Imagine this: I'm knee-deep in baby wipes with a two-year-old whirlwind and a three-month-old and on maternity leave from being a teacher. And in a stroke of brilliance – or perhaps madness – I signed up for a comedy course.

Was it a quest for creative enlightenment or a sign of impending parental collapse? Who's to say? But one thing's certain: it's been a wild, laughter-filled journey.

My foray into comedy began with a bang – or more accurately, a gag. Picture me at the Backyard Bar in East London, trembling like a leaf in a storm. My nerves were doing the cha-cha, and my dear husband's idea of encouragement? "What if you flop? I'll feel terrible for you." Ah, marital support at its finest.

I got through it and didn’t die on my hole, and that was it: I was bitten by the stand up bug. I did, however, vomit on my way home just from pure adrenaline. I have always suffered with crippling anxiety so even getting on the stage for that first gig was huge.

So many comics say to me now “I cant believe how nervous and anxious you get pre gig” and I’m sat thinking, “Well, 20 years ago I used to have anxiety going to the shops!”.

Esther Manito

Then came my gig at the Dubai Opera House. Stepping onto that prestigious stage felt like winning an Olympic medal. But the real kicker? My four-year-old's response: a nonchalant shrug. Lesson learned: kids are the ultimate buzzkill, deflating your ego faster than you can say "parenting fail”.

However, I do feel that somewhere deep deep down that I’m being a good role model, and showing her what women can achieve. Not that she’d ever let me know – I am her mother, so my breathing is embarrassing enough.

Fast forward to Live At The Apollo. The first post-lockdown show was a revelation. The audience's laughter was like a symphony of joy, drowning out the echoes of pandemic woes. Turns out, sharing tales of toddler tantrums and quarantine quirks struck a chord with everyone. Who knew misery could be so relatable?

Performing on such a massive stage was brilliant because I love to get really physical and clown around – and this stage was perfect for really pratting about. Although a troll did write to me to tell me that I have terrible posture, which was lovely and empowering.

And then, the pièce de resistance: the launch of my inaugural tour at Soho Theatre. The crowd was electric, the atmosphere was totally hyper, and the post-show banter? Pure gold.

Karla Gowlett

I realised that my show isn't just comedy; it's a therapy session for the soul, a reminder that life's a circus and we're all just clowns trying to keep our pants from falling down.

I have really loved meeting the audiences who have come out to my tour shows. I have been so flattered that they want to spend an hour in my company, and it has been absolutely brilliant to meet them all. I love how many people have shared their own stories with me.

So, mark your calendars, secure a ticket, and brace yourself for a journey through the absurdity of existence. Because if there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that laughter is the best – and most cost-effective – form of therapy.

And who knows? Maybe amid the chaos, we'll stumble upon a nugget of wisdom. Or not. But hey, at least we'll have a darn good time trying.

Esther Manito

Esther Manito is touring the UK April-May 2024 with her hit show ‘Hell Hath No Fury’. For dates and tickets, click here.