Comedians Spotlight: Sarah Millican and Jen Brister

Visual arts (i.e. paintings, drawings) are not the only arts. And definitely not the only arts that we enjoy in our household. After we started going out, I introduced my wife to the idea of British and Irish comedians, and we started enjoying live performances as well. Among those, there’s two that I think pair up very well together, and do for a good sARTSurday post: Sarah Millican and Jen Brister.

I knew of Sarah because of QI and Museum of Curiosity — she was the Curator before, and I really had a good laugh with her, and I ended up listening to the audiobook version of her autobiography, How to be Champion, which she’s actually reading on her YouTube Channel during this lockdown period. We like her, particularly because she’s “one of us” — to reuse the words from one of her shows, a “cheery childless”: not having kids and not interested to have any If you’re among us, you probably would enjoy her shows a lot.

I didn’t know about Jen — until we went to see a live recording of Museum of Curiosity at Broadcasting House, and she was a guest. She was smashing! We laughed a ton, she kept the whole recording running and fun, and we really wanted to see her live again. We had a chance at the recording of Sarah’s show Elephant in the Room just a few weeks later. And it was also a very funny evening.

And when her Edinburgh show Under Privilege came to London on Valentine’s Week — we knew what we had to do. The show was great fun, and as I expected it does make you quite a bit uncomfortable as a straight white cis man — but guess what? That’s a big chunk of the point! And Jen was a great guest selling and signing books in person by the bar. The show is meant to come back to Soho Theatre (in the heart of London’s comedy) this following June, hopefully, fingers crossed and all. If you happen to be from here, or happen to be in town, consider grabbing a ticket.

So what do you do to enjoy some of these comedians in your locked-down home? Here’s the good thing: Soho Theatre On Demand is the video-on-demand service by Soho Theatre. Jen’s set is in there, as are a number of other quality comedians. The Theatre is also under a lot of pressure due to the Covid-19 crisis, so providing them with a bit of income by streaming their best offerings help them as well.

Sarah’s shows are available even more widely. Chatterbox and Thoroughly Modern Millican are available for free on her YouTube channel. Control Enthusiast and Outsider Live are available on both Google Play Movies and Amazon Prime Video — and I would expect other platforms such as Apple TV, but I wouldn’t know about that one, sorry. Audible and Google Play Books have the BBC Radio 4 series Sarah Millican’s Support Group, which is also golden, and we both enjoyed it very much.

I already linked to Sarah’s biography, so let me not forget Jen’s The Other Mother. My wife has been reading it, so I have not had a chance to do that myself (for once, we have a physical copy rather than the Kindle version), but she’s definitely enjoying the read.

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