Fern Brady: Power & Chaos (2021) | Transcript

Stand-up comedian Fern Brady brings her unique take on contemporary culture and the state of the UK to a packed crowd in Glasgow.
Fern Brady: Power & Chaos

[electricity buzzes]

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the stage it’s Fern Brady.

[audience cheers]


[audience cheers]

Aw. This is so exciting. One of the most exciting things about this is over the last year, I’ve got my own audience. and I never used to have my own audience. In fact, for the first ten years of doing comedy people actively hated me.

[audience laughs]

And now I have my own audience.

[audience cheers]

I always wondered what you would be like. I was like “Will it be cool people? Will it be hipsters?” You’re not. [audience laughs]

It’s such a specific type of person. If I was to tell you that the type of men who come to see my shows are whenever I look at their Facebook profile pictures they always seem to be shyly holding their pet snake and smiling at the camera. That’s the type of guys that like me, guys with pet snakes, and women who, when I look at their last social media posts, have always written something like, “Wish I had the strength to hurt myself tonight.” [audience laughs]

These are quite intense people. [audience laughs]

And I got recognized recently, this was really exciting. I was in Southampton and the taxi driver said, “Hey, don’t I know you?” And I was like, “Yeah.” He went, “You’re that mad Scottish woman who does comedy.” What a USP! He put mad first, and he put comedy last, and there’s a very good reason for that. I think if you’re a woman doing this people still think that I haven’t planned everything I’m going to say. People still look at me and go, “Well, that’s just a mentally ill woman “that’s been allowed on stage. Why is she embarrassing herself like that?” Whereas Boris Johnson doesn’t even need to brush his hair and gets to be in charge of the country. Do you know why? ‘Cause he’s got a posh English accent and he’s a guy. Posh English accents get you everywhere Prince Andrew gets to be in a pedophile ring, not that that’s something I’m aspiring to, because he has a posh english accent He basically admitted to being a pedo on a Newsnight interview that couldn’t have been more of a car crash unless Prince Philip was driving! And he gets away with it. I’m gonna make reasonable points during this show and youse’ll just laugh. Why? Because I’m a Scottish working class woman.

[women in audience whoop]

Thanks. [laughs] But I live in England, so I get treated like I’m a halfwit or a man from prison. It’s terrible being an intelligent woman trapped in a Scottish accent and living in England.

[audience laughs]

I didn’t know this was my voice till I moved to England, right? In my head, I talk like Stephen Fry, and then moved down south and started going into shops and people just looked at me like a dog was barking at them. So, I’ve lived there for ten years, and it’s largely great, the shops are open for ages. But one of the hardest things is every day for the last decade what my English friends love to do to me is repeat what I’m saying back at me in a bad Scottish accent. And they always have a look in their eyes like, “She is gonna love when I do this.”

[audience laughs]

Every day. I’ve got one friend that does it all the time, her name’s Haley. She’s always like, “Fern, “this is my impression of you, ‘Hello, I’m Fern Brady!'” [chuckles] Thanks, Haley, I feel so comfortable. This is my impression of you, “Please don’t tell everybody about the time I gave everybody at Uni chalmydia.” [fakes laughter] Sorry. Sorry, still not getting that Cockney accent, you fucking cow.

[audience laughs]

I never really thought much about being Scottish, and then I moved to England and then I became Scottish Fern. And then you realize that you’re meant to live up to this cartoon version of Scottishness, where you’re aggressive, a drunk, allergic to salad, right? Youse all know the drill. It’s hard for me to live up to this, right, ’cause I’m quite quiet offstage, salad, can’t get enough of it. I was considered almost quite middle class growing up here. Scottish middle class, not English middle class, right? Scottish middle class is where you’ve been on a plane once and Mum makes you eat fruit regularly.

[audience laughs]

Don’t like drinking either. This is quite a weird thing to say as a Scottish person and a professional comedian, I don’t like alcohol. And not because I’m a recovering alch-y or anything, I just don’t need to drink to make me blunt and offensive in social situations.

[audience laughs]

Guys, that is a gift that I have naturally. Here’s another thing, be jealous immediately. Never needed alcohol ♪ To make me a slut

[audience laughs]

I seemed to accept early on in life I enjoy pumping sea monsters, why bother with the health risks of alcohol?

[audience laughs]

Big-time stoner, who needs memories? Turns out me, for this job.

[audience laughs]

Oh man, I love to smoke joints. But I’ve had to quit it for the sake of my job, because my memory was getting so bad I had to Google the phrase “double bike” ’cause I no longer knew the word for tandem.

[audience laughs]

I’d been smoking heavily for like a year, and I was like, “All that stuff about memories is just government conspiracy theories” And then I went to say the name of… I’ve been going out with the same person for eight years, so I know his name, right, his name’s Connor. I went to say his name, and I thought, is this cunt even called Connor? Who knows? Just act confident.

