What the frock!

“What The Frock! has become the UK's most significant nurturer of female talent, and has meant Bristol now gives female comedians a bigger slice of the action” – The Naked Guide To Bristol, 2015




You’re a comedian AND actor. Do you think the two are easy bedfellows?

I’m not a trained actor. Or a trained comedian for that matter, but I find acting way harder. Most of my acting jobs have been either parts where I basically play myself, or where I have very few lines. In the West End production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, I only had four lines and in the end one of those got cut! I think you naturally develop some acting talent if you’re any good as a stand-up, because you have to bring your routines to life. That said, I don’t think I’ll be giving Dame Judi Dench any sleepless nights.


And you’re a journalist and writer. What’s the best story you’ve ever written?

I really wanted to be a crusading, investigative journalist. I did unpaid work at The Big Issue in Manchester when I left university. I tried to write serious, political columns, but all the stuff that went down well was more frivolous and funny. I ended up doing comedy columns and restaurant reviews mostly. I applied for Granada Television because I wanted to work on World In Action – a hard-hitting current affairs show – but I ended up working for Richard and Judy. I have reconciled myself to the fact that I am not an intellectual giant.


You’ve been in the biz for over a decade, what’s changed in that time?

The good thing is that there are loads more female comedians. The bad thing is that there are just loads more comedians, so it’s harder for us all to get paid work. By 2020 I’m convinced that more people in the UK will be comedians than not.


You appeared on Celebrity Pointless with Ed Byrne – was he your first choice? Who would be your dream quiz show partner?

Ed is an excellent quizzer, although we’ve never really forgiven each other for the fact that we were beaten at Pointless by John McCririck and his wife – ‘The Booby’. Lots of comics are keen on quizzing, because we have the kind of brains that retain useless information. Rob Deering is a great man to have on your team, but the ultimate is Paul Sinha. I am so jealous that he’s a chaser on ITV’s The Chase.


What’s your most risqué (non sweary) joke?

I am waaaaaay less rude since I had the kids. – I realised the other day that I don’t swear at all in my new show. I’ve just got out of the habit I suppose. I am still a devotee of smut and double entendres though, I’m just naturally vulgar I guess. Still, it’s a great comic tradition, I love the old music-hall style routines like this one of Max Miller’s: “I was walking along this narrow mountain pass – so narrow that nobody else could pass you, when I saw a beautiful blonde walking towards me. A beautiful blonde with not a stitch on, yes, not a stitch on, lady. Cor blimey, I didn’t know whether to toss myself off or block her passage.” How rude is that? Wrong on so many levels, yet it still makes me giggle.


A longer version of this interview is available on Bristol 24/7. This interview is reproduced with kind permission.