My Comedy Hero: Eleanor Conway on The Mary Whitehouse Experience and Absolutely Fabulous
- Brian Donaldson
- 6 June 2019
The Walk of Shame comic discusses dated dairy references and the importance of behaving badly
At school, we'd eagerly await a new episode of The Mary Whitehouse Experience and the morning after would run up to each other shouting 'milky milky' in people's faces: it still makes me laugh now. The only reason I now don't do it as an adult, I think, is that no one would get the reference and I'd just be a random lady on a bus shouting about dairy products to strangers.
That show was famous for its catchphrases and the thought of pointing at a random object and saying slyly to another person 'see that, that's you that is' still makes me snort. The 90s were a fine time for silly, extreme comedy in a way that I'm not sure you could do now. Watching grown men smash the shit out of each other on Bottom was inherently funny to me, and I often wondered how it was allowed on TV. It wouldn't be now, that's for sure.
Absolutely Fabulous was also pivotal for me; it was the first time I'd really seen women behaving badly and being celebrated for it. Personally, I'm pretty sure I embodied some of Patsy through my early adulthood. I really sit in the space of women behaving badly and not being ashamed of it. I think often, as women, we are only encouraged to be a 'little bit' naughty, in a coquettish way, but Patsy slathered the bad behaviour on and we loved her for it. That for sure has definitely stayed with me, especially while writing Walk of Shame: Reality Bites, a show about sober, sexual boundaries and how I don't have any.
The Stand, Edinburgh, Sat 8 Jun; The Stand, Glasgow, Sun 9 Jun.