Tuesday, April 29, 2008

National Year of Reading

This happened about two weeks ago; it crystallises a problem I so often come across as a female comic.

I was asked if I wanted to take part in an advert to launch ‘The National Year of Reading’. It’s a campaign run jointly by The National Literacy Trust and the Government to encourage people in Britain to read more.
How could anyone not want to encourage people to read more?

They were making a short funny film with various comedians. The concept was a game of consequences. Each comic would read one line from a different publication that would then be put together to make up a story.

I didn’t receive the script till the night before filming. I scanned down the page, Omid Djalili reading something funny, Sean Lock being funny on a bus, Ben Miller reading something straight in a funny context, all was making perfect sense – comedians and funny people being funny.

Then, I saw my part.

“Jo Caulfield reads from Emanuelle. She is filmed recreating the Julie Christy book cover.”

Basically I was to read some soft porn while reclining half naked on a wicker chair.


I re-read it.

I looked up the cover of the book on Amazon……yes it’s Julie Christie half naked on a wicker chair. I couldn’t believe it. Am I missing the joke or was this completely sexist?

Maybe the idea is I’m SO unattractive that me trying to look sexy in a camisole will be hilarious. In which case I thought – Fuck right off!

Or maybe it’s got nothing to do with looks, maybe it’s because I’m female that’s all they could think of.

Unfortunately that’s more likely the case – the people making the film didn’t see me as a comedian. They’d obviously thought – she’s a woman….what do women have to offer? Oh yes….sex.

And what an idiot I’d look, selling myself as cute and sexy. Sitting there with my tits half out –“Yeah readings good, and I’m reading soft porn, cause it’s not too difficult and that’s what us girlies do when we’re not baking cakes”.

So I phone my agent and tell them to warn the film crew that I won’t do this. If they want to cancel me I will quite understand.

Next morning I arrive for the filming and as a flesh coloured Basque is handed to me I realise they’re still under the assumption I’m going to do this.

Anyway I tell the director I’m not comfortable with the idea but am very happy to read from something else. I said what self respecting female comic is going to be seen in public in a Basque?

There’s a lot of whispering and looking at me sideways. I’m beginning to doubt myself but then the thought of seeing myself on National Television as some sort of literary Jordan strengthens my resolve.

Myleene Klass! That’s who they should have asked to do this. She likes to wear a bikini while reading.

In the end they ask if I’ll read from Jane Eyre. They asked me this in a soft voice. In fact everyone spoke to me in a soft voice for the rest of the day.

Aha! I realised I’d gone from being a feminist fighting for her dignity to a ranting diva causing trouble in the space of one conversation.

My part is now the polar opposite. I have my hair scraped back in a bun, barely any make-up and a blouse done right up to the neck! If you see the ad on TV I’m the Amish lady reading from Jane Eyre.

Anyway here are tonight’s lottery numbers…

Number (1)
My cousin put some Security software on his laptop.It didn’t work.He was crossing a road and got hit by a bus.

Number (2)
Have you seen Holiday Inn’s new advertising campaign?
You get your choice of 5 different pillow types: soft, firm, non-allergenic, eiderdown, or duck feathers.
Travel Lodge have quickly followed suit but they only give the choice of 2 pillows: stained with semen or stained with blood.

Number (3)
Who's there?
Interrupting two-faced bitch.
Interrupting two-faced bi--
Get on with it!

Number (4)
On my birthday my husband said he had a big surprise for me – he said he’d booked a table for 8 o’clock. I was surprised right enough – I’ve never played snooker before.

And tonight’s Power Ball is…
Who’s there?
Suicide bomber.
Suicide bom--

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dot Cotton and Rita Hayworth

I found this old Q & A thing I did with GaydarNation.com. If you've never been to Comedy Camp you should go. Its a great club. I've been doing a set there every Tuesday for the last 4 weeks (don't let that put you off). Building up new material for the Edinburgh Festival. I'll write something about that next week...

GaydarNation Q & A
Top circuit comedian and Graham Norton script writer Jo Caulfield ("Quite simply one of the funniest women anywhere on the worldwide comedy circuit" Evening Standard) heads the bill at London`s award-winning Comedy Camp this Tuesday. More from Jo below.


Which character on EastEnders do you most identity with?
Dot Cotton - Cigarettes and Jesus have helped me through life’s difficult times.

Why do you like performing at Comedy Camp?
It always has a really happy, lively atmosphere and they appreciate a comedian who is well accessorised. Mainly it’s that the audience understand jokes and references that other audiences don’t. At Comedy Camp you can never be too rude or too vicious, so I’m very at home.

What`s the worst job you’ve had?
Entertaining in an old peoples home. One woman kept taking off her stockings and asking me to dress her and the rest of them just heckled me - "Rose’s only got one lung and she sings better than you." They were old and vicious - exactly how I want to be when I’m 80.

A fantasy date would include.....?
Lots of free gifts.

The best thing about stand up comedy is?
You don’t have a boss and you don’t have to get up in the morning.

What`s your best feature?
I like the fact that I’m tall, it shows I’ve made an effort - small people are very lazy.

Do you have a party trick?
Does vomiting in your handbag count?

Your duvet cover is?
So lovely. I love my bed, I am obsessed with getting sleep, and I never think I’ve had enough sleep. Sometimes I think it would be nice to be in prison as you get to go to bed really early.

Hecklers are.....?
Usually ugly and badly dressed.

Who was your first celebrity crush?
The Dad in Little House On The Prairie, Jim Bob in The Waltons and Doris Day in Calamity Jane - I had a whole Western / Christian / lesbian thing going on.

First snog?
Mark Boggis - I thought it was very odd that he put his tongue in my mouth.

Are you a good flirt?
No, because I talk too much and straight men like you to listen to them - but I’m much more interesting.

Who would you do on `Stars In Their Eyes`?
Celine Dion because I can`t sing either. My real fantasy would be to be Rita Hayworth in Gilda singing, " Put the blame on Mame". Younger readers can - well don’t be so young!

What is your favourite tipple?
GIN. Also, champagne, beer, red or white wine. The only things I don’t like are vodka and hot chocolate.

What do you sleep in?
A drunken stupor.

Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because it saw a fabulous chicken shoe shop on the other side.

What`s the best piece of advice that your mother gave you?
A good coat can hide a multitude of sins and never let a man sit too long.

Best one-liner?
Come and see me, then you can pick your own to take away and keep.

Gay audiences are…?
…fantastic because they are always clean and smell nice.

Describe yourself in three words.
Very, very lovely.

For all the latest information and to book tickets to this great night out – pop over to the Comedy Camp website.

Comedy Camp
Downstairs at Barcode
3-4 Archer Street
London, W1
Information: 020 7483 2960

Tickets cost £6 for members (or £8 including membership) and doors open at 7.30pm every week, with the show at 8.30pm. Bookings (recommended) can be made at www.comedycamp.co.uk or from TicketWeb on 08 700 600 100 (national rate number) - - a small booking fee applies.