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Comedy with an Accent

S01E12 Esther Manito, English/ Arabic Speaker (Essex Accent) - From Saffron Walden, England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

Comedy with an Accent
Comedy with an Accent

Live at the Apollo star Esther Manito started performing stand up comedy only as recently as 2016 - not to forget we should probably count two years out because of the pandemic. The ex teacher has since brought two critically claimed solo shows (Crusade, #NotAllMen) to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and become the first female comedian to perform at Dubai Opera House.

Describing herself as an "Essex Arab Girl Comedian", Esther is in her own words a chameleon of accents having grown up between mixed and sometimes clashing cultures and social classes. Between an Arabic-speaking Lebanese father and a Geordie mother who switched to a southern English accent at home, Esther nevertheless wears the badge of her distinct Essex accent with pride.

This is the first episode to feature a distinct British regional accent. The Essex accent has an endearing nature but carries the social connotations of being thick and unsophiscated, best embodied by the all-time guilty pleasure reality TV show The Only Way is Essex.


Follow Esther on Instagram or Twitter

Follow your host Kuan-wen on Instagram or Twitter

Esther's hilarious podcast with comedian Lily Phillips: Ghastly Women


Esther started performing stand up comedy as a young mother after she just gave birth to her second child. If you are interested in how Esther balances her family life whilst switching career as a comedian, there is a great episode on the Parenting Hell Podcast by Josh Widdecombe and Rob Beckett. Also recommended is the interview by comedian Cally Beaton on her podcast Namaste Motherfxxker.


Episode timeline

00:57 Intro

01:48 First British regional accent featured on this podcast

03:12 A variety of Essex accents

05:17 A chameleon of accents - Esther’s mixed heritage

10:45 What the Essex accent makes Esther feel as opposed to a Posh British accent

12:43 The evolution of the modern Essex accent

13:42 Quirky examples of an Essex accent

19:03 Definition of a “chav”

20:37 Comedy and social classes in the UK - made more complicated by misperceptions of regional accents

23:10 Double standards applied to comedians with different accents on swearing

25:28 Fetishisation of “working class”

28:39 An outsider in her own home town

31:01 Ranting on stage and a comedic voice of “tiredness” of being a mum/wife/woman

34:49 Two funny arguments between Esther and her husband

38:00 A hardworking comedian that balances the life as a mother with young children

40:21 Discriminatory treatment of women in Kuan-wen's extended family

41:54 The name “Manito” and Esther’s maiden name

42:50 When English polite manner only confuses Esther’s Lebanese relatives

46:22 Esther’s social media


Podcast intro music by @Taigenkawabe

Comedy with an Accent
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