[audience laughs]

See, when I was growing up, whenever I saw Scottish comedy on telly, it seemed to rely on slagging off Scotland. And it was the kind of schtick that was like, “Oh, aren’t we all just fat, illiterate bastards, “eating chips out a bin? [audience laughs]

Ha, ha, ha.” That’s what it was, right, I don’t like slagging off Scotland, I’m not comfortable with it, apart from one crucial thing And that is the world of Scottish amateur pornography. [audience laughs]

Which I made the terrible mistake of watching. This is a real category of porn, I’m not making it up for the show. Don’t watch it. But a lot of you are drinking. You seen it? [audience laughs]

He’s cheersing, he’s seen it. Scottish porn’s the most depressing porn I’ve ever seen. Comes a close second to Russian porn, and at least in that they’re skinny but its in that bleak “We did this for a piece of bread” kinda way. [audience laughs]

I’ve watched literally every Scottish porn on the internet for the purposes of this show. Some of the clips you’re like, “How can I even tell these people are Scottish, there’s not much dialogue?” Let me tell you, I knew. With a depressing inevitability, I knew my own people, ’cause it was just pale, hairy, white bellies smashing against each other in close-up, like water balloons filled with yogurt. [audience laughs]

Every few seconds, a wee voice off-camera would go, “Oh, Aye.” [gags] Or, memorably, “Tug on my pubes, Rona.” [audience laughs]

I clicked on this PornHub clip, it said, “Scottish girl fucked in London.” When I put it on, literally just footage of me paying £1,000 a month to live in a basement. And I watch amateur stuff, rather than slickly shot, professional stuff, ’cause it’s more ethical. That’s what a hipster I am. It’s more ethical. What they lack in muscle tone or symmetrical facial features they make up for with a large degree of enthusiasm. [audience laughs]

Youse know what I mean, I can see you as you sit here. I’ve had to stop watching it and go back to the professional stuff, I’ll tell you why. Firstly, can’t control the soundtracks in people’s homemade sex tapes. I had to turn off someone’s amateur porno ’cause they were playing the song “Everybody’s Changing” by Keane in the background. Oh, which will come first, climax or me killing myself? [audience laughs]

And here’s another thing, I don’t judge any of you if you want to make a sex tape, but for the love of God, would you lock up the pets before that? [audience laughs]

Do you know the number of times I’ve just sadly closed my laptop during a porno ’cause there’s been a couple pumping away in the foreground, really happy, really oblivious to just the sight of their proud cat sauntering in the background, “Meow, this is my time to shine!” I put one on the other day, it had a couple were just dry humping, American college amateurs. And in the background there was just a sad little yorkshire terrier. Dogs are pure innocence and goodness, just looking at them like, “Please take me a walk.” I watch lesbian porn, mostly, ’cause straight porn is largely made for straight men. So it will have these blowjob scenes that go on for 10 to 15, to 20 minutes. Well why don’t I just watch someone file a tax return? [audience laughs]

Men in the audience, do you hear how many more lady laughs are coming after that bit? I have a list of little tasks that I need to get done round the house, and the one that never gets done, and I feel bad about it every day, I always think about it, whenever I put a porn on, I’m at the beginning of a wank, it’s another fantastic day as a self-employed lady. I think, it’d take you seconds to put some Blu Tack or a bit of tape over the camera of your laptop, and you never do it. And one day someone’s going to hack into my laptop and steal footage of me wanking. That’s a thing, yeah. Then it’s career over, or the start of a glorious new career. [audience laughs]

This is what stops me doing it, I think, Fern, don’t flatter yourself. Realistically, who’s going to want to watch footage of a 33-year-old woman in full winter pajamas sheets pulled up to my chin– ’cause I’m a Catholic. [audience laughs]

Don’t want Jesus to see. Or my dead grandparents, dirty voyeurs. [audience laughs]

Triple chins, just. [audience laughs]

Completely dead-eyed Who needs facial expressions, man. Facial expressions are for when you’re with other people. [audience laughs]

There’s a market for that. There’s a market for dead-eyed Scottish women in porn. I know it. Whenever I get asked to describe my comedy, I always say it is accessible, observational stuff, suitable for the whole family, right? [audience laughs]

Then you start reading descriptions of yourself over the years. Mine’s are always consistent, they’re always, “Blunt, brutal, forthright.” I don’t read reviews, but I, say one by accident recently. it opened with, “Fern Brady scares me.” [audience laughs]

That was a nice review. Who’s this scary woman they’re talking about? I’m a lovable, nice girl. And I’d always wondered why people thought I was aloof, and then I was doing a show in Berlin and a woman came up to me at the end and she said, “Just so you know your entire set is a description of a woman with Asperger’s, you should look into it.” [audience laughs]

One guy just laughed then like, “Oh, thank God, she realizes.” [audience laughs]

It was the tenth person that had said it to me. One of them was me into the mirror every day. Looked into it, started getting diagnosed. I’ll be honest, guys. It’s not a huge surprise, I’ve always felt like an alien trapped in a beautiful woman’s body. The rest of the show isn’t a poignant unpacking of the diagnosis and how I came to terms with it, and then we all have a little cry, no. [audience laughs]

