Sunday, November 04, 2007

Stuff About Being A Comedian

I did this interview last month for a local Harrowgate paper. I was doing a gig there, the radio show was starting and I was trying to sell my CD. (Still am)
Anyway, there's a couple of jokes in the interview and a couple of thoughts on being a stand-up comedian. (BTW the bit about being "well-known" - I think they were confussing me with someone else!)


I saw you at Rawhide Comedy Club in Liverpool a few weeks ago and you were great. Do you find stand-up less nerve-wracking now you're well-known, or is there more pressure on you now than when you were starting out?

The biggest difference nowadays is I'm sober.

My first gig was a New Act competition. Before the show I was so nervous I had a beer, then another one. Then another one. I ended up so drunk I don't even remember being on stage. But I won the competition. That makes me sound like a natural but I wasn't. I was just slightly less dreadful than the other new acts on the bill that night.

If I was to stop and think about it I would probably be nervous but my over-riding emotion when performing comedy is "excitement". I want to do this! I'm excited to tell the audience what's happening and what's on my mind.

Like…
…where I live, at one end of the street there's a Tesco supermarket and at the other end of the street there's a Sainsbury's supermarket. And because I use both of them I've ended up getting a Loyalty Card for both of them.
So, I was in Sainsbury's last week, the woman at the till asked for my loyalty card, and I give her my Tesco loyalty card by mistake.
Not a word of a lie, she looked at the Tesco card – she then looked at her own badge as if to go, "What a minute – maybe I do work in Tescos!"

When something like that happens I can't wait to tell an audience.

Sue Perkins once said she found it depressing that there weren't many other female comics on the stand-up circuit. Do you think that's the case? Is it still a daunting environment for women?

Attitudes are changing everywhere. Once upon a time there were very few female journalists, or female judges or female bus drivers.

For me the big change has been in the male comedians. Men have, until very recently, been unwilling to show their weakness and be the butt of their own joke. They hid behind jokes attacking other people, "Two Irishmen walking into a bar…" or "A Scotsman is granted three wishes by a genie…"

Whereas women have always been honest and funny about themselves. They're happy to tell stories about bad dating experiences or a disastrous night out.

So the truth is: Male comedy has finally caught up with female comedy.

The job itself, the actual physical side of it, can be very tiring. You spend a lot of time travelling alone (not every woman wants to be driving up and down the M1 at two in the morning), standing in smoky rooms and having to wash the smoke out of your hair EVERY night, turning up in strange towns and having no idea where to get a healthy meal, not having weekends out with friends, the down side goes on and on.

What about funny women on TV? Are there enough of them? And do you think that, while panel shows often have male stand-ups as guests, the female guests are often TV presenters or 'personalities' rather than comics and writers?

I have no idea why so many TV producers seem to be scared of women and/or threatened by a woman being funnier than them. Television really is the last 'Boy's Club'. The attitude smacks of: get the funny boys first, and then a pretty girl for a bit of fluffy colour.

I'm getting fed up with switching on TV and seeing the ridiculous combination of pretty young female presenter next to out-of-shape knackered old man. Who's running the BBC? Hugh Hefner?

We've had Fearne Cotton and Terry Wogan, Melanie Sykes and Des O'Connor, Eammon Holmes and that thin Scottish girl with the slight speech impediment. Every time I see Tess Daly and Bruce Forsyth, I think, "She doesn't look like his co-presenter, she looks like his nurse."

Practically every woman in the media is being sold in a sexual way. Even newsreaders. Have you seen that Natasha Kaplinski? How much makeup is she wearing? I'm surprised she can lift her head off the desk.

Thank God for Catherine Tate.

On your website your material ranges from A Flock of Seagulls to the congestion charge (and I totally agree about Coldplay). What inspires you in your writing? Is it important for the audience to identify with the content of your act?

I don't know any comedians who write with the audience in mind. We're not bright enough to be that contrived.

I write to make myself laugh first.

Everything I write comes from my own life and my own experiences.

So I like talking about my Irish parents and my Scottish husband. And if something, or someone, has pissed me off during the day I'll try and get that off my chest. One reviewer called me a "celebration of anger". I think that sums me up.

For example I'm fed up plugging in and charging up electrical appliances. There's my electric toothbrush, my mobile phone, my husbands shaver, the house telephone, my ipod, dustbuster… By the time I turn off the light at night, my bedroom looks like the main runway approach at Heathrow airport.

And Kiera Knightly. I'm obsessed with her. Did you know Kiera Knightly got $6 million for Pirates of the Caribbean? Then again I suppose they saved a few quid on the catering. And costumes – if she needs a figure-hugging dress they just have to cut the end of a sock.

And why do they serve popcorn in the cinema? Surely there must be other more suitable foods? I know when I came out of 'Finding Nemo' I could have murdered some sushi. And after 'Brokeback Mountain' my husband said he really fancied some sausages and a donut.

Do you panic at the thought of a blank page or does your writing flow quite freely?

Like every comedian/comedy writer/writer – I hate writing and will do everything I can to put it off. (I've avoided these questions for the best part of a week.)

What I prefer to do is speak/ramble/rant into a Dictaphone and then type up the bits that make me laugh. Then I start working them into jokes (Put the punchline at the end, is the set-up clear? can I lose any words? Can I find a stronger word in the thesaurus? Etc)

Even then, a joke can take months to write and re-write. I'm still trying to work out which version of this joke is the funniest:

1) I'm going to a Fancy Dress party with my friend Alison.
We're going as Paris Hilton and Abi Titmuss.
She's getting a lobotomy and I'm getting my vagina widened.

2) I'm going to a Fancy Dress party with my friend Alison.
We're going as Paris Hilton and Abi Titmuss.
I'm getting a lobotomy and she's getting her vagina widened.

