My Comedy Hero: Sarah Keyworth on Jennifer Saunders
- Brian Donaldson
- 6 February 2020
As the rising stand-up star takes Pacific across the UK, she picks the comic writer and actress as her funny favourite
I'm ten-years-old and in an area of rural France that I think is called Le Arse End of Le Nowhere. My parents, my brother Tom and I have spent the best part of two days driving here to camp in the garden of the oldest and best kind of friends: those with whom you do nothing but drink and reminisce. Unfortunately, I'm ten, so I can neither drink nor reminisce so inevitably I am bored, and also we've just been visited by a swarm of hornets so Tom and I have barricaded ourselves inside the house, terrified.
My parents' friends say we can watch any of their DVDs, of which they have two: A Knight's Tale, starring Heath Ledger, and something called Absolutely Fabulous. The text on the latter's box is crammed together in clashing colours so that we can barely read it, two gaudy looking women leering at the camera with cigarettes and wine glasses clutched in their hands. We opt for A Knight's Tale. In fact, we opt for it twice.
Somehow, after all of that, the adults are still drinking and so we turn our attention to Absolutely Fabulous. I can't remember which episode we watched that night, I couldn't tell you a scene or a line, but what I can recall is the excitement. I vividly remember the exhilaration of watching something so joyously wicked and raucous. I remember laughing, shouting and running to tell my mum (braving hornets) every time Jennifer Saunders' Eddy fell out of a car/bed, or Joanna Lumley's Patsy screamed 'piss off' at the dreadfully boring Saffy. I was scandalised, I was drunk on their immorality, I was in awe. Now, whenever someone mentions AbFab or Jennifer Saunders, I am transported back to that night when I realised just how gobby and stupid and thrilling comedy could be.
Sarah Keyworth: Pacific is on tour until Thursday 19 March.