I’ll just tell you where it affects me, right. I thought it’d be cracking to get to a point in comedy. where people recognize you for your comedy and say they like your stuff. Then it started happening and I was like, “Oh, I forgot, I don’t have any social skills offstage.” A guy came up to me in the airport. He was like, “Hey, I’ve seen you on YouTube, I really like your stuff.” In my head when this happens, I’m always like, “Ah, thank you so much.” The way I responded, to this guy however was by silently holding out both my hands, and holding both his hands, and just smiling into his face dementedly, like Kate Middleton when she meets a heroin addict at the opening of community center. Don’t let that put you off chatting to me after, just know I’ve been coached in how to talk to you by my autism therapist, Jemima. [audience laughs]

I’m not good at being diplomatic, that’s my problem. And it led to me having my first scandal in comedy in the last year. Dead exciting to have a scandal as a comedian. Mine started ’cause I was doing some material about a political party called the DUP. Now, some of you know who they are, if you don’t, they’re these Northern Irish Christian politicians. They hate women and gay people, even though their leader is a stone butch lesbian who doesn’t realize she’s gay yet. [audience laughs]

And her name is Arlene Foster, gay marriage was illegal in Northern Ireland until I started touring this show, coincidence? [audience laughs]

I think not. I did some material about Arlene Foster, saying she was a homophobe, ’cause she was secretly gay, and I then performed it on a little known channel called BBC One. [audience laughs]

The BBC lawyers checked it, I thought I was fine. And then the program came out two days later, and I was made aware of a newspaper story in “The Belfast Telegraph–” [fake coughs] Protestant newspaper. [audience laughs]

This is for an American audience, but I couldn’t help being like, “We’ll do some sectarianism for the Glasgow audience.” [audience laughs]

“Belfast Telegraph” did a newspaper story with the headline, “The DUP demand an apology from the BBC over comedian’s gay jibes.” And then there was an unflattering picture of me. [audience laughs]

I was very excited. But my agent, Chris, he’s always trying to control what I do on Facebook and Twitter, ’cause I’m what the industry would call “a liability.” [audience laughs]

He got on the phone straight away, “Don’t get into an argument with these politicians. “They’re not messing about, they’ll shoot your knees off. Stay off Twitter, stay off the internet for one day.” “Okay, Daddy, I’ll be good.” In my head I’m like, “I haven’t felt this alive in years.” [audience laughs]

I get off the phone, I went on Twitter immediately. I put up a link to the thing demanding I apologize to Arlene and I wrote underneath, “I will apologize to Arlene Foster “as soon as she licks my vag and looks disgusted. [audience laughs]

“I’ll make no further comments to the press, ’cause I’m a very private person.” [audience laughs]

So I’m feeling alive. I’m feeling good. The only thing that bothered me about this story was the way I found out about it. And the way I found out was, a gay guy in Northern Ireland tweeted me. And he tweeted me trying to cancel me, ’cause he was furious at me. And he said, “How dare you say Arlene Foster is secretly gay just because she’s a homophobe?” Well, can I just be honest? I think all vocal homophobes turn out to be gay in the end. It is just a waiting game, Vladimir Putin, hello. [audience laughs]

Then he said, “Butch lesbians are never a punchline.” That got to me. And then he said, “Stay in your fucking lane.” I was like, “Oh. Stay in my fucking lane?” I’ve never been so happy to reply in my life. My hands are shaking. I’m like, “Mate, if you’re trying to say “that I hate butch lesbians, “someone needs to tell all the butch lesbians I’ve dated, ’cause I’m a bisexual.” Oh, game, set, and match. I know, one clap for bisexuality in a Scottish audience, doesn’t surprise me. Didn’t want to say I was bisexual on Twitter or anywhere. Like, see, if I’m honest Scotland is barely on board with smashed avocado, never mind alternative sexual orientations. It’s not just us, a big part of being a bisexual is constantly being told you’re not a bisexual, you’re going through a phase, you’re just whimsical. Oh, aye that’s me, whimsy to a T. [audience laughs]

So for years I tried to get on board with the idea I was a straight woman that just had sex with an awful lot of women. Never thought I was a bisexual, I just thought I was a legend. [audience laughs]

Thanks for your support. But this guy tweets me trying to say I hate butch women, obviously I know I don’t, but straight away I have to publicly beat him in the Twitter agruement, don’t I? I have to prove him wrong publicly. And the only way I can do that right here, right now would be to have a three-way with a butch lady and a very timid little Irish man that I’m in a long-term relationship with. Aye, I go out with a man, and I know when you see that there’s gonna be some of you who going, “Oh, good, good, she’s been restored to factory settings.” [audience laughs]

