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Rosie Jones smiling at the camera in a denim top in front of a red background

Rosie Jones is a triple threat

It’s National Tell A Joke Day on 16 August so who better to speak to than Comedian Rosie Jones who comes to City Varieties next month as part of her first-ever UK tour. Her show is entitled Triple Threat, but you’ll have to buy a ticket to find out what the title means.

The 32-year-old from Bridlington, Yorkshire has become one of the country’s most popular comedians in recent years, famed for her cheeky charm, honest opinions and sheer sense of fun. She has fronted the travel series Trip Hazard and appeared on shows including The Last Leg, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Mock The Week.

In December 2022 she made her second appearance on Live at the Apollo, this time hosting the show. Jones, who has cerebral palsy, is a vocal campaigner for disability rights and also a best-selling author, with her series of children’s books following the adventures of Edie Eckhart.

Written by Bruce Dessau


About Rosie

Your new show is called Triple Threat. Can you reveal why?

It’s the first joke in the show so let’s keep that secret for anyone who might not know already. The whole show is about me, my life, my career and whether or not I’m on my way to being a national treasure or whether I am hurtling down the road to becoming a national liability. I’m an optimistic person so I’m still fighting to be a national treasure, but it hasn’t happened yet – maybe because I keep accidentally talking about my boobs.

National Treasure Judi Dench doesn’t talk about her boobs.

Maybe she should. The show is also about how I branched out and started writing children’s books. People think of me as a disability activist and that’s lovely, but the show is about wondering whether I deserve that title. The secret is I don’t know anything about disability. I only know what it’s like to be me. So, when they talk about getting awards and opportunities. I’m a bit like ‘do I deserve them?’

Do you have any pre-show rituals? Are you very rock and roll on the road?

I’m not rock and roll – you won’t see me throwing TVs out of windows. All I need is stuff to make a cup of tea and some Doritos, because I absolutely have to have my fix of crisps before I go on.

I’ve heard you are a big fan of crisps. You spoke about this on Ed Gamble and James Acaster’s Off Menu podcast when you revealed your dream menu…

Ed and James are still angry with this. My starter was three hours of crisps, every half hour bringing me a different flavour – Twiglets, Wotsits, Monster Munch, Chipsticks…

Rosie Jones in a denim dress looking up and laughing with her hands in her pockets

On stage

How important is live performance to you?

It’s actually really lovely to start this year with my first love and where it began – writing new stand-up material, gigging around the country. I can’t believe that this will be my first ever tour. I cannot wait. In the last few years I haven’t been able to go out and meet people and do what I hope I do best – simply stand in front of an audience and make them laugh.

Before you were a stand-up you worked on shows such as The Last Leg. Were you always itching to be in front of the camera?

I think the desire to be on the other side actually came quite slowly. When I was a researcher I did a diploma at the National Film & Television School in writing and production and, when I was writing jokes, I thought: ‘you know what, if I write jokes and I genuinely believe in them, it doesn’t feel like a scary jump from that to performing’. The first time I did it, I thought: ‘I won’t like it but I know I’ll be annoyed at myself if I never try it’. So I did it and obviously, it was love at first sight.

I first saw you when you were a finalist in the Funny Women competition in 2016. You seemed so relaxed onstage it was obvious you were going places.

That was my 10th gig! But on some level I’ve been performing my whole life because when I enter any room of any size I always have to have jokes in my back pocket and have the confidence to go: ‘Hi I’m Rosie, how are you? Don’t worry I’m disabled, I’m not drunk, actually, I am a bit drunk but don’t tell anyone…’ Every time I went to a party or a pub I needed to do this comedy routine for people to be like ‘oh right, I get you’.

Rosie Jones in a teal dress performing in a microphone on a stage draped in red curtains
Rosie Jones in a teal dress performing in a microphone on a stage draped in red curtains
Rosie Jones in a teal dress performing in a microphone on a stage draped in red curtains

TV, books and beyond

What has been your favourite telly appearance so far and why?

My second Live at the Apollo appearance. The first one went well, but I was terrified and spent half the time nursing an irrational fear that I might wet myself. I was determined to enjoy the second one and I did. Though my head is a bit shiny. With a spam like mine, you don’t want to draw any more attention.

What’s next for you after the tour?

Well, this goes until the end of April 2024, so God knows what sort of world we’ll be living in. With any luck there’ll be an AI version of me out on the road by then and I’ll be at home with a curry.

What else are you working on at the moment?

I’m writing more children’s books. Two more in the Edie Eckhart series and the other is a non-fiction book called Moving On Up, which is for 9 – 12 year olds navigating that awkward time moving from primary school, when small changes feel like your entire world has fallen apart. Hopefully when that happens they will have my silly guide to lean back on like an older sister saying ‘don’t worry, I’ve been through it’.

Rosie Jones laughing with her arms in the air in a photography studio

Accidental activism

Can you say more about your upcoming Channel 4 documentary about ableism – prejudice against people with disabilities.

It’s about online abuse and ableism. Having cerebral palsy and being in the media means I receive online abuse pretty much every day. 95% of Twitter comments are lovely but it’s that 5% that keep me up at night and make me doubt myself, so for my own mental health I pay a social media company to go through my tweets so I don’t have to read them. Ableism isn’t taken as seriously as other minorities. When we were filming I went into central London and asked people what ableism was and only one in 20 knew.

You’ve been described as an accidental activist.

As my career was building, I recognised that I was a disabled person with a platform and could use it to make a difference. I’ve always spoken up for what I believe in, but it happened organically. I’m in a very privileged position where people listen to me and unfortunately a lot of disabled people still go unheard, so if I can change that and alter things then absolutely I will.

Do you think comedy can change the world?

Billy Connolly is one of my heroes and he said that the most intelligent people in the world aren’t politicians, they are comedians. We can tell jokes and, at the same time, we can tell everyone what it’s like in the world right now. People find comedy really disarming and they underestimate the power it can have.

Have you considered a career in politics?

No, I think I can make more of a difference as a comedian.

Rosie Jones looking off to the side and laughing in front of a blue background
Rosie Jones covering her mouth with her hand and looking at the camera while she holds a bakery packet in the other hand
Rosie Jones looking off to the side thoughtfully in front of a pink background

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