Ref NoBSUCA/OD/1/25
CollectionOliver Double Collection
TitleJo Brand interviewed by Oliver Double
Name of creatorDouble, Oliver, 1965-
Date01/05/2004
Duration49 min. 52 sec.
Extent1 sound disc (MiniDisc) (80min)
1 audio file Broadcast WAVE Format (BWF)
DescriptionJo Brand interviewed by Oliver Double in the Dulwich Picture Gallery Cafe, 1st April 2004. This interview was conducted by Double for his book 'Getting the Joke: The Inner Workings of Stand-Up Comedy' (2005) .
Summary:
[0.05] OD and JB start talking about being heckled on stage and how stand-up comedy is seen as brave [1.11] OD asks how JB's on stage persona relates to her real life character [1.38] JB says that they hardly relate at all. She says people often think she is a horrible person because she says horrible things on stage. And she feels it is more common for people to think this about women comedians being horrible about men rather than the other way round [2.59] OD suggests that this may be because audiences find that she is a force to be reckoned with [3.06] JB says she never really understand this perception [3.22] OD asks JB about audiences being scared to sit at the front of comedy shows [3.34] JB suggests that this is because audiences are scared of being humiliated [4.12] OD asks about how JB's on stage persona has somewhat softened throughout the years [4.38] JB says her original hard-faced persona was due to her nervousness and so her softening was quite a natural progression- she felt that she needed to loosen up a bit to keep the audience engaged. She purposely did this by asking to be a compere so she was able to improve her improvisation abilities [7.32] OD asks JB about truth in comedy and how the audiences perceive stand-ups as completely honest [8.26] JB says she is not really conscious of how she combines truth with fiction in her comedy; she instead has quite a slap-dash approach. She enjoyed telling a true story with a fictional punchline. OD asks JB about using her dad in her comedy; she says that she could create a whole show based on what her dad says, however it could be too hurtful [10.40] OD talks about using family and friends in comedy and how they feel about this [11.05] JB says there is a fine line between positivity and insult with such stories [14.08] OD asks JB to comment on her act being 'punk' & saying things others may not [14.32] JB says she has always enjoyed doing this, she likes to shock people. She is not like this in her social life [15.28] OD asks JB about the criticisms her show have got in the past, especially being labelled as angry and unfunny, which do not match up to her shows at all [16.00] JB says there are definitely some journalists that constantly critique her act, who come from a different political leanings, who have antipathy towards her. But she feels that she would rather have these types of people not like her. He believes a lot of this criticism comes from general misogyny [19.14] OD talks about the concept of the comedy 'outsider' and whether JB sees herself in this light [19.24] JB says her perception by audiences really does differ. She can do shows to very politically aware people who agree completely with what she says, but can also do corporate shows where she can feel more like an outsider. And this is not a weakness; some comedians such as Johnny Vegas operate as constant outsiders [23.00] OD talks about the illusion of comedy being such in improvised, nature occurrence, and asks how JB actually does work and prepare for her shows [23.46] JB said she was a lot more conscientious when she started out in comedy and would write material down and rehearse it like a poem, however now she tends to write down key words and practice the joke until its perfected. She tries to recognise what people will find funny in their heads and what everyone can relate to. She finds her comedy to be such that it only works in front of an audience, whereas other comedians could perform in front of a small group of friends and it would still work [27.05] OD asks how JB goes about structuring her show [27.22] JB says that for an hour show she devises it into 12, 5 minute sets. She likes to write 6 of these and then expand on some and improvise too [30.13] OD asks JB whether she has ever practiced out-loud to herself [30.17] JB says very early on in her career she stood in front of a mirror to practice but she soon discovered she didn't like this method [30.46] OD asks about any superstition for going onstage [31.05] JB says she is not a bad as she used dot be but she did had a few superstitions. One of the first was she had to have green toilet paper in pocket. Another was touching wood before she went onstage. It's all about not letting it get on top of you. Now that her career is more like a job she doesn't feel like she needs such superstitions as a crutch anymore [33.20] OD asks about JB's choice in stage wear [33.28] JB said her stage wear started as a superstition to always wear similar things. She also wore a lot of black because it was easy and androgynous. She found that wearing more 'womanly' clothes, makes female comedians more open to abuse [36.00] OD asks JB whether she believes that comedy can work in recorded form and whether everything can translate to it [36.56] JB said this must work people do buy comedy videos, however a lot of comedy is so static on stage that it can be quite uncomfortable to watch and so she thinks that it might translate better on cassette [39.00] OD talks about his comedy group in Sheffield and how they greatly admired JB [39.57] OD asks about the process of recording comedy and how much control JB had on her recordings [40.12] JB says that comedians don't have that much control over what it taped because it costs so much to record. Therefore they can only do it on one night and so if it is a dead night, that's out of your control. However when it comes to choosing clips and editing, she has a lot of involvement. She went on to talk about recycling her old material and the comforting nature of repeating old jokes [45.42] OD thanks JB and recording ends.
Notes1 MiniDisc, digitised to LPCM wave 16 bit 44.1kHz. Digitised using Sony Minidisc Deck MDS-JE53; Roland Edirol UA-25; and Adobe Audition CC 2014. 2016-03-17.
CategoryAudio recordings
Access conditionsAvailable for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU. Access is available via digital listening copies. The University of Kent acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors in this recording and the rights of those not identified.
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