Is it funnier when Alison is getting her vagina widened? Or as the comedian should it be me? Or will that weaken me to the audience?

Do you take on a persona on stage?

Its not really a 'persona' – it's more taking a real part of you and heightened it. I make friends laugh when I'm talking about the things that annoy me so that's the 'me' that I take on stage.

That's the hardest bit for a comedian when they start out – finding the 'real' part of you that is funny. The theory is: it takes 5 or 6 years to become a comedian. And those years are all spent finding out who you are on stage.

Is it true that you got into comedy stepping up to the mic for a drunken bet at a London comedy club?

100% true. See first question.

You got your break writing for Graham Norton. How did that come about and how much pressure was there to come up with topical material in such a quick turnaround?

We started out on the circuit around the same time and ended up getting booked for a lot of the same gigs. We just hit it off during the long car journeys and when he got his first series he asked me to work on the show. I've been there ever since. Which just goes to prove all my old teachers wrong – "Being a fag hag IS a good career choice!"

There's never been any pressure because I'm writing for a very funny person. And covering subjects or celebrities I'm genuinely interested/fascinated with.

And I've always liked writing topical jokes…

Monday is National Secretaries Day. Secretaries and receptionists up and down the land will be celebrating by filing their nails, flicking through OK magazine and bitching about that 'tarty looking one' in accounts.

Fans of Doctor Who, Star Trek and Star Wars were grieving last night after the official announcement that nobody cares what they're talking about.

Do you think that, with the rise of small regional comedy clubs - sometimes in semi-rural venues such as village halls - it's now easier for new comics to get started? Do these clubs also make live comedy more accessible to regional audiences?

What?

Why did you want to get into comedy and who were/are your influences/favourite comics?

I went to see a friend do a 5-minute spot at the Comedy Store and even though he died on his arse I was hooked. I wanted to be the one standing onstage and having everyone laugh. Some people might think that's a very selfish attitude but for me it's the complete opposite: I want people to have a good time, and if that's at my expense - so be it.

Dave Allen, Billy Connolly and Joan Rivers are the Holy Trinity.

My parents are Irish so watching The Dave Allen Show was a family ritual. Billy Connolly has influenced every British comic, whether they realise it or not. He's the ultimate storyteller. And Joan Rivers is a living master-class in celebrity bitchiness.

It wouldn't be fair to talk about who I like out of the current crop of comedians because they're all friends of mine and they don't have new radio shows to promote and they don't have CD's to sell and they're not playing the Harrogate Theatre so they can get stuffed and get their publicity somewhere else.

You've written for acts like Anne Robinson and Ant and Dec. When you're writing for other performers, do they have any input into the material? Is it harder to write for someone else?

The one thing I've learnt is: you can write what you think is the best, funniest joke in the world, but if the person you've written it for doesn't like it, there's no way you can persuade them to say it on camera.

I wrote this joke – "I was playing strip poker last night. I won two pairs of trousers and a top hat" – for someone (no names) and they turned it down.
I was so sure it was funny I put it into my own set – and it bombed!
"No names" was right.

The third series of your radio show, It's That Jo Caulfield Again, starts this week. Why does radio remain such a popular medium for comedy, and a breeding ground for new talent?

The jokes have to FUNNY because there's nothing to hid behind. Simple as that.

On TV you can get extra laughs with a facial expression or body language. Or you can 'tart up' a bad joke with props and elaborate stage sets.

Or a funny wig. There's nothing saves a bad joke like a funny wig.

A new survey in the Radio Times reveals that 9 out of every 10 female viewers fall asleep in front of the television set.
Interestingly enough they all claim the last thing they remember hearing was "Hello, my name is Jeremy Clarkson, welcome to Top Gear…."

Do you have any plans to do any more acting, either comic or straight? Why do comics generally make such successful actors - is it to do with timing & maybe an ear for accents?

I've done bits and pieces. Some bits in sitcoms. Small scenes in a film. I was even in the Channel 5 soap Family Affairs for a while. I've no idea who I was meant to be. I think I was someone's sister. Someone even recognised me in the street and asked for my autograph. For a couple of minutes I didn't have a clue what they were talking about.

How do you spend your time when you're not writing or performing?

Eating – going out for dinner with my husband. He makes me laugh.
Drinking – go to a weekly pub quiz with my friends. They make me laugh.
Scotland – I love driving around the countryside.
Reading - I usually have 2 or 3 books on the go at the same time.
Watching - I'm addicted to The Wire – best TV series in years.
And I've recently re-discovered my love for music – I got an iPod last year and I've filled it up with Jimi Hendrix and Blondie and Scissor Sisters and Green Day and Lou Reed and rap.

If you like comedy go see JO CAULFIELD. Or listen to her radio show! Or buy her CD!
It's That Jo Caulfield Again (11.30pm, Radio 4)
Harrogate Theatre (8pm) Monday
Jo Caulfield CD (available from www.jocaulfield.com)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Flasher

I have been flashed twice in my life.

The first time was when I was 17 at the Acropolis in Greece, which is odd as there’s already a lot of statues of naked men. Why put yourself up against stiff opposition? (Pardon the pun)

The second time was earlier this year in Scotland.

We were having a small driving holiday and we stopped in Stirling.

There’s a lovely park there called King’s Park and it was a hot sunny day - so my husband, being a Scotsman who can’t sit in the sun for more than 4 minutes without bursting into flames, went off to buy a paper.

Minutes later this man, about 65, came along and started talking to me in the way that people do outside of London. "Where was I from?", "Was I enjoying my holiday in Scotland?", "Had I been to Stirling before?" Then he start to tell me about Stirling Castle – how long it took to build, who had lived there, and how it had been used during the filming of the classic 70’s TV series Colditz.
Now, as a kid I used to watch Colditz, so I found it all very interesting. Then just as he was about to go and had said goodbye, he opened his coat and exposed himself.

