It's Funny and It's True

Laughing at the things you're not supposed to

Comedy is at its most powerful when it takes on our darkest fears, our hardest times, and transforms them into laughter. Julia Sutherland looks into the corners of fellow stand up comedians' lives - performers who have chosen to share their deeply personal stories on stage to give a voice to issues otherwise overlooked. They have overcome their troubles and empowered themselves and many others to laugh at the things you're not supposed to laugh at.

Through comedy, Julia shows that sometimes it's OK not to be OK.

Our comedians perform stand up around these issues, before explaining in interview the story behind the laughs, as well as their reasons for sharing their experiences.

Episode 1: TX 23/07/17 - 19:15 iPlayer

Julia meets Janey Godley. Brought up in near-Dickensian squalor in the tough East End of Glasgow, Janey has faced sexual abuse, murder within the family, violence, sectarianism and more. She has coped with everything her life has thrown at her by turning each challenge and tragedy into hilarious stand-up comedy. Her own empowerment has given a voice to thousands of others by shattering taboos and breaking emotional shackles.

Julia also meets Heather Jordan Ross, who has toured the world with her show "Rape is Real and Everywhere". Through her stand up she has touched the lives of thousands of people who have had similar experiences, and has found relief in sharing her candid account and extremely dark humour. This is a very personal story told from a unique point of view.

Episode 2: TX 30/07/17 - 19:15 iPlayer

Felicity Ward is an Australian comedian who has struggled with severe anxiety throughout her adult life - particularly challenging when it's your job to entertain strangers every night from stage. Glaswegian stand up Fern Brady has been forced to cope with depression, which is made far more difficult by her underlying anger issues that are provoked by the challenges of daily life.

Details of organisations offering information and support with sexual abuse and sexual violence are available at, or you can call for free, at any time to hear recorded information on 0800 077 077
"Guys are always like: 'If you can tell a murder joke, you can tell a rape joke,' Well I don't know if one in three men in this audience has been murdered.."Heather Jordan Ross
BBC Minisite

From the live recording at The Stand in Glasgow