Rarely Asked Questions: Jen Brister

Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Jen Brister

Specsavers recently launched the first ever comedy club in London to normalise eye symptoms in the over 40s. The show took place at the 'At Arms Length' club at Up The Creek in Greenwich and comedian/writer Jen Brister headlined.

The evening raised awareness of presbyopia, a common eye condition that 83% of Londoners over forty have. Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects and is a natural part of ageing. There are a number of tell-tale signs, often first detected by our loved ones, that could be a direct symptom of presbyopia. Research carried out by Specsavers on these common symptoms, found that nearly half (47%) of over 35s have to hold objects at arm’s length in order to read the text clearly. Other common signs include having difficulty reading small print, squinting to bring objects into focus, having eye strain or headaches after reading or doing close work or needing brighter lighting when reading.

The audience at the At Arms Length club was able to enjoy nods to presbyopia, including 'squinting fries' and 'Eye PA' ale while Jen performed material about the condition as well as her sharp observations on life and motherhood.

To book an eye test today, head to your local store or visit the Specsavers website www.specsavers.co.uk

Read an eye-opening interview with Jen Brister below.


What is the last thing you do before you go onstage?

A wee 


What irritates you?

Chewing gum, litter, entitlement.


What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done?

I did a tandem skydive when I was in my 20s. I thought it would be fun, it wasn't really. I was falling so fast I couldn't think, breathe or see. I have no idea why people enjoy it.


What is the most stupid thing you have ever done?

I did a tandem skydive once... 


What has surprised you the most during your career in comedy?

How surprised people are when a woman makes them laugh. 


What do your children  think of your job?

My children know I'm a comedian but I don't think they have an idea what that entails. They like to tell their friends that I'm funny, but none of them have ever found anything I've said vaguely amusing. Just a lot of quizzical stares and wide eyed blinking.


What’s the worst thing about being a comedian?

Avanti trains and the M25


I think you are very good at what you do (that’s why I’m asking these questions). What do you think of you?

I think I could be a lot better. 


How much do you earn and how much would you like to earn?

I worked for nearly 20 years before I made anything close to decent money. So now I'm very grateful to be able to make a living. I think that's enough.

How important is luck in terms of career success – have you had lucky breaks?

I read that as lucky breasts.... anyway, yes you need luck and I've had breaks,  but more than that you need friends in the business who believe you and are willing to vouch for you. Sometimes it doesn't matter how good you are, people need convincing.  


Who is your favourite person ever and why – not including family or friends or other comedians?

Who is my favourite person that I have never met and no connection with? It has to be Annie Lennox, she seems very cool.


Do you keep your drawers tidy and if not why not? (please think long and hard about this question, it's to settle an argument with my girlfriend. The future of our relationship could depend on your response).

I do not, I am very much a 'stuff it in there' and forget about it. My partner is the opposite and she finds my untidiness infuriating. But I tell her this is the price she has to pay for living with a creative genius.... I hope this helps your relationship. I also hope my partner doesn't read this. 






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