Kathy Lette – 'I'm blowing a comic raspberry at misogynists'
- Brian Donaldson
- 13 June 2017
Grab your mum, sister, best girlfriend or even an enlightened man in your life – Lette is ready to entertain as well as rally the cause
The Australia-born, London-based author, commentator and all-round party girl is about to take her Girls Night Out on tour. Here she discusses pussy hats, human wonderbras and sequin rashes...
How would you describe Girls Night Out: a one-woman show? A stand-up theatrical experience? One of those or not that at all?
It's a normal girls night out but with less alcohol for me. The audience can drink as much as they like. It's still a man's world, but as we saw with the pussy hats in America (and that was the biggest civil rights march in American history), women are angry and joining together and saying enough is enough. So I'm blowing a comic raspberry at misogynists and also trying to do something uplifting and funny that can make women feel that they have camaraderie between themselves.
Who do you expect to see in the audience on tour?
I always say that women are each other's human wonderbras: uplifting, supportive, making each other look bigger and better and so I'll ask, 'who has come with their human wonderbras tonight?' And it's almost always mums with their daughters or their sisters or best girlfriends. There will be the odd token man.
Why has sexism not been destroyed in this day and age?
Sexism is innate in the language. Men who are good at their jobs are 'dynamic', 'go-getting', 'leadership material'. A woman with the same strengths is a 'ball-breaker', a 'bitch', 'ambitious'. At least now you have sexual harassment laws, but when I was younger you just had to cope with it. I should say that the show is not anti-man; it's just that we still have a lot to fight for. Anyone who calls themselves a post-feminist has kept her wonderbra and burned her brain. I'm encouraging men to step up; every man in Britain should hang their head in shame that women don't have equal pay: if it was black men or Jewish men or Pakistani men who weren't getting equal pay, then there would be a national outcry. But because it's just women, we're expected to just wear it.
Will you be utilising any visual aids in the show?
I'll show a bit of the movie made of the book I wrote when I was 18: Puberty Blues was about growing up around sexist surfing guys. When I worked on The Facts of Life, [80s US sitcom spin-off from Diff'rent Strokes], we gave George Clooney his first job in television so there's a clip of that. There'll be a clip of Mad Cows, the film of my book with Anna Friel. And when I talk about autism, there'll be a clip of my son Jules in Holby City: it's the first time they've cast an autistic actor to play an autistic part; normally they just get Dustin Hoffman to do a Rain Man thing.
So, who are your human wonderbras?
Sandi Toksvig, Ruby Wax, Ronni Ancona, Jo Brand, and Jennifer Saunders are some of mine. Every woman should have a wardrobe of human wonderbras to rely on. And Stephen Fry is in there: he's an honorary girl.
If you hadn't been a writer, what would you have been?
Well, I only write because it's cheaper than therapy, so maybe I would have been a shrink, just so I could shrink myself. I was in a rock'n'roll band called the Salami Sisters, and that was fun. I ran away from school at 16 to hitchhike after Spike Milligan around the country and I started this band. We had a cult following, but I decided it was better to write novels than being on the road because I was getting a sequin rash.
Kathy Lette: Girls Night Out is on tour from Tue 4 Jul–Thu 30 Nov.