An  Englishwoman, a Scotswoman and an Irishwoman

The word ‘comedienne’ has to be one of the ghastliest constructions in the English language. Not only does it look ungainly but it’s completely superfluous. There is no need to feminise the word ‘comedian’. Who cares whether a stand-up is sporting jeans or a skirt? All the audience cares about is whether or not they’re funny. Gender has nothing to do with it.The concept behind An Englishwoman, a Scotswoman and an Irishwoman is pretty self-explanatory, the comedians in question being JoJo Sutherland, Viv Gee and Pauline Goldsmith respectively. First to the stage is Miss England, aka JoJo Sutherland. Frumpily dressed and dour in demeanour, she looks more like a school teacher than a stand-up. Then she begins her routine, and all pedagogic comparisons are laid to rest. If any teacher were to dare joke about Madeleine McCann and Joseph Fritzl, they’d be hauled up before the school board before you could say ‘not fit for purpose’. Although something of a loose cannon, Sutherland succeeds in dropping some filthy good jokes. Sadly, her priapic one-liners were met with stony silence by the ageing audience, many of whom appeared to have taken a wrong turn on the way to the bingo.Viv Gee and Pauline Goldsmith fare little better, with their prurient material eliciting more gasps than guffaws. It’s not their fault that they’re obliged to joke about incest and bestiality. Doesn’t the audience appreciate that such themes are de rigueur at this year’s Fringe? All three comedians have their moments, Sutherland especially, although their material suffers from a lack of direction. Often it consists of little more than one disparate joke after another. Like trying to fit the word pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis into a Fringe review, the humour seems a little contrived.If you’re thinking of going to check out this show, I’ve got two words for you: don’t bother. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the comedy itself; it’s just that An Englishwoman, a Scotswoman and an Irishwoman was running for one night only. It was fun while it lasted, even if the Scots and Irish contingents veered dangerously close to average. If this sounds a little harsh, it’s not meant to be - all three stand-ups acquitted themselves well. Besides, had I wanted to be mean, there are far harsher pejoratives than ‘average’. I could have dubbed them comediennes.

The Blurb

Walk into a bar. And there the stereotype ends! JoJo Sutherland, Viv Gee and Pauline Goldsmith stand up to prove that female comics don’t take it lying down. Sell-out Glasgow Comedy Festival 2011.