COMEDY: Jo Brand Civic Hall, Guildford
Monday 12 May 1997
During one completely unrepeatable routine about maggots somewhere they shouldn't have been (which Channel 4 had refused to broadcast), even Brand seemed worried about shocking the gin-and-Jag belters and warned them to put their fingers in their ears. When she had elicited the requisite number of "oohs", she added with special relish: "Do tell that to as many people as possible over dinner."
But, like a ravenous crowd in front of a table full of cream cakes, they simply scoffed the lot. The audience were so well tuned to Brand's particular brand of humour that the very mention of the word "chocolate" early on was greeted with whoops of delight.
Brand is canny in getting her retaliation in first; she voices the negative thoughts people may have about her appearance and turns them to her own comic advantage. Fat may be a feminist issue, but Brand proved it can also be a barrel-load of laughs. Clad in her standard-issue baggy black T-shirt and trousers offset by glittery Doctor Martens, she laughed: "I quite like looking like this because at least I don't have to drink Martini every time I go to a party." She went on to reveal that she had just spent the weekend in Norway where whaling is still legal - "so I couldn't go swimming, obviously".
She also confronted the widely held canard that she is gay: "I know you think I'm a lesbian," she teased at one point, "but I'm heterosexual. So, men, be very scared because I want to shag you."
People are drawn to her honesty about herself. We can all identify with someone suffering from a terminal lack of self-esteem - even if we wouldn't want to parade ours in front of several hundred strangers every night.
As a performer, Brand gives and receives great warmth. She passes the acid test for a popular comedian: people laugh before she's even said anything. Apart from the singing - she did an ill-advised version of "The Lady is a Tramp" as an encore - the only danger is that sooner or later audiences may tire of her schtick. How many different ways can you say "cakes are great and men aren't"?
Jo Brand's national tour continues at Watford Colosseum on Wed (01923 445000); Manchester Bridgewater Hall on Thurs (0161-907 9000). Tour info: 0891 455480
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Mike Tindall, Jodie Kidd and co take to the slopes
Game of Thrones: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as he can keep his clothes on
Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' goes viral 35 years later
Martin Scorsese 'in shock and sorrow' after death on set of new film Silence
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures