Could you tell us a bit about your involvement with Oxford arts?
Casual, passionate, bric-a-brac. I’m a bit of a best-kept-secret, really. A 1983 Cherwell article (they were still painted on papyrus then) called me ‘Uncontested Queen of the Oxford Night’, despite widespread misgivings. Any more questions?
Can you tell us a bit about The Oxford Revue?
The Oxford Revue is a group of outcast geniuses who put on silly little sketch shows and do stand-up performances in places like the Wheatsheaf Pub and my front room.
What’s your fondest memory of comedy at Oxford?
In the winter of 1988, Stewart Lee and I were on a three-day tour which ended in The Cellar. By which I mean the dusty basement near the station where we’d all come together to bash out a sketch. Quite unexpectedly, we found a weepy David Cameron muttering something about his piglet, and how all his school friends would think him an imposter. They’d dared him to piss on the train tracks, you see, but he had a phobia of trains and he begged us to help him save face. Well we thought, “why not just really push the envelope here, then?” That summer we took our show ‘Pig In The Mirror’ up to the Fringe. It was an hour of Stewart doing his David Cameron impression, snivelling about a pig that didn’t love him back, while I danced around with a gymnastics ribbon. That’s where our logo comes from. You could say it’s when the Revue went political.
Who are your comedy heroes?
Josie Jambles, Cobbie Claxon, Louie de Rampart-Chambleaux. These are all before your time of course, and they’re all dead, sadly. Lost to the 1990s, to the dancefloor; to poppers. Here’s to them, really. Oh, and my mother. Mean as a hell-cat and hit the bottle hard, but the funniest woman I’ve ever known. Still alive, still notorious, and a public figure in fact, so I’ll withhold her name for now. (I’ll give you a hint: Dench.)
What advice would you give to freshers who might want to try their hand at comedy?
Get involved! Not you – was calling out to my old friend Rebus Bunk over there. Ah, it’s not him. Just a possum. We’d love to have you too, though! So long as you’ve got moxie and verve. These can be quietly expressed (for now). We’ve got auditions on all the time – go to www.oxfordrevue.org and sign up for our newsletter. The more the merrier, I always say. That, and “I’ll share with you tonight, but next time bring your own”
Do you have any exciting events coming up?
I thought you’d never ask. Coming up we’ve got my eponymous comedy cabaret, called Audrey, upstairs at the Wheatsheaf Pub on Tuesday the 28th. £3.50 at the door – these eyelashes don’t come cheap, I’m afraid. We’ve also got extensive programming next term, and the tickets are already selling fast. Check out our social media, apparently we’re on Instagram now.
What’s an Audrey?
It’s the divine torch-song of a woman sat before you now, pet. It’s also my bi-weekly comedy cabaret, usually upstairs at the Wheatsheaf Pub, my old haunt. I host, I dance, I monologue – unless I’m held up in a brawl or a scandal, of course. In that event, one of my underlings fills in for me as host, presiding over a bill of sketch, stand-up, and musical comedy. But my presence is most always felt.