Jo is making her mark in stand-up comedy

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Teachers beware....you could be inspiring the next generation of comedians.

Educational establishments in Matlock have helped shape the repertoire of two female comics, including former Highfields School student Isy Suttie, who last month won the funniest woman award at comedy’s equivalent of the BAFTAS.

Hot on Isy’s heels is Jo Caulfield, a former Presentation Convent pupil, who has written scripts for telly favourite Graham Norton.

Jo, who brings her stand-up show to Chesterfield’s Winding Wheel next week, said: “I went to Lilybank at the age of eight as I was a ‘Forces brat’ and left the convent when I was 14, just in time to discover boys and alcohol. Lilybank is the scary Gothic building halfway up the hill; it’s now used as an old people’s home, I think.

“My first experience of making people laugh was in primary school. I used to do impressions of the teachers; my party piece was to do different nuns going to the toilet....God, I need therapy!

“I remember long snowy walks in the Dales wearing knee socks and gym slips, sounds Edwardian, doesn’t it? But it’s just nuns are sadists.

“Local boys used to climb through the hedges and meet girls in the upper school. I think my first ‘proper’ snog was a boy from Matlock.”

Now married and living in Scotland, Jo says she is looking forward to returning to her old stamping ground. “Chesterfield was somewhere I used to get taken for days out by my Mum and Dad. I’ll relive those days by eating too much ice cream and vomiting by the Crooked Spire.”

Describing her act as angry observations, Jo went into stand-up comedy in her late 20s after playing in a rockabilly band, selling 50s clothes on a market stall and working in bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

She said: “The worst part of being a comic is strangers asking what you do for a living. I usually lie and say I’m a teacher. But I love being a comic, it’s a great life.

“Some people don’t like the travelling and staying in hotels - what’s not to like I say, someone will clean the room for you and I can drink at work. I’m living the dream, drunk in a bed I don’t have to make.”

l Jo Caulfield will headline the April Fool’s Eve special, organised by Spotlight Comedy Club, at the Winding Wheel on Thursday, March 31. Jason Patterson, Mickey Sharma and MC Anthony J. Brown will also be sharing comedic gems. Tickets cost £12, £10 and £5 (students), to book, call 01246 345333 or www.chesterfieldvenues.co.uk.