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It came out of this terrible, life-destroying idea I had to do gigs in consecutive nights.

Viv Groskop: I Laughed, I Cried

I kept a detailed diary during this demented mission to try to work out whether I was actually getting better or worse. Spoiler alert: mostly worse. Once it was over, I decided that, yes, I did want to share my thoughts, even though the book mostly makes me look awful both as a person and as a comic. There was a publishing auction for it and Orion won. What is it about comedy that you found attractive and made you take the plunge in the first place? It only took me 30 years to act on this thought.

There were several catalysts. Realising that I was going to hit forty soon and that one day I may even eventually die. And discovering the existence of Logan Murray. Turns out there are a lot of people who need someone to hold their hand when they first have a go. Yes, even people like Rhod Gilbert.

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The cost of it all, both financial and emotional. I recommend doing gigs in nights. She comes home, still a virgin. Eventually, Jane gets married and loses her virginity.

The show handles this with sensitivity and grace. It draws a distinction between having sex and having good sex. It weaves in a conversation between Jane and her mother about how Jane feels about losing her virginity. Her relationship with her body and other women in her life starts to change, and so does her relationship with the church she was raised in. Perhaps it was because Jane was no longer a virgin and her life had changed so much from those early seasons that I stopped seeing so much of myself in her.

Eventually, Alba does let go of her shame. Jane gets her to use a vibrator and discover her own relationship to pleasure. She marries the man she had turned down, and she does have sex again. My own shame about my inexperience hit a turning point when I decided I needed to have a relationship with my own body, and my own access to pleasure.

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Jane gently telling her own grandmother that, and then that grandmother finding her way to a healthy sexual life despite her age, was perhaps the most quietly revolutionary arc on the show. Already a subscriber? Log in or link your magazine subscription. Account Profile. Sign Out.


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Jane, after a failed attempt at sex with professor Jonathan Chavez. Photo: The CW. They literally stink in so many ways. Of a hangover that hasn't really gone anywhere. Of comedians' body odour — often my own.

Taking a stand: when stand-up comedy turns ugly | Global | The Guardian

The evening had started oddly. Usually when there's a lot of people and they're all happy and having a good time, the acts are happy and excited, too. It's better than playing to a room of 10 comics.

It's great. It's what you've been waiting for after weeks of rubbish gigs. But tonight was different. There was an air of something uncomfortable around. Maybe it's because people were drinking too heavily too early. Anyway, it didn't feel like a good night from the off. I went on stage late. It was already past 10pm, by which time the crowd was completely insensible with drink. That can be good. That can be bad. Tonight it was bad.

They laughed at a couple of my jokes but struggled to understand most of what I said because they were so drunk. Several groups were mostly just talking among themselves. That was about as good as it was going to get. As one of the comics had said earlier: "They're a pretty basic audience. I had survived, though, bruised but not crushed. Not one of the comics said: "Well done" or shook my hand in the way that they do when things have gone well.

Audience member after my first gig: "You remind me of Victoria Wood. Thank you so much. You just look a bit like her. This guy sits down and immediately puts his hand on my knee.

I am so incredulous that he has done this that by the time I have registered it is happening, it has become too late for me to say anything about it without it appearing like an accusation, which will cause trouble. He asks me if I saw the comic on earlier. I reply, still flinching under his knee-hold: "That's a bit harsh — he just did a really good set. I don't overreact, though, as I can tell he is the type who will get aggressive if I flatter myself by making out that he's coming on to me. His eyes are bloodshot and tired. There's nothing about him to suggest he's drunk, but his manner is not entirely what I would call daylight behaviour.

He doesn't smile, only grimaces.

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This is the impression you are supposed to give. Then I got pregnant. He doesn't laugh. I'm trying to make a joke.