But I did still think ..... he was very informative.

Then my husband came back and asked what I wanted to do next?
"Mmmm, well", I said, "while we’re here I’d quite like to go and see the Castle".

So that’s what we did, we went to Stirling Castle and it is very impressive. I would definitely recommend you go visit.

But for me the high-spot was at the main door (portcullis?) there was a women there from the Scottish Tourist Board and she’s going around with a clipboard and asking everyone, “How did you hear about the Castle?”
I thought I can’t miss this opportunity, I’ll have to tell her – “Well funny story about that…” so I told about the man in the park and how he exposed himself.

And she just laughed and said “ Oh, that’ll be George”.

I said, “Did you not hear me say he got his cock out?”

She just laughed again – then her face went blank – then she looked annoyed – and she said, “Did he not also tell you about the Bannockburn heritage site?”

If you ever go there keep a look out for George – he has a blue raincoat and a tartan thermos.

Gossip

Wednesday 17th October 2007

LONDON (Reuters) - Gossip is more powerful than truth, a study showed on Tuesday, suggesting people believe what they hear through the grapevine even if they have evidence to the contrary.

A new study conducted by evolutionary biologist Ralf Sommerfeld, at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, suggests people believe gossip even if there’s evidence to the contrary.

Prof Sommerfeld who led the study said, “Tests show that gossip has a strong influence... even when participants have access to the original information as well as gossip about the same information. Thus, it is evident that gossip has a strong manipulative potential."

“In evolutionary terms, gossip can be an important tool for people to acquire information about others' reputations or navigate through social networks at work and in their everyday lives. My full results will be published later this year in conjunction with the National Academy of Sciences”.

Prof Sommerfeld also added, “Peter Andrea is sleeping with other women behind Jordan’s back”.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mock The Week jokes

Every couple of weeks I appear on BBC2's topical comedy show "Mock The Week". I prepare a whole stack of topical jokes and some of them don't make the final edit. Here's some I did on the last show...

Unlikely Lines From The Final ‘Harry Potter’ Book:
And at last after many many years ... JK Rowling finally smiled.

And so he looked back on his journey - the orphan boy raised by an uncaring uncle who didn’t tell him of his parent’s importance, befriended by a kindly old mentor who taught him the ancient mystical ways and set him on the path to his destiny – Luke was now a Jedi ... err, I mean Harry was now a wizard.

...and so, as Harry’s story ended the British film industry died.

And so Harry graduated from Hogwarts with straight A’s but found that there wasn’t much work out there for his qualifications ... leading to Harry Potter and The Big Mac Meal.

Despite getting top marks in all his exams, even magic couldn’t stop Ron Weasley from being ginger.

Despite getting top marks in all her exams, even magic couldn’t stop people thinking Hermione was secretly as lesbian.

...and with that the Ofsted inspector closed down Hogwarts.

Questions Omitted From The British Citizenship Test:
How does Callum Best actually earn a living?

Fiona Philips – is she, A) annoying, B) annoying, C) annoying or D) all of the above.

Boris Johnson – should he be A) Mayor of London, B) in a circus or C) both.

David Beckham has gone to America, is this A) great for the sport, B) damaging to the National squad or C) who cares anymore?

It’s Friday night, you have five cans of strong lager, is it A) too much, B) not enough, or C) about right as a warm-up at home while you’re getting ready before you go out on the lash proper?

Worst Thing To Hear Over A Tannoy System:
This is the pilot speaking ... may Allah's justice be swift and merciful as he punishes the Infidel.

Child sick in Aisle 5 ... reduced to 95p a can.

Wembley, please welcome for an hour of spontaneous improv ... Ricky Gervais.

Would the owner of a burning Jeep please remove it from the foyer.

Would Jimmy Saville please report to the front desk where your mother is waiting for you.

Welcome to LA Galaxy, please stand for the National Anthem, sung by Victoria Beckham.

Bad Ways For Gordon Brown To Address The Nation:
They call me Mister Lover Lover.

Hey babe.

Is it cos I is black?

The Beckhams Arrive In LA
Posh said she wanted the Americans to love her more than the Beatles … just one bullet, that’s all it takes.

When asked whether he had any plans to join the Scientologists, David said he’s only just joined LA Galaxy and would have to wait for the next transfer window.

Posh said she’d like to live on a council estate - an unemployable mother of three, living with a tattooed shag-about simpleton … she’d never fit in … all her kids have the same dad.

When they asked her to be on the touchline for David’s first game, Posh thought they wanted her to be a cheerleader … in fact they needed a corner flag.

They thought the best way to introduce themselves would be to sprawl semi naked over a dirty second hand car for a photoshoot … dressing like a hooker and still managing to make it deeply unsexy?

Boris Johnson For Mayor:
They’re letting the public choose the Conservative candidate for mayor by text. Have things got that bad now … Conservatives Got Talent!

They shouldn’t let the public decide anything. The one thing you can say about the British public is that they don’t take voting seriously anymore – look at that geriatric Steps tribute act we had for Eurovision, or the mobile phone salesman with wonky teeth singing opera – let them choose the mayor and God knows who’ll we end up with … Boris Johnson probably.

Lewis Pugh Swims:
Pugh said "I hope my swim will inspire world leaders to take climate change seriously," - now I don’t know whether a man in speedos swimming in the Arctic will convince them about climate change, but it might make them think twice about the mentally ill.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Advice For Virgins

The Edinburgh Festival starts next week and I'll be writing a weekly blog for Chortle (the best comedy website: www.chortle.co.uk - check it out). My first post is advice for people taking shows to the Festival for the first time...



