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I met Jo Brand at a book signing event she did at Nottingham's W.H.Smith store in October 2009. She was very friendly and took time to talk to everyone who met her. She signed my copy of her autobiography Look Back in Hunger, and I also had this super photo taken with her.
Josephine Grace Brand was born on 23 July 1957 in Clapham, South London. Her father, Ron, was a structural engineer and her mother, Joyce ('feisty and independent') was later to become a social worker. Jo has an older brother Bill, and a younger brother Matt.
The family moved to Benenden in Kent, where Jo went to the local primary school and then to Helenswood Comprehensive School in St Leonards-on-Sea, where a bad experience with playing the violin led to Jo eventually transferring to Tunbridge Wells Grammar School and later to Bexhill Sixth for
Jo Brand aged 10
Sixth form College. From 1978 to 1982 Jo was a student at Brunel University, near Uxbridge.
Her first job was at a Dr Barnardo's home, but later moved to London where she qualified as a psychiatric nu
Jo Brand as Mrs Drudge in a student
production of The Real Inspector Hound
Jo Brand - psychiatric nurse
nurse. She worked at the South London Bethlem Hospital, Cefn Coed Hospital in Swansea and London's Maudsley Hospital. Her ability to cope with drug addicts and alcoholics sto
stood her in good stead when she moved on to trying her hand at stand up comedy.
Acquiring the stage name 'The Sea Monster', Jo quickly became well known in the London 'alternative comedy' clubs, and began appearing on the Saturday Live TV show in the mid 1980s.
Her early style was to tell her jokes in a monotone, one line at a time, with pauses in between. Her style, and ima
image changed very little over the next fifteen years. Her brand of adult, usually vulgar, feminist humour went down well with some audiences, but outbursts of heckling were also very frequent!
Jo Brand on Saturday Live in 1986
Jo Brand on Saturday Live in 1986
In 1993 she became a resident panellist on BBC monologue show The Brain Drain, continuing her move towards mainstream television when she hosted her own series, Jo Brand Through the Ca
Cakehole, on Channel 4. Later series have included Jo Brand's Commercial Breakdown (1999-2000).
Her warm personality and witty, impromptu humour has led to a number of guest appearances on long-runn
Jo Brand chairs Have I Got News For You in 2007
Jo Brand & Phill Jupitus in a 1999 edition of
Never Mind The Buzzcocks
running TV shows like Have I Got News For You (1992-2009) and Never Mind the Buzzcocks
in 24 episodes of the comedy panel quiz Quite Interesting, or 'QI' to it's friends! The show, hosted by Stephen Fry, has been running since 2003.
she has appeared
Jo Brand brings her usual touch of
vulgarity to Stephen Fry's QI
Jo Brand has long been a fan of ITV's Countdown, and she has appeared 70 times from 1998-2009, as the celebrity guest on the show's 'Dictionary Corner'.
Susie Dent & Jo Brand on Countdown
Coming from an active Socialist background, Jo Brand has made four appearances on BBC's Question Time where the panellists debate subjects raised by a studio audience.
Jo Brand's other TV appearances are too numerous to list, but incl
Jo Brand hosts The Paul O'Grady Show in 2009
Jo Brand on Jack Dee Live at the Apollo in 2009
Jo Brand & Carol McGaffin on Loose Women
Jo Brand on Parkinson
include Richard & Judy (2004); Parkinson (2003 & 2006); Mock the Week (2005-2006); Jack Dee Live at the Apollo (2004-2009); 9 episodes of Loose Women (2004-2009); 11 episodes of The Paul O'Grady Show (2004-2009) along with 3 episodes of The Graham Norton Show (2007-09).
David Tennant & Jo Brand on
The Graham Norton Show
In 2009 she reached the final of Let's Dance for Comic Relief, dancing as Britney Spears.
Jo Brand dances as Britney Spears!
Away from the stage, Jo Brand is an accomplished writer. Her debut novel Sorting Out Billy appeared in 2005, followed in 2006 by her second novel It's Different for Girls based largely on her own wild adolescent experiences growing up in Hastings. Her third novel The More You Ignore Me was published in 2009, as was her autobiography Look
Look Back in Hunger. As you read this incredibly funny book you can almost hear Jo Brand reading the words!
Jo has signed my copy of her autobiography
In 2006, Jo Brand received the honorary degree of Doctor of Social Sciences from Brunel University, where she was once a student.
Long thought to be lesbian, largely on account of her comedy style, Jo Brand has in fact been married to psychiatric nurse Bernie Bourke since 1997. They have two daughters, Maisie (b. 2001) and Eliza (b. 2002).
Jo Brand with her honorary degree
In 2005, Jo Brand took part in the 25th Flora London Marathon to raise money for Comic Relief.