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Diary of a Comedy Writer: As Dorothy Parker Once Said

Diary of a Comedy Writer: As Dorothy Parker Once Said

24th April 2014

So I’m doing some Easter mooching in paradise – paradise being Barter Books in Alnwick – when I see the play section. Ooh, a lovely little blue 1966 edition of ‘The Odd Couple’, a comedy in three acts by Neil Simon from The Samuel French Theater Bookshop. That spelling means it might have started life in New York so already there’s that tingle of wonder when I reach out to make it mine.

Where has this faded, well-thumbed play been since it rolled off the press before I was born? Has it been owned by lovers of great comic writing, maybe resting in many theatres (I’m sorry, I’m not so blinded by love as to forsake English spelling) to…

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Diary of a Comedy Writer: Specs and Death

Diary of a Comedy Writer: Specs and Death

17th April 2014

"Where are my writer glasses!" I puff, having ill-advisedly tried to run up the stairs. "Where are they!"

"And which would they be, exactly?" asks my husband.

"The ones you hate, the Dame Ednas."

"And what's wrong with the ones on your face?”

What is wrong with them is they may give the impression I am not a serious playwright. It is rehearsal night for two of the key characters in my new play 'Friller' and I don’t look even remotely artistic in my sensible Silhouettes. Why would anyone take me seriously? Granted, the Writer's Glasses (aka 'Ednas') do make me look a bit like those women in Gar…

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Diary of a Comedy Writer: My Name is Sharon Tracey

Diary of a Comedy Writer: My Name is Sharon Tracey

10th April 2014

Sharon Tracey Wright. That is not an easy first and middle name combo, I don’t have to tell you. I have spent a lifetime being very touchy indeed about The Fat Slags in 'Viz', white stilettos and 'Birds of a Feather' jokes. Don’t talk to me about Keith Waterhouse, who devoted many column inches in the Daily Mail (big surprise) to sneering at working class women by creating two ‘characters’ called Sharon and Tracy. There was even a book.

Anyway, he’s dead now so I won’t go on.

Read the brilliant New Statesman article I found (while double-checking Keith W is dead if you must know) by Sharon Bolton called 'The Curse of Being Ca…

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Vintage Funny Women Awards: Vesta Tilley

Vintage Funny Women Awards: Vesta Tilley

9th April 2014

Each month I take a look at Funny Women from throughout the 20th Century – stating their case so that you may decide which to vote your favourite Vintage Funny Woman. So far we have looked at Fanny Brice, Lucille Ball and Yorkshire’s Marti Caine and now we are looking at famous Music Hall and Pantomime star Vesta Tilley.

Vesta Tilley was what we would call a ‘character act’ today. I think she is still an inspiration to female performers as she had so much power in the theatre, earning a massive weekly wage compared to many of her male counter-parts. I admire her because she was serious creative; approaching every character with meticulous detail and not perform…

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Diary of a Comedy Writer: Brand Loyalty

Diary of a Comedy Writer: Brand Loyalty

4th April 2014

I was sitting as still as possible in case I bashed knees with Jo Brand, comedy legend. That would be bad.

I hadn’t meant to be sitting on the front row of the Funny Women BFF Launch Party. I’m not a front row kind of person. I’m a lifelong back-row lurker. That’s why I’m a writer, not a performer.

But our lovely leader Lynne Parker shouted: “Sharon you’re short, sit here at the front” and I ended up virtually nose to nose with the great Jo Brand as Funny Women Awards 2006 winner Suzy Bennett interviewed her thinking: “Life eh?"

I’d woken up that morning at my auntie’s in Bradford and hammered down the M1 t…

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