Look, it wouldn’t matter, what gender my partner is he is a civil servant who was born an old man, right? He’s a very vanilla-type person. And for his birthday, I said, “Listen, you can have whatever you want, “you can have whatever you want, baby. I got money now.” He went, “Can I have a shoe polishing kit with both black and brown shoe polish?” Live your dreams. Can you imagine having a three-way with that? He’d only embarrass himself. I’d be working away on some woman being incredible. He’d be sitting at the end of the bed crying. Putting us off, tears dripping onto his little shoes as he silently buffed them. [audience laughs]

I have an incredibly settled home life, right, and it’s nice, but I wish it was more exciting sometimes. And the other day I was talking to this comedian, she’s much cooler than me and she has a really cool dating life. And she said, “Oh, so I’m dating Jack and his girlfriend now, I’m in a thrupple.” Like she was getting a new kitchen. And for some reason, to keep up with the Joneses, I said “Connor and I are thinking of becoming a thrupple.” Went home that night, sitting in bed next to him, he’s reading the latest interest rates on [audience laughs]

And I said, “Connor, do you think… Can we maybe get a new boyfriend or girlfriend?” He went, “Which one of your bohemian friends “have you been talking to now? What do you want to be in a thrupple for?” I went, “Well, maybe then you’d have someone to go to Parkrun with, ’cause I hate it.” He went “Fern, I’ve told you, “stop asking me deviant things. “You have this idea of yourself in your head “that you’re not mad slag that loves shagging, “when really you just like coming home to me having dinner and cuddling. I went, “Okay. “Can we get a cat? [audience laughs]

“Can we get a cat and not fuck it? Just a pet cat.” When people talk about compromising in a long-term relationship, that’s the kind of thing they’re talking about. You start off with high aspirations– thrupple, three-ways, it descends to a pet that you don’t even want. I like dogs, now we’re getting a cat. Anyway, I thought, I can’t criticize Arlene Foster for being closeted and not say I’ve had a few women in my time myself. So I says I was bi properly, and this time I did it during a standup set on telly. And as I said it, I felt sick. I felt really nervous about saying it. But everyone started clapping me for being a brave girl, they were very woke and progressive. And I was thinking, stop clapping me for being brave, fuck off, man, it’s only half gay, so it’s only half brave. I was thinking, everyone I went to school with is going to see this on telly, and slag me off, and say, “She’s just doing this ’cause it’s the easiest way of being a woke hipster.” It’s easier than becoming a vegan and I’m a vegetarian which is the bisexuality of diets. [audience laughs]

And that’s how Mum and Dad found out was they saw me talking about it on telly. Imagine that’s how your mum finds out about all that, right? What all that is. That’s me fingering an unbelieveably tall lady. [audience laughs]

My mum phoned me up to ask me about it after the program came out. And she asked me about it the way only a Scottish Catholic mother does, which is by not asking you for about ten minutes of the phone call. It was just a series of disconnected facts. “Hello, Fern, I made a carrot cake today. “Then I went to Zumba. Then I picked sweet peas in the garden.” Then there was this terrible pause, and I knew what was coming. She went, “Fern, are you bisexual?” Imagine if that was how Holly Willoughby asked Phillip Schofield… The Scottish way, by screaming it in his face. I was like, “Yeah, Mum, and you told me it was disgusting the first time you found out.” “No, I didn’t, how dare you? “Anyway, I’ve changed since you were a teenager. ‘Cause I’ve seen the musical “Kinky Boots.” [audience laughs]

and that changed everything.” Isn’t that amazing, that art can move people in profound ways? One of Broadway’s shittest musicals, “Kinky Boots,” turned my mum from being a homophobe into someone who pretends not to be a homophobe. [audience laughs]

And I go out with women that are like my mum. They’re always quite intense. They’re always fucking mental. And I really judge men who say they’re always going out with mental women, I think it’s quite misogynistic. So can I just say at this point in the show I met my first girlfriend in a mental hospital, so she was fucking mental. [audience laughs]

Diagnosed, we both were, it was a great match. Her name was Rita, she was a tiny little skinhead butch. We were both 16-year-olds in a mental hospital, you know how it goes when you’re teens. [audience laughs]

You read Sylvia Plath, you go in a mental hospital. Rita used to write me these love letters that would open with things like, “Who’s the funniest girl in all of Willow Grove’s “children and adolescent psychiatric daycare unit? “It’s Fern Brady. “Who makes the best potato prints about her feelings in occupational therapy on Thursdays with Nurse Linda?” That’s right, this guy. [audience laughs]

And then there was a terrible drawing of some palm trees on a beach done in crayon. And it said, “When I look into this lassie’s eyes “across group therapy with that bitch Nurse Fiona, “I can see the sun setting on a beach. and it’s all because of…”

[audience] Fern Brady.

