Spotlight: Jayne Edwards

Stand-up and bodybuilder Jayne Edwards talks to us about performing in spite of anxiety, and enjoying a good cry-hug with strangers during other comics’ shows

Feature by John Stansfield | 04 Dec 2013
  • Jayne Edwards

Self-proclaimed as ‘The Nation’s Beefheart,’ 24-year-old comedian and semi-professional bodybuilder Jayne Edwards is a prolific performer on the Northwest comedy circuit. Bringing an awkward charm and some racy biographical excerpts, Edwards' comedic talents shine in spite of her timidity. At times she seems like a creation of Tim & Eric, with misplaced confidence and acts of sheer ridiculousness surprising audiences who initially took her as a strange introvert. A unique comic who tells us that the shyness is not an act, but something she has learned to bend expertly to her will.

Influences:

“1970s Bruce Lee-in-hell exploitation movie The Dragon Lives Again. Rhyl. Interviews with bodybuilders. Harper Lee. Talent shows. Failure. Our Lord.”

First gig:

“My very first gig was at the Lowry in Salford in one of the studios when I was 19. It went as well as a first gig can go, and, as it was such a blur, I’m just speculating. The guy I was seeing at the time was so impressed. I was like ‘w/e babe I’m so confident and funny I need an outlet for my personality’ but didn’t gig for another year because I was actually cripplingly shy.”

Best gig:

“I have a lot of gigs that I think of as my best gig, either for the performance or the overall atmosphere. But, basically, any gig where they buy my tea is the best gig ever.”

Worst gig:

“I drove to Scarborough for a gig above a pub. The MC’s mate came over and asked me for a word. He said that what I needed to do was talk about ‘women’s problems’ because then I’d get the women laughing, and then, to please the women because they want their sweet poon things (paraphrasing), the men would have to laugh as well. I was really grateful that he’d taken the time to come over and give me such great advice. JK, I wasn’t.”

Circuit favourites in the Northwest:

“Phil Ellis. Liam Pickford. Jack Evans. Peter Brush. George Cottier. David Stanier. Michael J Dolan.”

Favourite venue and why:

“Group Therapy at Gorilla in Manchester. It’s great to play and I had an amazing time when I got the opportunity to this year, but just going to watch is super. It’s a really nice atmosphere and they always get great acts on.”

Best heckle:

“A guy once farted in the middle of a pause in a comedian’s joke. It really put everything into perspective for me.

“I never remember good heckle put-downs because I’m so ‘on board’ with the comedian and the atmosphere the heckle put-down creates. I go into a weird zone, like, I get high off the feeling of togetherness and victory. I just start crying and hugging everyone.”

Aspirations:

“Just to make ace stuff and for people to see it and go ‘that’s ace’.”

What you'd be doing if you weren’t doing stand-up:

“My nana says I could be like one of them supermodels, so probably that. Or, like, an assistant supervisor of a Superdrug or something.”

Question submitted by last month’s Spotlight, Liam Pickford: Why do you hate geese?

“They steal sandwiches.”

Catch Jayne at Sidekick Comedy, Via, Canal Street, Manchester, 16 Dec

@JayneEdwards