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Brit comedian discusses family tragedy after Hurricane Maria

PICTURED: Glenda Jaxson

GLENDA JAXSON should be an inspiration to us all. The school dinner-lady turned comedian has battled thyroid cancer, even performing on stage while undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

On Friday 20 October, she will appear on stage at the Waltham Forest Council Black History Month Comedy Night. This is despite losing two members of her family to the devastating hurricanes in Dominica.

Londoner Glenda described the devastation of her 88-year-old Mum’s motherland: “Every day I get a video from there. My friend was in the first hurricane, Irma. She said it was a lovely day then she turned around and it went black and that was it, the rain was hurting her – it was so powerful. She ended up injured in hospital and now she cannot find her Mum.

“Hurricane Maria has taken all of Dominica. It is total devastation there. There are no ATMs and people do not have anything. I can handle the streets of London, but I am a coward. I could not handle being there.”

Glenda views comedy as a coping strategy. She says: “When I was in hospital having radiotherapy and chemotherapy I used to go on the bus to do gigs. When you are in hospital all day surrounded by sick people, you need to get out and laugh. And I needed to earn money.”

The mother-of-two’s humour is based on stories about her own life. She first got up on stage when she went to the Comedy Store with a friend, who was doing a course in being a stand-up. “I did not want to pay £60 to do a course, but I kept whispering to her ‘do it like this’ and ‘do it like that’ until the guy came up to me and said ‘why don’t you have a go?’”

She performed her first show at Willesden Empire. She says: “There were a lot of big stars there and I told my friend I was just going to the toilet. She was shocked when she saw me up on stage in front of a packed audience.”

Glenda’s 88-year-old mother is her comedy icon. She says: “My Mum came here from Dominica at the time there were signs saying ‘no blacks, no Irish and no dogs’ in public places. And she told me, ‘we laugh at people - you laugh first darling because you do not know if they are laughing at you’.”

The Waltham Forest Council Black History Month Comedy Night runs from 6pm – midnight on Friday 20 October. Tickets are £18.50 and £10.50 for concessions.

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