Published: 28/09/2014 07:09 - Updated: 26/09/2014 17:22

Anger is an energy for Jo

Jo Caulfield
Jo Caulfield

JO Caulfield likes a bit of anger.

So much so that her latest tour is billed as a celebration of ranting and raging — one that her audience can join in with by telling the radio and television regular what makes them see red.

"By the end of the show, people have had a good rant or they are angry about things they didn’t even know they were angry about before," Caulfield said.

"Sometimes it can be very local, like one set of traffic lights, but then it can start a whole discussion which is what makes it really a live show where we all go out having shared something rather than feel we’ve been watching the BBC."

As for Caulfield’s own personal bugbears, the notion of "customer care" rates highly on her list of irritants.

"Every time I go into a train station — and now the shops do it — they will always try start a conversation with you that isn’t a real conversation because they always ask the same things," she said.

"They ask: ‘What are your plans for the rest of the day?’

"I’ve always thought: what a weird question! I’ve got a suitcase, I’m at the station, clearly I’m going to get on a train!

"Then I met someone at a show who said it was his job to train people to have a conversation. So I asked him why he didn’t sack himself, give the staff the money, then they’d be happier and maybe have a real conversation?

"It’s all this fake corporatism that doesn’t work in Britain. It’s like when Starbucks started asking customers’ names and they didn’t feel comfortable with it, so now people have ‘Starbucks names’ because they don’t want them to know what they’re really called."

A bit of anger, Caulfield reckons, can only be good for you.

"There is so much big stuff in life that we have no control over, so if you take the small things and have a vent at them or just say you are not putting up with that, in a way you feel slightly more powerful. Sweat the small stuff, definitely!"

Caulfield does take a break from the anger theme over the evening with some humiliating stories and her ongoing assessment of her husband’s behaviour.

As with her rants about what makes her angry, for Caulfield there is much pleasure in seeing audience members recognise similar situations.

"You see people’s ears prick up and think: I’m onto something here," she said.

When Caulfield started her comedy career Ben Elton was the only comedian who felt like someone like her, all the rest seemed to be old men doing jokes about mothers-in-law.

"Now everybody’s seen so much comedy and they are even doing it at university," she said.

"I liked comedy, but I didn’t know it was a thing you could do. It was only when a friend of mine did an open mic spot at a comedy club — and died because they had never done it before — that I became aware that it was possible to get onto the stage. All you had to do was phone somebody. There weren’t exams."

Caulfield soon opened her own comedy club where she was compere, which proved invaluable training as she had to keep writing new material.

"The advantage in having your own comedy club is that I kept booking myself," she laughed.

"If I had a bad night, I could say: ‘She wasn’t too bad — we’ll give her another go,’"

• Jo Caulfield is at the OneTouch Theatre, Eden Court, Inverness, on Sunday 28th September at 7.30pm.

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