24 user 21 critic

Funny Cow (2017)

2:13 | Trailer
A comedian uses her troubled past as material for her stand-up routine, trying to rise up through the comedy circuit by playing Northern England's working men's clubs.


Adrian Shergold


Tony Pitts
2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Maxine Peake ... Funny Cow
Macy Shackleton Macy Shackleton ... Funny Calf
Ashton Steele Ashton Steele ... Young Mike
Michael Hughes Michael Hughes ... Boy
Lissi Brook Lissi Brook ... Girl
Lily Jones Adkin Lily Jones Adkin ... Big Girl
Calvin Cawood Calvin Cawood ... Big Boy
Stephen Graham ... Funny Calf's Dad / Older Mike
Christine Bottomley ... Funny Calf's Mum
Hebe Beardsall ... Funny Cow (Aged 20's)
Tom Gibbons Tom Gibbons ... Bob (Aged 20's)
Tony Pitts ... Bob
Paddy Considine ... Angus
Kevin Rowland ... Jeff
Diane Morgan ... Margaret
Learn more

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A comedian uses her troubled past as material for her stand-up routine, trying to rise up through the comedy circuit by playing Northern England's working men's clubs.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


I've no backbone only a funny bone See more »


Comedy | Drama


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Comedian John Bishop has a cameo - with one of his pet English Bull Terrier dogs. See more »


Funny Cow: You can't hold onto tablets when you're drowning.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Vic Reeves (Jim Moir), who plays a cabaret performer in the film, nods to his recording of 'Born Free' in 1991 with 'Vic Reeves and The Roman Numerals' which reached number 6 in the UK singles chart See more »


Features The Red Balloon (1956) See more »

User Reviews

It's about Comedy, but it's not a Comedy. Doesn't matter, its a good movie that'll make you think.
18 November 2018 | by hunterhubSee all my reviews

Many people who have commented on this movie seem to have been somewhat misled by the title. Perhaps they were expecting Monty Python irreverence, a ventriloquist with a bovine puppet, or at the very least a new Wallace & Gromit adventure.

It may not be funny in the realms of a deep belly laugh, but if you like your humour blacker than coal then there are enough things in here to make you chuckle at least. The soundtrack by Richard Hawley is excellent and helps set the dark tone of the whole movie.

The movie has two central themes: the struggle of women in the 70's to be seen more than just a housewife, or an object owned by a man, "woman aren't funny", "where's my dinner" that sort of nonsense; The other theme is where does humour come from? What drives the people who make us laugh?

The theme of being more than a housewife treads familiar territory. Abusive father, abusive husband, sexist attitudes by the men in charge, woman struggles to prove how good she is. Whilst historically accurate, it is the least interesting part of the movie. In 2018 we know the struggle for equality has largely been successful and although there is still a way to go, if you are funny you will get a gig if you are black, white, Chinese, a woman, or indeed a combination of any of those. There is a great scene in a club where Funny Cow is doing her second gig. The crowd, not used to seeing a woman on stage is hostile. A heckler steals a few punchlines, admittedly from tired old gags, and Funny Cow after briefly being taken aback, just dismantles him gag by gag. Within 30 seconds the crowd are eating out of her hand. Funny is truly equal opportunity and has no sex, race or creed.

When the film starts to look at where the humour comes from, it becomes much more interesting and dramatic. This theme is played out by the heroine, Funny Cow and a tired, down trodden old comic that Funny Cow is trying to learn the trade from. Both Alun Armstrong and Maxine Peak are brilliant in these roles, getting inside the dark, tortured place that seems to be inhabited by many stand up comedians and showing what a heavy price is paid for their gift of making people laugh.

Armstrong is just simply superb as he flounders on stage, resorting to racist jokes as he seeks out the laughs he craves like a drug. The sheer desperation in his eyes, in complete contrast to the smile on his lips and the humorous words he is dishing out to the audience. Painful to watch, but somehow compelling drama.

Funny Cow is made of much tougher stuff and wears her humour like kevlar armour to deflect the pain of the beatings, abuse and the sheer bloody boredom of being a housewife. Peake portrays her tough, whip smart persona with just the right amount of vulnerability to show her human side and reveal the damage done to her by her tough upbringing.

No, Funny Cow isn't a comedy, or a stand up show, but nevertheless it is a compelling drama with a few chuckles, a brilliant soundtrack and some first rate acting.

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Release Date:

20 April 2018 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Смешная корова See more »


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