Jennifer Saunders is a household name and a very successful female comedian. I asked her what it is like working as a 50 plus female comedian given that most presenters today are under 40.
“It doesn’t concern me, but I do believe we should be working on equalisation. Older women are a dominant sect of our society and need to be visible and get more casting jobs. Quite frankly older women are the main audience for television; it just seems a bit odd that they are not equally present in casting. Some of the best comedians are women, but as they get older they appear less and less, and there is now a generation gap of hilarious women”.
Starting out, as a female comedian is known to be quite tough. Jennifer has openly spoken about her personal struggle when she was first started. I am curious to know if Jennifer thinks today’s female comedians have it easier.
“This is something that I think about regularly, it’s definitely easier if you are a man, but there are a lot of female comedians in the industry today. But again, older women are not present on television. We need more representation”!
Absolutely Fabulous is full of old women!
Initially, Jennifer was reluctant to make a film, but somewhere along the way she decided they should do it, and so they did. But she has made it quite clear that there is no Absolutely Fabulous 2 coming out.
As she professes, “I am sliding into old age”, I go on to ask her what the highlights have been in her career.
“Hearing laughter, that’s why most comedians are comedians. That first initial reaction of laughter is a great feeling. Live audiences are the best when they are laughing, when they are not, it’s terrifying. Filming is very different, when you make a joke no one laughs films sets are deafeningly quiet. It’s all about the immediate reaction, which is more often that not, laughter! Well it should be”…
Jennifer’s eyes light up when she is speaking and recalling memories from live performances, I can see how passionate she is making other people laugh, she thrives on it. Her positivity is infectious and I continue to ask her what advice she would give to somebody starting out in comedy.
“The industry has changed so much, I would have no idea what to say to them. No one can give you advice, you have to give yourself advice and just do it. Find out what sense of humour you have, find out what jokes work and which don’t. The best and quickest way is by doing live comedy. If no one laughs at you, go home, cry a bit, have a nice glass of wine and try again the next night”.