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Jo Brand is a British comedienne, comedy actress, and writer. She is known for her dry, observational humour.

Born in Clapham, London, on July 23rd, 1957, Jo Brand worked as a psychiatric nurse before beginning her career as a stand-up comedienne in some intimidating venues. This proved to be a good learning experience, as any future hostile crowds were not going to faze her.

The Sea Monster Days

Adopting the stage name 'The Sea Monster', Jo soon became an important part of the burgeoning alternative comedy scene in the 1980s. She also appeared on 'Saturday Live', a TV show that gave young comics and bands a nationwide platform for their material.

Jo Brand's style of delivery as a comedienne has always been projected in a slightly disinterested way, especially when talking about celebrities. This gives her comedy more of an edge, and reveals her playful disdain not so much towards the celebrities themselves, but as more of a mocking reaction to the public's fascination with the rich and famous.

'Jo Brand Through the Cakehole' was Jo's first television series. It was first aired by Channel 4 in 1993, and it was co-written with Jim Miller, who supplied her with much of her stand-up material. This was to be the start of several television series for Jo, and she was one of several comedians to present the BBC's 'Commercial Breakdown'. She hosted the series, which shows funny commercials from all around the globe, in 1999 and 2000.

Jo is not a 'safe' comedienne and is open about her left wing views and support of the Labour Party. This leads to criticism, in some quarters, that she is too political.


2011 saw Jo Brand pick up a BAFTA as the Best TV Comedy Actress for her role as Kim Wilde in the satire, 'Getting On'. Jo also co-wrote the BBC Four series, which revolved around an old people's hospital ward.

Jo Brand is regularly seen on TV panel shows, and was a friend of the late 'Countdown' presenter Richard Whiteley. Jo has been a guest host on the long-running BBC comedy news and current affairs quiz, 'Have I Got News for You', and has appeared on the cerebral, and equally popular BBC quiz, 'QI', hosted by Stephen Fry.

A Versatile Star

Also often seen on 'Comic Relief', Jo Brand's versatility is becoming increasingly more obvious, as she has appeared on a wide variety of shows in recent years, including on the BBC programme, 'The Speaker', in 2009. This was a series that involved trying to find the best young speaker in the UK. Her 2011 series, for TV channel Dave, 'Jo Brand's Big Splash', mixed comedy with all things water! Jo Brand has also written several books.

Despite her spikey reputation, Jo Brand is a compassionate person, and supports several charities ranging from animal welfare to children's charities. Jo is married to Bernie Bourke, and they wed in 1997. They have two daughters, Maisie and Eliza.

- Paul Rance/

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