Jennifer Saunders, from frenchandsaunders.com
I’m a huge fan of comedy. Can’t get enough of it. The world of comedy is mostly dominated by males, especially in the stand-up arena. with females few and far between. There are some great female comics out there, though: Victoria Wood; Shappi Khorsandi; Sue Perkins; Dawn French; Lucy Porter; Sandi Toksvig. If you’ve time to spare, we have covered Shappi’s name before in our previous bumper post on names from comedy (a follow-up is on my to-do list). This week’s mother is another comedy queen, she’s Jennifer Saunders, best known as one half of the French&Saunders comedy duo, and for our international readers she voiced the Fairy Godmother in the Shrek films. Specifically the second one. Both she and Dawn French also had voice roles in Coraline.
In 2005, there was a poll to find the funniest women in Britain, for which Saunders was awarded fourth place. The Top Ten reads as such:
- Victoria Wood
- Dawn French
- Jo Brand
- Jennifer Saunders
- Julie Walters
- Joyce Grenfell
- Hattie Jacques
- Joanna Lumley
- Maureen Lipman
- Kathy Burke
Personally, I feel the list would have rather changed by now, especially given the success of Miranda Hart in recent years. Hattie Jacques was a stage name for Josephine Edwina Jaques, whilst Kathy is indeed short for Katherine Lucy Bridget, and Jo short for Josephine. It seems almost chance that two of the top ten would be named Josephine, which perhaps makes her a good option if you want a name related to British comedy. Miranda being another good example as there’s also Miranda Richardson, who famously played Queenie in Blackadder. Half of the list is also taken up by five different J- names, too (not including Hattie). If I ever were to use a name inspired by my love of comedy, I’d likely use Polly or Connie, as in Connie Booth who starred as the maid Polly in Fawlty Towers.
But back to Jennifer Saunders, who with husband Adrian Edmondson, welcomed three daughters towards the end of the 80s decade:
Eleanor Rose ‘Ella’
Beatrice Louise ‘Beattie’
Tellingly, both Freya and Eleanor are in the 2010 Top 100, with Beatrice well poised at #116 to join them in the coming years. They also seemed to use pretty standard middle names until they came to their last child, when they used Domenica. I keep wanting to say the name, as in, the Dominican Republic, being the worldly person that I am. I’m fascinating by their choice of the name.