This chapter will open with a rapid analogy with modern concerns, citing a comic performer's view of her own, and others', parodic work: 'It wasn't so much whether your material was political or not; it could be and then again it may not be. That didn't seem to matter. It was the cleverness of it that mattered most, and people like [Jeremy] Hardy have said, and people have said of him, it's a goodjob he's good [...] because the audience actually don't like what he's saying. They just like the way that he says it.' 1 In an article about the stand-up woman comedian Jo Brand, Stephen Wagg proposes that the audience's own reception of political material may not be conditioned by its own ideological agreement or disapproval, but rather by its appreciation of the performer's skill. Wagg narrates the varied reactions to Brand's provocative comic persona, and concludes that the only consensus is that Brand's aggression inspires strong reactions to her act but not to the ideological content of her jokes, which are often politically committed. Brand herself is said to have honed her act from a play on her unconventional looks into a coherent persona which can sustain extended performances on television as well as in writing. For Wagg, this persona is based on her combination of overweight appearance and sexual banter, and builds on an important feature of contemporary British culture, that of the construction of women's identity in terms of body weight and aggression, which may reveal tensions in popular culture that other comedians or commentators, by virtue of being less immediately 'transgressive', cannot.