Ruby Wax BiographyRuby Wax Biography

"I couldn't stand being a nobody. America put too much value on being tall and
blonde. So I used laughter to make people take notice."

Ruby Wax came to England in 1977 and I’ve been grateful ever since. (OK so I
wasn’t even born then but I make up for it now!)

Ruby always wanted to be famous, so decided to become an actress. She didn't
get in to RADA but was awarded a place at the Scottish equivalent, before 
later joining the Royal Shakespeare Company alongside Helen Mirren, getting
all the ‘wench’ parts.

"I really could never find my niche. I was a terrible actress, I couldn't 
sing, I couldn't do characters, I couldn't do an English accent and I lived 
in England, so I was narrowing it down'

She started off writing for Not the Nine O Clock News. 

She met French and Saunders at a party and worked alongside them a number of
times, on television in Happy Families, at charity events such as Hysteria 
and notably the sitcom Girls on Top. Apparently meant to be a kind of 
female ‘Young Ones’, French, Saunders and Wax all co-starred and co-wrote 
this ITV series. Ruby played Shelley Dupont, a stereotypically loud American
dying for a career in showbusiness. Not a huge hit, Girls on Top nevertheless
gave the trio the chance to find their feet in comedy.

Ruby eventually got a chat show after drunkenly interviewing Michael Grade 
(who was head of Channel 4 at the time) in a tent at the Edinburgh festival.
She subsequently made a range of programmes (most featuring her name in the 
title!) but as I have only seen a selection I can only write about the ones 
I know:

In the 1988 show "Ruby's Celebrity Bash", Ruby 'interviewed' stars including
Joanna Lumley, Patricia Hodge and Felicity Kendall. More staged and rehearsed
than Ruby’s more recent interviews, they included acted bits and prepared 
one-liners to the cameras. But although the interviews are set up they are
still hilarious. Ruby breaks into Joanna Lumley's house - smashing windows 
and then hiding behind her sofas!! She gets thrown out but returns later with
a ladder and calls up into the window, before climbing up and breaking in 
again. Joanna Lumley's character is very much a premonition of Patsy, who 
ends up in a mental institution and has cupboards filled with alcohol! The 
show was very much pre-Abfab, and an early and unusual role for Joanna in 
comedy at the time. Ruby Wax later became the script editor for Absolutely 
Fabulous, coming up with many of the one-liners.

East Meets Wax (1989) an interesting documentary following a pregnant Ruby as
she tours Russia doing comedy through a humourless translator. We see their 
relationship develop in between clips of the performances and Ruby chatting with the Russian public.

In 1992 Ruby did a stand-up comedy show at the Wimbledon Theatre, now available
on video as Wax Acts.  Written by Ruby, it consists of amusing monologue and
observational comedy. Her description of childbirth was almost enough to put
me off for life, pain-wise she says, 'it's like sitting on the Eiffel tower 
and spinning' - ouch indeed!

Ruby's Health Quest (1995) followed Ruby as she went in search of alternative
medicines, advice and treatments in aid of seeking perfect health. There is also an accompanying book.

Several years ago she took a BBC director's course, "people will get sick of
me and my ego will have to be removed, but I'd still like to express my view
of the world".

As for the future, alongside her interviews, Ruby has been writing a screenplay
with Jennifer Saunders to star one of her previous guests, Goldie Hawn. Not
much information has been revealed other than it’s a kind of ‘spiritual quest’
and a ‘turning 50 thing’ (Not that she’s 50, not that she’s 50!) 

Ruby Wax The Interviewer Ruby Wax Press

© Caroline Marshall 1999. All Rights Reserved