Nina Conti – Celebrity Comedian | UK
Nina Conti is an actress, comedian and ventriloquist. Her primary onstage puppet sidekick is a depressed monkey named Monk. Conti has worked as an actress since 1996, and appeared in Daisy and Ken Campbell’s 1999 and 2000 productions of The Warp. Ken Campbell devised the ventriloquist play Let Me Out!!! for her, which she took to the 2001 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Nina has appeared in numerous television shows, including Black Books, Holby City, Single, and, recently, the Australian panel show Spicks & Specks. Her radio performances include characters in Radio 4 comedy Clare in the Community.
Conti was awarded joint “Best Performance” in the Maverick Movie Awards for Her Master’s Voice, a 2012 film. In 2002, Nina won the BBC New Comedy Awards, came second in the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year and came third in Laughing Horse New Act of The Year competitions. Nina regularly headlines at London comedy venues and has appeared at The Comedy Store.
In 2007, Nina took her first solo full length show, Complete and Utter Conti, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she introduced some new characters as well as performing familiar routines. In 2008, she won the Barry Award for this show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. In 2010, she went back to Melbourne and debuted a new puppet, an elderly woman who is her “Granny”. She also appeared on QI in 2011.
In 2012, Conti appeared in Russell Howard’s Good News with Granny. She also used the Granny mask on an audience member to persuade him to dance.
Monk is a cynical monkey who is continually insulting Nina, and swearing when he does not have his demands fulfilled. He often deliberately shows irritation towards performing on stage, as when Nina responds saying she doesn't know if she has repeated her act on stage, Monk quickly vanishes into the bag and says: You're on your own, bitch!. Monk also often disagrees with Nina and makes her laugh at his words.
Granny is an elderly Scotswoman to whom Nina refers as someone who is a lot like her own grandmother. Granny often chides Conti for the simplest things Conti has done; for instance, when Conti reveals she has two legs, Granny responds by saying "Oh, two legs? You're spoiling me!" Her main act is to telepathically guess numbers or words, which she always guesses correctly. She also talks about her dead husband, Frank.
The face mask, rather than an actual puppet with a personality, is a mask that covers the lower half of an audience participant’s face and can be manipulated by a hand-piece held by Nina to make it look like the participant is talking. Nina often uses this to put the participant in awkward and funny situations, such as making them say that they want nothing more to do than dance in front of the audience, while their body language suggests the opposite.