Spotlight up on a stage with a microphone on a stand.
V/O: Welcome to the stage, Genie Dankworth.
Genie walks on stage and positions herself behind the microphone.
Genie: Hello. I’m Genie. Once know as the lady with the lamp. But that’s what you get if you punch enough bouncers on a night out in Blackpool. Who here is in a relationship? Awwww… Are you married? [She waits for the answer]
[If they are married] Oh well, better luck next time.
[If not married] Well, at least there’s time to change your mind.
They say marriage is a three ring circus. Engagement ring, wedding ring, suffering. Take my husband. No, please, TAKE my husband. Why doesn’t our democratic society permit a woman to have 2 husbands? Because our laws protect us against cruel and unusual punishment. It’s our 39th Anniversary today. Awwww. That’s the anniversary of “laughter.” Isn’t that lovely? And my husband has made me laugh every day of our married life. He takes off his clothes and pissing myself. The next anniversary is “new patio.” Well, you need somewhere to bury the body. This morning, I asked hubby what today was. He wasn’t sure iI had dementia or he’d forgotten our anniversary. Turns out, latter. He took the dog out for a walk. 20 minutes later, he arrived home and handed me a bunch of daffs and a lovely card with a teddy bear holding a heart. I handed him the divorce papers. He said is “this a joke? It said we’re divorcing on religious grounds!” I said “yes. You thought you were God. I didn’t.” This is how my marriage went down. He got on one knee at a family party. He was picking a prawn vol au vent off the carpet, but everyone thought he was proposing. So he said, “Could you ever learn to love me Genie?” And I said “no.” He said. “As I feared, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” He always had such a way with words. At the alter, he said, “I’ve changed my mind!” I said, “Thank God! Did you get one that works?” Turns out marriage is the process of finding out what type of wife your husband wished he married. On our wedding night, my husband said to me: “Say dirty things to me!” I said: “Bath, kitchen, living room dining room…” Then he said, “should we swap positions?” I said “yes, you cook the dinner and I’ll sit and fart on the couch.” Then my husband told me I was immature. I told him to get out of my pillow fort. Eventually my husband said he needed more space. I said no problem and locked him out of the house. He said “I’m fat. Give me a compliment.” I said, “you’re eyesight is perfect.” Then he asked me to pass him some lip balm. I pass his superglue by mistake. Didn’t talk to me for months. Finally, last week, I went to see a solicitor and I said, “do I have grounds for divorce?” He said “are you married.” I said, “ yes, of course.” He said, “ then you have grounds.” What’s the one thing a divorce proves? Your mother was right in the first place.
Genie: Jeez. Some of these jokes are older than my coil and just as pointless, and that was installed in 1968. Truth is, my marriage was like an old toilet brush. Shitty. For 39 years. It was like I was invisible. I’d say “hello dear’ and he’d look right through me. That’s why I started doing stand up. Light relief. For me. Not you. And cheaper than therapy. Again for me, not for you. The ticket prices are extortionate. But I just wanted to be seen and how you all saw me. On the stage, on the TV, on the radio. Well, you didn’t see me on the radio but I was there. Doing my speciality mime act. Anyway, you’ve all given me such a lot of love. Shame I didn’t get that at home, hey? He didn’t ever hurt me, at least, not physically. But sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. They may be make into a one hour stand up special for ITV, but they will never hurt me. Honest. I’m supposed to do some material here for the charity, dog of divorce, or save the mad bears or something but. I don’t feel funny. I look funny but that’s just my age, but.
Genie: Do you know they best thing about divorce? You sign on the dotted line and you lose 200 pounds of dead weight. I’ve started to miss my husband. But good news. My aim is improving. Thank you, you’ve been a lovely audience. Good night.
Genie walks slowly off stage.
The spotlight fades.