Jenny Eclair bounds on stage at the start of her new stand-up show, Jenny Eclair Sixty! (FFS!), exuding energy. She is obviously delighted to be back with a live audience, greeting us with her particular brand of warmth and intimacy. Far from presenting ageing in her former guise as a Grumpy Old Woman, Eclair positively revels in turning sixty. You no longer have to lie about you age, she says: you flourish your status as you demand a vaccination.
She takes the defiant attitude of Jenny Joseph’s youthful speaker in “Warning”, who fantasizes about growing old disgracefully, wearing colours that don’t go, gobbling food samples in shops and pressing alarm bells. But Eclair really knows what ageing is like and presents it with relish. ‘I’m the face of Vagisan!’ she announces happily at the start of her hilarious but largeable unprintable riff on diminished libido (’chalk from the waist down’). She has a particularly comic set of expressions when she muses on what actually turns her on: ‘mmm – gilets!’ she says with a mischievous look, ‘So cosy!’. ‘Gilet,’ she deadpans, is French for ‘I’m a member of the National Trust’. She still has sufficient hormones to fancy Joe Wicks, but most of her lascivious thoughts concern biscuits, comfy knickers and a nice evening in. Seccateurs get a mention.
Her surprise on turning sixty – ‘I saw it as being something other people did’ –I thought by the time I turned sixty I’d be tall,’ clearly resonates with the audience and not just the middle aged members. Everybody can identify with the tyranny of the ten-yearly passport photo as a decade hoves into sight.
She admits to enjoying lots about pandemic-induced self-isolation. Talking about doing online yoga, her underfloor heating making her mat particularly appealing, she has a lovely image of performing her favourite pose ‘Great Big Sleeping Cat’.
Jenny Eclair Sixty! is a delight from beginning to end. Not only can she make getting older hilariously funny, but she has the ability to focus on the small shames of human life and return them to us in a new and triumphant light.
Continues to tour