Jenny Éclair's comedy heroes: David Sedaris, John Cooper Clarke and Jo Brand
The comic prefers 'comedy I can’t do, stuff that doesn’t touch my arena'
This article is from 2012.
I’m very bad at having heroes. I don’t rate anyone particularly highly because I’m so snide and competitive and not very nice. The comedy I like the best is comedy I can’t do, stuff that doesn’t touch my arena. If I’m watching someone that’s a bit like me but better, all that makes me do is beat myself up and drink heavily and that’s not healthy.
My current hero is David Sedaris who gigs without gigging: he’s behind a podium. I interviewed him for a local London radio station once and he told me he had to stand behind a podium because he suffered from erections when on stage. That made me laugh a lot; having great big hard-ons isn’t something us girls have to think about on stage.
I saw him at Cadogan Hall, a rather civilised classical music venue just off Sloane Square, a really simple gig and it just reminded me that the words are so important. He did an hour and 20 minutes straight through with a Q&A at the end and it was spellbinding because his words are so great. He doesn’t have any performance tricks, it was just so pared down but had elements of quiet showing off; it wasn’t a humble ‘oh this is me and the stuff that I write’, there was an element of showing off which I really liked and I just thought it was quality all the way through.
My hero when I was starting out was probably John Cooper Clarke, the wizened gnome. I adore the bones of him. And Jo Brand was the kick up the arse I needed when she came along. There was big competition there and I needed to get my act in gear. So, I’m very grateful to her for being better than me for a while.
Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Sat 3 Nov.