When I was a teenager, I went with a group of friends to a comedy gig in Axminster on what might have been a Thursday night. Certainly, it felt like a Thursday night.

My friend Joanna’s mother drove us. She had an Aga and read the Guardian, and was a very nice lady with a sensible length of skirt.

When we got to Axminster, we were a small crowd, perhaps five fifteen year olds, and Joanna’s mother. We spilled into a village hall, and sat somewhere towards the back of the room. Within moments, the spotlights circled the stage and hit upon the reason we were there.

The grown-up crowd thundered to their feet, hooted and hollered and bruised their hands with clapping. My friends and I stayed standing a little longer than everyone else, being, as we were, only a shade over five feet tall, and unable to see over everyone else.

And there she was.

Jo Brand.

Why she was playing Axminster, I don’t pretend to know, but we were delighted from the moment we saw her.

I suppose it happens everywhere. Certainly, I’ve been to a fair number of comedy gigs in the years in between, and I’ve seen it happen again and again, but I don’t know what possesses a person to heckle a comedian. Anywho, my first experience of heckling was at that gig in Axminster.

Some bloke in the front row called out to Jo Brand. Within moments of her coming out onto the stage and saying, “Good evening,” some man we couldn’t see shouted out, and called her fat.


He must have said it three or four times. My heart nearly stopped.

Not so, Jo Brand.

She wandered over to his side of the stage, smiled, and said the finest and most revolting thing, I’d ever heard:

“I’d sit on your face but I’m not on my period.”


Day 58, the Perfect Comeback Line.