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Jo Brand

Jo Brand




Josephine Grace Brand was born in Hastings, East Sussex 61 years ago today. Her mother was a social worker, her father a structural engineer.  She was raised in a Kent village and left School with eight O-levels.

Growing up she spent much of her time with her two brothers, smoking, drinking and staying out all hours. Aged 15, she entered into a relationship with a heroin addict and eventually left home to live with him.

She worked in a pub and with adults with learning disabilities. Gaining a degree in social science and nursing in 1982, Jo went on to work as a psychiatric nurse for ten years.

An agent persuaded Jo Brand to begin career in stand-up comedy.  Aged 29 she took the stage in London clubs and received abuse and no applause for her very first act. Her deadpan delivered humour was drawn from the media, well-known celebrities and public figures. Ignoring the boos, catcalls and objects thrown at her, she persisted with her near-the-knuckle, often offensive and hard-style comedy to become a popular household name appearing frequently on television as a comedienne and in several TV shows and series. She has been involved in numerous fundraising events and supports a number of charities.

Shortly after beginning her career as a stand-up comic she married Bernie Bourke, a psychiatric nurse. They have two daughters.

Awards and honours

In  2007, Jo Brand was awarded an honorary doctorate for her work as a psychiatric nurse. The same year she received a Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing Lifetime Achievement Award.

In  2014, she was awarded a second honorary doctorate from Canterbury Christ Church University, for her work in raising awareness of mental health issues and challenging the stigma surrounding such illnesses.

British Comedy Award 1992: Top comedy club performer

British Comedy Award 1995: Best stand-up comic

British Comedy Award 2010: Best female TV comic

BAFTA 2011: Best Female Performance in a Comedy Role

British Comedy Award 2012: Best female TV comic

A fellow stand-up comic said of her "She is one of the loveliest people I've ever known. She's somehow reached the point where no matter how vicious she is in her act she still retains her generosity of spirit."

Joe Brand had also written 4 novels, 2 autobiographies, 2 non-fiction books  and a feature film in which she starred, an adaptation of her novel The More You Ignore Me. The film and the book share the same title.


Sorting Out Billy ISBN 0-7553-2336-X

Living in a London council estate, Billy is loud, badly behaved, has a vicious temper and beats his girlfriend. Three women get together and attempt to sort him out.

 It's Different for Girls ISBN 0-7553-2229-0

Set in Hastings, this is a novel about two teenage girls in the seventies sticking together against nutty parents and school bullies, enjoying all-night parties and discovering sex, drugs and punk music.

The More You Ignore Me ISBN 0-7553-2231-2

About a girl growing up with a mentally deranged mother and a hippy father convinced that she needs five personalities to cope.  The book was made into a film.


Look Back in Hunger ISBN 0-7553-5525-3

An autobiography about her early life and nursing years.

Can't Stand Up For Sitting Down ISBN 978-0-7553-5526-6

Autobiography about her rise to fame and fortune.

Non fiction

A Load of Old Balls ISBN 0-671-71385-X

Jo selects her top 50 men troughout history and savagely  portrays them with her unique hard-hitting style

A Load of Old Ball Crunchers ISBN 0-684-81695-4

Jo Brand’s portrayal of her selection of 50 famous women.

Her books are written in similar style to her stand-up humour and probably wouldn’t be an ideal gift for your Mary Whitehouse minded granny.  However, a fan of Jo Brand style comedy is likely to experience an enjoyable raunchy read.

Jo Brand Quotes

I never ever take into consideration the consequences of my actions until it's too late.

The way to a man's heart is through his hanky pocket with a breadknife.

In 2003, Brand was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy.

For further information:



Cherished Fictional Characters

Cherished Fictional Characters

Even though it’s well over 50 years ago, I can still recall watching Andy Pandy, Bill and Ben and other similar television programs for young children. I loved them all. As I grew a little older I became a fan of Dr Who and to this day I recall vividly the intense thrill of fear the very first moment I saw a Dalek on the television screen.  I was literally petrified of them but so fascinated I was glued to the screen during the episodes.  Someone only had to point at me and say ‘exterminate’ (a popular children’s amusement at the time) and I would run away screaming. My greatest fear then was that Daleks would become a reality and suddenly appear in front of me. Even with all the advantages of technology in today’s filming industry, nothing I’ve ever seen on a screen since has installed the same feeling of dread in me.

Fictional characters (if you can call a Dalek a character) can play an important role in people’s minds, especially the young.  I longed to be part of a gang and share the same adventures as Enid Blyton’s Famous Five or Secret Seven characters, to fly like Peter Pan, or to fall in love with a Mr Darcy. Today’s young people probably dream of being Harry Potter or Hermione Grainger.  Adolescent boys may fantasise about Daenerys Targaryen and young ladies possibly dream of meeting Jon Snow.

There are countless fictitious characters immortalised in literature. Unlike us mere mortals, forgotten a generation or so after we leave this place, fictional characters are re-discovered and loved anew by each new generation of bookworms, film buffs and story lovers.

A fictional character begins life inside a writer’s head.  As a writer, perhaps one of your characters will become immortal, possibly originally inspired by one of the WA’s Monday muses.

This week on WA
Category: Site News

A quiet week on WA, perhaps we are all otherwise occupied preparing for Christmas

Sue posted a couple of chapters from her recent NaNo writing.  Extracts from chapters, written in her usual eloquent style show promise of an action packed story, based on a personal and harrowing experience.

Congratulations to Bruce who has recently been published in ‘So It Goes’, the Literary Journal of The Kurt Vonnegut Museum Library.

The voted in Ad Hoccers this week are Sue, Maggie, Chris and Angela. Some members are becoming Ad Hoc veterans.

With her Nonsense Narrative Writing Challenge and thanks to a shared effort with Chris Fielden, Lesley had raised over £1,500 for charity.

The muse for the coming week was posted by Crilly.  The stimulating story titles are, perhaps mercifully, unrelated to Christmas.  For those amongst us with a literary seasonal frame of mind though, a Christmas theme could be used in relation to the prompts.

Despite being under the weather, Jo posted an interesting blog about a book on novel writing.  I've added it to my reading list.

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