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Ian Waller enjoys an evening of anecdotes from a British comedy legend, who happens to look a lot like his mum…

That’s the problem with arriving an a comedy slightly late (we were finishing a kebab in the car park!), you sometimes miss the start of the story. As we entered the always gorgeous Merlin Theatre in Frome, the sell-out crowd was already in raptures of laughter as Ms Eclair concluded, “and my tampon fell out in the plunge pool!”

Jenny Eclair was in town as part of the Frome Festival to chat about her new memoir (it’s not actually out yet, you’ll have to wait until October), My Very Funny Memoir, with her actor and frined Lynne Miller. OK, Jenny might be a national institution, Perrier Award winner, novelist, pod caster, bit-part actor and one time stripper (it’s amazing what you learn at these events…), as well as looking just like my mum (who wasn’t a stripper), but this was more about two friends sat on comfy furniture chatting about their pasts while there just happened to be a few hundred people watching on.

Jenny Eclair is instantly appealing and you just want her to be your friend. She appears to find everything hilarious and has that sort of mind that flits impressively from subject to subject, all introduced with such fervour and left to friend Lynne to bring her back to the original subject.

And so we learn about her early career and being told, “You’re too big!”, leading to frantic weight lose and an eating disorder. There’s also her relationship with her parents – “I wrote the book because my parents are dead now and I can get away with it all!”, and explaining, “You know what mothers in the 1970s were like – they were vain on your behalf.”

Then there’s her run-ins with other comedians, from Greg Davies to (very briefly) Victoria Wood, not to mention the up and coming talents who supported her on tour and whom she would take the greatest delight in terrifying. Take comedian John Oliver, now a superstar in America but once on tour with Jenny. “He had such a long neck,” she recalls. “I once took him on the waltzer in Skegness and it nearly killed him!”

Throughout she just comes across as someone having a great time, enjoying the opportunities that come along but not taking it all too seriously. The evening sees her chatting about her husband and daughter like you’d talk with your neighbour or the back garden fence, while at other times leaning forward and getting the audience involved too.

After the interval there was meant to be loads of time for a Q&A, but with Ms Eclair still on at full throttle, there was actually only time for a very few Qs but she was up off the sofa and out in the foyer for what looked set to be a lengthy book signing session.

All-in-all this was a hugely entertaining evening out which was all over by just after nine, meaning there wasn’t too much a worry for being tired for work on the Monday.