That’s right! What a cracking lover I am. So, Rita had given me this wonderful necklace, along with a letter. The necklace was a very classy necklace from the Elizabeth Duke at Argos range. [audience laughs]

Oh good, some scum get that reference. [laughs] Posh people of Glasgow, Elizabeth Duke at Argos was a range of jewelry where working class people could express earnest emotions at a fantastic price. [audience laughs]

Rita gave me this necklace, it said something on it like, “Love lasts forever.” Which in Rita’s voice, I definitely heard as a threat. [audience laughs]

And my mum found the letter and the necklace when I was 16 and she went nuts at me. She was like, “This is disgusting. This is vile.” I was mortified like, “Well, this is how “she finds out I’ve been fingering girls in a mental unit on my lunch break.” I like how non-judgemental you guys are about that. Youse understand there’s not much to do in women’s psychiatric units. You learn to finger-bang, and you learn to play pool to an incredibly high standard. Then Mum stopped shouting at me and she went, “Fern, what upsets me the most is I just cannot believe “you would pretend to like other girls in order to steal their jewelry.” [audience laughs]

Excuse me? Now, a few of youse know what’s going on at this point, right. There’s a type of person who sees the whole world as straight, and then they tell themselves any story to get to that conclusion. My mum’s one of those. My mum would rather tell herself a story in which I am a jewelry thief running some sort of a heist, not for good diamonds, not for Chopard or Cartier diamonds, Elizabeth Duke at Argos, £10 necklaces. Fingering girls against my will. [retches] [audience laughs]

All as part of the grand jewelry thief heist in a mental hospital. But you see how it happens. ‘Cause they had a thing when I was a kid called Section 28, where Margret Thatcher said that you couldn’t teach primary school kids that LGBT people exist. Not teach how to give blowies, or how to lick fannies, just that they exist. I’m not saying this to try and be right-on, but when they ban teaching things like that on the curriculum, I look back and think of the utter amount of bullshit that my teachers taught me at primary school. I went to a school where there was a crucifix on the wall of the assembly hall, there to there. Teacher told us that was the actual cross that Jesus died on. [audience laughs]

“Why is Jesus one foot tall? “Why is Jesus one foot tall? Why is his final resting place Scotland?” I used to like to do this in class when I was five, if I was bored, right, just move my head from side to side. Something to do. And my teacher said, “You know, Fern, “that’s all well and good, “but the brain is attached to the top of the skull “and it gradually comes loose. “And the more you do that, the more likely it is “that your brain will collapse in your skull, killing you instantly.” Teachers are maniacs. I had the best year of my primary school career not being taught the curriculum. When I was eight years old, I had a teacher, Mr. Curran. Mr. Curran was drunk the entire school year. [audience laughs]

If you’re a child, this doesn’t register. You just think, why is this adult more fun than all the other adults? [audience laughs]

Didn’t teach us anything, just came in every day, sat us on the carpet and told us stories about walking his three-legged dog in the woods. [audience laughs]

Now, one day he sat us all down and he said, “Kids, when I was walking my three-legged dog in the woods today, I found something very special.” And he had a shoebox in his lap. No. [laughs] [audience laughs]

He just went, “Oh God.” [audience laughs]

I don’t know what kinda school you went to, but this isn’t the point of the story where he’s like, “It’s my big willy!” [audience laughs]

now suck it, bitches.” Get your mind out of the gutter, ’cause something beautiful is about to happen. He says, “I found a little badger.” I swear to God, he opened the shoebox and a badger come out. So beautiful. Greatest thing that had happened in my childhood at that point. Every day for a year, didn’t do any arithmetic, didn’t do any handwriting, just had this drunk guy stoating about with a badger in a box. [audience laughs]

One day he said, “Listen, kids, I’m going out the classroom for a bit, you’re eight, you can take care of yourselves. While I’m down the pub, do not get Mr. Badger out his box, he’s a wild animal, I’ll get him out when I come back.” II was a very good kid,. However, I sat next to two very nasty boys, Lee and Kevin, they’re definitely in prison now. [audience laughs]

And I said to them, “I love having Mr. Badger in class. I think he’s the best thing to happen at primary four.” Lee and Kevin turned to me. This is hard to say. They said, “That’s… That’s no a badger, that’s a fucking puppet in a box, you fanny.” [audience laughs]

[Fern gags] Do you know in “The Matrix,” when Neo finds out reality isn’t real. [audience laughs]

I felt my vision go black. The room starts spinning around me, I’m shaking my head uncontrollably. “No, no, no man.” Reliving the past year of my life, looking in Mr. Badger’s very real eyes. Hanging out with him every day. I said, “Guys, I’m eight. I’m not stupid, that’s a real badger.” I said, “I’ll go to the front of the class now, I wouldn’t normally do this, but I’ll go to the front of the class and I’ll take him out his box, and I’ll show you all he’s real.” They went, “You’re a fucking spoon.” [audience laughs]

If this does go to America, there’s no way of translating that. [audience laughs]

Went to the front of the class, I stood in front of the box. Fuck. Took all my strength to open it and look inside. Looked down. 100% a glove puppet on a pile of dead leaves. The whole school knoew except for me. [audience laughs]

If you think my comedy’s dark and cynical, that is the moment all hope died in my life. And they still won’t teach primary school kids that LGBT people are real. I spent a year talking to a badger that doesn’t exist. [audience laughs]

