Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Denn Of Geek Interview (December 2009)

By Barry Donovan

As she launches a new stand-up tour, Jo Caulfield chats to us about comedy, radio, and making six grumpy men laugh...
Published on Dec 14, 2009

Stand-up comedienne Jo Caulfield is heading back on tour in early 2010, with a new show entitled Jo Caulfield Won't Shut Up. With extensive credits in both television and radio, she spared us some time to chat about what she's been up to...

You've been a regular at Edinburgh for the past eight years.

Yes, I've actually done eight solo shows. I had one year off, maybe three or four years ago. You kind of spend your time avoiding finding out about Edinburgh then go "might as well go to Edinburgh".

What was the thinking behind the year off?

I think it was thinking "oh, it's just hard to come up with an hour," but now I've got into a pattern of being faster at getting material together. I don't do a lot of new material nights. I don't find them very helpful because you've said to the audience it's material, so I tend to do smaller gigs where I can go in and do 10 minutes. I think it's less of a comic's audience as well; it's like real people. And I'll even go in with a clipboard and pads and paper and say "it's just some thoughts." It's quite fun and even if I can go "oh, that material didn't work" then you still sort of have fun with it.

Do you record your new material nights?

I do, which is both horrible and really useful. I'm the only person who thought that minidiscs would take off. I use a minidisc and people go "good lord, what is that?" The other night I didn't have it with me and I found out you can use a mobile phone as well but it's not as good. But minidisc is great. I can put it in my pocket and forget about it.

I did some new material last night at Comedy Camp and then I did a gig afterwards where I did some of that and it does develop. I said one bit and thought "oh, that's not as funny as I thought it would be. I need to say something else".

You don't know which bit is going to grab people; it surprises you. And then off the top of your head without sitting down at a computer and editing you can just say the things and that's often what actually you end up using.

How did you find this year's Edinburgh?

I loved it because last year was the first year that I did The Stand. There's the function room of the police club opposite to The Stand and it's just a great room because it's a proper square function room so you can get about 180 in there and they're just right in front of you so there's no "oh, it's a nice room". It's a really good temperature, which is also very important in Edinburgh, and I feel very relaxed there. The audience are already on your side because they've bothered to find out where you are and to go to The Stand rather than just go "oh, here's some shows that are nearby, let's just go to these people". In a club it's different; people have to come on side, but when you're doing an hour you want them to already be on side with you.

Do you also find it's different what time you play a show as well?

Yea, I tend to go early because I kinda feel the later you are, either the more sleepy, more drunk, so I like to be alert with one drink so I always tend to be half-seven, eight eight-thirty.

How tightly written was the show before you went up? Does it evolve during the course of the month?

It always does because nowhere is like Edinburgh except Edinburgh. I always have chunks. So I'll have everything often in ten minute chunks or five minute chunks so I'll have done the bits either in clubs or in longer shows. So I'll know that the bits work and then when it's Edinburgh I'll put all the bits together and go "ooh, that 10 minute bit either works better later or earlier", so it's more a question of moving bits around then and then some bits are dropped.

I did the first preview at an hour and a half, but I don't know which parts I'm going to keep in. Sometimes something's good but you don't think it quite fits so you'll save it for another time. And then the next night I'll do the hour.

You always have a climax to the show in your mind, which is usually a personal story that becomes the end chunk. The other year it was the story of how I bought my own autograph on eBay. It was because I got very carried away with the bidding and I only meant to do it so that other people would bid, but other people didn't bid so I kept bidding to get other people interested. So I kept bidding and paid £17.50 for it. So that became quite a good story then to have an audience element of what autographs they have.

So, I'd ask them about it first and you'd get some good stories that I would collect in my head and I'd tell them those and kind of develop what you think are the best audience ones. The more you do it, the more good stories you have.

Do you tend to theme your shows?

I tend to do a very broad theme. Like this year with the show called Jo Caulfield Won't Shut Up. It's me talking; it's my opinions about something, it's never kind of an A-Z. It's never kind of "this year in my childhood" or "when I got married". It's just me talking and this has what has interested me this year.

So this year there was obviously quite a lot to do with the financial crisis heading to talking generally about jobs that I've had, so it was much more topical than I often am, just because it was the nature of the subject. It affected everybody. I thought about it and I haven't been on any sort of march since I was 17, but when it came to the banking I thought I'll march.

I've read a couple of times that you think your best comedy comes out of things that frustrate or anger you.

Yes, definitely. And also that thing where if something has irritated you, it's irritated other people as well and that can be very exciting when you mention a topic and you can see an audience reaction. You know you're onto something good.

Do you have a preference for either doing stand-up or radio?

Well, the radio is a constant battle and the series that's going out now is kind of as close as we've got yet to what I want it to be, but it's still not there 'cos I always feel it's me performing within the constraints of radio. You very rarely do comedy at half past six in front of people's children.

It's sanitised and it's not always just with the language. Sometimes it's to do with the amount of venom the darkness of a subject that will just be inappropriate at half past six. A lot of it is not just words you say, but images you'll put in people's heads. And so you have to censor yourself for that. It's a very interesting exercise to try and get as close as you can to who you are when you do stand-up but I always think people who've heard me on Radio 4, I'm different when I do stand-up.

