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--


Alison S said...

Serve them right for not having the courtesy / organisational ability / experience (insert other malaise of our time) to get the script to you in time.
Stay in control I say!

Susie Felber said...

Story about the taping literary thingymajig a-mazing. Jokes awesome. You the woman!