A week after this, I overheard our art teacher, Miss Christie, telling one of the other teachers as if we couldn’t hear, “Oh yes, they let go of Jim Curran last week. It turns out he was drinking heavily on the job.” And those two boys from earlier just turned to me and went, “Aye Fern, guess what, we saw him walking his dog in town. It’s got four legs.” [audience laughs]

Twist the knife in, why don’t you? People in power just lie to you. [audience laughs]

I think people are getting more progressive on sexuality, ’cause I get a lot of younger people coming to my tour shows and they’re so cool in terms of seeing sexuality as a spectrum. And I think it’s great. And I says to my wee boyfriend, “Now people view it this way, could you be anywhere else on the Kinsey scale of sexuality?” And he answered real earnestly. He was like, “I’ve thought about it, but I honestly don’t think I want to suck a dick.” [audience laughs]

I was like, “Connor, no one likes to suck a dick. [audience laughs]

It’s just the polite thing to do.” [audience laughs]

Again, picking up more women laughing at that than men. Very often one woman starts to clap. And do you know why? It’s always ’cause her jaw is too sore to laugh. And that’s a big difference between men and women, I never went in for material on the difference between men and women, but women are definitely taught to be dead nice and polite, especially in sexual situations. And you saw where that became a problem during the whole Me Too thing, where there was all of these– A lot of my male friends, during the Me Too, were like, “Well, see when a guy starts wanking in front of a woman, and she doesn’t like it, why doesn’t she just boot him in the balls and walk off?” ‘Cause women are taught to be nice and polite. And I’ll give you an example. When I was 15, I was kissing this Italian guy, round the back of a disco. Chaste little kisses, no fingering. Out of nowhere, he got his lad out and started wanking in front of me, right, enthusiastically. Horrifying. Never seen a live penis before in my life. Prior to this, only ever seen a badger coming out a box. [audience laughs]

But I didn’t show I was horrified, ’cause I knew instinctively you’ve to smile, and not offend the man. So that was exactly what I did, Just stood back like, “Ah, very good. [claps] “I don’t want to touch it. No, I might just keep smiling at you and walk away.” I was like, “Can he walk and wank at the same time? Yes he can!” [audience laughs]

Do you know how horrifying it is that the first time you see jizz is when it’s arcing after you like ectoplasm, while an Italian guy chases you? “Suck this, bella.” Jizz is disgusting, right? I don’t want to sugar coat it for you. I mean I do, I wish I could. [audience laughs]

Wish I could. Jizz is disgusting, but women don’t say it, ’cause we’re very polite and every porno treats it like its mana from heaven. Ah, ah ♪ Mm, Danone [audience laughs]

Girls get taught to improvise their way. It’s so wonderful seeing couples look at each other during this. [audience laughs]

Girls get taught to improvise their way around jizz politely quite early on in life. As soon as all my female friends got their first boyfriends they would be like, “Ladies, if his cum tastes disgusting have you tried getting him to eat pineapple?” [audience laughs]

A few women that have heard that in here. This just shows how unfair things are between the sexes. Why is he the one getting to eat pineapple? Why am I not getting it, like the delicious chaser to a disgusting shot? [audience laughs]

Then the number of male friends I have are like, “Well you know, semen is actually, Women should swallow, because semen’s full of amino acids and minerals and protein, so it’s good for you.” Good for you? Alright, Gialliam McKeith. [audience laughs]

Good for you? You know, period blood has loads of iron in it.” [audience laughs]

but I’ve never said to a guy, “Baby, you’re looking kind of anemic. [audience laughs]

Bon appetit.” I’m really interested in how much women are taught to be polite, and I’ll tell you where I see it a lot is on social media. ‘Cause I started getting more people sliding into my DMs on Instagram and stuff. And women are always really polite. They’re actually almost too polite. ‘Cause they always open with the same thing. It’s always things like, “Hey, hope I’m not being creepy but…” And the men never open this way. And they’re always creepy. It’s always something like, “I want to be your slave and suck on your tits “and call you Mum. Want to see a picture of my pet snake?” [audience laughs]

Then women are like, “Hey, hope I’m not being creepy but, but where did your shoes from?” [audience laughs]

This is how different my messages from men and women. On Easter Sunday I got a message from a woman that didn’t know me and a guy that didn’t know me. And the woman was like, “Hey, hope I’m not being creepy, “but since it’s Easter, “here’s a picture of my pet bunny rabbit “surrounded by chocolate eggs. Have a lovely day.” [audience laughs]

It’s not creepy, but I can see a lot of you are like, “What a cunt.” A guy messaged at the same time. No words. Just a picture of his erect penis, next to a picture of Scottish comedian, Fern Brady. Then as an afterthought, he wrote, “Greetings from Nova Scotia.” Well, that is the worst postcard I’m ever gonna receive. [audience laughs]

Look, I don’t wanna be anti-men by any measure. I mean I absolutely do, but I also want to be more marketable [audience laughs]

