Portrait of the artist: Jo Brand, comedian

Portrait of the artist: Jo Brand, comedianWhat got you started?

I thought I was funny as a kid. I used to play tricks on my brothers – I'd tie a two-shilling piece to a bit of cotton, then pull it away as they went to grab it. My dad didn't think I was funny, though – just grumpy.

Do you suffer for your art?

No, I don't think so. I get mildly pissed off for my art, but that's not quite the same thing, is it?

Why are there so few successful women comedians?

The major reason is self-confidence. I've seen a lot of women give up after they've had three or four bad gigs in a row. It's very difficult to learn not to take nasty heckles personally.

Tell us a joke you wish you'd written.

It's more of a line than a joke, but I've always admired what standup Fred MacAulay says to the audience if he ever does a joke that dies on its arse. "That's the best that joke's ever gone," he says – and he always gets a really big laugh.

Is there anything you regret?

Loads of things. Like doing this appalling kids' Christmas TV show called Only Fools and Turkeys. I had to sit in a cafe in west London dressed as a fairy for hours, with builders coming in and out, taking the piss out of me.

Which artists do you most admire?

Kate Atkinson. She's written a series of thrillers featuring a jaded, rather unattractive detective. If I ever met him, I would throw him on the floor immediately and beg him to marry me.

What art work would you like to own?

Something by Stanley Spencer – either The Resurrection, or the Sandham Memorial Chapel, rebuilt in my garden. I love the contrast between his serious religious subjects and the cosy, villagey feel of the characters. It's like having Michelangelo living next door, painting what he sees around him.

What one song would work as the soundtrack to your life?

Oh crikey oh riley . . . Radio Radio by Elvis Costello. I like his cynicism.

Complete this sentence: At heart I'm just a frustrated . . .

Prime minister.

What's the worst thing anyone ever said about you?

When I got married, the Sun ran the headline: "Here comes the bride, all fat and wide." Luckily, it was a few days after the wedding – but it was still hideous to read at a great romantic moment. Now I couldn't give a toss.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Interview by Laura Barnett, for The Guardian on Monday 27th December 2010 22.30 Europe/London

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