Interview: Jayde Adams

Jayde Adams

This year's winner of the Funny Women Final is Jayde Adams. I went to interview her in Walthamstow last week and came away completely knocked out by her energy and charisma. She is bursting with talent. I wrote about her for the Evening Standard here, but she said so much more I've decided to run a transcript of the whole interview below. Sometimes she talks so fast, throwing out ideas, gags and anecdotes, it is hard to keep up with her, so I've tidied this up a little bit and made my questions sound a bit more interesting. Hopefully this gives you a flavour of where Adams is coming from. As for where she is going, the sky is limit.


BTJ: What was it like winning the Funny Women Final on Monday?

JA: The last 48 hours I’ve been open mouthed. I wouldn’t have been able to say anything. I’ve now got the ability to speak back but the shock was ridiculous. When they called third and second place I was getting my bag to go home. 

I was pacing up and down until I’d done my thing then I was fine until they announced the winners. I get terribly nervous about competitions, I was a dancer for 12 years, my mum made me do it, I was always bigger than the other girls and my mum dragged me to it for 12 years but I’m glad she did, I’ve got the moves now.

The next day I had a fry-up then met my manager Becky, who is my number one fan. When I first met her she said ‘I understand marketing and I know a product when I see it and I want to help you make money.’ She likes to keep her life exciting and fresh. She had seen me MC and has a good eye for talent. It’s just been a great week, best week of my life. I’ve not felt as liked as I do now. 

BTJ: What did you do before stand-up? 

JA: I used to marry people in an inflatable church at Glastonbury. I did it on the South Bank recently. At Bestival, etc. It was one of the first things I did with a mic. It’s not real, I love freaking people out, getting them to say ‘I do’ but my dog collar is made of hologram material. I’ve been performing non-stop from about the age of six. My auntie had a dance school in Bristol then I did school plays, but always in the background. One year we were doing Romeo & Juliet and everyone said ‘you’ll be the nurse’, but I wasn’t, it was Sarah-Jane Willlets.

I’ve done loads of things. I performed at Amy Grimehouse nights, at a Golden Girls themed evening. Bette Midler is basically my role model, I’d like to have her career. She’s funny and she can sing. I love every single one of her movies. I’m sort of like a mixture of Bette Midler and Matt Lucas. I bet he was stood behind me when he got the idea for Vicky Pollard because I used to wear Kappa. I’m not going to lie there are people like that. I’m not like Vicky Pollard now but I am like most of the characters, such as Bubbles De Vere. I’m not ashamed of the way I look. I don’t look in the mirror and see a socially constructed image of myself I see a really beautiful woman. I don’t do badly with blokes, I won’t lie. I don’t feel I have to apologise for the way I look. 

BTJ: You are pretty busy aren’t you?

I photoshop, I edit my own things. I do urban opera, I sing opera in the street and record the reactions of the people behind me on my phone. I need someone to collate everything. Becky helps me in so many different ways, she is an amazing cheerleader. Her company is called Hungry Artists. I’m hungry but not desperate. I won’t walk over people. I want to do it for my family and myself because we’ve had quite a few difficult years. I want to pay my brother’s mortgage off, I’ve got amazing parents. Mum Gail works on the fish counter at Asda in Beaminster, I did too. Dad works for Airbus. My brother Kane has three children.

My sister Jenna was two years older than me, she died when she was 28. She had a brain tumour. She was diagnosed about five years before she died and died of a massive epileptic seizure brought on by the tumour. The last month I saw her was at my nan’s 80th birthday. It was only after she died that I looked at the photos and saw that she was really ill. I was sort of in denial for many years. Grieving isn’t fun, but it’s much better now. My mum and dad are so strong and what I did helps. I’m pulling focus away from her. She had all the attention when she was young and I was just this fat, plain silly younger sister who didn’t get noticed that much.

I would never go to a psychiatrist but I notice now I’m getting lots of attention that I didn’t have. She was easy person, my idol. I started smoking because she smoked. Then she got sick and our status changed. 

When Jenna was diagnosed my friend drove me to the hospital in Bristol. Everyone stood around her really sad then everyone left the room and she grabbed my hand. It was like a movie and she said ‘can you make everyone laugh because everyone’s looking at me as if I’m about to die and I don’t like it?’ So that’s what I did and I loved it. I was in a Cardiff bar and my friend said ‘from now on you are a comedian’ so I was saying that for two years before I had even done any comedy. I’e always been a funny person, I looked up to Julie Walters. I want to do everything. I had a woman come up to me and say ‘I’ve had sciatica and you’ve made me laugh for the first time in a year’, that’s why I love comedy. It’s great to have a big following but there is nothing more exciting than making an audience laugh who are there for other reasons. 

Interview continues here.


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