Shrewd businesswoman. Sometimes you send messages that are well intentioned, and then they degenerate midway through. A man messaged me, it opened with, “Hello Ms. Brady, “was enjoying clips of your comedy on YouTube and then your beauty became more apparent.” [Fern leers] Cool. Yeah. That’s really the kind of beauty every woman longs for, isn’t it? Gradually apparent beauty. [audience laughs]

Wouldn’t want any of that obvious beauty. I want beauty that dawns on me over time, coming into place like a “Magic Eye” picture. [audience laughs]

And a big part of being a girl doing this is you get a lot of feedback, not on your jokes, but on whether people do or don’t want to pump you. So I woke up in a good mood recently, and I had a message on my Facebook comedy page, that was from a man in Slovakia. And the message was simple. It said, “Hey, you suck, and you look like a potato.” [audience laughs]

Devastating to find out the real reason my Irish boyfriend is attracted to me. [audience laughs]

Text my boyfriend, upset, and he went, “The most beautiful potato I’ve ever seen.” [audience laughs]

Went on for four months. He messaged me, he messaged my agent, he messaged a few comedians, the message was always the same, “Fern Brady looks like a potato.” Every time I told my– This is the worst thing. Any time I told my friends, they all had the same answer. The answer was never, “It’s okay, you don’t look like a potato.” They all said the same thing. Every single one of them went, “Well, I love potatoes.” That’s how you know body positivity has gone too far. Just lie and say I don’t look like a potato in a wig. The whole thing of worrying about looks for women is getting worse, and I hate it. ‘Cause it’s not a personality trait, and I was a really ugly child, so I know how horrible people are to you when you’re not cute. I had big thick milk bottle glasses. I had a mullet, aand I had a mustache by the age of ten, big ol’ mustache. Everyone in school bullied me, “Mustache you a question. Mustache you a question, badger girl.” [audience laughs]

Whenever I cried to Mum about it she was like, ‘”They’re just jealous. They’re just jealous, darling.” “Are you just pulling random parenting advice out a book? Jealous of what? Jealous that I look like a Cuban revolutionary at the age of 10?” [audience laughs]

Now, especially when you’re a woman going about her day, not even thinking, about how you look. and a man feels the need to comment on your beauty. I’m talking about catcalling, but I feel like catcalling isn’t that bad in Scotland. I think ’cause Scottish men have an innate sense of Scottish women’s tendency towards sudden violence. [audience laughs]

But I was walking round London recently, during the day, minding my own business. I walked down an alleyway. A man came out a sexual health clinic, straight away I’m not making eye contact. And I could just sense he was gonna say something. And he went, “Hey, beautiful, wanna suck my dick?” [Fern groans] Some of youse are baffled by this, but there’s definitely women in the audience, yeah, you’ve had that happen to you, right? Any woman that’s had this happen to them will know there’s no point getting angry at the man. There’s no point saying anything. I was eating some chips at the time he said this. So as soon as he shouted at me, I knew what to do. I started to silently spray the chips I was eating [blows a raspberry] outta my mouth, maintaining direct eye the entire time. [blows a raspberry] “Is this beautiful now?” Women in the audience, that’s what you have to do. Make your cat-caller regret that he ever said a word to what is clearly a very disturbed individual. I’ll stop at nothing. I’ve had guys shout at me out of passing cars, for a laugh. And then the car will pull up in traffic, and I will snot into my hand and drag it down the windscreen. [audience laughs]

“Still want me to cheer up?” [audience laughs]

My boyfriend’s always like, “Oh Fern, you’re going to die in a knife fight with one of these men.” Good. [audience laughs]

Maybe then I’ll become the patron saint of catcalling. People will start treating it like an actual problem. I’m just tired of it. And I’m very tired generally. I’ve been tired for the last two years, and I don’t like complaining to youse about it, because it’s unprofessional. So as a life hack now, anytime I’m extremely tired I’ll go, “No Fern, no, you think you’re tired now, but think how tired you’d be if you had a baby.” [laughs] Then I go back to sleep. This is a form of practicing gratitude that I think I invented. I realized… A year ago I realized there’s no bad situation in my life that cannot be improved by me imagining I have a baby then I go back to not having a baby. [audience laughs]

Try it. Look, it only works if you don’t have a baby. If youse do have a baby, I’m sure it’s a magical life affirming experience. You love it against your will. Sounds great. [audience laughs]

This is nuts, though. So, I’d always hated babies. And then last year, overnight, babies everywhere started to look cracking to me. Not in the– That sounded like I fancied babies. [audience laughs]

No man, babies started to look so beautiful, and pure, and amazing. And I was like, “I want a baby.” This is so fucked up. Intellectually, I do not want a baby. I think it’s a shit idea and I’d like to keep my lovely money to myself. But my body is at that sexy age where it’s trying to trick me into having a baby. And it’s a level of conflict I never thought I would feel. It’s the level of conflict people like Arlene Foster must feel every time they’re flicking through the ladies bras section of a catalog, or checking out Nicola Sturgeon’s holiday pics on Facebook. “Bad Arlene, no bad. Pray the gay away.” [audience laughs]

