Bono and Geldof are Cunts
After I wrote a research piece based on several years investigating foreign aid in Africa called Bono and Geldof are Cunts I got an email purporting to be from the Sydney Opera House.
It said something like,’Dear Jane, we really liked your piece Bono and Geldof are Cunts. But could you make it more extreme?’ It was clearly from Bono’s One organisation and an elaborate e-prank, and I wasn’t falling for it.
They emailed again with offers of plane tickets to Sydney and participation in the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Determined to teach Bono I would not fall for this nonsense, I used the ticket to fly to Australia where I was told that if I promised not to use the word Cunt except on Australian national television I could go on ABC and talk about it. I did, just to teach them a lesson about trying to scam the British.
I bet Bono thought at this point I’d cave in. But no! I participated in the fantastic Festival of Dangerous Ideas where Germaine Greer, Julian Assange and Noam Chomsky had done their thing, and I bet you Bono wasn’t expecting I’d actually go through with it. It sold out the Sydney Opera House* and I had to do another show. Take that, altruists!
*Which up close is even funkier than it looks in the photos and surprisingly, 1970s retro brown.
Even after the rousing reception in Sydney I wasn’t sure if people shared my Bono & Geldof theory so I asked The Frontline Club, meeting point for war reporters, frontline journalists and thinking types in London, if they’d like to run a show called Bono & Geldof are Cunts. Someone quite senior said, “Oh I’d like to see that, as I’ve met Bob Geldof.”
Alarmingly it sold out in hours. They added another date. That sold out in hours.
The veteran stage producer David Johnson came along and now it’s going to the Soho Theatre in November. Tickets online on Soho’s website.
Also at Soho, we’ll be doing a special Sitcom Sunday testing out an all new episode of Distinguished Ladies so Get in touch if you want tickets or more info.
Bussmann’s Holiday: The Worst Date Ever
Jane performed the final UK performance of Bussmann’s Holiday in the Houses of Parliament. The result is an Early Day Motion to get the British government to help stop the Lord’s Resistance Army and the world’s longest running phony war…
Massive shows in Africa:
MISHMASH UGANDA hosted the show on April 20, the biggest ever audience of somewhere between 550 and 600 people. Thank you very much to Siima and Busbhaby and Kenny at X FM, Alan and George at Capital FM, Anne-Marie Weeden, Richard Smith and Charlotte Beauvoisin and the New Vision: so many people came that the profits paid off the Marty Singer Scholarship Fund in full. Ex LRA abductee “Victoria” will have a fully built house soon. MISHMASH was on fire, check out the tree house in the acacia tree. No giant potbellied pig like the last Kampala show at Red Chili, but a preying mantis sitting in my laptop.
THE RUSTY NAIL in Karen, Nairobi went out with a bang at their closing weekend, April 28. Sold out show in the evening and an extra show added at lunch, with the Karen massive favouring wife swapping jokes, mysteriously. A fantastic weekend in a fantastic venue that will be greatly missed, not least for the outstanding chips.
Get in touch to be updated on new shows.
Jane’s live show Bussmann’s Holiday (directed by Emmy-winner Sally Phillips), detailing the events covered in the book The Worst Date Ever: Or How it Took a Comedy Writer to Expose Africa’s Secret War, ran at the Complex Theater, Theatre Row, Los Angeles, before going on to the Assembly Rooms, Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2006 and 2009), the Soho Theatre, London (SOLD OUT), Off Broadway at the 59E59 Theater, the World’s Funniest Island festival in Sydney, Australia (SOLD OUT), the Frontline Club in London (SOLD OUT), Latitude Festival (SOLD OUT) The Comedy Store Los Angeles, the Tabernacle, London (SOLD OUT), the Reef, Mombasa, (SOLD OUT), the Vineyard, Nairobi (SOLD OUT) and the Red Chilli, Kampala, Uganda (SOLD OUT).
Bussmann’s Holiday received four-star reviews, won Best Comedy at Perrier rival the Tap Water Awards and was nominated for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.
Here it is the show in New York City via the Wall Street Journal, by Anna Louie Sussman
Reviews for Bussmann’s Holiday
**** The Guardian
She couldn’t persuade a single member of the British media to run her exclusive story about war-ravaged Uganda. So why should anyone see Jane Bussmann’s one-woman show on the same topic at Edinburgh? Quite simply, because it’s one of the most passionate, smart, hilarious hours on the Fringe, packed with so many absurd one-liners that it’s impossible to stop laughing, even as your brain buzzes with fury at the story she relates.
And what a story. Last year, Bussmann realised that she had “worked my entire adult life being useless”: essentially, writing about inane celebrities for fashion magazines. So she decided to do something useful and travelled to Uganda, where she ended up in the heart of the war zone, interviewing military leaders and children kidnapped to bolster Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, and discovering just how little the Museveni government is doing to resolve the situation.
So far, so worthy. But what Bussmann also reveals, pricelessly, is that she only went to Uganda because she has the hots for an American peacemaker intermittently working there; that she spent her entire time in Uganda blundering about idiotically; and that – as you might expect from a writer of Brass Eye and South Park – she can spin twisted, brilliant gags out of the unlikeliest of material. There’s something winning about her self-deprecating personality, and something surprisingly powerful in her avoidance of political correctness. Visiting camps full of maimed, raped children, she says: “I’d not seen such a depressing sight since I caught my ex-boyfriend wanking and crying at the same time.” Yes, it’s coarse – but it’s just the combination of pathos, anger and humour needed to make audiences sit up and listen to what she has to say.
**** The Scotsman
JANE BUSSMANN doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects. In 2001 she was involved in one of the most controversial programmes in the history of British television – the Brass Eye special on paedophilia.
Her writing pedigree is considerable. Among other series, she has worked on South Park, The Fast Show and Smack the Pony. She is also a well-known magazine and newspaper columnist, regularly interviewing the likes of Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher. ”I’ve worked my entire adult life doing something completely useless,” she says. With this in mind, she set off to war-torn Uganda in the hope of making a difference. There she discovered a horrific world of kidnap and brutality she couldn’t even begin to imagine. The question with Bussmann’s Holiday, her first live show, was whether someone of such obvious writing talent could cut it as a performer. The answer in Bussmann’s case is a resounding yes. Like Dave Gorman, she makes excellent use of photos, videos and soundbites to illustrate her adventure. The story is fascinating as well as funny, although at times you sense Bussmann’s humour will appeal more to women. While she recounts several horrendous incidents concerning Uganda’s problems with disease, poverty and murder, a sharp line is never far away.
Directed by Sally Phillips (I’m Alan Partridge, Smack the Pony), Bussmann’s Holiday is a well-constructed and extremely watchable piece of storytelling.
You can’t fault Bussmann’s nerve… Part-Tinkerbell, part-PJ O’Rourke.
The Evening Standard
Jane has just performed Bussmann’s Holiday at
Hay Storymoja Festival SOLD OUT
September 30 – Oct 3 2010
The Red Chilli
Kampala, Uganda SOLD OUT
Mombasa, Kenya SOLD OUT
Serena, Nairobi GALA DINNER for the Lorna Irungu Medical Fund
The Vineyard, Rhapta Road, Nairobi SOLD OUT
THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT (FINAL UK SHOW)
Jane is completely knackered.