cancer 10 years ago. I had terrible night sweats and as I say on the show, every night I wrung the sheets and my boyfriend’s neck,” laughs Anne.

“I never thought ‘Oh, it’s menopause’ – I never made the connection because of what was going on with the cancer.”

While the laughs are warm and heavy throughout the celebrated show, the dialogue is sharp and painfully linked to the 600,000 Irish women affected.

But beyond the audience, it was also a learning experience for Anne, the former star of The Nualas.

“Did you know that menopause affects the brain, bones and heart due to the drop in estrogen? You may also have a low mood and terrible brain fog.

“One statistic that absolutely blew me away is that women have twice as much dementia as men,” she continues.

“My mum was the same height as me and now I say she’s the same height as a coffee table – it’s all linked to a drop in estrogen and that leads to a loss of bone density.

“Those are the things that made me think ‘I’m going to move on to HRT,’ and I only found out about it through the show.

“I can see the positive aspects of HRT, but I accept that it’s not for all women. I don’t promote anything. I just want women to learn more about their bodies.

“The essence of the show is that the women are on it together, so let’s talk about that.”

And it’s real women who give the Manchester-born, Sligo-raised writer some of her best material.

“Women give me so many brilliant gags. I was talking about Mooncups and a woman told me that her daughter was trying to get her to use one because they are more environmentally friendly. She described to him what it was like, and she said, “Oh, for God’s sake, I would need the Sam Maguire mug!” It was Paula de Clontarf.

“Irish girls are so hilarious,” she says. “When I started doing comedy in England, there was this debate ‘are women funny?’ I remember seeing an article in Time magazine who said “women can’t be funny and sexy”.

“Look at Joanne McNally – she’s like a goddess in all her might, being the funniest thing you’ve ever seen. It’s an amazing time to do what we do.

“Joanne talks to her age group of women and I want to talk to my women too. It is a shared experience. When we were growing up, nobody ever talked about the body. Everything unfolded like a litany of surprises at 12 or 13 years old. Now, it’s like one of the big last secrets solved.

Settling into middle age, the Dublin-based author no longer shy away from the thought of her golden years.

“I’ve always been a little scared of getting older, but I have to say every decade has been better for me,” shares Anne, who first rose to prominence alongside Susan Collins and Tara Flynn as part of the trio. of singers in the 90s. “I have middle-aged invisibility and I love it.

“I try to stay in shape and all that, but I have the big gene. I just have to look at a muffin and I pile the weight on it. I’ve been trying to watch what I’ve been eating for three weeks and I haven’t lost a kilo.

“I love clothes and I love Zara but I can barely fit into anything. So I have to ask, ‘Do you have this in a XXXXXXL?’ I end up buying loads of Zara shoes.

“I’m really enjoying the maturation process. You learn so much about life and you really soften. And that’s why I love comedy – just have a laugh.

“If you look at the fundamental nonsense, you have to live like you’re never going to die. That’s what wakes us up in the morning, and the safest thing in life is death and taxes,” Anne rises .

“Even after being touched by cancer, you just recommit to life as if you were going to live forever.”

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