Dear Jenny Eclair
Well done to the first woman to win the Perrier comedy award. But a word of advice: do beware of television commissioning editors bearing gifts
Tuesday 29 August 1995
Bodies are a bit of a thing with you, aren't they? You once wrote a weighty tome titled The Book of Bad Behaviour. The front cover featured you sporting a pair of horns above a sticker warning of "explicit material" (that must have upped sales among adolescent males). The book contained sections on "Ways to misbehave in the swimming pool" and "Being an ageing slag".
Your live act is equally down and dirty. As you yourself have said, your aim on stage is to be "as rude as possible". Nothing wrong with that. A previous Perrier winner, Frank Skinner, majors on anal sex in his live act - and look where it's got him: his own show with his name in the title in a prime-time BBC1 Sunday night slot.
Ah, TV. Yes, it was bound to come up sooner or later (ooh, no, matron, don't). If there's one thing the Perrier guarantees beyond wall-to-wall newspaper coverage during the slow-news month of August, it's that television commissioning editors will return your calls. They might even take the initiative and phone you once or twice. But do be careful of overexposure (fnarr, fnarr). Learn to say no - something your stage persona suggests might prove tricky. Too many appearances beside lesser cast members from Emmerdale on Mike Smith's That's Showbusiness can be bad for the comedy cred.
Stick to what you know. Don't accept offers to read the weather in funny voices or be the token wacky person on Question Time. Or else, before you know it, fickle newspaper critics will be intoning the mantra "Stephen Fry" to themselves.
I don't want to be too finger-wagging, but also beware of commissioning editors bearing gifts of shows in which "you can do what you like, darling". Two words should tell you what I'm on about: Emma Thompson.
Before the Edinburgh Festival, you told me that this year you were "just hoping to get away without crying in public. My usual trick is crying behind the locked door of the disabled toilet at the Pleasance." You failed. You admitted to crying when you heard that you were nominated for the award. But we'll forgive you this time.
My only worry about you winning the Perrier is that the sponsors will force you to drink the ruddy stuff. You're more of a gin'n'Prozac sort, aren't you? Bottoms up.
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