June 29, 2020
The first woman to win the UK’s biggest comedy prize has written a guide to the menopause. She discusses HRT, getting sacked and how much she liked her female comedy peers – until their fame eclipsed hers
Jenny Eclair has written Older and Wider, “a survivor’s guide to the menopause”, one part helpful, sisterly advice, four parts jokes and memoir. The thing is, often when she writes about the menopause, and always when she talks about it, she makes it sound quite fun. There’s just something zinging in her delivery. “I’ve done the most terrible thing,” she says as she picks up the phone, a mid-sentence immediacy, as if we’ve already been talking for half an hour. “I sprayed weedkiller on my roses; I feel like killing myself.”
The self-deprecation is mainly shtick, a comic through-line of “Oh God I’m so useless” that connects her early incarnation as a punk poet in the 80s to her recent, resurgent persona as a Grumpy Old Woman (first on the BBC Two show, later writing Grumpy Old Women Live, which has been a stage success all over the world).