THOSE planning to heckle Jo Caulfield when she appears at the Wynd Theatre next month, beware – don’t expect the Edinburgh-based comedienne to hold back with her response.
Prior to drunkenly entering a comedy cafe’s open mic night to begin her successful career, Jo boasts she was fired from a series of jobs for arguing with customers and bosses – which in the case of her own 1950s vintage clothing business, means she could not get on with herself.
However, she is one of the best known female comics in the UK, commanding regular spots on TV shows such as Mock The Week, Have I Got News For You and an appearance on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.
She has written hundreds of gags for Graham Norton, and there are fewer and fewer reasons to lambast Jo mid-routine.
Born in Wales to Irish parents, but brought up in the East Midlands, Jo moved to London at the age of 17.
“I moved to London as a teenager and loved it,” Jo said recently. “Now I think of it like John Terry – it’s big, it’s dirty and it’s ugly.”
Her first step into the entertainment industry was when she became a singing drummer in a rock band, despite claiming she could do neither.
After winning the open mic comedy contest at an East London comedy cafe, she was invited back for another set before opening her own comedy club.
She first travelled to the Edinburgh Fringe as a solo act in 2001, and immediately got her big break.
Jo said: “I was messing with the audience and had a funny 10-minute bit of banter with a woman in the front row.
“She turned out to be the Head of BBC Radio Comedy and gave me my own Radio 4 series on the strength of that evening.”
Jo would go on to write three series of It’s That Jo Caulfield Again, and as a result has appeared on a wide variety of wireless programmes – from Woman’s Hour to Off The Ball.
As well as writing for all five series of So Graham Norton, she has compiled material for a wide variety of TV personalities, from Joan Rivers to Ant and Dec.
And to add to her impressive CV, self deprecating Jo appeared on Channel 5’s forgettable soap Family Affairs.
Jo says: “I’ve no idea who I was meant to be. I’d never seen it before and I’ve never seen it since. But someone did recognise me in the street and asked for an autograph. So apparently I was very good in whatever part I did.”
But her stand-up shows continue amid Jo’s other projects, and her Melrose date is part of an extensive Cruel To Be Kind tour which she bills as ‘The tour of towns I’ve heard of but never been to’.
So long as no audience member says they have never heard of Jo Caulfield, it should be a success.
Jo Caulfield appears at the Wynd Theatre on Thursday, December 1 at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £12 and are available from 01896 820028 or email firstname.lastname@example.org