Jo Caulfield has followed a curious career path, from rockabilly, via waitressing, to stand-up. Since breaking into the world of comedy, she has become a regular on our TV screens and radio.
On TV she’s guested on the likes of Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Mock the Week, Have I Got News For You, and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, while her radio credits include Quote... Unquote and The Now Show as well as several series of her own on Radio4.
Jo kindly took time out from moving house to speak with WOW247 ahead of her brace of shows at Comedy All Stars in Horndean.
‘We’re just doing the last bits of getting things out and cleaning it out.
‘We’re moving from one part of Edinburgh to another – I’ve lived here about four years and I absolutely love it, it’s beautiful. I have done the festival every year, but now if I don’t I would feel every night “why aren’t I doing a show?” I don’t have to rent a flat, so why aren’t I out there?’
And has she ever rented her place out to other comics playing the festival?
My friend had a terrible time, some people shouted at them, others ignored them. But I couldn’t get over how you get into it – you just phoned up and they let you do five minutes, it was as simple as thatJo Caulfield
‘I would never rent my house out to comedians – I know what they do to places!’
Jo got into comedy after watching a friend have a go, while she was still waitressing and being funny to boost her tips.
‘It was at the Comedy Store, Jack Dee was on the bill, Mark Lamarr was MCing and I thought these are people just talking, they seemed just like me, telling a story. I thought ‘‘I could do this’’.
‘My friend had a terrible time, some people shouted at them, others ignored them. But I couldn’t get over how you get into it – you just phoned up and they let you do five minutes, it was as simple as that.’
She entered a competition at the Comedy Cafe in London, and recalls: ‘I got drunk – not really drunk, but I didn’t want to chicken out when they called my name, but I did it and I won.
‘That happens a lot to comics – the first couple of gigs, you’re so full of joy and energy, because in your innocence you don’t realise yet how bad you are. ‘Then on about my third gig I really died, and thought ‘‘I really don’t know what I’m doing’’. Then began the process of learning, which you have to do in front of people, so for the next couple of years you’re just ruining people’s evenings,’ she laughs.
Like many female comics, Jo has come up against the ‘old boys’ club’ of the comedy world, but she is optimistic.
‘Like any job women are in,’ she says, ‘it’s getting slowly better.
‘It was amazing this year, it was the first year at the Edinburgh Festival where no-one wrote the tired article: “Are women funny?” They couldn’t because there were so many women there, and some reviewers were saying that the women’s shows were better because they don’t rely on bravado so they’ll work harder to write a new show. But some of the guys will go: “I’m really charming and I’ve got this shtick”, and rely on that.’
Jo is appearing at both shows in Horndean, where there is a mystery comic headlining each night. WOW247 has been sworn to secrecy, but can confirm they are indeed big names. The shows are compered by comic James Alderson.