Conflict. My brain don’t wanna have a baby, but my body do. And my body tries to trick me by making me think things like, “But Fern, if you had a baby it would be like a friend that could never leave.” [audience laughs]

Oh aye, youse know what I’m on about. Oh aye. Imagine being so lonely you have to shag your friends into existence. ‘Cause when you’re honest, that’s all a family is. Like all the family’s looking at each other. That’s all a family is. Run out of pals, make new ones out your hole, like magic. [audience laughs]

There’ll be obligated to socialize with you, at least on Mothers’ Day. I love babies, I can’t stop staring at babies in cafes right now. And people see me staring at babies, and they think that means I’m actively trying to get pregnant. I’m not, I’m riding these thoughts out til menopause, fingers crossed. [audience laughs]

but I was staring at a baby in a cafe, and this woman I know, quite smug woman said, “Well Fern, if you’re thinking of having a baby, have you had a fertility test?” “And I was like, in a sense, yes. If that’s what you want to call abortion.” [laughs] Really, the fertility test I never knew I wanted. I knew it was going to play that way in this room. [audience laughs]

Whenever women speak out about having one they always feel the need to caveat it by saying, “I had one, but its a had decision to make. Really it’s the hardest decision any woman can make.” The hardest decision with mine was they said, “You can have one in Leeds, Ms. Brady, or you can have one much sooner in Doncaster.” “I’m sorry, is this The Jeremy Kyle Show?” Am I, fuck, having an abortion in Doncaster, this baby will die with dignity [audience laughs]

in one of the financial centers of the UK, Leeds, thank you. I did a charity gig for an abortion rights group recently. It’s not an easy cause to raise money for. And I thought, this is going to be cracking. I did, I thought, back-to-back abortion jokes all night, I’ll be with my own people, what a laugh we’ll have. These bitches. [audience laughs]

I don’t want to be mean, but these bitches put me on 90 minutes late on stage. I don’t know how much you know the comedy world, that’s very late indeed. Now I couldn’t help thinking, I don’t want to be horrible, this lack of organization in their general lives was really what led to them [mumbles]. And I’m very pro-choice. Getting a part-time, baby soon. That’s going to be great. My brother and his wife are having a baby. I’m so excited, man. And I’ve been buying gifts for it. I’ve never bought baby gifts before. Do youse know how much rubbish you can buy a baby that’s unnecessary? There’s so much stuff that babies don’t need. You can buy formal wear for babies. Little three piece suits for babies, youse know, little prom dresses for tiny little babies. I says to my boyfriend, “Why do they need little three piece suits?” And he went, “Well, because they might have a wedding to attend.” [audience laughs]

Shut up, as if anyone at the wedding’s going to be like, “Have you seen the state of Charles? “He showed up his whole family by coming here dressed as a fluffy teddy bear.” Which, by the way, is what babies should dress as. I’m always worried, about having a baby ’cause I think it’s just going to disappoint me. It’s going to disappoint me in a huge way by becoming a murderer, or just a banal way by becoming a recruitment consultant. [audience laughs]

And I see a lot of my pals having babies now and I find it very moving. And then I’ll see just acquaintances that I hate-follow on Facebook and I think, you’re just doing that to fill the time between now and death. [audience laughs]

It’s interesting, the things we do to fill the time between now and death. Some of youse came to this show. [audience laughs]

That was a mistake. But I thought for ages, if I can get what I want in comedy, that’s going to fill the emptiness. Then I got everything I wanted last year. I got all the work, I did a gig at Sydney Opera House. And I felt fucking nothing. [audience laughs]

Then I went back to the hotel and I watched videos of a pig in a wig [audience laughs]

and I felt happy. [audience laughs]

And I realized, it’s small things make you happy. The pursuit of other stuff is pointless, right? But I’m not going to have a baby for a very specific reason. A big reason that’s putting me off is, when I was growing up, I’m from a town called Bathgate, Lewis Capaldi and Susan Boyle are from there, so that’s how we look in that town, right? [audience laughs]

It’s so cool they’re doing well, ’cause it’s limited options in Bathgate, especially if you’re a woman with opinions. If you’re a girl at my school you get two options for work experience and they are childcare or beauty therapy. That’s literally the Madonna and the whore thing right there, isn’t it? Take care of kids or look pretty, don’t do anything else. And that’s why I don’t want to have a baby. And any time I see comments on social media going, “Why does such a nice girl have to say such horrible things on stage?” I think, good, good, I’m doing my job. I’m staying away from my Bathgate destiny. I’m going to keep being that mad Scottish woman who does comedy. Youse have all been amazing. Thanks very much for coming to my show. I’ve been Fern Brady, goodnight.

[audience cheers]

[electricity buzzes]

[energetic music]

[bird squawks]

[Man] Thank you very much.


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