NAMING YOUR SHOW

Always a pain in the arse (wish I’d thought of that as a title). Round about January you have to come up with a title for a show you won’t actually get round to thinking about or writing until June. Pick your title wisely. Or do what I do and don’t pick it wisely.



Some Of My Rejected Show Titles:

1) “Crossing The Red Sea With Jo Caulfield” (I’d been listening to the Adverts first album)

2) “The Great British Mistake” (I was still listening to the Adverts first album)

3) “Jo Caulfield’s Bad Hair Day” (Self explanatory)

4) “The Future Used To Be Better Than This” (maybe next year)

5) “The Adverts Live” (Different album, the deadline was getting nearer and I was running out of ideas)



PREVIEWS

Before my first Edinburgh I was given a bit of advice that you should never do more than 5 or 6 previews. I can’t remember who told me, it was either Adam Bloom or Andy Parsons (*) but the reasoning was you’ve got to keep the material fresh and exciting for yourself. The last thing you want to do is arrive in Edinburgh with an hour of material you’re fed up performing.

(*) Or maybe it was Jeff Green. It was either him or I read it somewhere. No, now I come to think about it I’m pretty sure it was Adam Bloom. Or Andy Parsons. Or Jeff Green. Or I read it somewhere.



ADVICE I WISH I’D BEEN GIVEN BEFORE MY FIRST FESTIVAL

1) Remember why you’re going to the Fringe. Don’t get wrapped up in the politics, don’t get wrapped up in the bullshit. Enjoy your show every night.

2) Don’t read the papers every day. There’s no point. Thierry Henry is NOT coming back to Arsenal. (This is for Ian Stone)

3) Enjoy Edinburgh itself. It’s one of Scotland’s most beautiful, picturesque, historic cities. Great bars, great restaurants (cheaper than London). Take a walk down to Leith. Take a bus out to Portobello. Take advantage of the fact that you’re going to spend a whole month in such a beautiful city.



THINGS THAT WILL HAPPEN

1) You’re going to get wet. It doesn’t matter how many raincoats and umbrellas you pack, you’re going to get wet. Accept it and move on.

2) You’re going to get drunk. There’s no point in promising yourself you’re not going to touch a drop this year, you’ll still end up sitting in a bar with a comedian you’ve never liked, bitching about a comedian you’ve always liked who’s just got a 5 star review. Accept it and move on.

3) All your new material about the new anti-smoking laws are a year-out-of-date in Scotland. Accept it, drop it and move on.



HIGHS AND LOWS

2001. Coming off the train at Waverley Station and seeing a man in full Highland gear, the tartan kilt, the sporran, the bagpipes … my real first American Tourist.

2002. Seeing my posters displayed around the city… then seeing a drunk man urinating in my face at closing time.

2003. Sharing a three bedroom flat with a mime artist and a fire eater… it was very quiet but very hot.

2004. I was introduced to a top PR agent who said he’d really like to work with me in the future… which should have been flattering but this w*****r didn’t remember I’d paid him a small fortune to be MY PR agent the previous year.

2005. I met a Scotsman who claimed he’d NEVER seen the Loch Ness monster. I didn’t believe him. I think he was lying.

2006. My most successful Edinburgh. I didn’t go. (I was busy recording my radio series)

2007. CC Blooms won’t be the same this year as neither Topping & Butch nor Will Smith are at the Fringe.



THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT SCOTLAND

Edinburgh is the official capital.

Inverness is "the capital of the Highlands".

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland.

Aberdeen is the Granite City.

Dundee is the city of discovery.

Paisley is the largest town in Scotland.

Dingwall was the Viking capital of Scotland.

Arbroath was the ancient capital of Scotland.



If you ask a Scotsman, “Is anything worn under the kilt?” he will always reply, “No, its all in perfect working order” and everyone will laugh because it’s a matter of pride that a real Scotsman wears nothing under his kilt.

However, if you ask a Scotswoman, “Are you wearing anything under your SKIRT?” and if she says, “No” then it’s a whole different story. She is a slut and a witch and should be burnt at the stake.


That’s really all there is to know about the Edinburgh Festival, and Scotland in general.

Until next time…

Love Jo x

Monday, July 02, 2007

Lines From My New Radio Series: Show 4

I’ve been doing a bit of research on stress and anger management techniques…

Apparently meditation is a good way to relieve stress ... but where in London is it quiet enough for you to sit stony faced, in absolute silence ...apart from at the recording of Titty Titty Bang Bang?

Whenever I get angry I take out all my frustration on a punchbag I've set up in the bedroom ... well ... I say punchbag, it's more of a pillow with a photo of Davina McCall pinned to it.

I’m told that some people tend to relieve stress and anger by drinking heavily and taking recreational drugs. Personally if I wanted to spend the afternoon all groggy and incapable of clear thinking, I’d watch an episode of “Loose Women”.

One book I read said the key is to change your way of thinking and turn all your negatives into positives. Like, look at Heather Miles. She gets divorced, that’s a negative, but with the divorce settlement she’ll be loaded. She’ll be able to afford a new shoe for every day of the week.

So maybe that’s what we should all do – look for the positive side in everything. Like…

I used to hate 4x4 drivers for contributing to global warming. But now I love them because the worlds getting hotter and I’m saving a fortune on fake tan.

I was sad my granny’s going into a home full-time ... but I’m grateful it’s not my home.

Kate Thornton’s been dropped from the “X Factor”, that’s a negative ... for Kate Thornton. But Kate Thornton’s been dropped from the “X Factor”, that’s a positive ... for everybody else.

