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  • Gabby Edlin

Jen Brister talks Bloody Funny to us

By Kim Long

“Women are saying this is bullshit. We’re paying a fortune for these products and then there’s VAT added on top. It’s crap.”

Jen Brister is fed up. She’s fed up with period poverty. She’s fed up with the tampon tax. And she’s fed up with not talking about periods.

But unlike most of us, when Jen talks about periods, she can do it to an audience - whether it’s on stage at the BBC’s Live at the Apollo or during a run of her show at the Edinburgh Festival. And she’s putting the power to good use.

Jen is one of Bloody Good Period’s ambassadors. And she is the force behind our fundraiser Bloody Funny. But more on that later.

First off, Jen says that since she took up her role with Bloody Good Period she’s been talking openly about periods, which has been a revelation for her.

“My generation didn’t talk about periods, and we definitely didn’t mention it in stand up,” Jen says. “There’s been so little talk about women’s health overall. And now we find out that there are people who can’t afford period products. There’s young people who are missing school because they can’t afford the protection they need. Refugees are going without because they receive a tiny amount of money to live on and they’re prioritising food. People just don’t think this is right.”

Over the past couple of years there has been a shift in how much periods are being talked about, and the more we talk about periods the more normal it becomes.

Jen says there still needs to be a push to make sure products are getting into the hands of the people who need them the most: “There’s a change now and you’re seeing period products popping up in the bathrooms of hotels and bars, places where they have never been available before. The more this happens the more it will become an expectation. But this needs to go further than being a trendy thing. Products should be free in schools.”

But for now, it’s still down to the donations we receive, whether through collections or from the Amazon wish list, to keep our drop-in centres topped up every month.

Or, it could be from the funds raised at events. At Bloody Good we like to play to people’s strengths, whether that’s the super-organised logging away donations at the storage unit, or journalists working on the blog (ahem). So if you’re a comedian with loads of hilarious and kind mates who want to help out a good cause, putting on a comedy show sounds like a great idea. And so Bloody Funny was born.

This September will be the third time Jen has been our woman in charge of Bloody Funny. The idea for a comedy show came about after she met our founder Gabby at an event. With Jen's help we’ve had an array of the UK’s top comedic talent including Sara Pascoe, Jenny Bede, Dane Baptise, Ellie Taylor and Rachel Parris getting on stage. Loads of funny and generous people, all offering their talents to help Bloody Good. And each time it keeps getting bigger and better.

“The first show we did was at the Bill Murray in Islington. We were being cautious by holding it in a small venue, and then it went and sold out straight away. So next time we went bigger and did Conway Hall. And now we’ve gone even bigger again at Union Chapel in September,” Jen says.

And what a fantastic show we have. Jen will be joined on the night by an all-female line up of Felicity Jones, Josie Long, Sophie Duker, Bridget Christine, Rosie Jones, Rose Matafeo and Ingrid Dahle. It’s going to be hilarious. And Jen will again be in charge of the raffle, much to her delight.

Since Jen's worked so hard to put together such an epic line-up, let’s get bums on seats. Bloody Funny takes place on Thursday 19th September at Union Chapel. Tickets are on sale now, and you have been warned they’re going fast.

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