Jo Brand

Note: This review is from 2003

Review by Steve Bennett

Jo Brand has achieved so much in such a fiercely competitive world that there must have been a time when she was funny. But it's a distant memory, and one which has dimmed a little further with this tedious show.

She has effortlessly made the transition from pioneering female comic to light entertainment banality; and her Fringe offering provides the same excitement as her increasingly tiresome appearances on dreary TV schedule-fillers.

There's nothing here you don't already know. Apparently she's not a fan of the male gender, and she's overweight: "I burned my bra," she says. "It destroyed a small village in Cumberland." Old-school comics were doing that gag about their mothers-in-law 30 years ago - when bra-burning was actually topical.

She lives up to every trite stereotype about modern female stand-ups, getting cheap laughs from contraception (including the femidom, which surely exhausted its comic potential a decade ago) and peddling her 'all men are rapists' sensibility. Why that's less offensive as some doddery High Court judge proclaiming that all women are slags, I'll never understand.

The only vaguely up-to-date material is a series of moans about vacuous television like What Not To Wear, Big Brother, Fame Academy and Lorraine Kelly. But she's obsessed by the trivia, and bitching about the Z-listers is no less shallow that the easy targets she lazily aims at. There's more hard-hitting stuff in Heat magazine.

It all goes down reasonably well, but then so does her heckler put-down "wanker". It's a large audience, but not a sophisticated one.

There are elements to enjoy - the odd line here and there and her assured don't-give-a-damn stage presence - but these just aren't enough to compensate for the dross.

Instead the impression is of a spent comedic force; a woman who's said all she has to say, left only to repeat herself ad nauseum.

Review date: 1 Jan 2003
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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