I try to develop as much stuff that is tried and tested and I just ‘know'. I don't like to read off a script unless I'm doing a sketch. So we did that a lot more this time - loads of stand-up and then just edit in the sketches. It's funnier for the audience and they get to know you better and more quickly.

You work with a number of other writers for the radio show. How does the collaboration process for that work?

I always wonder how other people do it because what I do is "I want jokes about this" and I'm very specific about what ‘this' is because it's more like I've got a template and then I'll need the jokes filled in. So I tend to do it that way and then put it all together.

It seems a lot of sketch writers are ‘University Boys' and they don't speak with the same voice as me so it's quite difficult at first. There's only a couple of sketches in each show anyway, and if can get it to none, I'd be delighted!

The sketches that we do now I do really, really like rather than it just be for the listener needing something else. We have to put in a sketch even though we're not that crazy about it. It can't be a boring listen; you have to think about how it sounds to someone in their car, or in their kitchen. We do lots of things where you've got a single setup and then just a list of punchlines that you can divide within the cast, which is why I often use standups rather than actors because they know how to deliver a punchline.

You mention Dave Allen as making a big impression on you as a child. Who do you find that you admire on the circuit these days?

It's difficult, I've always liked Jack Dee because I like where his comedy comes from. His comedy comes from frustration and anger so I like that, but I haven't seen him for a while doing standup. Ed Byrne is fantastic. Why he's not the biggest star in Britain, I don't know. He has huge charm and his stuff comes from frustration and anger as well - it's not an anger that pushes you away - it's like a beautiful celebration of being angry and I think that's a lovely thing to create in standup.

I tend to like people like Jimmy Carr, who are very good at jokes, but I love people who, by the end of the hour you feel you know them better than you did at the beginning. That you feel it's coming from somewhere.

Do you get annoyed with people surprised to discover that you can be both a female and a comedian?

I used to, now I find it kind of fun. I did an arts club recently and there was a group of six guys aged 45-50. The compere warned me that they'd been miserable all night, they don't like anything. And they did look miserable! In a way I felt a bit sorry for them.

One of them's had the idea to come to comedy, and they're not enjoying it, so when I walked up I could see the look of "Oh, no" on their faces "Now a woman! Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse..." But at the same time I though, "I know I can get you, and this is my challenge." And I did. And by the end of it, they're laughing away with a look of surprise and nudging each other. And at that moment I feel quite cocky.

But, generally, it's more a positive now. Women go up to you and say, "I don't like female comics, but I liked you," and then I have to go, "Well, thank you for that barbed compliment."

I don't mind it so much because it doesn't go away. No matter where you go you'll meet people who will think that women can't be funny and then you know that you'll change their mind.

Thank you very much, Jo!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Loaded Laftas 2010





The Loaded LAFTAS awards are set to be the comedy highlight of 2010. With the nominations out today the LAFTAS have seen an unprecedented number of votes at Loaded.co.uk and thanks to the voting public the shortlist is the most exciting and strongest to date.

2010 could get off to a great start for Michael McIntyre who leads the nominations in four categories for Funniest Man, TV Show, DVD and Stand Up. Harry Hill will fight it out with McIntyre for two gongs in the Funniest Man and TV show categories.

Shooting Stars receives a very welcome return with a nomination in the Funniest Panel Show category and Vic and Bob also get a nomination for Funniest Double Act. At long last X-Factor judges will go head to head with X-Factor contestants, as ‘Jedward’ and Simon Cowell & Louis Walsh join Vic and Bob with a nomination for the Funniest Double Act. It’s a good year for BBC Radio One which receives three nominations under the new Funniest Sidekick category.

Once again the glittering lunchtime awards ceremony will take place at London’s exclusive venue, The Cuckoo Club on Wednesday 27th January from 12pm. 2010 will celebrate the LAFTAS seventh event and this year the awards are in association with Durex Ora!, the new social networking site for all the Durex enthusiasts out there!

Loaded Editor Martin Daubney explains: "I am more excited about this year’s awards than ever before. The list of nominations shows how incredibly diverse British comedy has become, across live stand up, television, radio and film - and it’s always good to see that the American sense of humour works so well this side of the pond. As usual, I am hoping that the event in January will be as raucous as ever and I’m looking forward to introducing our lovely host Olivia Lee, on the day.”

Comedy fans can log onto loaded.co.uk and cast a vote for their favourite from Wednesday 2nd December 9am. Voting will close on January 20th.

