Written by Standard Issue


Q&A: Jo Brand

In the lead up to our big Standard Issue Stands Up For Comic Relief gig on Monday 11 May at the Lyric, we’re asking each of our line-up nine questions. First up: the awesome Jo Brand.

Jo BrandWe’ve been merrily banging on about our brilliant forthcoming gig for Comic Relief (Monday 11 May, The Lyric, Shaftesbury Avenue, ON SALE NOW). One of our first big announcements was the frankly marvellous Jo Brand, whose sharp, withering wit puts her among the UK’s finest comedians. She’s a damn fine writer and actor, too: Getting On, her sitcom set in the geriatric ward of an NHS hospital, co-written with Vicki Pepperdine and Joanna Scanlan, has picked up various awards and bagged Brand a BAFTA.

Whats the best thing thats ever happened to you onstage? 

I had a bread roll thrown at me at a gig at Durham University in 1989. Apart from the fact most of the cheese had fallen out, it was very nice. I’m not sure the thrower intended it as a snack.

Where do you get your inspiration for material?

A book called Falsework And Access Scaffolds In Tubular Steel.

When did you realise you were a feminist?

When I read The Female Eunuch as a pop-up book at the age of four.

Which women have inspired you and how?

Women who inspire me are kind, hard-working women who just get on with it and don’t complain. And these women are carers, mums, professional women, nurses, waitresses etc etc etc (See possible careers for women/feminism). Also, women who are a good laugh.

Jo Brand outsideIf you could befriend anyone from history, who would it be and why?

I would befriend Nye Bevan and ask him how he thought we could save the NHS from creeping privatisation and the Tory mob.

What were you like as a kid?

Polite and studious. Yes, I don’t know what happened either.

What brings you joy?

Joy visits often. Normally a cab brings her.

Please could you share the best bit of advice youve ever been given.

How do people remember bits of advice they’ve been given? I can’t even remember what happened last week. In fact the only bit of advice I’ve ever been given that I can remember was my mum saying: “All men are bastards” when I was a teenager. Was it helpful? On days when a man was being a bastard, it was very useful as a reinforcement. But it turned out not to be true. And also, it’s not really advice; it’s just a statement. Oh, there was her advice on how to iron shirts with the man still in them.

Whats always on your to do list that never gets done?

The housework, dinner, pedicure, manicure, hairdresser… Oh dear, not a proper lady.


Most people are well aware of the vital work Comic Relief does at home and overseas, but might not be as aware of the work it does with women. All the money raised by Standard Issue Stands Up for Comic Relief will be used to help vulnerable and disadvantaged women and girls here in the UK and across Africa.

From tackling violence against women, raising awareness and educating communities about the harm caused by female genital mutilation to ensuring that the number of women dying in childbirth across sub-Saharan Africa continues to fall, the cash raised will help to make a big difference to women and girls living incredibly tough lives.

Standard Issue Stands Up for Comic Relief is on Monday 11 May at The Lyric, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, 7:30pm.
Visit nimaxtheatres.com/lyric-theatre/standard_issue_stands_up_for_comic_relief for more information.
All profits from this event will be donated to Comic Relief.

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Written by Standard Issue