Another technique when you’re losing your temper is to close your eyes and count to 10. I don’t get that. Surely that just gives you an extra 10 seconds to remember other things you’re mad about?
I’ve tried it but it didn’t work for me. No, like Louis Walsh and Ruth Badger on a blind date … we’re not compatible.

(That joke got nothing at the recording! Why not? Is it a bad joke or don’t people understand it?)

Some people listen to the sound of whales and dolphins to relax. That’s strange because we have no idea what they are actually saying. For all we know, we could be relaxing to the dolphin equivalent of Chris Moyles.
I say dolphin, probably more like a whale.

OTHER THINGS I HATE

The other day I was driving down Wood Green High St and I saw the man in the car in front of me was using his mobile phone. I hate that. And he was acting so casual, which made it all the worse.So I started beeping my horn and I follow him for about 10 minutes – beeping my horn and beeping my horn. Finally he heard me and turned around – and he wasn’t on the phone. He just had really big ears. And he saw me shouting and pointing at his ears. I felt terrible. What a complete waste of 10 minutes.

Certain sounds set my nerves on end – like someone dragging their nails down a chalkboard – or Ruth Kelly talking.

I hate it when you get a party invite and the dress code is smart/casual. Is it smart or is it casual? Make your mind up! Where do you live? Kilburn or Henley? What the hell is smart/casual anyway? The last party I went to I turned up wearing an evening gown and bunny slippers.

I don’t like charging up electrical things. I seem to spend my whole life plugging things in and charging them up.There’s my electric toothbrush... my mobile phone... my husbands shaver... the house telephone... my ipod… the dustbuster… By the time I turn the light off at night, my bedroom looks like the main runway approach at Heathrow airport.

This letter I got this week…
“Dear Jo, I always listen to your radio show in the bath because the acoustics are better… every time you say something funny, I add a bit of hot… and every time you don’t say something funny, I add a bit of cold… please could you send someone round to chip me out the ice?”

Why do we have to send Greeting Cards? You buy it, you write it, post it, the postman holds it up to the light to check for cash, someone opens it, checks there’s no cash in it, puts it on the mantlepiece for a couple of weeks and then throws it away! It’s a waste of time and money.

I went into Clintons to buy a Birthday Card for my Dad and there were all these cards saying, "You’re the World's No. 1 Dad".
Well, if he’s the number one Dad then why’ve you printed 50 thousand other ‘number one Dad cards’… That’s a big con.

Do you think Step-fathers get a "You're my number 2 dad" card?

Or "you're my number 5 dad. Coz my mum's a bit of a slag".

I bought the card but when I got home I realised the shop assistant had forgotten to give me the envelope.
Have you had that, and you think “oh well, I’ll find an envelope at home I can use.” Never, you will never find an envelope at home that fits! You’ll find one that nearly fits, but it’s always just slightly too big to look right, like Minnie Driver’s head.

I spent all Sunday morning listening to Hard Core Gangsta’ Rap. I didn’t want to. My neighbour’s son has just bought a new car.

Have you noticed that ever since we’ve had customer service departments we’ve had terrible customer service?
But only in certain trades. Mainly anything that involves the general public walking in off the street … bars, pubs, shops … Mind you some people still provide a good service, for instance I’ve never heard of a dentist saying … “Sorry, can’t do you today … I lent my drill to my brother-in-law and I haven’t got it back yet.”

Or an undertaker failing to turn up to a funeral because …“I used the car at the weekend and I’ve still got my ladders in the back! I should be there tomorrow … Thursday at the latest … don’t worry about it, if they start to smell just give ‘em a quick squirt of Febreeze!”

Dear Daily Mail,
Can you please explain to me why you keep encouraging us to use those ‘Energy Saving Bulbs’ - you know the ones, they’re the size of a butchers fist, and take AGES to actually come on.
My wife installed them, and it now takes about a day to light the house to an acceptable level.
You’ve essentially managed to take the concept of lighting our homes BACK to the 1880s. And while I’m at it can you please speak to Richard Littlejohn about his lazy journalism. Every week without fail he ends his column with the expression ‘They should lock him up and throw away the key’. Is he really that stupid? I thought it was common knowledge that prisons don’t have keys anymore. He should end his columns with ‘I hope they lock him up and forget the pin number’.
Yours sincerelyMister J Caulfield. (Retired)

I don’t like bidets. Every time we go abroad there’s always a bidet in the bathroom. I’ve never used it. I don't know anyone who knows how to use it. Even if I did know someone who knew how to use it, I don't think I would want them to show me how to use it. "Okay Mum, I get the idea. God! Stop it. You'll put your back out!"

I’m fed up with switching on TV and seeing the ridiculous combination of pretty young female presenter next to out-of-shape knackered old man. It’s like Hugh Hefner’s running the BBC.

We’ve had Fearne Cotton and Terry Wogan, Melanie Sykes and Des O’Connor, Eammon Holmes and that thin Scottish girl with the slight speech impediment.

Every time I see Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly, I think, “She doesn’t look like his co-presenter, she looks like his nurse.”

And which magazine editor decided that we were all interested in Paris Hilton?
Every time I open a magazine I see pictures of Paris Hilton.
Why? What’s the point to her?
She clearly has more money than sense.
But then again, if she only had 20pence, she’d still have more money than sense.

Everybody’s getting a knighthood these days. Everybody’s a Sir. Even Elton John. I’ll bet he loved that – being on his knees in front of a queen.

Dear BBC Watchdog,
Last week I bought my very first mobile phone. When I got home I realised it did not come with any instructions.
This is ridiculous. An instruction manual is essential as the phone is so complicated. It has email, it has bluetooth, it even has a built in camera. I have no idea how to use it and I have now taken 27 photographs of my own ear.
Can you please contact the manufacturer on my behalf.
Could you also please explain to me why - having bought a ‘car phone’ from Car Phone Warehouse I have been stopped by a Policeman and fined £25 for using my ‘car phone’ in my car.
Yours sincerely
Mister J Caulfield. (Retired)

That joke was like a Magic Eye picture – if you half close your eyes and squint at it you can almost make out the funny bit.