Loaded LAFTAS 2010 Nominations: (in alphabetical order)
Funniest Man

Dara O Briain
Justin Lee Collins
Harry Hill
Russell Howard
Michael McIntyre

Funniest Woman
Jo Brand
Katy Brand
Jo Caulfield
Sarah Silverman
Isy Suttie

Funniest Show On TV
Harry Hill’s TV Burp
Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow
Peep Show
The Inbetweeners

Funniest Comedy Panel Show
8 out of 10 Cats
Have I got News For You
Mock The Week
Never Mind The Buzzcocks
Shooting Stars

Funniest Film
In the Loop
The Hangover
Role Models

Best Stand Up
Bill Bailey
Rob Brydon
Jimmy Carr
Jason Manford
Michael McIntyre

Funniest Double Act
Adam & Joe
Miller & Armstrong
Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh
Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer

Funniest Podcast
Adam & Joe
Chris Moyles
Frankie Boyle
Rhod Gilbert
Richard Herring

Funniest TV Personality
Alan Carr
Richard Hammond
Graham Norton
Paul O’Grady
Jonathan Ross

Funniest DVD
Jimmy Carr - Telling Jokes
Rhod Gilbert and the award Winning Mince Pie
Russell Howard – Dingledodies
Eddie Izzard Live Stripped
Michael McIntyre Live 2009

Funniest Newspaper Columnist
Charlie Brooker, The Guardian
Jeremy Clarkson, The Sun
AA Gill, The Times
Joe Mott, Daily Star Sunday
Gordon Smart, The Sun

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Won't Shut Up Tour 2010

Tickets on sale now!!

28-Jan-10 Fareham Ashcroft Arts Centre (Box Office: 01329 223)

29-Jan-10 Oxford North Wall (Box Office: 01865 319 450)

30-Jan-10 Norwich Playhouse (Box Office: 01603 598 598)

02-Feb-10 Cheltenham Town Hall (Box Office: 08445 762 210)

03-Feb-10 Bromsgrove Artrix (Box Office: 01527 577 330)

04-Feb-10 Bristol Hen and Chickens (Box Office: 01179 020 344)

05-Feb-10 Chipping Norton Theatre (Box Office: 01608 642 350)

06-Feb-10 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall (Box Office: 08703 207 000)

10-Feb-10 Bath Rondo (Box Office: 01225 463 362)

11-Feb-10 Derby Darwin Suite (Box Office: 01332 255 800)

13-Feb-10 Kendal Brewery Arts (Box Office: 01539 725 133)

14-Feb-10 Hull Truck Theatre (Box Office: 01482 323 638)

17-Feb-10 Stockton Arts Theatre (Box Office: 01642 525 199)

18-Feb-10 Burnley Mechanics (Box Office: 01282 664 400)

19-Feb-10 Harrow Arts Centre (Box Office: 02084 168 989)

20-Feb-10 Swindon Arts Centre (Box Office: 01793 614 837)

24-Feb-10 Brighton Komedia (Box Office: 08452 938 480)

25-Feb-10 Milton Keynes The Stables (Box Office: 01908 280 800)

26-Feb-10 Cambridge Junction (Box Office: 01223 511 511)

27-Feb-10 Didcot Cornerstone (Box Office: 01235 515 144)

28-Feb-10 Portsmouth Wedgwood Rooms (Box Office: 02392 863 911)

03-Mar-10 High Wycombe Town Hall (Box Office: 01494 512 000)

04-Mar-10 Exeter Phoenix (Box Office: 01392 667 080)

05-Mar-10 Farnham Maltings (Box Office: 01252 745 444)

06-Mar-10 Maidenhead Norden Farm Arts (Box Office: 01628 788 997)

07-Mar-10 Coventry Warwick Arts Centre (Box Office: 02476 524 524)

10-Mar-10 Canterbury Gulbenkian (Box Office: 01227 769 075)

11-Mar-10 Reading South Street (Box Office: 01189 606 060)

12-Mar-10 Taunton Brewhouse (Box Office: 01823 283 244)

13-Mar-10 Warrington Pyramid (Box Office: 01925 442 345)

14-Mar-10 Sheffield Memorial Hall (Box Office: 0114 2 789 789)

17-Mar-10 Cardiff St David's Hall (Box Office: 02920 878 444)

18-Mar-10 Nottingham Lakeside Centre (Box Office: 01158 467 777)

19-Mar-10 Lincoln Drill Hall (Box Office: 01522 873 894)

20-Mar-10 Colchester Arts Centre (Box Office: 01206 500 900)

21-Mar-10 Basingstoke The Forge (Box Office: 01256 844 244)

25-Mar-10 Leicester Y Theatre (Box Office: 01162 557 066)

26-Mar-10 Tunbridge Wells Trinity Theatre (Box Office: 01892 678 678)

28-Mar-10 Glasgow Oran Mor (Box Office: 0844 395 4005)

29-Mar-10 Aberdeen Lemon Tree (Box Office: 01224 641 122)

30-Mar-10 Dundee Dundee Rep (Box Office: 01382 223 530)

08-Apr-10 Harrogate Theatre (Box Office: 01423 502 116)

10-Apr-10 Leeds The Library (Box Office: 01132 440 794)

11-Apr-10 York City Screen (Box Office: 08717 042 054)

15-Apr-10 Huddersfield Lawrence Batley (Box Office: 01484 430 528)

16-Apr-10 Darlington Arts Centre (Box Office: 01325 486 555)

17-Apr-10 Bradford Alhambra Studio (Box Office: 01274 432 000)

18-Apr-10 Salford Lowry (Box Office: 08707 875 780)

25-Apr-10 Lancaster The Dukes (Box Office: 01524 598 500)