Funny-woman Jen Brister created quiet the stir on her last trip to the North-East with Meaningless; a colourful investigation of parenting and its impact on the dreams of adolescence. Back in the North East with new tour ‘Under Privilege’ Damian Robinson caught up with Jen to find out about what comes after a sell-out show.
‘Meaningles’s was incredibly poignant yet also brilliantly funny, can you tell us a little bit about the themes in Under Privilege and if it will follow in a similar comedic style?
My new show basically picks up where I left off with Meaningless. This time I am looking at the subject of privilege through the prism of my sons. As a parent I want them to have everything, but I also don’t want to create two entitled little bellends. How do you give your children a moral compass when you are so swamped with the practical side of parenting? The show was very cathartic to write and even more so to perform because I get to properly rant and moan about all the tough stuff about being a Mum that in real life I would never be able to say for fear of being thought a dreadful parent. Weirdly I have complete licence to say whatever I like in front of a room full of strangers in a darkened room. It’s all very healthy.
You’ll be bringing the show to Newcastle – do you notice any difference in humour as you take a country on tour?
I love coming to Newcastle, audiences are much more open and willing to let go and enjoy themselves. The South East of England can be more of a slog as there is a lot more arm folding and a ‘make us laugh’ attitude. Saying that I’m very lucky that people come out to see my shows at all and I can honestly say that all my audiences are brilliant, apart from that one show in Kent, but we don’t speak about that one.
A few months of from the release of your book, The Other Mother, how do you look back on that piece of work and were you pleased with the reaction it got?
Writing a book is so far removed from what I do as a comedian. I am so used to getting an instant reaction from the audience that having a book out has meant that I’ve had to wait and see what people think. Of course not everyone will let you know, but I have been very touched by the people that have contacted me to say that they’ve enjoyed it or that it’s helped them or been a companion to them after their baby was born. I just wanted to write a funny book that also made parents feel normal about the fact that they may not be loving every single second of parenthood and if they feel like they’re getting it wrong, they’re not alone.
Jen Brister plays The Stand, Newcastle, on 13 April.