I hate all those singing programmes like How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria and Pop Idol and X Factor. I think I hate X Factor the most because Louis Walsh always reminds me of the type of man my Mother said I should never take sweets from. Well, she didn’t tell me – but she did tell my brother.

I don’t like people who purposefully sit in the window of restaurants to eat their dinner.
Because (1) – They obviously enjoy people watching them eat, which is weird.
And (2) – They obviously enjoy watching themselves eat in the reflection. Which is weirder.

Well, considering I’m so drunk this hasn’t been a bad show.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Lines From My New Radio Series: Show 3

V/O:
Ladies and Gentlemen it’s time to huddle up close to the wireless, and get busy with that angry letter to Offcom – because yes, its Miss Allied Carpets 1996 - it’s that Jo Caulfield again.

JO:
Sorry I’m a little bit late. But there was an old woman having difficulty crossing the road and I had to stop and …laugh at her outfit.

I'm so excited, it's like Christmas, I'm like Madonna in an orphanage!

Its great being here at the BBC. I spent all this morning playing Swing Ball with David Dimbleby and Jeremy Vine.And let me tell you in the changing room afterwards, David Dimbleby was all hands. Well, I wasn’t there but that’s what Jeremy Vine told me.

It’s a cheap joke – but hey! You’re a cheap audience.

DIARY
I was clearing out a cupboard and I found my old teenage diary…

Dear Diary, Bananarama were on Top of the Pops tonight. They had Bleached hair and stone washed jeans.I thought they looked brilliant. Dad said they looked like Polish workers. Mum said they looked like prostitutes. Granny said that’s the same thing really.

Dear Diary Karen Bailey and I went on the CND march. It was brilliant, we sat in a van and drank lager from a can. I’m going on all the marches, I love Nuclear war.

St Valentines Day 1984Dear Diary, I am absolutely heartbroken. The man I love is getting married.Today Elton John is marrying Renate Blauel in Sydney, Australia.

I feel so cheated. I will never listen to Elton John again!From now on I give me heart to George Michael from Wham. He would never let me down!

Dear Diary, I had my first smear test today. I don’t quite understand - why did the doctor buy me couple of drinks first?And shouldn’t we have been in a hospital, instead of that cheap bed & breakfast?

MUSIC
You wouldn’t know it to look at me now, but at one time I was quite a hardcore punk, with blue hair and an obsession with safety pins. Which, disturbingly, is now quite a good description of my mother.

I found a box of my old cassette tapes – there was Gary Glitter, Michael Jackson, Jonathon King, Pete Townshend, R Kelly… and this! I taped one of my very first standup shows...

Can you hear me at the back? Said Ulreka Jonnson’s gynaecologist.

It’s good to be here. I drove up from London. I think it gave the driving instructor a bit of a shock. I think he was expecting the same old ‘once-around-the-block’ routine.

I come from a very small town. The local taxi driver doesn’t have a car. He has a BMX bike.It’s ten pence per mile. Or fifteen if it’s uphill.

And it’s a very ugly town. In fact it’s so ugly, it’s twinned with every single member of the Sugarbabes.

I got another letter from my bank manager this morning. I don’t know why he bothers, I’ve told him a hundred times – I’ve got a boyfriend!

BOOKS
When I was about thirteen, I was given 'The Daily Mail Book for Girls'. Can you imagine getting that now? "Judith walked into her bedroom to find two illegal immigrant teddy bears raiding her dolls house".

Or the Famous Five. Imagine writing an adventure story about five famous children now. 'Chapter Four: Daniel Radcliff goes to Chinawhites'.

Apparently they’re trying to revive the Famous Five for a modern audience and I’ve got the first storyline here: The Five discover that Kirren Island is being used as a US detention centre for Islamic terror suspects. Apparently it all kicks off when it’s leaked that Uncle Quentin and Aunt Fanny knew what was going on all along, and there’s further controversy when it’s revealed that Timmy the Dog’s been ‘sexed up’.

I remember when I was at school we had to read George Orwell. I love George Orwell – Animal Farm was great, but – you know - it’s not as good as Babe.

Teenage girls don’t really read nowadays, do they? They’re into other things – like ipods, and texting and self harm.

I could never bring myself to self harm as a teenage- I did once over-pluck my eyebrows, but I don't think that counts.

Mind you if I had to listen to Avril Levine all day, I think I'd start cutting myself.

I also read "Lord Of The Rings" – lots of angry people fighting each other in beautiful countryside ... but I suppose it prepared me for my first visit to Scotland!

Stephen King – I used to read Stephen King books when I was younger ... if you're not familiar with them, they're Horror stories ... although if you live in Kettering you might think they're a fantasy.

CARBOOT SALE
Have you ever been to a Car Boot Sale? It’s a whole different world. I mean, it looks the same as this world – but without soap. Or toothpaste. Or deodorant.

It’s like a plane full of Chavs has crashed into a school playground. “Hey, how much for this suitcase? Twenty quid! Come on, it's on fire! I'll give you ten.”

The whole car boot sale experience is so depressing. It’s like hundreds of people have gathered together and erected little displays depicting their tragic little lives so far.

And the amazing thing is – other people are buying this junk!
Proving once again that one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure. Providing the second man is a tramp. Or Paris Hilton. Same thing really.

EBAY
But now thanks to the internet there’s a whole new way to deal with all your old crap… It’s called Ebay! Or as I call it – www dot Steptoe and son dot com.

