They say you are never too old to start something new – and Fairfield resident Val Tyler has proved them right by becoming a stand-up comedian in her 70s. An inspirational article on how she pursued her dream appeared in the September 2019 issue of Woman and Home magazine, and we caught up with her afterwards.
Val has always enjoyed watching comedy, but in the 1950s pursuing a career as a comedian was next to impossible for a woman. Instead she settled down, had a family and took a secretarial job. Her career later led her in other directions, but the passion for comedy never went away.
Then, in October 2017, a cruise-ship talent show gave Val her first opportunity to perform comedy in front of a live audience at the age of 74. She had limited time to put a routine together, but decided not to let the chance pass her by. Her impromptu performance was a big hit with the 300-strong audience and the experience left her wanting more.
Val suffered a health scare the following Spring, but even that only spurred her on. She promised herself that if she got through her illness she would sign up for a comedy course – and so she did: she was the only woman, and by far the oldest person, in the group, but that didn’t put her off either. The whole thing culminated in a stand-up show in Soho, London in front of 100 people, where she received a standing ovation from some of the audience. “I felt so proud of myself. When someone laughs at your jokes, or applauds you, you feel driven to go on. It’s such a powerful feeling.”
Val is already planning her next couple of gigs, one in Letchworth and another in Ware this Autumn. Watch this space for details if you’d like to support her.