Grumpy Old Women star Jenny Eclair brings stand-up show to Barking stage
PUBLISHED: 16:10 20 October 2014 | UPDATED: 16:51 20 October 2014
There’s no doubting comedian and self-confessed grumpy old woman Jenny Eclair’s aplomb in delivering her stand-up show Eclairious.
“I’m terribly confident with this show,” the veteran performer wastes no time in telling me. “I know exactly how it works so now is the best time to come and see it.”
It may be a crude pitch, but the often controversial comedienne is what you’d call a straight-talker. It’s quite refreshing to hear her admit that the “beautifully honed show” is on its last legs after years of aching audience faces nationwide.
Next year the former Loose Women star will be forced to put pen to paper and script a new routine, she says almost begrudging the inevitable creative slog.
But until then she is making the most of the show that she claims, in a blend of irony and self-assuredness, is “at the height of its powers”. So what can the audience at Barking’s Broadway Theatre expect when they take a seat on Friday, October 24?
“They can expect a 90 minute scream for attention,” she answers with barely a beat.
“I tell them exactly what’s going to happen and we decide on a safe word so that if any of them get really het up and embarrassed they can say it and apparently I will stop. I make sure they will never remember it though.”
Getting “het up” is something Eclair, star of BBC show Grumpy Old Women (also co-writer of the show’s live tour) can readily identify with.
“I get het up most days by most things,” she admits frankly. “It’s just stupid things. Today it’s trying on a size 14 and not being able to get into it. I am a size 14 so I don’t know what this dress was playing at.”
One thing unlikely to bother the blonde-haired humourist is hecklers in the audience – traditionally the time-honoured test of any stand-up comic.
“That would be weird wouldn’t it? My audience is mostly middle aged women, it means they would be really pissed and should be taken out to the lavatories and sobered up,” she retorts.
“I don’t really encourage that kind of behaviour. Can you imagine if your mum started to heckle? Do people still do it? It’s such an old myth isn’t it. Heckling really belongs to the 80s and 90s. You would have to be a bit of an old-fashioned c***.”
Since the producers over at ITV failed to renew her contract on hit daytime show Loose Women back in 2012, Eclair hasn’t looked back. Remembering her time there clearly draws up a mixture of emotions.
I temper the question with the fact I have never seen the show (I fit none of the demographics being both at work during the day and a man) and her response is seared with acrimony.
“Why would you watch it? It’s a pile of sh**,” she fizzes, before collecting her more rueful thoughts on the matter and adding: “I did have a good time and I did like some of the ladies. I thought it was quite a good life so I was surprised when I left.”
The hallmark of any great comedian, she quickly finds her way back to the funny. “It was my first regular job and it lasted for a year. I’m unemployable.”
Tickets cost £17.50 (concessions cost £15.50). Visit thebroadwaybarking.com or call the box office on 020 8507 5607 to book. Doors open at 8pm.
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