Rosie Jones is a comedian. A proper full-time comedian whose job it is to make people laugh.
She jokes that she had to leave Bridlington because it didn’t hold many opportunities for disabled female comedians.
Since moving to London, she has written jokes for Jimmy Carr, appeared on Channel Four’s 8 Out Of 10 Cats and this year had her own show at teh Edinburgh Fringe festival.
After five years working behind the scenes in TV, she has taken the plunge this year and gone full time as a writer, comedian, actor and, in her own words, ‘anything else people will pay me for’.
The 27-year-old has cerebral palsy and uses that for some of the material in her act.
Last year she was a finalist in the Funny Women Awards and Metro newspaper named her one of the nine hilarious women to watch out for in 2017.
It’s a career path which has certainly changed direction since she first came to the Bridlington Free Press office on work experience 12 years ago. Did we really put her off a job in newspapers that much?!
We got back in touch and asked her about life on stage and how she has broken down barriers surrounding her disability and gender.
Tell us about your background and what life was like in Bridlington?
Bridlington really was an ideal place to grow up. Everybody knows each other, which can be a good and bad thing!
It’s 2017 for God’s sake and we’re still fighting the ludicrous idea that ‘women aren’t funny’.Rosie Jones
Because I lived in Brid all my life, I think I took the beach for granted.
It’s only now, living in London, that I realise how lucky I was to grow up by the seaside.
I miss it, especially in winter. I loved getting wrapped up and going for a long walk. Particularly when the walk ended with hot doughnuts.
When did you first think about trying your hand at stand-up comedy? What inspired you?
I come from a very funny family, and I still maintain that I’m the least funniest member!
I’ve always used humour to make people more comfortable around my disability. I adore making people laugh and I’ve always made sure that my personality is bigger than my disability.
After university I got a job in television, as a researcher. I loved working in TV. Whilst working on 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, I had the opportunity to write some opening jokes for Jimmy Carr and, luckily, he liked them, and used them in the show.
Hearing my jokes on TV was GREAT, but there was a niggling feeling in my stomach.
Jimmy was getting my laughs. I deserved to be up there, telling my jokes. That was the first time I thought about performing stand up comedy.
How difficult was it to get a break and what obstacles were there in your way?
I don’t think there’s such thing as a singular ‘break’, I think it’s a series of small steps in the right direction!
I hit obstacles on a daily basis. Not only because of my disability, but because I’m female.
It’s 2017 for God’s sake and we’re still fighting the ludicrous idea that ‘women aren’t funny’.
It is difficult to stand out in stand up. But luckily, my disability and my strong, slow, Bridlington accent does just that. I’m memorable, which helps!
Your first gig - where was it, when, how did it go and how did it feel?
I went to an open night, spontaneously, with no pre-planned material.
I went watch my friend perform, and when the MC asked the audience if anyone wanted a five minute spot I thought, “yeh, why not?!”.
It went well. Really well. It was the greatest feeling and I was buzzing for days afterwards. I’d got the comedy bug and I’ve never looked back.
What does it feel like being on stage alone?
Well, I’m an attention seeker, so I absolutely love it. It can be daunting, especially when I wobble onto stage and can immediately feel all the audience pity me.
But after 30 seconds, they realise that I don’t need their pity – thankfully, I’m bloody funny!
Who are your comedy inspirations and your favourite sit-coms?
Unfortunately my two comedy inspirations passed away last year - Victoria Wood and Caroline Aherne. They are funny women in their own right and Dinnerladies and The Royle Family are my two favourite sitcoms.
They both knew the importance of writing funny. It’s all about the writing!
What have been the highlights of your comedy career so far?
My singular highlight of my comedy career is definitely appearing as a panellist on 8 Out Of 10 Cats, that was a bit bizarre.
I’d watched the show for years and I just kept pinching myself when I was on there, thinking “Is this real? Am I sat next to Rob Beckett, making him laugh, on TV?”
As a comedian does it get really boring when people expect you to be funny 24 hours a day?
No, I never get bored of making people laugh. Who could ever get bored of bringing a bit of joy into people’s lives.
And thankfully, I still make myself laugh! Some might say that I’m my own biggest fan! But I do think that is important; if you can’t make yourself laugh, how the heck are you going to make anybody else laugh?
Go on then, tell us a joke... (sorry)
Ha ha, Google me! I can tell jokes better than I can write jokes! The words need to be bang on, but delivery and timing are equally as important.
Do you feel you are working on a level playing field or is your industry still one where you find discrimination?
I firmly believe that we are going in the right direction in terms of diversity, but we are not on a level playing field just yet.
Turn on the TV, comedy is still awash with white middle-class men. I want to change this, slowly!
How do you react to a bad review?
Touch wood, but I haven’t actually received a bad review. One review got my name wrong, but that was a bad reviewer, the review of my show was actually alright.
I do think comedy is so subjective. I will never be everybody’s cup of tea, and that’s OK. Bad reviews stop your head from getting too big.