My husband once tried to sell a pair of Robert Kilroy-Silk's boxer shorts on Ebay. But the listing was removed because it's illegal to sell underwear on Ebay. Or Nazi paraphernalia.

Apparently a good way to make money is through collecting celebrity memorabilia.
For example on Ebay John Lennon’s autograph is selling for £600 because he’s no longer with us – while Ringo Starr’s autograph is only selling for £20 because he’s still alive.So this morning I logged on – and I bought Ringo Starr’s autograph, a map of Ringo Starr’s house - and a hunting rifle.

I was watching the news the other day and they showed a Picasso painting being sold - and when the auctioneer said, ‘Sold for £20 million pounds!’ everyone in the room clapped! They were clapping someone for shopping.You don’t get a round of applause for buying something.When I buy a new T-shirt from Kookia I don’t get a round of applause! I don’t get a standing ovation. And I should get one. I deserve it. For finding something wearable in amongst all that hippy tat!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Lines From My New Radio Series: Show 2

It’s hot in here, isn’t it? I’m sweating like Judy Finnegan at a wine tasting.

I’ve just registered with Friends Reunited or as I call it Stalking for agrophobics.

Not to get in touch with anyone. I just like to check that none of my old school friends are having a better life than me.

Of course they’re not. If they were doing well they'd have enough friends to not need friends reunited!

It’s a shame, everyone seems to be splitting up... Heather Mills and Paul McCartney; Prince William and Kate Middleton; Britney Spears and.... her grasp of reality.

But at the other extreme… My parents have just celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary.
They actually met when they were at school.
Which sounds really romantic - until I tell you my mother was six and my father was the caretaker.

My husband is a real Pussycat. Well, he scratches the furniture and pisses in the cupboard.

That joke reminded me of that really funny scene in Bridget Jones 2! Oh, hang on; there weren’t any funny scenes in Bridget Jones 2.

I once split up with a man and I said, "I want us to be friends" ... and he said, "Ok, it's your round, and if anyone asks I stayed at yours last night".

Of course the ultimate relationship cliché is that you end up marrying someone who reminds you of your parents. Unless you’re Phil Collins – in which case you end up marrying someone who reminds you of your kids.

My friend Vicky had been chatting to this guy over the internet called Richard and they’d finally arranged to meet. I was very dubious about the whole thing. I mean, who’s a young girl going to meet on the internet? Well apart from Pete Townshend?

I hate all those magazine advice columns – "if you want to keep a mans attention flick your hair, touch him on the arm, put your hand down his trousers"… I hate all that rubbish.

You know what I don’t understand about personal ads – people always mention their hobbies.
Why would you do that?
Your hobbies are the things you can use as an excuse to spend time AWAY from your partner.
My husband doesn't like my hobbies and I don't like his.
For instance, I like French cooking and making hand-crafted voodoo dolls of Charlotte Church – while my husband likes French wines and making hand-crafted voodoo dolls of Charlotte Bronte.
Nothing in common!

It's strange some of the things people write in personal ads.
I saw one the other day – "Single man. Aged 42. Non-smoker. Likes eating, drinking and walking.'
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but if you don’t eat and drink and walk...aren’t you clinically dead?

You can tell a lot about the person, by the paper they put their advert in.
If you look in the Guardian on a Saturday, their ads are always quite gentle, but with a hint of wooliness and quiet desperation: you know ‘left handed social worker seeks organic plumber to help out at the donkey sanctuary.’
Whereas Loot, in contrast, takes the more direct approach, 'Pervert needs filthy slut for spanking!!'
Sorry did I say Loot? I meant Conservative Party News Letter.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Line From My New Radio Series: Show 1

My new radio series starts on Tuesday 5th June (Radio 4, 6.30pm) so I thought I'd put up some of the lines from the first recording as a taster.

Better still let's turn this into a competition: Some of the lines are in the show, some got dropped because they didn't get a big enough laugh on the night, and some we were told by the lawyers, "You're not allowed to say that, take it out or we'll be sued!"

Whoever gets the most right gets free tickets to either my Edinburgh show (August 2007) or one of the tour dates (September to December 2007)

Competition ends: Monday 4th June

* * * * *
Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time to run yourself a nice hot bath, plug in the radio, then drop it in the water beside you – because she’s back, yes It’s that Jo Caulfield again.

Hello and welcome to the new series. Or as we’re calling it – “Third time lucky”.

So here we are 6.30 on a Wednesday night. This is a fantasy come true for me - sandwiched between Brian Perkins and Tom Archer.

And its great to be back at the BBC. Honesty they treat me like a superhero. Well, I have to
change in a phone box.

* * * * *
I realised that me and my husband Stuart, we never go out. You’re lucky I’ve turned up tonight. When we first got together we went out all the time. I was like the Lindsay Lohan of Wood Green. But with knickers.

We’d go to the cinema, restaurants, concerts, nightclubs. We once ended up at the opening of an Art Gallery and I was completely out of place. Because I know as much about art as Leslie Grantham knows about internet security.

* * * * *

Let’s see what’s happening in Wood Green this week.

There’s an anti Congestion Charge meeting at the library … I’d go to that … but it’s always such a bugger to park.

There’s a karaoke night on at the Joiners Arms. I’ll give that one a miss. If I want to hear a bunch of chavs off the estate murdering a classic song I’d put on a Girls Aloud CD.

There’s a Clairvoyant Night on at the Town Hall … then again if I wanted to waste my time trying to contact the dead I’d join the Conservative Club.

* * * * *

My husband suggested going bowling. But I can’t stand those places. All that deep rumbling, the crashing of wood and the crappy music, it must be like living in Basra – well either that or next door to Heather McCartney.

