With Jo Brand about to launch another piece of 'comedy' gold thanks to her very good friends at the BBC, a look back at Mark Lawson's fawning interview from a couple of years back...
Admit it you probably never thought you’d ever see the name of comedienne Jo Brand in a sentence containing the words ‘thin’ or ‘slim’ did ya? Read on O Ye of little faith…
On paper it didn’t look like her career would last thirty days let alone thirty years. The act such as it was consisted of three words: ‘vagina’, ‘period’ and ‘fuck’ – by sheer coincidence the same name as a firm of solicitors who defended OJ Simpson once upon a time.
The act dealt primarily, nay completely, obsessively with just one theme: being overweight. Jo Brand’s act was, well…thin, slim, skinny even. Gotcha!
Fast forward thirty years and the act contains…three words and one theme. So how has she done it? How? Time for a small diversion.
Don’t you just love Equal Opps? Last week holier than thou feminist crusader Harriet Harman blamed her gender on being overlooked for a top job in the Labour Party. That she might not have had the right qualities for the job seemingly never occurred to the deputy leader of the party and chief zealot.
It was nasty evil, patriachy that had thwarted her gigantic ambitions. Women have it hard, men easy. Amen Harriet. She obviously hadn’t factored in the Jo Brands of this world.
And so to the woman herself, a seemingly permanent fixture on our television screens courtesy of her pals at the BBC. And last night they further indulged her with a pampering courtesy of ‘critic’ Mark Lawson - a yes man to whom everything and everybody is ‘wonderful,’ ‘marvellous’ and at the very worst ‘interesting.’
This ninety minute effort was billed as an ‘interview’ but as it was turned into a pampering with the good natured Lawson readily tickling Miss Brands’ tummy at every opportunity.
You have to take your hat off to the lady though. She may be excrutiatingly unfunny, but by Eric she’s milked the BBC out of a considerable amount of licence fee cash for three decades. Now that is funny.
And Last night she revealed just how she had done it.
Firstly she had noticed a gap in the market: dearth of female comics in the eighties. Comedy it is true to say didn’t exactly find Miss Brand, she went looking for comedy. Correction, she went looking for something that would provide shit loads of cash for very little effort with no competition; step forward the Beeb.
Her next trick was to set out to shock audiences as she readily admitted to Lawson who was, by now, blinking with admiration. This was a crafty way to get herself noticed. It worked. A foul-mouthed comedienne – a novelty back in the eighties. She was on the box faster than you could say menstruation cycle.
But surely it couldn’t last? Surely someone would find her out sooner or later? Well, no. The BBC now had a box ticked on their Equal Opps form and they were ruddy well determined to keep that little box ticked for as long as they could. And besides the odd ‘fuck’ or ‘twat’ on telly didn’t do too much harm, in fact it made the grey suits feel edgy, daring and with it. Bless.
Throw in a good dose of BBC lefty-liberal groupthink and the crafty lady had all but sealed her place on the BBC gravy train. Kerching.
And credit where credit is due, Miss Brand never, never lets her paymasters down. You can guarantee a ‘fuck’ when Jo is steering the ship on Have I Got News, hang your washing on a ‘period’ when she’s on the QI panel.
She also revealed one or two other bits and pieces. Apparently her put downs used for hecklers (of which there are many) are written in advance! And you thought she was just a fountain of spontaneous wit….
Having finally managed to prise Lawson off her ribs, the lady revealed what she thought to be her best put down line. Her ‘best’ line note – one she has toiled and sweated over:
“Would you like to come over here and sit on my face (pause) while I’m having my period?” Hmm… Still rolling around the laminate in paroxysms of laughter? Me neither.
Yep thirty years on and she still thinks it’s shocking to say rude words on the telly. Jo Brand: as relevant and as funny today as she was in 1985….