And you have to hand in your shoes first - hardly a fair swap is it? My nice pair of Prada loafers for a pair of red and blue clown shoes! And then when you give them back they make a point of spraying them with air freshener – how much of an insult is that? They’ve probably had more people in them than Abi Titmuss.

* * * * *

I like going to the cinema but it’s difficult to pick a film we both want to see because we both enjoy different things.
I like experimental European films that concern themselves with defining and expounding on the limits of what art can and cannot say…. While my husband likes car chases.

We have the same problem when we go on holiday.
I like to immerse myself in the local customs and appreciate the different ranges of historical architecture… While my husband likes car chases.

* * * * *

Anyway the films these days are all gunfire and cars bursting into flames. Why pay six quid to see that? I can get the bus to South London for two.

Don’t you think the cinema tickets could be cheaper if they cut down on production costs? Make do with Ocean’s Three or The Dirty Five.
Indiana Jones and the Last Rollo.
Or in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, I wouldn’t have minded if the Devil just wore some nice things from Topshop or Kookai.

* * * * *

Why do they serve popcorn in the cinema? Surely there must be other more suitable foods?
I know when I came out of 'Finding Nemo' I could have murdered some sushi.
When I came out of 'Scarface', I really fancied some Coke.
And after 'Brokeback Mountain' my husband said he really fancied a saveloy and a donut.

* * * * *

My Granny told me she’s following the advice they give in the new Flora margarine advert.
It says to keep healthy and get your heart pumping, you should “do one thing every day that scares you”.
So tonight, she’s going out for a drink with John Leslie.

* * * * *

I come from Killimare in Ireland – it’s a very ugly town.
It’s so ugly it’s twinned with the ginger one from Girls Aloud.

* * * * *

SIGNS YOU’RE IN A BAD RESTAURANT:

Every lamp-post in the street has a missing cat poster.

The Maitre D’ knows the Last Rites off by heart.

Gordon Ramsay is in the kitchen – with a film crew!

The sweet trolley is pulled by a St. Bernard.

Epsom Salts are on the Wine list.

When you get the bill, they don’t give you Mints – they give you get antibiotics.

The waiters give you tips!

Even Claire Sweeney doesn’t bother turning up for the grand opening!

You can’t decide whether the food tastes worse going down or coming back up.

The manure dealer next door comes in to complain about the smell.

Ketchup on the table in a tomato shaped bottle so that the clientele know what it is.

There is a faded signed picture of Frank Bruno on the wall.

* * * * *

The last concert I went to, I was so far from the stage I could hardly hit the drummer with my beer can.
I had to sort of bounce it off the bass players head.
Which would have been okay if I’d been at Wembley but I was at my nephew’s school gala.

* * * * *

Coldplay – God, have you heard them? Have you ever heard anything so dull and bland and insipid?
They actually sound like a Valium tablet being dropped into a glass of water.
They should have a health warning on their record covers – “Do not operate heavy machinery while listening to this crap!”

* * * * *

I’ve no time for that dirge. No, I want my music like I want my sex – loud, fast and performed by four angry young men in leather jackets.

* * * * *

My husband has a huge record collection, and he’s always inventing different ways to file them.
This week he’s filing them by genre.
He said he didn’t know if he should put U2 under “I” for Irish band or “S” for Stadium rock – I said he should definitely put them under “S” … but that doesn’t stand for Stadium rock.

Or better still he could snap the record in half and put The Edge and the other two nobody knows under “S” and put Bono under “W”.

I can’t stand Bono. I mean, I admire him for all the charity work and that…because lets not forget that most mothers in the Third World lose a baby before they’re two – either to famine, disease, or Angelina Jolie.

* * * * *

Have you noticed this new trend for old bands to reform?
First there was ‘Take That’ … then ‘All Saints’ … now ‘The Police’.
Personally I’d like to see Flock of Seagulls getting back together.
But only if Richard Hammond is driving the tour bus.
And none of the band are wearing seat belts.

* * * * *

I don’t understand why people chose to download music rather than go to a record shop.
If you think about it, a record shop is about the only shop left where you actually get good service.
The staff actually know about the products they’re selling and want to help you.
They’ll even recommend other CD’s you might like.
Where else do you get that service?
I was in a shoe shop the other day and I asked for “a leather sandal in a size six – black”.
The girl came back 10 minutes later and said, “We don’t have a size 6 black, but we have a red - size 3. Is that any good?”
She was an idiot!

I mean, I still bought them.
What? Well sometimes you just want to buy shoes!

* * * * *

I love the way Bouncers have to formally “lift the rope” to let you in.
Nightclubs spend millions of pounds on complicated lighting systems and split level dance floors with the latest high tech sound equipment… and to finish it off…for the entrance… ”A bit of old rope?” “Yeah that’ll do.”

* * * * *

I mixed up my own blend of perfume.
It’s a dash of Victoria Beckham’s ‘Instinct’, a drop of Paris Hilton’s ‘Paris’ and a smidgen of Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Star’ - so it sends out the statement that I’m thin slut but with a fat arse.

* * * * *

SIGNS (FOR MEN) THAT YOU’RE TOO OLD TO BE AT THE NIGHTCLUB…

While everyone else is in the toilets snorting cocaine – you’re admiring the stainless steel fittings.

You find yourself saying, "I’d like to go to Ibiza - for the country walks and traditional Spanish cooking.

Every time you get served a cocktail you can’t help wondering how many Weight Watchers points are in it.

You try to bribe you’re way in by slipping the bouncer some luncheon vouchers.

You turn up at 8.

You ask the DJ to play ‘Oops Upside Your Head’.

The bouncers let you in because they think you’re the man whose come to fix the smoke machine.

You think it would be nice if they’d use the big plasma screens to show the cricket highlights.